India Travel Guide

Continent: Asia
Region: South Asia
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India Travel Essentials

Ideal Duration: Varies widely; popular circuits range from 7-21 days

Currency: Indian Rupee (INR)

Best Time: October to March (Cooler and more pleasant weather in most regions) Read More

Accommodation Cost (per night in USD):
Dorm bed: $5-15
Budget: $15-40
Mid-range: $50-100
Luxury: $120 and above

Visa Policy for All Nationals: Varied, including eVisa and regular visas for many countries Read More

Getting In India: Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) in Delhi, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (BOM) in Mumbai Read More

Getting Around India: Most places have airports and cabs are easily available. Buses & Trains are also well connected. Car Rentals are not that common. Read More

"The Land of Diversity"

India Tourism

With over 1.4 billion people contributing to its diversity, India has a vast expanse, intricately blending a storied past, a multitude of spoken languages & religious communities. The varied landscapes, from the towering peaks of the Himalayas in the north to the sun-kissed beaches of the Indian Ocean in the south and a mosaic of ancient civilizations & cultural encounters to modern cities, India is a subcontinent offering multitudes of experiences.

One of the most popular routes for travelers is the Golden Triangle Tour, encompassing Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. Explore the historical monuments like the iconic Taj Mahal, witness the regal splendor of Amber Fort in Jaipur, and stroll through the bustling markets of Delhi, all of which showcase these cities' architectural brilliance and cultural richness.

Amidst this diverse landscape lies a treasure trove of forts and palaces, such as the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, the opulent City Palace in Udaipur, and the historic Red Fort in Delhi.  India's history is deeply rooted in the rise and fall of dynasties, with UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Qutub Minar in Delhi, the Ajanta and Ellora Caves in Maharashtra, and the historic city of Fatehpur Sikri near Agra standing as testament to the country's rich cultural heritage. From the Rajasthan palaces of the Mughals to the intricately carved temples of Khajuraho, every corner of India tells a story of dynasties that shaped its history. In the south, the ancient ruins of Hampi in Karnataka echo the grandeur of the Vijayanagara Empire, adding another layer to India's diverse historical tapestry. 

For those inclined towards holistic wellness, India offers renowned yoga retreats and ayurvedic treatments. Find tranquility in the spiritual surroundings of Rishikesh or amidst the lush greenery of Kerala. Additionally, immerse yourself in the spiritual aura of Varanasi, the ancient city on the banks of the Ganges, or experience the sacred Ganga Aarti in Haridwar

Kerala, renowned for its backwaters, offers a serene escape aboard traditional houseboats, while its tea plantations in Munnar and wildlife sanctuaries like Periyar National Park provide opportunities for nature lovers to immerse themselves in the region's natural beauty. Furthermore, adventure seekers can embark on exhilarating wildlife safaris in India's renowned national parks. Explore the rugged terrain of Ranthambore National Park, where the majestic Bengal tiger roams freely amidst ancient ruins, offering a thrilling glimpse into India's rich biodiversity. Journey to Kanha, Corbett, or Kaziranga National Parks, each teeming with diverse flora and fauna, including the elusive Indian rhinoceros in Kaziranga, the majestic Asiatic lion in Gir, and the royal Bengal tiger in Kanha and Corbett. These protected areas serve as vital habitats for endangered species, providing a sanctuary for wildlife enthusiasts to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitats.

Indulge your taste buds in the culinary symphony of India, relishing the flavors of spicy curries, aromatic biryanis, and delectable sweets that vary from region to region.  For a cultural and culinary treat, explore the vibrant streets and golden temple of Amritsar, where the aroma of traditional Punjabi cuisine fills the air. The rich culinary heritage of Rajasthan offers tantalizing dishes such as Dal Baati Churma, Gatte ki Sabzi, and Lal Maas, showcasing bold flavors and aromatic spices. 

Experience the vibrant hues of Holi in Mathura and Vrindavan, where the festival of colors comes alive with joyous celebrations and spirited gatherings. Dive into the rich traditions of Kerala during Onam, where the snake boat race and elaborate feasts mark the harvest festival's festivities. Witness the cultural extravaganza at the Pushkar Camel Fair, where traditional music, dance, and camel races create a mesmerizing spectacle against the backdrop of Rajasthan's desert landscape. And finally, immerse yourself in the grandeur of Indian weddings, where age-old customs and rituals blend seamlessly with modern celebrations, creating unforgettable experiences filled with love, laughter, and timeless traditions.

Embark on a coastal journey through India's diverse landscape. Dive into the vibrant energy of Goa's beaches, find serenity in Gokarna's tranquil shores, marvel at Varkala's dramatic cliffs, or embrace Pondicherry's French colonial charm. Meanwhile, adventure beckons in the majestic Himalayas, where destinations like Kasol and Spiti Valley await backpackers seeking awe-inspiring landscapes and cultural immersion. In metropolitan hubs like Mumbai and Bangalore, vibrant nightlife and rich cultural experiences await, adding another layer of excitement to your Indian adventure. 

Nonetheless, India's diverse topography enables you to experience distinct regions of the country throughout various seasons. Whether you're drawn to the cultural mosaic of Rajasthan's palaces, the spiritual aura of Varanasi's ghats, or the tropical allure of Kerala's backwaters, India a treasure trove of experiences, awaits your discovery.

Best time to visit India

The best time to visit India is between October and March however, since India has a diverse topography every region can be visited during different seasons of the year. October to March majorly covers the winters and beginning of summers. The summer months of April to June are typically sweltering in most parts of India however, people generally visit the hilly areas during this time which leads to higher crowds and competitive prices in those regions. Additionally, March and April are the best time for Wildlife spotting. After the scorching heat of summers, monsoons (July to september) transform the terrain into a captivating place, but the levels of humidity and precipitation may not be something one was looking for, however it can be good news for those who wish to travel on a smaller budget. Whereas during winters from December to February, the temperature in most parts of India are much cooler with potential fog except mountainous regions. This is a prime time to visit a majority of places across the country.

Peak Season (November - February)
Weather: India's temperatures range from 25°C to 35°C in the northern plains and coastal areas, 15°C to 25°C in hilly regions, with generally dry and chilly weather.
Popular destinations: Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur), Goa, Rajasthan, Kerala, Himalayan Hill Stations.
Popular Events: Diwali, Durga Puja, Navratri, Pushkar Camel Fair, Goa Carnival. 
Note: Tourists are crowded; pre-booking is advised. 

Off Season (May - mid September)
Weather: From May to June, most parts of India experiences scorching heat with temperatures from 35°C to 45°C, while July to September brings heavy monsoon rains and high humidity, with temperatures ranging from 25°C to 35°C.
Popular destinations: Kerala Backwaters, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Northeast India. 
Popular Events: Hemis festival, Onam, Ganesh Chaturthi. 
Note: Stay hydrated, wear light clothing, and use sunscreen in the plains. In monsoon-affected areas, be cautious of landslides and road closures. Book in advance for discounts on hotels and flights during the off-season. Keep your itinerary flexible for weather-related changes. Seek local guidance and carry essential medications for monsoon-prone areas.

Shoulder Season (October, March & April)
Weather: From mid-September to October, temperatures range from 15°C to 25°C and From March to April, temperatures range from 10°C to 20°C in the northern hilly regions respectfully. Across all seasons the temperate range from 20°C to 30°C in the plains and coastal areas. 
Popular Destinations: Shimla, Manali, Darjeeling, and Nainital, Rajasthan, Kerala, Andaman and Nicobar Islands & Goa.
Popular Events: Mid-September to October:Navratri, Durga Puja, Dussehra; March to April: Holi, Rama Navami, Baisakhi
Note: Although not peak season, popular destinations can still be busy. Booking accommodations and transportation in advance is advisable. Consider travel insurance to cover any unexpected weather changes or travel disruptions.

Top places to visit in India by month

Holidify's opinion on Travel to India

What's Great about Travelling to India?

Great diversity in landscape and culture. Blessed with natural beauty. Ancient heritage and architecture. Yoga and meditation.

What's Not So Great about Travelling to India?

Overcrowded. Too much littering. Some people tend to overcharge foreigners. Poor infrastructure and hygiene in some places.

Who should Travel to India?

Adventure seekers. Heritage and culture enthusiasts. People who enjoy architecture. Trekkers. Spiritual peace seekers.

Read More on India Travel

Exchanging Money in India

The rates for exchanging to INR overseas are poor and it is illegal to import rupees. The currency can be exchanged at any of the numerous foreign exchange conversion units in India, including banks. ATMs can be found in abundance in India, except on smaller airports. Most ATMs pay out up to INR 10,000 in each transaction. International banks such as CitiBank, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, RBS and Standard Chartered can be found in all the major Indian cities.

Nightlife in India

Nightlife in India is limited to the major cities, and typically does not extend very late into the night. The IT cities of Bangalore, Pune and Gurgaon are known for their breweries and freshly brewed beer. Goa is famous for cheap alcohol, beach shacks, nightclubs and beach parties. Mumbai is your destination for partying till the wee hours of the night.

Shopping in India

Shopping in India is a wonderful experience due to the availability of beautiful, exotic and inexpensive souvenirs. When shopping in India, be ready to bargain. Haggling over prices is an accepted and widely spread practice. There are plenty of shops at every place which sell local products and virtually all the state governments in India run handicraft emporiums. Popular items to take home are pashminas, handicrafts, silk sarees and Indian spices.

Festivals of India

The larger than life festivities in India leave the traveller with a sense of extravaganza. Vibrant processions held during the major festivals are a sight to behold. The colours, music and dancing instil great elation in people. Diwali is one of the most popular festivals, and can be experienced throughout the country. Other popular festivals include Holi, Eid and Christmas.
Read more about Festivals in India

Hygiene in India

Visiting India requires travellers to adapt to a new atmosphere, climate and food. This tends to leave some travellers slightly ill in the beginning but gets better as one gets used to it. There are no specific vaccinations required to enter India. However, hepatitis, meningitis, and typhoid shots are recommended. The tap water is generally not safe for drinking and it is always advisable to buy packaged water. Always carry a first aid kit containing over-the-counter medicines along with a mosquito repellent. Stay away from stray dogs as they aren't vaccinated and tend to carry rabies.

Customs of India

Remove your shoes when entering a temple or mosque. It is also normal practice to remove your shoes while entering someone's home. Indians are very conservative about dress. Women are expected to dress conservatively with their legs and shoulders covered. Men should also dress properly and avoid wear skimpy shorts away from the beach areas. Kissing and embracing is frowned upon in public. In many areas of the country, even holding hands is not a good idea for couples. Public smoking is banned and carries a fine of INR 200. Tipping is not necessary, but it is good to tip around 5% at restaurants, INR 20 - 30 to doormen and valets. Cab and rickshaw drivers don't expect any tips.

Tips for visiting India

Carry over-the-counter medications for stomach upsets. Don't drink tap water - stick to packaged drinking water. Most tourist places in India tend to be crowded, so beware of pickpockets. Stay aware of typical transport costs, entry costs and prices of things to buy to avoid getting conned. If cost is not an issue, the luxury tourist trains in India may be an interesting way to tour a part of the country.

Food of India

Indian food is characterised by being rich and spicy. North Indian food is characterised by rich vegetables and meat cooked in thick gravy accompanied by rotis (flatbreads). This is what is generally found in Indian restaurants abroad. South Indian food is characterised by the use of coconut and rice as the main ingredients. Popular dishes like idlis, dosas and uttapams made from rice flour. Chai (tea with milk, sugar and spices) is sold at almost every street corner. Filter coffee is the choice of beverage in south Indian states.

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