India travel guide
India bristles with a mind-stirring mix of landscapes and cultural traditions. Your journey through this intoxicating country will blaze in your memory long after you’ve left its shores.
Delhi – with its tenacious touts and crush of mechanical and human traffic – can be downright confronting and confounding for the first-time visitor. But don’t let petulant first impressions muddy the plus points of this truly multidimensional metropolis.
Rabindranath Tagore described it as 'a teardrop on the cheek of eternity', Rudyard Kipling as 'the embodiment of all things pure', while its creator, Emperor Shah Jahan, said it made 'the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes'.
Best places to stay in India
Temples and monuments in India
Founded in 1156 by the Rajput ruler Jaisal and reinforced by subsequent rulers, Jaisalmer Fort was the focus of a number of battles between the Bhatis, the Mughals of Delhi and the Rathores of Jodhpur. The lower of the fort’s three layers of wall is composed of solid stone blocks, which reinforce the loose rubble of Trikuta Hill.
Goa & Mumbai travel guide
Colourful and colliding, spiritual and soothing, crammed with deserted beaches, yogic bliss and heady nightlife. Goa is many things to many people, but everyone agrees there’s nowhere on earth quite like it.
The biggest attraction is magical Tawang Gompa backdropped by snow-speckled peaks. Founded in 1681, this medieval citadel is reputedly the world’s second-largest Buddhist monastery complex and famed in Buddhist circles for its library.
Spread in ribbons over a steep mountain ridge, surrounded by emerald-green tea plantations and with a backdrop of jagged white Himalayan peaks floating over distant clouds, the archetypal hill station of Darjeeling is rightly West Bengal’s premier attraction.
Kerala is where India slips down into second gear, stops to smell the roses and always talks to strangers. A strip of land between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats, its perfect climate flirts unabashedly with the fertile soil, and everything glows.
The erotic carvings that swathe Khajuraho’s three groups of World Heritage–listed temples are among the finest temple art in the world. The Western Group of temples, in particular, contains some stunning sculptures. See our special colour illustration for details. Many travellers complain about the tiring persistence of touts here.
Highlights of India
North India or South? Do both! This 2-week tour combines the riot of Rajasthan’s colours with the calming greens of Kerala. You'll have time to immerse yourself in regional traditions in the North and spend a night at a heritage village hotel, and time to unwind in the south—just imagine cruising the backwaters on a houseboat.
Brace yourself. You're about to enter one of the most blindingly colourful, unrelentingly chaotic and unapologetically indiscreet places on earth. Varanasi takes no prisoners. But if you're ready for it, this may just turn out to be your favourite stop of all.
India - Delhi (Chapter)
Modern Delhi is a chaotic tapestry of medieval fortifications, Mughal mausoleums, dusty bazaars, and colonial-era town planning. Navigate the city via the metro, maximising the time spent in the city’s magnificent museums and monuments, its...
A traveller's guide to India's festivals
Earlier this year the Maha Kumbh Mela, held in the north Indian city of Allahabad, was touted as the biggest religious gathering on Earth. More than 100 million pilgrims are estimated to have washed away a lifetime of sins by taking a dip at the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Sarasvati rivers...
Widely considered Delhi’s best restaurant, this glam hotel eatery serves Northwest Frontier–style cuisine at low tables, with delectable kebabs that you won't find in cheaper kebab houses. Reservations are essential.
India’s hill stations: rising to the challenge of the 21st century
The cool allure of India’s hills drew the British onwards and upwards during the Raj. The hill stations they established are enduring attractions that offer relief from the heat and dust of the plains during summer and even – in the north – offer snowfields and skiing in the winter...
Riding the Rails in India
India is a big country, in the way that elephants, and skyscrapers, and continents are big. To walk from the tip of the subcontinent to the edge of the Tibetan Plateau would take most of a year. To cross the country from side to side would take almost as long. Lucky then that Indian Railways is there to transport India’s 1...
Over one billion people speaking in 22 official languages - it'd be easy to mistake your Kashmiri from your Konkani, but not with this little beauty in your backpack.
Unreal and bewitching, the forlorn ruins of Hampi, around 330km from Goa, make a highly worthwhile, and popular, side trip from the coast.
Highlights of South India
Compared to the North, southern India is a different place working on a different pace. But you don't need to devote a month to get here; this compact trip offers a healthy taste of Kerala's stunning tropical beauty. Luxuriate on the beach and watch the sunset, explore magnificent temples, and savour that last smidgen of flavour as you scrape your banana leaf plate clean.
Rising perpendicular and impregnable from a rocky hill that itself stands 120m above Jodhpur’s skyline, Mehrangarh is one of the most magnificent forts in India. The battlements are 6m to 36m high and as the building materials were chiselled from the rock on which the fort stands, the structure merges with its base.
Meditation and yoga in India
Colonial Portuguese outpost with balmy shores and spice-laden Indian specialties.
Ranthambore National Park
This national park contains 1334 sq km of wild jungle scrub hemmed in by rocky ridges. At its centre is the 10th-century Ranthambore Fort , and scattered nearby are ancient temples and mosques, crocodile-filled lakes, chhatris (cenotaphs) and hides. The park was a maharajas’ hunting ground till 1970 – a curious 15 years after it had become a sanctuary.
Inebriating mix of movie-making, traffic, nightlife, bazaars and charming mayhem.
Classic South India
Travel to India and embark on this classic southern Indian tour through Kerala from Chennai to Kovalam Beach. Discover a thousand shades of green, indulge in some of the continent’s freshest food and share smiles with the friendly local people in this lush, tropical part of the country.