India

Incredible India!

The Republic of India is an extremely diverse country, with vast differences in geography, climate, culture, language and ethnicity.

The country’s culture and heritage are a rich mix of past and present, influenced by both ancient civilizations, fascinating religions, spectacular monuments and an incredible variety of languages, as well as modern day technology, media and economy of a globalized world.

India holds virtually every kind of landscape imaginable and promises something for everyone. The country is a fantastic natural mosaic, with high mountains, deep jungles, huge deserts, mangroves and beaches. To the north, northeast and northwest the snow-capped Himalayas create a natural border and protect the country from invaders and feed the perennial sacred Ganges, Brahmaputra, Jamuna and Indus rivers. India, being one of the eighteen megadiverse countries, displays significant biodiversity, with many ecoregions showing extreme high rates of endemism. The country’s wildlife is protected in more than five hundred sanctuaries, biosphere reserves and wetlands. India’s forests range from the tropical rainforest of the Andaman Islands, Western Ghats, and northeastern India, to decidious forests in central and southern India, to the coniferous forest of the Himalaya.

Home to the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation and a region of historic trade routes and vast empires, the Indian subcontinent was identified with its commercial and cultural wealth for much of its long history. The Vedic civilization, in the second and first millennia BC, laid the foundations of Hinduism and other cultural aspects of early Indian society, and influences India to this day. Between 500 BC and AD 500 many great empires were formed, among them the Mauryas and the Guptas.

Following Islamic invasions from Central Asia between the 10th and 12th centuries, almost the entire Indian subcontinent became part of the Mughal Empire. The most important of the Muslim rulers were the Mughals, while the major Hindu force that survived in the north were the Rajputs. This period is referred to as India’s Golden Age, with science, technology, engineering, art, logic, language, literature, mathematics, astronomy,religion and philosophy flourishing. European traders started visiting India beginning in the late 16th century, which eventually led to the colonization of the country by the British. Non-violent resistance to British colonialism under Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi led to independence on 15 August 1947.

India has a very rich and diverse mix of culture and tradition, dominated by religious and spiritual themes. There is no single unified Indian culture, and it’s probably the only country where people of so many different origins, religious beliefs, languages and ethnic backgrounds coexist.

Indian religions form one of the most defining aspects of Indian culture. Major dhármic religions which were founded in India include Hinduism, Buddhismand Jainism. Buddhism originated in India in 5th century BC. Religious practices are an integral part of everyday life and are a very public affair.

As diverse and rich its nature, history and culture are, is India’s superb food. Each region has its own cuisine and style of preparation. Indian cuisine is characterised by a wide variety of regional styles and sophisticated use of herbs and spices. What India has exported abroad is just one part of its extraordinary range of culinary diversity.

The colourful mosaic of Indian festivals and fairs, is packed with fun and excitement. A festival or a celebration is never constrained to a family or a home. Festivals are all celebrated by sharing sweets and pleasantries with family, neighbours and friends. Every season brings along new festivals, each a true celebration of the bounties of the rich traditions followed for time immemorial.
Festivals in India are a true celebration of life!

What To See & Do

  • Witness daily rituals at the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine in Sikhism

  • Luxury stay at a Moghul era palace

  • Track tigers in the Sundabarnds

  • Expedition to Nanda Devi basecamp

  • Study the erotic sculptures of Khajuraho, the birthplace of the Kama Sutra

  • Visit a Bollywood movie set

  • Celebrate spring during the Holi festival

When To Go

India’s size and topographical features defy generalization of its climate. As such, several sub-climate zones can be distinguished, with the subtypes ranging from desert in the west, to alpine tundra and glaciers in the north, and humid tropical regions with rain forests in the southwest.

India’s climate is strongly influenced by the Himalayas and the Thar Desert. While the Himalayas prevent cold Central Asian winds from blowing in, keeping temperatures in most of the Indian subcontinent relatively high, the Thar Desert attracts moisture-laden southwest summer monsoon winds that provide the majority of India’s rainfall.

India is regarded as tropical and generally the country knows four seasons, which are relative to each other: winter in January and February, summer from March to May, a rainy season from June to September, and a post-monsoon period from October December.

In Winter temperatures average around 10–15°C in the northwest, while India’s southeast experiences 20–25°C in this season. Summer or pre-monsson season is the hottest time of the year, with April or May temperatures hitting 32-40°C in most parts of the country.

The southwest monsoon causes rains over most parts of the country and lasts from June to September. The northeast monsoon hits between October and February and affects mostly the eastern parts of India. Northeastern India gets rain from both monsoons and consequently experiences the highest annual rainfall in the world.

In northwestern India, the post-monsoon season is usually cloudless. Tamil Nadu receives most of its annual precipitation in the northeast monsoon season.

The north experiences some extremes of heat in Summer and cold in Winter, with snow in the Himalayas. The north also experiences a brief spring in February and March.

Sample Itineraries

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