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Planning for Monsoon Holidays in India

Wondering which are the best places to visit in India in monsoon and how to plan for it? Well here we are once again!

Mawsynram near Shillong in Meghalaya
Mawsynramin Meghalaya is India's wettest place with highest precipitation and where else but to enjoy the monsoon at its peak than the place with highest recorded rainfall in the world
As the first showers of the rains lash the country and announce the arrival of the monsoons, many places wipe summer’s dust and grime and don a lush green look.

The southwest summer monsoon, a four-month period when massive convective thunderstorms dominate India's weather, is earth's most productive wet season.

Monsoon time can be a great time to visit India as tourist attractions aren't crowded, airfares can be cheaper, and bargain rates are up for grabs at hotels throughout the country.

Travel in India during monsoon season could be a blessing for the budget conscious travelers; monsoon tourism could be cheap when it comes to air fare, and hotel booking.

Most of the popular monsoon holiday destinations well contacted to the flights and Indian road ways. Further, monsoon also allows you to behold a different facet of India, where nature comes alive in a medley of lush greenery, cool breeze, vigor of landscape and pervading joy.

Where to go for monsoon holidays in India

The best suited destinations for travel and tourism point of view during the monsoon include the desert state of Rajasthan especially Udaipur. Dubbed the "Venice of East" and sprinkled with lakes, monsoon is the time when Udaipur is at its verdant best with lakes brimming rejuvenated with the rainfall.

Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur
As if floating on the turquoise water of Lake Pichola, Taj Lake Palace is voted the most romantic hotel in India
For honeymooners or those looking for tranquility and seclusion along with rejuvenation and healing, Taj Lake Palace is the place to be if one doesn't minds splurging.

The Deccan Plateau on the eastern side of the Western Ghats mountain range which includes “god’s own country” Kerala (famous for its beaches, backwaters, wildlife and Ayurveda) and Tamil Nadu and Ladakh in far north India.

Stongdey Village, Zanskar, Ladakh
Ladakh is one of the best summer destinations in India that could be visited during monsoon
Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir and Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh which have a very low to negligible precipitation rate are 2 most awesome destinations to visit in India in monsoon especially in July and August.

The barren landscape, ancient Buddhist population and stunning scenery and a number of high altitude lakes and trekking ops make these two destinations the best in North India during monsoon.

Lonavala and Khandala in Mumbai are also great places to visit in India in monsoon. The magical landscape and floating cloud shroud these popular weekend getaways from Mumbai and Pune into an ethereal garb. Then there are a lot of things to do near here including nature trails and visits to old forts.

[Also check out some of the popular weekend getaways from Mumbai]

Lonavala during Monsoon
The verdant beauty of Lonavala is at its best during monsoon
Goa is also a haven for tourists looking forward to rewarding monsoon holidays in India during monsoon. With the throw away prices and less touristy crowd, head to Goa to enjoy its spirit of sussegado and to explore its rich heritage and enjoy its vibrant nightlife without getting stuch in crowd.
[Plan your trip to Goa with over 25 Goa tour packages]

Monsoon in Goa
Goa is one of the best places to be at monsoon if you want less crowd and best bargains on hotels
Draped along the Vindhya Hill Ranges at an altitude of 2200 Feet, Mandu is yet another of the places to visit during the monsoon. One of the hidden attractions from tourism point of view located in Madhya Pradesh,the true splendor of Mandu manifest during monsoon

The surrounding landscape drenched in rain take on a cloak of fascinating emerald, the gentle breeze laden with nostalgia soothes your soul and hovering clouds conjures up a mystical ambiance around this place.

Mandu during monsoon
Mandu in Madhya Pradesh becomes a picturesque paradise with the arrival of monsoon in the state
Mandu used to be the pleasure resort during Mughal period and is ingrained in Indian romance for the legendary love story of Baz Bahadur and Rani Roopmati.

Thanks to its lakes, palaces, natural splendor and the romance associated with this place since antiquity, it is one of the best monsoon destinations in India.

Also check out top 10 monsoon destinations in India to plan your holiday in July and August

Packing for monsoon holidays in India
  • Heavy monsoon cause of flood and it could be affect on the transport system. Floods on the train tracks and road might affect the service
  • Sometimes, rarely flight may get cancelled or delayed too so always have some time in your hand while planning for your next halt
  • Don’t forget to pack up heavy duty umbrellas
  • Always carry a raincoat
  • Waterproof bag/backpack so that whatever you’re carrying is safe from rain
  • Carry mosquito repellant and/or mosquito net as mosquitoes are ubiquitous during monsoon
  • Wear suitable wet weather shoes among others
Booking hotels during monsoon holidays in India

Monsoon holidays in India are a blessing especially for budget travelers when it comes to book their accommodation in hotels in India. Since it’s mostly off season when it comes to domestic casual tourists, hotels are seldom fully booked in advance.

To attract travelers, most of the hotels in India offer generous discounts to those coming for extended stay during the monsoon holidays in India. Accommodations are normally available in all categories of hotels to suit every budget of the traveler.

India in the monsoons is a rhapsody for economy, landscape, environment, wildlife and yes travelers looking forward to explore this incredible country to get a glimpse of the unique hue percolating the landscapes and general mood of the people of this country.

If planned and executed with consideration, monsoon holidays in India offer one of the most fascinating and comprehensive vacations and travel inspirations in India with an additional advantage of the absence of the ubiquitous throngs of casual tourists.

And for a fussy traveler it does makes sense as it brings out the vibrant hue of the countryside and scenery, settles the dust and the grime and last but not the least generous discounts which is offered for accommodation in hotels throughout India.

[Book your hotel during monsoon holiday at IndianHoliday.com]

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Kerala Tourism: A Complete Guide to Travel and Tours in Kerala

Kerala, a state in Southern India is known as a tropical paradise of swaying palms and tropical beaches. It is a narrow strip of coastal territory draped along the Western Ghats in a cascade of lush green vegetation, and reaches to the Arabian sea. Also referred to as “God’s Own Country”, the sheer title presage the magnificence and bounties of nature and gracious hospitality with which Kerala is blessed. Due to its eclectic diversity both in term of geography and heritage, Kerala offers plethora of options when it comes to things to do and places to visit in this nature’s wonderland.

Table of Content for Kerala tourism beginners guide
  1. Introduction to Kerala tourism
  2. Top tourist destinations in Kerala

  3. Getting around in Kerala
  4. Climate in Kerala
  5. Ayurveda in Kerala
  6. Eating in Kerala
  7. Homestays in Kerala
  8. Hotels in Kerala
  9. Dos and Dont's for international travels in Kerala
An introduction to tourism in Kerala
The chief appeal of Kerala lies in its meandering network of backwaters, tropical beaches, hill stations and wildlife sanctuaries. Not to mention the architectural and cultural heritage which includes temples, forts, Kathakali and Mohiniattam dance forms. A veritable tourist paradise in India, Kerala is also a favored honeymoon destination owing to its charming countryside, lush surroundings, endearing backwaters and paradisiacal beach escapades.

Another foremost aspect adding to the romantic appeal of Kerala tourism is Ayurveda and yoga. Kerala tourism gives you an opportunity to explore various spectacular destinations in ‘God’s Own Country’ not to mention it’s green tourism initiatives to promote responsible tourism and reduce the carbon footprints of the traveler while at the same time empowering the locals to become a direct beneficiary of the tourism activities.
Top tourist destinations in Kerala
Alappuzza is one of the major tourist attractions in the state. This spectacular place is often referred to as the “Venice of the East” because of the network of lakes, lagoons and water channels, and its verdant natural beauty. Ketuvallams promenading in the serene backwaters and lush rice paddy fields and pastoral environs adding to the mystique of backwater cruise at Alappuzza is one of the most alluring aspects of Kerala tourism. But it’s not just the foray into the backwaters of the famous Nehru Snake Boat Race. A tour to the pastoral countryside of Alleppey is definitely worth stopping for to soak in some tropical village life before making a beeline for the backwaters. Also, when in Alappuzza, make sure that you gorge on that mouth watering seafood and an eclectic variety of authentic South Indian cuisines. But a backwater cruise in the calm coconut fringed water channels on board Ketuvallams is a must. Ketuvallams used to be traditional rice barge and offer an authentic experience of culture of Kerala.
Draped along the Western Ghats, Munnar is a welcome respite from the heat and humidity of the lowlands of Kerala. Owing its salubrious climate to rolling hills, scenic hillocks roofed with tea gardens and craggy peaks often isolated yet enticing, Munnar is one of the most fascinating hill stations of South India. The major tourist attractions of this place are Eravikulam National Park, Devikulum, Pothanmedu, Attukal, Nayamakad, etc. But don’t go for the usual in Munnar if you are looking forward to enjoy the real charm of Munnar. Head to the surrounding hills and serene countryside of Munnar, only then will you discover the authentic lure of this bucolic retreat.
Lying on the shore of largest freshwater lake in India, the Vembanad a part of the Kuttanad, you can actually stop here in Kumarakom to smell the fragrance which impregnates the air. Those who’ve read Roy’s God of Small Thing’s set in a village adjoining Kumarakom must have a general idea of the backdrop. Tourism in Kumarakom normally revolves around Vembanad Lake and backwaters. Backwaters here consist of spectacular lakes, channels, rivers, inlets, lagoons and canals. A ride in Ketuvallams –refurbished traditional thatched rice barges – is a must if you are visiting Kumarakom.

Kumarakom is one of the most visited places in Kerala after Alappuzza. The Kumarakom bird sanctuary spread across 14 acres of land and marshes is one of the most popular bird sanctuaries in the country and a haven of migratory birds. This sanctuary is a home to birds like Egrets, Darters, Herons, Teal, Bitterns, Brahminy kites, Marsh Harries, Waterfowl, Cuckoo, Wild ducks etc. which are seen here in abundance. Siberian Staorks migrating here every year is another major attraction of this birding paradise in Kerala.
Kovalam name to fame was the discovery of its pristine beaches in early 1970s by hippies. An erstwhile backpacker’s paradise, Kovalam has developed into a world class tropical beach paradise in Kerala. It is a favored destination of honeymooners and those looking forward to a rejuvenating time in sand and sun. Another important factor contributing to tourism in Kovalam is Ayurveda and wellness activities to invigorate your body, mind and soul.

Kovalam beach has three semi-circular shaped beaches, which are separated by rocky enclosures. Although the main beaches have become too crowded, thanks to the rapid urbanization of Kovalam, you can still discover the exotic beauty for which Kovalam is romanticized internationally as you wade deeper into the coastline. Shopping for souvenirs and the mouth tingling cuisines served for the platter are two other activities which keep travelers busy in Kovalam.
Wayanad meaning “Land of the Paddy Field” is a verdant hill county draped along the Malabar Coast in Kerala standing testimony to a pre historic culture dating back to Mesolithic ages. Wayanad is known for its cascading waterfalls, picturesque mountains, wildlife sanctuary and responsible tourism initiatives. A medley of green rice fields, frolicking wildlife and surprisingly less visitors makes it an ideal retreat after sun and sand of the low lying planes in Kerala.

Wayanad is one of those few destinations in Kerala which has retained its immaculate environment owing to lesser pressure of tourism and responsible tourism endeavors in place which has roped in all the stakeholders involved in tourism. Set at the convergence of history, culture and wildlife abounding in scenic sub-Savannah forest, Wayanad is a fascinating destination set amidst the Western Ghats and Deccan Plateau.
One of the oldest seaports in the Arabian Sea, Kollam has witnesses the rise and falls of many empires through the trade route of which it was integral part in the days of yore. Be it the Romans, Chinese, Arab, Dutch and the Portuguese who later went on to colonize this part of subcontinent before conceding it to British, Kollam is a very special place in history of India as the commercial hub of ancient sea routes and trade with its ever in demand spices and cashew.

Kollam is also a secret gateway to the backwaters of Kerala with most alluring part being its exclusivity and remoteness, thanks to which it still retains a rustic air about it. Pastoral countryside, antiquated character and the street and bazaars suffused with nostalgia, Kollam offers this and much more to those looking for serene outings in Kerala. Get a taste of the unblemished character of Kerala and its culture as you wander through the lush countryside teeming with coconut groves and cashew plantation. There are lakes and calm waterways and then there is serenity which makes for an invigorating getaway in this sleepy little town.
Fort Kochi
History permeates the air and environs of this water bound region south-west of main Kochi. Fort Kochi is suffused with the nostalgia of past, dating back to when Portuguese were granted the city back in 1503 by then Maharaja of Kochi. The eponymous Fort Kochi built by the Portuguese is one of the major attractions till date. The rule of this tiny emerald changed many hands including the Dutch and the British and a stroll in the street or particularly along the beach with Chinese Fishing Nets in the background is reminiscent of its colonial heritage witnessed in its culture and architecture.

When in Fort Kochi, a trip to the Fort, Chinese Fishing Nets and St. Francis Church is a must for the tourists. Other major tourist attractions standing testimony to the rich heritage and colonial legacy of this fascinating coastal county are Santa Cruz Basilica, Jewish Synagogue, Mattancherry/Dutch Palace Vasco House believed to be the residence of legendary explorer Vasco da Gama. Besides these major attractions, a variety of cuisines, museums, beachfronts and islands ensure that tourists are on their toes when they visit this charming little town in Kerala.
Thekkady (Periyar Tiger Reserve)
Home to Periyar National Park, Thekkady is known for its scented spice plantations, abundant wildlife blossoming nature and liberal hospitality. The chief attraction of this tiny hill town is the wildlife sanctuary known for its variety of flora and fauna. Spread across the entire district is quaint spice plantations and hill towns which hold captivating prospects for small treks and mountain walks. The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar adds to the charm of the park.  This is the only sanctuary in India where you can have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake.
By Bus
The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) runs an extensive network of buses between most cities in Kerala. They’re not the fastest or most comfortable things on earth, but are consistent and most of the time punctual. Private buses ply the routes covered by KSRTC and some private buses even ply those not covered by KSRTC. Private buses are comparatively comfortable but there timings are a bit erratic.

By Train
Trains are good for long distance travel within the state. Most trains are long distance trains with stops at many of Kerala's stations. Short distance trains are mainly intercity passenger trains, connecting only major cities like Kochi, Trivandrum, Palakkad, Alapuzha, Kollam, Kottayam, Kozhikode, Kannur and Thrissur. For more information on train you may visit the website of Indian Railways click here for information or click here for direct booking from IRCTC Website.

By Taxi
Taxis are a good but expensive way to cover short distances. Negotiate the price before you get into the taxi. Ambassador/Indica Taxis are the big players.

Kerala has three distinct seasons:
Summer from from mid-February to mid-May. It's really hot and temperatures can go up to 35°C in the afternoons.
The monsoon in place from mid-May until early September. Expect heavy showers.
Winter mild and lasts from about mid-October to early February. Heavy rains occur from the last week of September until until early November, due to the retreat of the South-East monsoon. There is no snow in Kerala, although it is quite cold and misty in the mountain regions.
Ayurveda in Kerala
An ancient Indian art of healing and wellness, Ayurveda is a holistic medicinal tradition of natural therapies handed over generation after generations since the Aryan and Vedic period of history. Ayurveda, suffused with the ancient wisdom of longstanding therapies and treatments have still been kept alive here and this makes the holistic journey in Kerala all the more meaningful and invigorating.

The term Ayurveda is derived from the Sanskrit word “Ayu” which stands for the integrated relation of body, sense, mind & the soul; and “Veda” means Science. Thus, Ayurveda can be translated to “Life science”. Grounded in the principal of five elements and 3 humours, Ayurveda focuses on energy chakras to restore the natural balance and harmonize your body, mind and soul. Kerala’s salubrious atmosphere, bucolic countryside and serene beaches and abundance of natural herbs and medicinal plants – thanks to its richly vegetated forest and location amidst fertile Western Ghats -  makes it a popular Ayurveda tour destination in India.

An array of spa therapies sessions encompassing and inheriting wisdom of Ayurveda and Vedanta to pamper and breathe a new life into your body, mind and soul at various luxury hotels as well as destination spas and Ayurveda centers across major destinations in Kerala will elevate your senses, restore your natural balance, help you find inner peace and let you rediscover your spirit. For Ayurveda holiday packages in Kerala, tourists can either check into some of the luxury five star hotels which are properties of respected names from hospitality industry or they can choose to stay in special spa centers as per their liking and budget.
Eating in Kerala
Kerala cuisine is distinctly different from food elsewhere in India. The major difference that one can easily notice is dominance of rice as staple food and popularity of non-vegetarian dishes which includes beef and pork normally proscribed elsewhere in India. Seafood is an important part of Kerala's cuisine. In regions bordering the backwaters and lakes, traditional cuisine includes fresh-water fish like Karimeen (Black Pearlspot), Prawns, Shrimps, Kanava (Squid) and an array of other mouth watering delicacies.

Food in Kerala tends to include a variety of spices and most of them are extremely fiery. Kerala also has its own fair share of famous vegetarian cuisines and normally only vegetarian foods are taken during festival days, particularly Onam. One of the favorite for any food connoisseur traveling to Kerala is the sadhya, a traditional buffet in Kerala served in particular during Onam on a plantain leaf. It generally has up to 24 items served in it along with various desserts and sweets.
Homestays in Kerala
The new trend in global tourism is the concept of home stays. In India this is still in nascent stage but is gaining acceptance already. The notion of homestays is based on the realization of the “home away from home” concept. The homestays are becoming popular around the globe as it gives a chance to understand the culture and community the host family lives in. Everything is so natural just like home which inculcates respect, engenders understanding and goes a long way in making travel a journey to rediscover oneself along the way.

Tucked away in verdant plantations, serene beaches, amidst coconut fringed backwaters, along the paddy field in a bucolic village or any of the places with a distinct characteristic epitomizing and oozing with local culture, lifestyle and unique flavor of the land and its people, homestays definitely go a long way in bridging the cultural gaps between the host and the guests while offering an authentic local experience of holidays to the travelers.
Hotels in Kerala
Thanks to the growing popularity of Kerala as a global tourist destination owing to its amazing diversity, equitable climate, vast stretches of coconut fringed backwaters and bounties of culture and nature, a number of big names from hospitality industry have come up with exclusive properties in prime tourist destinations in Kerala. With tourism being one of the most important source for the state's coffers, a wide variety and choice of accomodation is available for tourists across the world, suiting individual tastes, cultural preferences and all options that fits everyone's pocket.

This rapid brush with urbanization has ensured that tourists never fall short of accommodation options when holidaying in Kerala. Be it for Ayurveda, yoga, backwaters, beaches or Responsible Tourism, hotels in Kerala offer pampering and comfortable accommodation to guest and there are hotels and resorts in Kerala catering to the different budgets, occasions and discerning of the tourists. Hotels ranging from tourist lodges to 5 star hotels and theme resorts are present in almost all major cities in Kerala. In addition to plush hotels and resorts, there are youth hostels, home-stays, travel dormitories and small lodges catering budget tourists and backpackers.
Dos and Don'ts in Kerala for international tourists

  • To be on safe side, foreigners are requested to register and submit their itinerary at the Foreigners Registration Office
  • Use bottled water for drinking 
  • Don't consume alcohol in public as it is frowned upon 
  • Do not interact with lone strangers when using public transport however interactions with families is considered okay 
  • Make sure that you are fully clothed and covered when visiting places of religious importance 
  • Nudity in any form is frowned upon for both genders and the rule applies more especially to women
For further queries or assistance regarding tours to Kerala please feel free to visit the website of the Indian Luxury Trains.
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Top summer destinations in India

Summer times in India could be harsh and punishing especially if you have sightseeing in mind. Popular destinations such as Delhi, Rajasthan and Agra (renowned for iconic Taj Mahal) are especially hot during summer. To find respite, it is ideal to hit the hills or the beaches where you could relax, enjoy and rejuvenate.

Listed below are 5 destinations where you could spend a relaxing summer vacation in India. If you are looking for something more adventurous to beat the heat , you should check out these popular destinations specializing in water sports in India.
Among all the tourist wealth of India - Goa has a special place. . This tiny emerald cradled between the coast of the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghat mountain range is widely known as a beach retreat of world level.

Why should you visit Goa? For several reasons. Firstly – Goa is amazing in its natural splendor, the wide and endless beaches with the absence of pronounced tides. Secondly – it’s  unique colonial flavor - a mixture of Portuguese and Indian "in one bottle”. 

Third - There is this fun, festive atmosphere of the northern part of Goa, with its exciting nightlife, an incredible array of vibrant cafes and bars along with endless shops. Check out most popular beaches in Goa.

Likir Monastery, Ladakh
Likir Gompa, Ladakh

Ladakh lies on the Tibetan plain ensconced amidst two mountain ranges in Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is one of the most magical places on planet and whether you are the intrepid back-packer variant seduced by the serene white expanse of the mighty Himalayas, or just a wanderlust-stricken traveler wishing to lose yourself in the “otherworldly” wonders of Mother Nature – the mystical valleys of Ladakh are the heaven-on-earth incarnate that you wouldn’t want to miss.

Once a major trading center on the "Silk Road" that linked Tibet, India, China, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe, today Ladakh remains an "other worldly" place. Called by some "The Last Shangri-La" Whatsoever are the descriptions the rugged and arid landscape of Ladakh has been favorite destination for holiday seekers, trekkers and even an important subject to many photographers.

Here's your 1 page hand book to Ladakh Trip and top 5 destinations in Ladakh to choose from.

Draped majestically on a ridge and its seven spurs, Shimla is also known as the “Queens of Hill” and is a major tourist destination and honeymoon getaway in India. Shimla shot into scene when British decided to make it their summer capital owing to its salubrious weather and picturesque landscape. Nestled in Himalayas and bestowed with vivid natural beauty evident in its dense forests of pine, rhododendron, and oak, Shimla experiences pleasant summers and cold, snowy winters and attracts tourists throughout the year.

Neo-Gothic architecture and Victorian ambience pay homage to this charming county’s colonial legacy. It is also connected to the city of Kalka by one of the three narrow gauge railways known as Mountain Indian Railways of India which is a protected UNESCO World Heritage. Dorje Drag Monastery, The Mall, Viceregal Lodge, Photo Art Gallery, the Ridge and Crist Church are must visit attractions of Shimla.

Kovalam Beach
This crescent shaped beach also referred to as the paradise of the South was once the favorite haunt of the hippies. Once a sleepy little hamlet and backpackers paradise, Kovalam today is one of the most popular and exclusive beach destinations in India, thanks to its tryst with urbanization and international tourists flocking to regale in this sun and sand paradise. 

Tropical coastline swathed in coconut groves, Ayurveda and spa, mouth tingling cuisines and shopping makes it one of the most happening places and not just in god's own country Kerala but in the whole world.

Internationally renowned tourist destination, thanks to its tea industry famous among connoisseurs of tea and Darjeeling Himalayan Railways, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Darjeeling is a lush country draped along Himalayas and offering towering view of the glittering K2 peak. During the Raj era, British used it as their de facto summer capital until the capital was shifted from Calcutta (now Kolkata) to Delhi.
Darjeeling allure lies in its bucolic countryside, rolling hills draped with sal, oak and alpine forest and salubrious climate. Tiger Hill, Observatory Hill, Japanese Peace Pagoda and Himalayan Zoo are some of the major attractions in Darjeeling.

And yes don't forget your travel insurance while traveling overseas. It's very important to have it.
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Top 10 reasons why you should visit India

Due to its sheer size, varied geography and the climatic condition, India is loaded with a cosmic diversity of flora and fauna. Besides, this cradle of the Indus Valley civilization and region of historical trade routes and myriad empires has always been renowned for its cultural wealth.

While traveling to India for holidays do ensure that you are covered for any risks. Here's why travel insurance is important when traveling overseas. Tips on traveling with kids and keeping your home safe while traveling are provided at the end of this post.

Why should you go for tours to India?

In the recent years India has become a hotspot of the global tourism and deservedly so. People from around the globe travel to India for vacation to immerse in its diversity and myriad hues. 
Sparkling like a beacon and drawing millions of tourists from around the world, Taj Mahal is most iconic symbol of India.

Build by Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan for his favorite wife Mumtaj Mahal, this white marble wonder is voted one of the seven modern Wonders of the World and is recognized World Heritage Site.

Taj Mahal is one of the most symmetrically perfect manmade structures. Standing majestically upon red sandstone platform, Taj Mahal is made entirely of white marble and is famous for the exquisite workmanship reflected in lapidary, calligraphy, intricate carvings and pietra dura work.

It took 20 years and 20000 masons, designers, architects and workers to build this greatest symbol of love on the planet.

Need more information? Here's more on the iconic Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal
Top 10 reasons why you should visit India: Taj Mahal in Agra

India has been a cradle of spirituality since the time immemorial. It is here in India that saints such as Buddha and Mahavira attained Nirvana and gave sermons to spread the fruits of spirituality. It is here that Hinduism is practiced not as a religion but a way of life.

Varanasi – one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities located at the confluence of Holy Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati River – is the spiritual nerve center of Hinduism and beckons people with its offer to salvation.

People from around the globe come to India in their quest for spirituality and self discovery. Major spiritual centers in India include Bodhgaya, Benares, Pushkar, Rishikesh, Hardwar, Auroville and Dharamshala.

Aarti at Varanasi
Top 10 reasons why you should visit India: Evening aarti at the ghats of holy Ganges in Varanasi

India is known for its ancient knowledge of Yoga all over the world. Celebrities singers like the Beatles and the Donovan have also visited this place in quest of spiritual awakening.

Originated in India, Yoga is an ancient art of transforming the static body to the level of vibrant mind in order to unite one’s body and mind into one with the tranquility of the self or soul.

Yoga tours provide both physical and mental therapy. India has been the land of saints and sages who mediated, practiced and perfected Yoga.

Yoga and meditation are India’s gift to the world and the Rishikesh and Hardwar, situated at the bank of the holy Ganges are the ideal place to visit for those looking for a spiritual awakening.

Yoga at Ananda in Himalayas
Top 10 reasons why you should visit India: Yoga session at Ananda in Himalayas, India's first destination spa

One of the most vibrant states in India, Rajasthan conjures up images of glittering saris, prismatic turbans, resplendent fortresses and camels promenading through undulating sand dunes.

A trip to India is never complete without touring the land of fearless Rajput princes: Rajasthan. Some of the bedazzling destinations of Rajasthan include the “Pink City” Jaipur, “City of Lakes” Udaipur the “Golden City” Jaisalmer and the “Blue City” Jodhpur.

One of the most exclusive and luxurious way to travel Rajasthan is its award winning luxury cruise train service Palace on Wheels designed to recreate the age of princely traveling of maharajas of a bygone era.

Rajasthan tour packages
Top 10 reasons why you should visit India: Oberoi Udaivilas in the "city of lakes" Udaipur


Among all the tourist wealth of India, Goa has a special place. A vibrant city cradled between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, this pearl of India is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia renowned for its languid tropical beaches.

You may also want to check out our list of 5 most popular beaches of Goa.

When it comes to Goa, it is said that you don’t have to go to Lisbon if you've been to Goa. The distinct colonial charm of the Portuguese legacy is pervasive in the environs of Goa.

Be it the tantalizing cuisines, convivial hospitality and architectural heritages, Goa blends the best of its legacy with contemporaneity reflected in its vibrant nightlife, suave bars and premium resorts.

Check out some more information on Goa.

Goa tour packages
Top 10 reasons why you should visit India: Tropical paradise Goa

Luxury trains have become the new style statement for the travelers who love to indulge and experience the best of luxury and exclusivity. With 6 luxury trains in India crisscrossing through various destinations, discerning tourists have options to choose from when it comes to luxury travel in India.

One of the most expensive and considered to be India’s answer to the Orient Express is the Maharajas Express. Offering 3 tastefully crafted journeys to bring out myriad facets of this incredible country.

Here's more on how to see India by luxury train.

luxury train travel
Top 10 reasons why you should visit India: The Indian Maharaja chugging along rolling hills and breathtaking vistas

Ayurveda – “complete knowledge for long life” – is an ancient system of traditional healing native to India. Grounded in the physics of five elements, Ayurveda deals with measures of healthful living by stressing balance of three elemental energies: vata (air & space – "wind"), pittha (fire & water – "bile") and kapha (water & earth – "phlegm").

This ancient art of healing, dating back to over 5000 years is at your disposal in a wide variety of spas and Ayurvedic centers across India. You can experience the prominent spas and Ayurveda centers and resorts in India at Kerala, Rishikesh, Udai, Udaipur, Shimla, Mashobra,

You can also enjoy spa in the Himalayas as well. The Ananda In the Himalayas is an award winning spa cradled in the lap of Himalayas with more than 79 spa treatments blending the techniques and practices of eastern and western knowledge with special focus on holistic Ayurvedic and Yoga sciences and attempts to achieve synthesis between traditional and modern approaches.

luxury spa India
Top 10 reasons why you should visit India: Ayurvedic message session at Wildflower Hall, Shimla

The sweeping valleys rolling hills and lush landscape of the Himalayan range in the north offer some of the most awe inspiring retreats in India.

Himalayan mountain range is endowed with lush meadows, panoramic views, salubrious weather, cascading streams and waterfalls which is well complimented by the serenity and splendor of a rejuvenating experience that ensnares the eyes, bedazzle the heart and touches the soul, bringing about a harmony of being.

Ladakh is one of the most daunting yet mesmerizing frontiers cradled in Greater Himalayas best known for some of the worl's highest motorable passes and the scintillating Pangong Tso Lake.

Here's our recommended 5 Places to visit in Ladakh or check out our 1 page hand book on Ladakh travel.

Then there are charming hill stations sprinkled across North India which includes Shimla, Dalhousie, Mussoorie, Rahikhet, Kullu and Manali which offer perfect oasis to the travelers.

Here's an account of trekking in Himachal from McLeodganj to Triund for your inspiration.

For those looking for adventure and adrenaline rush, Himalayas offers some of the most adventurous trekking trails and stair case rapids for white water rafting.

Here's another of our favorite trek in Himalaya to Deoriatal in Uttarakhand.

If you are looking for complete information on trekking in Himachal, we'd recommend that you go through this guide on trekking in Himachal.

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Top 10 reasons why you should visit India: Mystical Ladakh

Fondly referred to as “God’s own Country”, Kerala needs no introduction. Voted as Best Tourist Destination in India and One of the 50 Places to Visit Before you Die, Kerala with its geographical diversity and natural abundance offers some of the most mesmerizing vacations and tours in India.

From the irresistible allure of the backwaters of Alappuzza to the sun and sand paradise at Kovalam Beach, from the lush tea gardens of Munnar to the amazing wildlife at Periyar National Park, Kerala has something to offer to everyone.

Besides, the vibrant culture, succulent cuisines, Ayurveda and eco tourism add to the mystique of this incredible destination in India. Check out our Kerala Travel Guide for Beginners.

Kerala tour packages
Top 10 reasons why you should visit India: Chinese Fishing Nets at Kochi, Kerala

Owing to the rich biodiversity and varied ecological habitats, India is home to a variety of species both animal and plant. To preserve the diversity and survival of wildlife, an array of National Parks and protected biospheres have been set up to ensure that the flora and fauna could co-exist with the growing human population in India.

These wildlife sanctuaries are the best place to come face to face with the abundant wildlife in India. Species such as royal Bengal tiger, Asiatic lions, blackbuck, antelopes and single horned rhinoceros are present in India.

India is also renowned as birding paradise with the World Heritage Keoladeo National Park alone recording  350 bird species including migratory birds and Periyar National Park close second with over 320 species of birds recorded till date.

Here's a rough guide to some of the top destinations for wildlife tours in India.

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Top 10 reasons why you should visit India: King of the jungle, Bengal tigers

And 1 bonus reason why you should visit India is:

India abounds with architectural wonders, thanks to the amalgamation of various cultures since time immemorial.

Thanks to the ancient Indian philosophy of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” meaning that the whole world is one single family, India has seen assimilation of various creeds, religion and culture unwitnessed anywhere else.

This cultural assimilation process manifests itself in many of the stunning landmarks and monuments since ancient time. Ajanta & Ellora Caves, Mahabalipuram Shore Temples, Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Hampi Group of Monuments, Forts and Palaces in Rajasthan are some of the supreme example of the cultural heritage and various architectural forms.

In newly declared list UNESCO has inscribed Hill Forts of Rajasthan as World Heritage Site (Updated July 2013). Read more detail on hill forts here.

Many of these are recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site and beckons tourist from around the world to witness their exquisite workmanship.

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Top 10 reasons why you should visit India: Famous Stone Chariots at World Heritage Site of Hampi

Tours to India are a fascinating way to discover and explore the remarkable diversity of this confounding country. It is said that India is not a country which could be known about, it is to be experienced.

And hey! If you are in for a long vacation you would want your home safe. Here's some tips on how to keep your home safe while traveling.

With colors as varied as a kaleidoscope and its rich heritage, tours to India is beyond a doubt memorable experiences with sweet surprises. Adventure follows at every nook and corner in India so be on your toes and travel with an open mind.

Looking for more tips? Check out tips on traveling in India with kids.

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Top 5 Summer Holiday Destinations in India

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” ~ Bill Bryson

Whether you are the intrepid back-packer variant seduced by the serene white expanse of the mighty Himalayas, or just a wanderlust-stricken traveler wishing to lose yourself in the “otherworldly” wonders of Mother Nature, hill stations in India during summer holidays offer perfect retreats to experience heaven on earth.

Summer vacations offer one of the best opportunities to spend some quality time with your family members, friends or colleagues. Owing to the amazing geographical diversity, India is blessed with an array of hill stations which are renowned for their spectacular summer vacation packages. Hill stations in India provide heavenly retreat far from the heat, sun and din of the hustle and bustle of life in cities. Here’s a compilation of the top 5 summer holiday destinations in India making up for a blissful travel experience.

Considered to be the final frontier for adventure tourist, Ladakh literally meaning land of high passes is the highest plateau in the state of Kashmir in India with most of its region above the height of 3000 meters above sea level. Isolation due to its extreme location and toils of climate and altitude has ensured an almost medieval way of life in Ladakh.

The sparsely populated valley of Ladakh is known for its snow covered mountain peaks, high altitude desert landscape, medieval culture and Buddhist monasteries. Snuggled between two sprawling mountains ranges, Ladakh offers an array of adventure tourism activities. Among the popular places of tourist interest include Leh, Drass valley, Suru valley, Kargil, Zangskar, Zangla, Rangdum, Padum, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Changthang and Nubra Valley.

Top 5 Summer Holiday Destinations in India
Ladakh is a picture perfect place with its high altitude desert-esque landscapes and one of the best places for landscape photography in India
Situated amidst the verdant hills and valleys in Himachal Pradesh, Shimla is fondly referred to as ‘the Queen of Hill Stations’. It was when during colonial era British made Shimla their favored retreat and winter capital that Shimla shot into global fame. The distinct colonial flavor is still redolent in the ambiance of this sleepy hill station in India located in Himachal, a popular trekking destination in India

Shimla is one of the favored honeymoon destinations in India owing to tranquil environs and picturesque landscapes surrounding this hill down. Sweeping view of the undulating mountains and rolling valleys add to the romance of the urban oasis. Major attractions in the city include State Museum, Summer Temple, the Ridge and the Mall, Christ Church and Tara Devi temple. As you embark of local sightseeing, you could not but witness the seamless amalgamation of British influence and Indian culture and traditions making up for the irresistible allure of the city.

Top 5 Summer Holiday Destinations in India
Frozen in Time: Streets of Shimla after Snowfall
Popularly known as the ‘Valley of Gods’, Manali’s picturesque location amidst the scenic Himalayan Mountain Range by the Beas River and an array of trekking trails makes it a popular tourist destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. The landscape at Manali is breathtaking with Beas River meandering through the town and panoramic view of the snow capped Himalayan peaks dotted with pine and deodar trees and lush fruit orchards.

Surrounded by incredible scenery of mountains, rivers and waterfalls, this hill station in India attracts all sorts of people like nature lovers, vacationers, honeymooners and adventure lovers. One can also enjoy different adventure sports here like trekking, skiing, river rafting, mountaineering, etc. The climate of Manali is predominantly cold during winters and moderately cool during summers.

Hill station tours
Snow Capped Mountains near Rohtang Pass in Manali which is one of the post popular attractions
“Flowers are everywhere. The days are cold and the sun almost seems to play hide and seek with us” ~ Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore

Nestled in the rolling mountains where the towering Kanchenjunga paints the canvas of azure sky, Darjeeling located in West Bengal is renowned for its tea gardens and tea industry which are revered by connoisseurs of tea around the world. Darjeeling rose into prominence after British annexed it and transformed it into sleepy Victorian Township during mid 1800s. The remnant of the colonial charm which suffuses this mesmerizing hill station in India is still instantly recognizable.

The major attraction of Darjeeling is the World Heritage Himalayan Mountain Railways, fondly referred to as the toy train of Darjeeling along with the soaring Mt Kanchenjunga. Other attractions of note which qualifies as must visit are the Tiger Hill, Himalayan Zoo and Japanese Peace Pagoda.

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Steam Hauled Vintage Engine of the Darjeeling's Famous Toy Train or the Himalayan Mountain  Railways

Situated in ‘God’s Own Country’ Kerala, Munnar is one of the most popular hill stations in India and is well known for its responsible tourism endeavors. Characterized by undulating hills with dense vegetation and plateaus and hillocks sprinkled with tea gardens, Munnar attracts tourists from around the world owing to its salubrious climate and picturesque landscape. Munnar’s salubrious weather, unruffled serenity, scenic countryside and bounty of nature make it one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in India. Major attractions of Munnar include tea plantations, bird sanctuary, Eravikulam National Park, Walk in the Clouds, several lakes and waterfalls.

Kerala tours
Verdant Tea Gardens and Rolling Hills: Munnar, Kerala
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South India: Incredible India Tours

South India is renowned all across the globe for its magnificent charm and various tourist attractions. The region is bounded by the Indian Ocean on the South, the Arabian Sea on the South-West and the Bay of Bengal on the South-East, which makes it unique from all other destinations in the world.

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Kathakali Dancer: Kerala's most iconic symol and a cultural dance

Alappuzza, also known as Alleppey is a small town in Kerala. It was also described as the’ Venice of the East’ by Lord Curzon. It is renowned across the world for its picturesque backwaters and beaches.  Alappuzza beach offers magnificent views of the Arabian Sea and on the other hand, backwaters are the major source of tourist attraction in Alappuzza.

Kerala tours
Backwaters and Kettuvallams in Alappuzza

Kochi, also known as ‘Gateway of Kerala’ is located on the West coast of India by the Arabian Sea. The 2nd largest city of Kerala, Kochi features a tropical monsoon climate all the year round. This beautiful city has the spectacular Western Ghats on the East and the magnificent Arabian Sea on the West. One of the major attractions of Kochi is the Chinese Fishing Nets.

South India
Chinese Fishing Nets in Kochi

Kovalam, also known as ‘Paradise of the South’ is renowned across the world for its beaches. The major sources of attractions are surfing, wooden boat ride and motor boat ride. This sleepy beach burst into international scene when hippies flocked to its pristine beaches in late 70s. There’s much to do in Kovalam apart from exploring and basking in glory of this sun and sand tropical paradise. Souvenir shopping is one of the major pastimes in Kovalam from the shops located at the beaches. The eponymous lighthouse located at the southern beach is the oldest lighthouse of Kerala.

India tours
A stunning view of the Kovalam Beach

Mahabalipuram is a small and beautiful town located in Kanchipuram district in Tamil Nadu. The town still has many magnificent and spectacular monuments, which were built between 7th and 9th centuries. The group of monuments at Mahabalipuram also happens to designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temples in Mahabalipuram were built in the era of Narasimhavarman, which showcase movement from rock cut style to structural building. The town also has two low hills, which is about 400 m above from the sea level on both sides. The larger one has 11 excavated temples, popularly known as Mandapas.

Nilgiri Mountain Railway, built by the British in 1908 operates its services in the state of Tamil Nadu. In 2005 the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) was declared as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Southern Railway operates the NMR, which earns an annual income of Rs. 4 crores by NMR only.

Great Living Chola Temples include the temples, which are the Brihadeeswara Temple, the temple of Gangaikondacholisvaram and the Airavatesvara temple located in the South India. These temples were built at the time of Chola rule and the Brihadeeswara temple was declared as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. On the other hand, the other two temples were declared as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.

Hampi is a small and beautiful village, which is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River, in the state of Karnataka. The Group of Monuments at Hampi is recognized as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Vijayanagra festival, organized by the government annually in November is the major source of attraction.

world heritage sites in India
Stone Chariot of Hampi after which the Golden Chariot, one of the luxury trains in India is named

Pattadakal is also a small village located in Karnataka, which lies on the banks of the Malaprabha River. It attracts tourists with the fascinating charm of its historic temples. It was also declared as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. The various group of temples located at the village include Virupaksha temple, Sangameshvara, Mallikarjuna temple, Kashivisvanatha temple, etc.

There's much more to South India than this. If you need more information or details about destinations in South India, plese feel free to contact me.
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