AN EXOTIC LAND OF ASTONISHING DIVERSITY
India, officially the Republic of India, is located in Southern Asia and boasts the second biggest population in the world. The country is lucky enough to be bounded by the Indian Ocean to the south, the Arabian Sea to the south-west, and the Bay of Bengal to the south-east and not only possesses a colourful culture, but also boasts beautiful pristine beaches and striking azure waters.
To fully cover the country and do it justice would take years so we suggest you take time to explore specific areas and we are confident you will want to return to discover more. Just don’t try and do too much as it is a vast country! The best way to explore India is to embark on a tailor-made itinerary and include some of the many outstanding sites and attractions – the knowledge and expertise of the local guides is astounding and what they don’t know about this magnificent country is not worth knowing. Spend time exploring the many ancient cultures, and the country’s dramatic landscapes, including the mighty Himalayas. The most frequently visited part of India is the Golden Triangle, comprised of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Discover the magical coastal cities of Goa, Kerala, and / or the people-packed cities of Mumbai (Bombay) and Kolkata (Calcutta), each with a bustling, colourful charm.
Being an ancient country, India is full of famous monuments including the world renowned Taj Mahal, both a fine specimen of beautiful art and excellent architecture, as well as a memorial of love and faith. Another fine example of the history of this country are the Ajanta Caves, where the 10+ centuries old rock architecture and cave paintings represent the elaborate sculptures of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain faiths. Others monuments of note that are worth of exploration include Agra Fort, Khajuraho Temples, Humayun Tomb and the Qutub Temple Complex – all packed full of history, traditions and culture, whilst the holy city of Varanasi and the awe-inspiring temples of Tamil Nadu are rewarding places of pilgrimage. India is also home to 28 World Heritage Sites.
However, this magical country consists of not only incredible monuments, but a brilliant biodiversity with a wide range of eco-zones including desert, high mountains, highlands, tropical and temperate forests, swamplands, plains, grasslands, areas surrounding rivers, as well as an island archipelago. India is also home to several celebrated large mammals, including the Asian Elephant, Bengal Tiger, Asiatic Lion, Leopard and Indian Rhinoceros, so there really is something for everyone.
Every region in India is ladened with an unmatched depth of history, rich cultural diversity, awe-inspiring monuments and beautiful landscapes and whether you are a first time visitor, or are returning to venture further into the countries heart, there is something exciting and new awaiting discovery. If you are seeking an enriching cultural and historical holiday, a fascinating and educational family holiday, an exciting honeymoon, or simply want to relax on a beautiful beach holiday, then India has it all and then some!
Western Himalayas: Srinagar is best from March to October; July to August can be cold and damp in winter. Shimla is higher and therefore colder in winter. Many places like Gulmarg, Manali and Pahalgam are usually under several feet of snow from December to March and temperatures in Ladakh, which is a high-altitude desert, can be extremely cold. The mountain passes of Ladakh are generally only accessible from July to October.
Northern Plains: Cities like New Delhi, Varanasi, Lucknow and Patna experience an extreme range of temperatures and are typically warm from April to mid-June, whereas in the winter between November and February temperatures can fall to almost freezing at night. Summers are hot with monsoons between June and September.
Central India: The state of Madhya Pradesh escapes the very worst of the hot season, but monsoons are heavy between July and September. Temperatures fall at night in winter.
Western India: The period between November to February is the most comfortable, although evenings can be fairly cold. Summers can be extremely hot with monsoon rainfall between mid June and mid September.
Eastern India: Weather in states like Orissa are defined by cooler weather from October to February, scorching heat from March to May and unavoidable drenching from the monsoons from June to October, which also makes the area flood prone.
South West: The most enjoyable and pleasant weather is from November to March. Monsoon rains fall anywhere between late April and July. Summer temperatures are not as high as Northern India although humidity is extreme. The coast benefits from some cooling breezes. Inland, Mysore and Bijapur have pleasant climates with relatively low rainfall.
South East: Tamil Nadu experiences a North East monsoon between October and December and temperatures and humidity are high all year. The hills can be cold in winter.
North East: March to June and September to November are the driest and most pleasant periods. The rest of the year has extremely heavy monsoon rainfall.
BEST TIME TO TRAVEL
Due to the vastness of the country, and the significant variations that occur from region to region, it is difficult to summarise the climate in India without breaking things down. However, as a rule, the weather in India is primarily hot for most of the year, The coolest weather, and therefore the best time to travel, is from the end of November to the beginning of March, where you will enjoy fresh mornings and evenings, and mostly sunny days. The hottest weather, when it is also dry, dusty and unpleasant, is between March and June. Monsoon rains occur in most regions in summer anywhere between June and early October.
Health & Vaccinations
We recommend that you are up to date with all of the usual vaccinations – Diptheria, Typhoid, Polio, Hepatitis A & B, Tetanus and Rabies. Please contact your local GP for full advice at least 3-4 weeks before travel.
Passport & Visa
British passport holders must be in possession of a full 10-year passport and must have at least 180 days validity remaining and also have at least two blank pages. British passport holders also need a visa to enter into India. A tourist visa currently costs GBP £82.00 plus £10.20 service fee.
All visa applications in the UK now have to be filed online at http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk. After the mandatory electronic filing of visa applications, applicants are then asked to submit printed copies of their applications, photos, passports and fees to respective Indian Visa Application Centres (IVACs). Processing times vary at the sole discretion of the High Commission of India and its consulates in the UK, and some applications may take longer than others to get processed.
Postal applications take a minimum of 10 working days (not including transit). In addition, if the High Commission or the Consulate General requires an applicant to attend an interview, the India Visa Application Centre will contact the applicant and inform them of the date and time of the interview accordingly. The address for postal applications is as follows:-
India Visa Application Centre
WHERE TO STAY BY REGION