A destination that has a way of leaving an indelible imprint on you long after you’ve left, India is a technicolour treasure trove spilling with unexpected experiences and vibrant beauty that must be explored once (at the very least) in your lifetime.
While there’s an exhilarating world of flavours, culture and spirituality to shake and stir all the senses, there are a few key things to add to the top of the itinerary to get the full bucket list experience.
Read on to discover our top sites, tastes and tips to make a trip to this colourful gem your Greatest of All Trips.
A beautiful mosque commissioned by a Mughal Emperor in tribute to his beloved late wife, the Taj has lasted as an enduring symbol of true love for centuries. The ideal time to view this magnificent feat of architecture is at sunset when the sun illuminates the pearlescent pietra dura inlays and sets the mausoleum ablaze. A site that would move anyone to tears, it’s no wonder that it’s one of the Seven Wonders of the World!
Old City, Jaipur
A long-time favourite of ours, this eye-popping destination unofficially known as ‘The Pink City’ features heritage buildings splashed in, you guessed it, pink. We recommend dedicating a half-day to stroll through the Old City, where you’ll find the beautiful Hawa Mahal, or Wind Palace. With its pink facade covered in 365 Rajasthani-style lattice windows, this iconic monument has surely inspired many a Wes Anderson film set. Definitely take your camera out for this one!
Chandni Chowk Market, New Delhi
You will have samosa fun exploring the labyrinth of colourful market stalls, smelling the strong spices on display (so strong in fact that you might need a pack of tissues) and sampling the delicious street food as you go. Getting around on a rickshaw is an exciting way to get the lay of the land, so buckle up for an exhilarating ride that may or may not leave you a little windswept. You can expect to find handmade gold and silver jewellery, colourful sarees and other eccentric souvenirs here.
Jantar Mantar, Jaipur
While it may not have the cult status of say, the Taj Mahal, Jantar Mantar is one of India’s many well-preserved UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites and an absolute must-visit for astrology buffs! The coolest part about visiting Jantar Mantar is that the giant, astronomical instruments housed here are still in working condition. You can read the time of day using its age-old technology!
Attend the Holi Festival
Holi, an auspicious Hindu festival marking the start of Spring is a wonderful reason in itself to plan a visit to India. With an explosive combination of colour, dancing and delicious foods, you will find streets splashed in a rainbow of brightly dyed powders and most likely get doused yourself! It’s the one occasion of the year when many devout Hindus let loose to celebrate new beginnings, fertility and love, so don’t be afraid to get your boogie on!
Go Wildlife Watching
Home to hundreds of animal species we’ve only seen on David Attenborough docos, now’s your chance to seek out Bengal tigers, Asian elephants, Indian rhinos and even Snow leopards. With so many lush national parks to tour through, we highly recommend packing some binoculars so you can get up close and personal with the hundreds of exotic animals and bird species that call this place home.
Unwind With Yoga
With so much to do and see in India, you’ll want to keep your body feeling energised and limber for all the incredible sites you plan to travel to. And seeing as India is the birthplace of yoga, this is the perfect place to learn all about this ancient practice. Trust us, your mind and body will thank us later, especially on that long-haul flight home.
Decorate Your Hands in Henna
A popular form of body art, mehndi is drawn on hands and legs using a dark brown paste from the henna plant. While it’s typically reserved for special occasions only, many Indian people are thrilled to share parts of their culture with foreigners, including henna art. So enjoy this opportunity to adorn yourself in an opulent design of your choice and fully immerse yourself in the culture, as this chance may not come around again!
Top tips for travel
Pack A Mask
While India is renowned for being one of the most beautiful countries in the world, it’s also one of the most polluted, so we highly recommend masking up with an N95 or N99 respirator face mask to improve your quality of air whenever you’re outdoors. It’s always wise to mask up on any plane rides too, to avoid getting sick on your way in or out of the country.
Pick Your Food Carefully
Part of the fun in travelling through India is tasting the delicious curries and sweets, so don’t let the fear of Delhi belly scare you! To avoid it, focus on selecting well-cooked or deep-fried dishes. While it seems counter-intuitive, you will want to avoid eating fresh fruits in case they’ve been washed in water that’s not safe to ingest. Bring bottled water and a first aid kit with you on your travels, so you can keep calm and curry on.
Dress To Impress
To show your respect for India’s cultural and religious customs, cover up with a headscarf and remove your shoes when entering a sacred space like a temple. We recommend dressing with your arms and legs covered, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with your choice of clothing! Colour is everything here. You’ll find the brightest range of silk scarves, hand-dyed tunics and embroidered skirts that practically leap off the rack. You definitely won’t be going home empty-handed, so pack light for this trip.
Learn To Haggle
In India, haggling at the markets is considered the norm. The majority of vendors will naturally quote a high price from the get-go, and it won’t come as a surprise to them at all when you counter-offer. Foreigners almost always pay more, so don’t be afraid to get your negotiation on, even if it seems unnatural at first. Think of it as a friendly transaction.
Book Your Greatest of All Trips to India!
For those who aren’t afraid of a little spice, India has all the makings of the Greatest of All Trips. Plan ahead and book your next trip to India for March 2023 while Holi is on, or swap an Aussie winter for the warmth of India’s sub-tropical climate.
With a wide range of small group tours and private touring options to the Golden Triangle of Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and more, TripADeal has made it easier than ever to book your dream holiday to India. Just call our friendly travel experts, hop on our website or book your bucket list trip via our app.
Sweeten the dahl with a stopover, flight class upgrade, Arrive Early or Stay Behind option and your trip will go from good to the greatest in no time. So what are you waiting for? Book your Greatest of All Trips to India now!