India is a true riot for the senses – you will be overwhelmed by colour, sounds, taste and by the sheer scale of this land containing over one billion people. The seventh largest country in the world and with several hundred languages, India is dozens of countries in one. Teeming cities, tropical jungles, awe-inspiring mountain ranges, sandy beaches, symbolic rivers, quiet backwaters, wildlife havens, temperate hill stations, parched deserts. India really does have it all. For this reason, we do not recommend trying to see all of India in your first visit, this could take several months. Instead, choose a region you want to concentrate on and spend two to three weeks discovering the highlights at your leisure, saving the delights of the rest of India for your next trip. Once you have fallen for India’s irrepressible charm, you will not be able to resist the impulse to return time and time again, exploring all that she has to offer.
Land of Contrast
India is a land of stark contrasts; discover for yourself how the frenetic and fast-developing cities differ from the rest of the country, where the way of life has remained virtually the same for centuries. The sheer ornate beauty of India’s palaces contrasts strongly with the simple rural homes of the majority of her citizens. It is no secret that India contains some of the world’s richest people, as well as some of her poorest, but it is this very contrast which is so fascinating, making India one of the most culturally rich and enthralling destinations in the world.
When it comes to wildlife, don’t expect the same kind of abundance you might if you were going to Africa. This is, of course, a completely different part of the world, so the structure of safaris, as well as the wildlife itself will be different. National Parks may be busy and wildlife a little more sparse, but this adds to the excitement as you track tigers on elephant-back, watch out for sloth bears and spotted deer, keep your eyes peeled for over 1,000 species of bird and you might even spot Indian rhino, Asiatic lions and Asian leopard on your journey.
What to Expect?
Standards can vary greatly in India. Whilst service remains exceptionally high in almost all areas, conditions outside of the larger towns and cities can be considerably more basic and you would do well to expect the unexpected. The legend that all travellers will succumb to Delhi Belly is a myth – but only if the necessary precautions are taken; be careful with street food, wash your hands regularly and only drink bottled water. It is wise to take good care of your valuables in big cities and on train journeys but the majority of Indians possess a genuine friendly curiosity and will merely want to chat with you to learn more about your family and background. The sheer number of people in the bigger cities can be overwhelming and you may feel personal space is non-existent at times – you may also need to be aggressive with persistent touts or merchants – but this is a small price to pay for the wonders which India can offer. Road travel can be challenging at times (cows have right of way & rural roads can be bumpy) but both air and train travel are for the most part efficient and reliable, especially when covering larger distances.
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