India is vast and extraordinary; an overspilling treasure trove. It’s home to some of Asia's most striking cities: historic Leh, perched high in the Himalayas, the desert city of Jaisalmer, Delhi’s mind-bending metropolis, and many more. From the magnificent Taj Mahal to Varanasi’s funeral ghats, the whole country brims with magnificent structures that have mythic status. Stay in Raj-era forts and family-run farms, head into the wilderness in search of tigers, and find the less-travelled routes through Kerala’s legendary backwaters. There's a lot to take in, so breathe deep, open your heart, and awaken your sense of adventure.
Obviously there's a lot more, this is just to get you started...
It shouldn’t be possible, but Udaipur seems even more beautiful in the early morning. Take a walk around the city and watch the curving architecture, pastel hues and rippling lakes bask in the soft glow, then reward yourself with a cup of fragrant coffee or gently-spiced chai. Delve into the narrow cobbled lanes of the old town, then return to present day life amidst the bustling bazaars. Following a day of exploring, take in Udaipur’s charms once again with a late afternoon boat cruise on Lake Pichola, when the views across the water showcase a city bathed in golden sunlight. Even then it’s not over, as Udaipur’s sunsets are especially memorable. In fact, they’re amongst the country’s most photogenic sights, and that’s saying something.
Lucknow is often overlooked by the mainstream tourist trail, but this historic city is brimming with prime examples of elaborate Islamic and British Raj architecture. The densely-packed Old Quarter bursts with culture and history, its alleys lined with the ornate windows and intricate woodwork of crumbling havelis. It’s also something of a foodie’s paradise, and not having to jostle through busy tourist crowds is a serious bonus. Take a regal ‘ganjing’ stroll through Hazratganj’s shops and stalls, visit the region’s majestic architectural sights, and sample a plethora of delicious dishes with a distinctive Lucknow twist. Don’t leave without sampling the smoky kebabs, fragrant biryanis and paya kulcha spicy mutton soup.
Tamil Nadu has a distinctive, lively culture with deep roots. Blend beach time with hill walks, and balance nights in 19th-century mansions with days exploring ancient temples. Hinduism here dates back to the 5th century, and Tamil Nadu is home to eight of the world’s biggest Hindu temples all covered in superb stone carvings. Sharing food is a heartfelt aspect of the region’s philosophy, and Tamil cuisine makes excellent use of distinctive local ingredients. Renowned for their beautiful natural landscape, the rolling Palani Hills hide waterfalls and isolated pools alongside historic estates surrounded by plantations of teak, spice, bananas and coffee. At the country’s southern tip, the region boasts several idyllic beaches which are perfect for a few days of coastal downtime.
Take your best shot at spotting wildlife with an itinerary that includes not one but three different parks, all located in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. This allows you to explore some surprisingly diverse scenery, see myriad bird and animal species, and hugely increase your chances of spotting one of these elusive big cats.