Why not visit the Taj Mahal? Or have your head spun in bewildering cities like Delhi or Calcutta? Whether you wish to visit temples and forts in Madurai or lie on a beach near a four star hotel in Goa India can provide whatever you need. Although a challenging country for many westerners India is somewhere that many visitors fall hopelessly in love with.
India has the world's second largest population, one of the most demanding climates and some of the greatest concentrations of poor. Most people think of it more as a continent than a country. It also has an astonishing history, complex cultural differences, stunning man made sights, unpredictable public services; and an astonishing varied landscape ranging from the flat Ganges plains to the colossal Himalayan mountains.
Mountainous and beautiful, a tourist destination for the adventurous and the spiritual. This region contains some of India's most visited hill-stations and religious venues.
Hindi-speaking heartland featuring the capital New Delhi. The rivers Ganga and Yamuna flow through this plain.
Deserts and beautiful cities like Jaipur and Jodhpur and Goa are here as well as Bombay - also known as Mumbai where Bollywood, India's film industry is based.
Colourful Hindu temples, tropical forests, beaches and islands.
Mostly rural region but with the largest city, Calcutta, and the temple cities of Puri and Bhubaneswar.
Remote tribal region with beautiful landscapes and famous Tea Gardens.
Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Calcutta are the main destinations for international flights. Domestic flights are frequent within India and to neighbouring countries. There is a comprehensive bus network which is slow and generally overcrowded. The Indian Railways are the world's fourth largest and employ over 1.6 million people. Services can be unpredictable but are an essential and usually enjoyable experience for any visitor. Indrail Passes offer unlimited travel on Indian Trains and are an ideal way to see the country. Driving is only advisable for the courageous. Cities are notoriously overcrowded and country roads poorly maintained. Motorcycles are popular in India and can be rented everywhere.
Climatic conditions vary widely in the north and south and seasonal changes are intense. There are three well defined seasons - hot, monsoon (wet) and cool. Heat builds in India's northern plains from February. By April it is extremely hot and becomes hotter. In central India temperatures of 45°Centigrade and above are commonplace in the summer. South India is also savagely hot during this time. Late May brings humidity, electrical storms and dust storms and June the monsoon rains from the southwest spreading North. November to mid February is the cool season and probably the best time to visit. Things are much cooler by December and January. Delhi and other northern cities become quite cold but in the far south the temperatures are pleasantly warm.
The Capital of Ancient Bharat and Modern India is New Delhi. The political capital of India.
The Garden City and Silicon Valley of India.
Hub of South India. Vehicles and manufacturing centre. Home of Marina Beach.
The financial capital of India and home to Bollywood.
The City of Joy.
Pearl city of India and part of the Silicon tech zone with Bangalore.
Pune is located in Western India and is Maharashtra's cultural capital.
The royal city, the heritage capital of Karnataka.
Home of the Taj Mahal.
Caves representing some of the best of early Buddhist art.
Some of India's most beautiful beaches can be found in Goa. A place of unforgettable sunsets. Ex pat dance music scene.
God's Own Country. Green natural beauty, nice and warm beaches and hill stations. Popular destinations like Kovalam beach.
Also know as City of Temples. Famous for its temples.
The desert state with palaces of former princes converted to heritage hotels. Contains popular destinations like Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Pushkar.
About a quarter of the old city's population lives within its walls and there are houses and shops hidden all over the place. Built in 1156 the fort crowns the 80m high Trikuta Hill and is entered via a series of massive gates.
Monuments of the last great Hindu Empire to rule south India, in Karnataka.
Display of paintings and photos about Mahatma Ghandi.
The highly decorative great mosque of 'Old' Delhi is the largest in India, with a courtyard capable of holding 25,000 devotees. It was built in 1644.
India's major tourist attraction in Agra. The tremendous white marble mausoleum is thought to be the most extravagant monument ever built in the name of love.
As a rule India is quite safe for foreigners and violent crime is rare but always follow sensible precautions and avoid traveling at night. Pickpocketing occurs on trains and in public places. Harassment from street beggars is another occupational hazard. The standard advice is to ignore the advances, stay calm, and move on.