India can be overwhelming thanks to its hustle and bustle and the sheer madness of its cities. But it remains a favorite for travelers because of its diversity of culture and cuisine, its lavish history and architecture, its spiritual outlook, the warmth of its people and last, but by no means least, its value for money.
According to the biennial World Economic Forum (WEF) Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, India ranks 10th for best price competitiveness.
It is India’s richness in diverse attractions that make it an ideal destination for young and old, solo travellers, holidaymakers looking for a group tour, and romantic couples alike. From authentic weddings to responsible animals experience, there is something for everyone with a holiday to India.
Some of the best ways to holiday in India
1. Experience Architecture
Agra is home to one of the world’s most famous monumental mausoleums and one of the 7 wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal, which translates to “crown of places” in English.
Building work for this iconic building was completed in the mid 17th century, and was commissioned by the emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. It has come to symbolize love and devotion on a universal scale. A perfect place to visit for a romantic moment, get there early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
It is made up of white marble blocks and is a sight to behold at sunset. Completed in 1653, the mausoleum is an embodiment of Islamic architecture at that time.
Perhaps lesser-known, but equally as wondrous are the UNESCO world heritage sites of Agra Fort and Itmad-ud-daula’s Tomb.
2. Experience An Indian Wedding
Indian weddings are lavish affairs full of colour, vibrancy and symbols of love and commitment. Many of us would have seen these beautiful ceremonies represented via film or television, but not so many of us are lucky enough to witness the actual event first hand.
There are many stages to an Indian wedding e.g. the ceremonies throughout the day include the Baraat Swaagat (welcoming), Jaimala (exchange of garlands), Havan (lighting of the sacred fire), Gath Bandhan (tying of the Nuptial Knot), Mangalphera (walk around the fire) and the Saptapadi (seven steps together).
Each stage comes together to provide a joyous party – no different from a western wedding, but somewhat more lavish.
3. Experience History
Jaipur is steeped in history. It is a magical city and is Rajasthan’s capital. It’s the home of the maharajas, splendorous palaces and an overall majestic past.
The streets are awash with camels, monkeys and a menagerie of other animals. Combined with motorbikes, rickshaws and buses, the city can scream chaos. All of this is nestled amongst awe-inspiring architecture and the home of the former royal family, the Jantar Mantar.
It is worth remembering Jaipur is situated in an arid region with only three real seasons. The best time of year to visit would be during the winter months.