It’s 20 years since I was last in India and I still remember the noise and the people and the chaos like it was yesterday. If you’ve seen the movie, the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, or any of the other countless movies depicting that crazy, light-hearted side of India then you’ll have an insight into it. It’s all true.
If you want to see the classic places like Old Delhi, the palaces of Rajasthan, the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort then you’ll need to choose a tour that incorporates the Golden Triangle of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. And because travel in India can be a little challenging, that may be a good place to start if it’s your first trip. If you want to see the Ganges, and particularly its religious significance, then include a trip to Varanasi. And you’ll get a good wildlife experience by adding in the Ramthanbhore National Park which is also in the general area. Many of these tours are available with luxury options.
But while you’re in India, plan to visit somewhere else as well. Head south to Kerala and its beautiful waterways and coastal villages. Southern India is well known for its delicious cuisine and there are opportunities to take cooking classes and visit the markets while you’re there. Then head into the hill country near Ooty to visit the lush green tea gardens, north to Mysore and on to Bangalore. Mysore has some beautiful palaces and temples while Bangalore is a modern city, once known as India’s Silicon Valley. It’s a nice place to get a feel for contemporary India without the mad pace of somewhere like Mumbai. Cross the country to finish in Chennai (once called Madras), a huge turmoil of a city, or head back to the west coast at Goa for a few days by the sea.
You don’t have to search far for the essential India – it’s in your face, all the time. The traffic, the monkeys, the crows, and the dust, the pungent smell of old coconut milk on every statue and deity, spices from the street food, car horns blasting, the broken pavements, scooters racing past and harsh voices calling across the roadways. But all these things, and so much more, add up to a most compelling experience. Travel in India has never been easier with much improved tours, bottled water, good restaurants and accommodation, and mobile technology. It’s much more than a holiday, it’s usually a life-changing experience.
And there’s even a 12 day Marigold Hotel Tour now going from Delhi to Udaipur. And lots of excellent luxury tour options to many parts of India.
(C) by Sue Farley