India is more like a continent than a country, and it rewards the repeat traveller with its sheer variety of landscapes, people, wildlife, architecture, cuisine, religions, festivals and history. Our India Tours are one of the best ways to experience the real India.
At Wild Frontiers we believe it’s important to see these iconic sights, but we also like to offer travellers a sense of the true India. So on our India holidays, we also venture off the beaten track to stay in rural villages, where you can connect with the locals and make memories that will last a lifetime.
The classic place to start is Rajasthan and the north, where you’ll find the country’s most famous sites, such as Agra’s Taj Mahal and the Lake City of Udaipur. This is the land of the Moghuls, where forts such as Delhi’s Red Fort, Jaipur’s Amber Fort and Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort tower majestically over their cities.
Rajasthan offers all of the colours under the rainbow, from the blue city of Jodhpur to the pink city of Jaipur, and from the riotous celebrations of Holi to the extravagant saris of locals in the Thar Desert. Delhi, the country’s capital, divides opinion between love and hate, but we are definitely in the former camp, with a walking tour through the backstreets and past the small workshops of Old Delhi offering an excellent introduction to India.
The state of Gujarat is rightly famed for its textile weaving, but also its diverse landscapes comprising salt flats, coastlines and the hills of Satpura. Its former capital Ahmedabad was declared the first UNESCO World Heritage City in India, to be followed more recently by Jaipur. In Ranthambore National Park meanwhile, you can benefit from one of the natural world’s recent success stories, with the increasing number of bengal tigers meaning excellent chances of viewing these wonderful big cats.
The south of India couldn’t be more different from the north. Whereas the north reigns in glorious chaos, the south offers a slower pace of life, whether that’s cruising along the backwaters of Kerala, staying in a tea plantation in the Munnar hills or enjoying the tropical beaches of the Keralan coast. The south is not short of culture either, and Tamil Nadu is known as the temple state for good reason. Visit the impressively large Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, the Breehadisawara Temple in Thanjavur and Mahabalipuram’s Shore Temples, as well as its impressive bas reliefs, to get an idea of the depth of history here, as well as the amazing artisanship.
Just off the South East mainland of India are the Andaman Islands, with Havelock Island having one of the loveliest beaches in the world and offering great diving. In the south you will also get to try a cuisine consisting of plenty of fresh fish, coconut flavours and enough heat for any chilli lover.
Central India is the home of the tiger. The thrill of seeing one in the wild is one of nature’s most rewarding experiences, and two of the best places to do this are in Satpura and Tadoba National Parks, which both have healthy tiger populations and excellent viewing opportunities. There is also Pench, Panna, Bandhavgarh and Kanha National Parks. Gwalior meanwhile has one of the country’s most famous forts, towering over the city. Architecture is also well represented in the temples of Khajuraho and Orchha.
The city of Hampi, or Vijayanagar, once the most populated city in the world, rewards those who venture off the beaten path. Its vast and eerie collection of deserted temples, whilst city lovers can discover the home of the biryani in Hyderabad, or tour Bollywood in Mumbai. Finally, the Ajanta and Ellora caves are often overlooked by visitors, which is a mystery to us but great news for visitors. This is the region to visit if you want to cover some of India’s secrets whilst still seeing sights that will stay with you forever.
To the north of India it’s all about the scenery. Whether it’s the old hill stations of Shimla and Dharmsala, or the Sikh capital Amritsar, where you’ll find the Golden Temple, the backdrop of towering snow-capped Himalayas is a stunning feature. Further north still, the region of Kashmir has not been without its troubles in recent times, but intrepid travellers are rewarding with some fine walking terrain and the opportunity to relax on a houseboat on Lake Dal, Srinagar.
The remote region of Ladakh in the greater Himalaya is a stunning high altitude desert with extraordinary Himalayan mountain landscape and home to one of the greatest rivers the world, the Indus.
To the east of India you will find probably the country’s most vibrant city, and the country’s intellectual capital, Kolkata. The grand colonial architecture is epitomised by the Victoria Memorial, whilst other highlights include the colourful flower market and the city’s famed street food.
In the east of India is Varanasi, one of Hindu’s holiest places, on the banks of the Ganges river, and a true assault on the senses. To the north east it gets cooler and more tranquil again, with the hill station of Darjeeling, which has become synonymous with tea and its wonderful toy train. Even further north we offer tours to Assam and Nagaland, two of the country’s most ethnically diverse regions.