India

A myriad of swirling colours and contrasts, a feast for all the senses

Overview

For sure you’ve heard the clichés about the India, the contrast of opulence and poverty, the noise and bustle, Bollywood dancing, the mind-dumbing bureaucracy, mouth-watering cuisine, the smiling faces. Well hold on tight because India is all this and so much more. Experience this amazing country for yourself. Travel with an open mind, see it with your heart and understand with your soul.

In a destination 13 times the size of UK, it’s hardly surprising that there are significant variations in climate. The peak time to travel to the majority of areas though is the UK winter November to February. Prices are at their very highest and you’ll meet large crowds at popular monuments. With up to 4 million annual foreign and Indian visitors to the Taj Mahal alone, you can imagine you’re unlikely to be alone! Travel April to September however, and you’ll see numbers and costs plummet. The downside? You’ll experience hot arid conditions in April, May and June, with temperatures nudging 40 degrees, while July to September brings cooler temperatures and monsoon rains, but check for regional variations. However, with care you can avoid the main drawbacks, and enjoy the advantages of travelling low season.

Stunning Palace Hotels

Accommodation for all budgets can be claimed for a bargain price in India’s low season, so why not splash out on a luxury palace property fit for a Maharaja, or at least a Bollywood star. There are several to choose from, especially in the royal state of Rajasthan. Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur is reached by boat and is sublime with its silk drapes and antique furniture. In Jaipur, one of India’s oldest palace hotels is the opulent Rambagh Palace with a vintage car for hire. A favourite is Samode Palace, also in Jaipur, with its beautiful courtyard pool and 16th century history.

Festivals

A treat for eyes and ears, many of India’s best festivals take place in the low season. Kerala’s Thrissur Pooram in May is a 36 hour affair entailing a spectacular procession of caparisoned elephants and percussion performances. In Jaipur in July, Teej celebrates the arrival of the monsoon amidst a riot of colours, enormous fanfare, and interesting rituals such as women singing folk songs from tree swings. The Nehru Trophy Boat Race takes place in August and locals gather in large numbers to watch 100 foot long snake boats compete to the tune of old boat songs on Punnamada Lake, Kerala. The area comes to life with ceremonial water processions and beautiful water floats.

Ayurveda

The ancient principals of Ayurveda tell us the monsoon period is ideal to rest, restore and strengthen both body and mind to prepare for the coming year. Choose from a range of simple to luxury retreat centres especially prevalent in Goa and Kerala. It is at this time of year that rainfall leaves the air fresh and moist, temperatures are ideal for all doshas or body types, pores open leaving skin receptive to natural products, and special herbs can be picked at their freshest and most potent. Fewer visitors to the centres allow you space to relax and rejuvenate, enjoying a deep massage while the rain patters on the palm leaved thatched roof above.


Low Season Saving

From 35% versus Peak Season


Tourist:Local Ratio

Peak Season

Low Season

1:13
1:12


Major Airport

Indira Gandhi International Airport DEL

Low Season Months

Jan Feb Mar Apr
29°C
8mm
12hrs
May
33°C
13mm
13hrs
Jun
32°C
74mm
12hrs
Jul
31°C
180mm
8hrs
Aug Sep
29°C
117mm
9hrs
Oct Nov Dec

Hotels

Coming online very soon

Top Experiences

Keralan Backwaters

Cruise the luscious palm lined waterways on board a converted rice barge. The wet weather brings a special lushness and beauty. The natural canals are protected unlike open water and remain safe even during the monsoon.

Wildlife Spotting

The hot arid period offers excellent opportunities for spotting tigers, Asiatic lions, sambar deer, and horned rhinos due to the lack of natural foliage. Just be aware that you’ll need to be sure you can stand the heat and stay hydrated.

Full Moon Taj Mahal

Five days a month night visits are possible so see the white marble monument magically silhouetted against the night sky. 400 tickets are available and must be purchased beforehand at Agra’s Archeologically Survey of India.

Insider Tips

  • Learn to haggle. Everything is up for negotiation – rickshaws, markets, guest houses. Keep it polite and know when to say yes and when to walk away. Sometimes prices for foreigners are inflated five times the real price or more.
  • Mango, Indian watermelon, papaya, honeydew and gooseberry are ripe and perfect to eat in the summer season. Traditional raw mango pickle and stuffed mango ice cream kulfi are the essential taste sensations of this period.
  • Summer is also the season of lassi, a blend of yoghurt, water, and spices such as cardamom. Fruit lassis taste like Indian milkshake but be aware that bhang lassi is infused with cannabis. In Jaipur try Lassiwala, established 1944.

Good To Know

  • Summer is actually the best time to visit Ladakh, the beautiful Himalayan region. The Rohtang Pass opens when the snow has thawed and the climate is pleasant. Don’t miss the colourful Hemis Festival in June.
  • Be aware that core zones in many National parks are closed during the monsoon so check details and plan accordingly. Some however, like the Valley of Flowers National Park in Uttarakhand, are spectacular at this time.
  • Summer evenings in Delhi, join the locals at Lodhi Garden and take a stroll after the day’s heat. Birds flock here at this time and photographers get some great shots of the ruined Mughal architectural structures.

Food & Drink

Karim's

£

An Old Delhi institution by Jama Masjid, still owned by the family who were cooks for royalty in the 1800s. Famous for meat and veggie dishes, kebabs and rolls.

BTH Sarovaram

£

Visit this hotel restaurant in Cochin for top vegetarian and vegan options. Serves mainly south Indian delicacies, dosas, pazhamporis, vadas.

Jimmy Boy

£

For the best Parsi Food in Mumbai . This cosy family run venue is tucked into a heritage building and uses recipes handed down for generations including keema pav, and chicken berry pulao.

Reviews

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