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.
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.
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.