Bustling and frenetic one moment then tranquil and spiritual the next, India never fails to excite with its spectacular width and breadth. It is the birthplace of religions, fabled destination for early explorers and home of spices.
Mughal architectural gems abound, but the Taj Mahal continues to be revered by many as arguably the world’s most beautiful building. Varanasi appears like a sea of humanity, but is also the bastion of spirituality – a morning boat ride on the holy Ganges River often seems like taking a trip at the dawn of the world. Rajasthan’s palaces showcase the splendours of the maharajahs, whilst the mountains of the Himalaya, the wildlife parks that are home to the Royal Bengal tiger and the waterways of Kerala seem like other worlds away.
Yet all this and more is India. It is an incredible assault on the senses in all respects and its incredible colour and diversity makes it a destination like no other.
Palaces, courtyards and gardens welcome you to the Pink City, as well as some of the most amazing moustaches you will ever see! The ‘Pink City’ became so as the town was painted pink prior to a visit of Edward VII and Queen Victoria.
Today Jaipur is a mixture of ancient palaces and modern building including India’s World Trade Park – they make quite a startling contrast. A few days are needed to explore the city and it’s many treasures; Jal Mahal City Palace, Amer Fort, Jantar Mantar, Nahargarh Fort, Jaigarh Fort, Govind Dev Ji Temple, Garh Ganesh Temple and Sri Kali Temple
The Royal Bengal Tiger is found in small pockets of forest throughout India. National Parks such as Ranthambore, Kanha, Bhandavgarh, Corbett and Pench offer good opportunities to view this magnificent cat. Travelling quietly through the forest in search of a tiger is a wonderful and exciting experience.
Some parks offer the opportunity to explore on elephant-back which adds yet another dimension of exhilaration. The mahouts and their wonderful elephants move slowly and rhythmically through their, and the tigers, natural habitats. The elephants can often sense a tiger’s presence long before we can.
The best time to travel in search of tiger is towards the end of the dry season (Jan-May) when there are fewer drinking holes for the tiger’s prey and hence a greater concentration of game to see and for the tiger to hunt. In addition to Tigers you’ll have the opportunity to view a wide range of India’s beautiful wildlife including; peacocks, gaur (like a bison), Indian elephant, Sambar and spotted deer and in certain parks the Indian one-horned rhino.
The Taj Mahal would have to rate as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. It’s physical beauty is matched by the beauty of the story behind the reason for it being built. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan who reigned from 1628 to 1658, to house the tomb of his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal; who gave him 14 children (sadly she died during the birth of her last daughter). Construction of the mausoleum was completed in 1643.
The total cost build the Taj Mahal complex is believed at a cost, estimated at the time, to be around 32 million Indian rupees which would now equate to approximately US$827 million. The construction project employed over 20,000 artisans and labourers.
The Backwaters of Kerala are a network of 1500km of canals, 38 rivers and 5 big lakes extending from one end of Kerala to the other. Traditionally used as one of the main transportation routes, today the Backwaters offer a rejuvenating experience.
Ashtamudi Lake is the second largest and possibly the most beautiful. A stay on a houseboat here is the best way to explore, to relax and enjoy the beauty of the ‘Backwaters’.
Kerala state in which the Backwaters are situated claims to be India’s most advanced society; with 100% literacy and excellent health care systems.
Jodhpur has many stunning palaces, forts and temples, set in the stark landscape of the Thar Desert and should form part of any visit to Rajasthan. Named the ‘Sun City’ for its year-round beautiful weather or ‘Blue City’ due to blue-painted houses around the Mehrangarh Fort; a former palace that’s now a museum, displaying weapons, paintings and elaborate royal palanquins.
Jodhpur topped Lonely Planet’s ‘list of most extraordinary places to stay‘ in 2013.
This 475-year-old building was originally built as a Rajput fort and converted to a Palace in the 19th Century. A stay here is a celebration of the senses, each room has its own unique personality. All rooms have lavish en-suite bathrooms that are classic and elegant; spacious wardrobes, sink-and-laze tubs and gracious dressing tables. Many royalty, celebrities, artists have stayed here over the years; it’s a perfect example of the many fine properties found in Rajasthan and throughout India.
Other Samode properties include; The Samode Haveli (Jaipur), Samode Bagh (Jaipur) and the Samode Safari Lodge (Bandhavgarh – near the National Park)
Top class design and the finest facilities. Usually located in a spectacular setting it may be an exclusive hotel in a meticulously restored historic building, or recognised as the leading property of an international chain.
Raj Mahal Palace
A perfect alternative to the big brand hotels:
exclusive and independently-owned properties with a smaller number of rooms and highly personalised services.
High quality with an excellent room standard, a full range of facilities and first-rate service; may be a new property or regularly refurbished with attention to ongoing maintenance.
New Delhi, India
Incredible India! is not only the Indian Tourist Board’s catch phrase – it’s simply true. India is incredibly, well, everything; diverse, colourful, inspiring, authentic and beautiful.
From the foothills of the Himalaya in the North to the sub-continent’s southernmost point, 3,214 kilometres away India offers a traveller incredible variety. Magnificent forts, the most famous, and beautiful being the Taj Mahal and palaces several have been converted into luxury hotels. Magnificent wildlife parks (Ranthambore, Corbett, Bandhavgarh, Kanha and Pench are amongst the best for viewing tigers) and in one park lions, yes lions, the Asiatic lion lives in the Gir Forest National Park in Gujarat.
Add to all of this delicious food and incredibly colourful festivals and you start to realise how Incredible India! is.
All Australian passport holders require a visa to visit India. Visas are easiest obtained on-line or they can be obtained from an Indian embassy or Indian High Commission.
Malaria is prevalent in some areas of India. Your Travel Doctor will be able to advise you whether prophylaxis is required. Vaccinations are advised for common diseases like Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid as well as Influenza. Japanese Encephalitis may also be a risk for some travellers. There are no compulsory vaccinations.
We advise you to consult a Travel Doctor specialist prior to departure to assess any health risks in relation to your medical history and travel plans.
India’s weather is extremely varied. The most influential feature of the country’s climate is the wet season, or monsoon which breaks at the end of May and lasts through to September. Torrential rain and the pervasive humidity can be intense.
High Season – December to March
The weather is pleasant in most areas of India with the exception of the high Himalaya region. Days are warm and nights are cool. December and January bring chilly nights in the north. Temperatures climb steadily from February.
Shoulder Season – July to November
The passes to Kashmir and Ladakh and the high Himalaya open from July to September. Monsoon rain-showers can persist through to September. The southern area of India receives heavy rain from October to early December.
Low Season – April to June
Temperatures can be very hot during these months. From June, the monsoon sweeps from south to north, bringing high with it high humidity. You can escape the heat in the cool Himalayan foothills.
The Best Time to Go (By Region)
Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh – November to March.
Goa, Kerala & Tamil Nadu – December to March
Himalaya – June to October
We have access to a wide range of airfares and have excellent relationships with our key airline partners. Our two main airline partners in Asia are Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines. With hubs in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore respectively both airlines are well positioned to provide a quality service from Australia to all major destinations in Asia.
Irrespective of whether you book directly with us or with your preferred travel agent, we’ll want to know the details of all of your fights. Flight times regularly change and, if or when they do, we want to make sure your transfers and other arrangements are amended accordingly.