Your first ever trip to India will take you on an enchanting journey of cultural riches and your trip will be truly memorable from amazing experiences such as seeing all the striking sights, going on wild rickshaw rides, experiencing a range of tantalising cuisines from North to South India, smelling the intoxicating aroma of the plethora of spices in the air, being amongst the bustle in vibrant markets, seeing spiritual and spectacular Hindu temples, marvelling at majestic royal forts and all with the charming and warm hospitality of the locals.
India offers a lifetime of experiences in one captivating country.
When to visit
The best time to visit India is between November and March, when the weather is more pleasant and you have warm days and cool nights.
Try and avoid visiting between April to June as temperatures are scorching and it is very humid due to the monsoons.
You could also try and plan your trip to coincide with India’s various festivals, ranging from Holi to Diwali, where there are lots of colourful celebrations, delicious feasts and lots to experience.
Visas for India
You will require an Indian Visa to visit India, (with the exception of citizens of Bhutan and Nepal who do not need a visa). It is essential that you apply for your visa before planning to travel to India well in advance.
The best way is to apply for your Indian visa online as it is a much more convenient way to obtain the visa as it is faster, cheaper, and for ease, gets emailed to you so all you have to do is print it out.
Getting around India
Rickshaws and Ubers are the easiest ways to travel within a city in India, with both being frequent and inexpensive.
If you want to travel to another city you have the options of either domestic flights, sleeper trains, hiring a car or bus rides.
The currency used in India is Rupees and these cannot be obtained outside of India and also cannot be changed back outside of India so make sure you don’t take out more than what you need, or remember to change it back before you leave India.
Accommodation in India ranges from hostels, havelis, home stays to luxury and opulent hotels, and so there is something to suit every budget. You can even stay in a Maharaja’s Palace if you desire!
With such a tremendous heterogeneous diversity, India has one of the most varied range of cuisines, dishes and recipes and you must try everything from street side food to opulent Mughal feasts when there. The only thing I would advise is be careful that you only consume bottled water whilst there.
Personal favourites when it comes to street food are Pau Bhaji, Pani Puri, Vada Pav and Bhel puri, and for drinks, it’s Nimbu Pani, which is a lime juice, or cutting chai, which is just comfort in a cup!
Popular cities to visit in India
If you are visiting for the first time, I suggest ‘The Golden Triangle,’ which is one of the world’s most well-travelled routes encompassing India’s most visited cities Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. Here you will experience the bustle of Delhi, awe at the Taj Mahal in Agra and see the famous Pink City of Jaipur.
I’ve loved Jaipur so much that I have visited twice and it gives a great introduction to Rajasthan, with its enchanting ancient temples, mysterious forts and flamboyant palaces which are some of the most mesmerising and captivating sights.
For first-timers I would highly recommend booking your trip with a tour operator with a set itinerary so that you get the best out of it. It also takes away the hassle of having to book all the internal transfers yourself.
You can also add on an extension to seek out Asian elephants, Bengal tigers and other wildlife species in India’s National parks.
In Rajasthan, Ranthambore is ideal for tiger spotting. But it is Madhya Pradesh that has highest count of tiger reserves. Thus, the state is much loved by those who are keen to spot the mighty Bengal tigers in their natural habitat.
No matter what you decide to do, you will be enchanted by diverse, intoxicating and colourful India!