India

A fusion of modernity and tradition, the vibrant colors of India are truly captivating. Be at one with bustling cities, surrender to the simplicity of villages and be touched by the spirituality of this land. A journey through India is enriching, inspiring and unforgettable.

India Tours & Travel

Top deals in India

Departing Days Price AUD
5 Oct 2014 Real Food Adventure - India 14 $1955
7 Oct 2014 Classic Rajasthan 15 $1260
8 Oct 2014 North India Unplugged 22 $1134
26 Oct 2014 Gujarat Adventure 15 $1655
8 Nov 2014 Kathmandu to Delhi 15 $1465

All our India trips

india pushkar market dyes

Classic Rajasthan

15 days from
USD $1,115.00
CAD $1,185.00
AUD $1,235.00
EUR €875.00
GBP £740.00
NZD $1,460.00
ZAR R11,200.00
CHF FR1,075.00

Travel to India and visit the romantic Rajasthan region. Tour from Delhi to Pushkar and travel to the Taj Mahal of Agra...

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india colourful vase

Gujarat Adventure

15 days from
USD $1,795.00
CAD $1,820.00
AUD $1,890.00
EUR €1,295.00
GBP £1,130.00
NZD $2,240.00
ZAR R17,200.00
CHF FR1,620.00

Explore India's Gujarat state with Intrepid Travel. See Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai, head out on a guided jeep safari...

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india agra taj mahal sunset silhouette dusk

India Family Tiger Adventure

10 days from
USD $995.00
CAD $995.00
AUD $1,045.00
EUR €725.00
GBP £625.00
NZD $1,240.00
ZAR R9,510.00
CHF FR895.00

Take an action-packed family tour of India, following tiger trails, visiting Delhi and travelling to the Taj Mahal....

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River cruise in India

Southern India Family Holiday

14 days from
USD $1,260.00
CAD $1,345.00
AUD $1,395.00
EUR €970.00
GBP £835.00
NZD $1,655.00
ZAR R12,695.00
CHF FR1,195.00

Cruise along Kerala’s beautiful backwaters, wander through spice fields, explore tropical forests, visit ancient...

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india agra taj mahal saris

Golden Triangle

8 days from
USD $565.25
CAD $607.75
AUD $616.25
EUR €420.75
GBP £357.00
NZD $726.75
ZAR R5,593.00
CHF FR527.00

Visit India and tour the famous Golden Triangle of Dehli, Agra and Jaipur. One of the essential India tours for anyone...

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Praying on the Ganges in Varanasi

Indian Getaway

11 days from
USD $865.00
CAD $840.00
AUD $795.00
EUR €605.00
GBP £540.00
NZD $1,055.00
ZAR R5,435.00
CHF FR655.00

Discover the delights of northern India on a round trip from Delhi. Chant on the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi, view...

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india agra taj mahal visitors

Delhi to Kathmandu

15 days from
USD $1,295.00
CAD $1,330.00
AUD $1,380.00
EUR €960.00
GBP £845.00
NZD $1,640.00
ZAR R12,580.00
CHF FR1,185.00

Travel to India and Nepal on a tour from Delhi to Kathmandu. Visit the Taj Mahal of Agra, the sacred River Ganges, and...

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nepal kathmandu sadhus posing

Kathmandu to Delhi

15 days from
USD $1,151.75
CAD $1,164.50
AUD $1,211.25
EUR €841.50
GBP £726.75
NZD $1,436.50
ZAR R11,024.50
CHF FR1,037.00

Take a tour of Nepal and India from Kathmandu to Delhi. Visit the birthplace of Buddha at Lumbini, the ghats of...

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india pushkar sadhu

North India Unplugged

22 days from
USD $1,045.50
CAD $1,045.50
AUD $1,096.50
EUR €743.75
GBP £654.50
NZD $1,300.50
ZAR R10,013.00
CHF FR913.75

A North India tour that visits Delhi, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Pushkar, Jaipur, Bharatpur, Agra, Varanasi and...

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india chennai colorful streets

South India Unplugged

16 days from
USD $810.00
CAD $859.50
AUD $895.50
EUR €603.00
GBP £535.50
NZD $1,062.00
ZAR R8,145.00
CHF FR747.00

Discover the beautiful landscapes of southern India on a fascinating journey from the beaches of Varkala to idyllic Goa...

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india rajasthan jaisalmer colourful

Rajasthan Experience

15 days from
USD $1,885.00
CAD $1,915.00
AUD $1,990.00
EUR €1,385.00
GBP £1,195.00
NZD $2,360.00
ZAR R18,100.00
CHF FR1,710.00

Experience the delights of India's Rajasthan region. From the big city sights of Delhi, visit the Taj Mahal, travel to...

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india woman picking tea

Southern India

15 days from
USD $1,225.00
CAD $1,240.00
AUD $1,290.00
EUR €895.00
GBP £770.00
NZD $1,530.00
ZAR R11,745.00
CHF FR1,095.00

Explore the tropical and spiritual Indian south. Join holiday-makers in Ooty, relax in Pondicherry and tour through...

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india jaipur amber fort ladies

North India Highlights

12 days from
USD $1,810.00
CAD $1,920.00
AUD $1,995.00
EUR €1,385.00
GBP £1,195.00
NZD $2,365.00
ZAR R18,145.00
CHF FR1,695.00

Experience a northern India tour through the most exciting parts of the country. Explore intriguing Delhi, visit the...

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india agra taj mahal saris pattern ground

Unforgettable India

15 days from
USD $1,285.00
CAD $1,295.00
AUD $1,355.00
EUR €940.00
GBP £795.00
NZD $1,595.00
ZAR R12,320.00
CHF FR1,160.00

Visit India and travel from the capital Delhi to spiritual Varanasi, through Bandhavgarh, Khajuraho and Orchha, and to...

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Visiters at the Taj Mahal, Agra

Delhi to Goa

15 days from
USD $1,535.00
CAD $1,630.00
AUD $1,695.00
EUR €1,180.00
GBP £1,015.00
NZD $2,010.00
ZAR R15,430.00
CHF FR1,455.00

Our Delhi to Goa tour captures the chaos and inspiration of India at its very best. Visit the legendary Taj Mahal in...

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india jaisalmer women

India Unplugged

37 days from
USD $1,827.50
CAD $1,857.25
AUD $1,891.25
EUR €1,270.75
GBP £1,156.00
NZD $2,290.75
ZAR R17,573.75
CHF FR1,576.75

Discover the irrepressible colors and cultures of India on this extended holiday through one of the world's most...

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india jaisalmer thar desert camels sunset

Rajasthan Adventure

15 days from
USD $1,135.00
CAD $1,150.00
AUD $1,195.00
EUR €830.00
GBP £695.00
NZD $1,395.00
ZAR R10,860.00
CHF FR1,025.00

Travel to India and visit Delhi, tour from Shekhawati to Jaisalmer, explore Jodhpur, and visit the Taj Mahal of Agra on...

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Making chapati

Real Food Adventure - India

14 days from
USD $1,855.00
CAD $1,885.00
AUD $1,955.00
EUR €1,425.00
GBP £1,170.00
NZD $2,315.00
ZAR R17,770.00
CHF FR1,745.00

Relish the sights and flavors of Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Mumbai and Goa on this exquisite culinary...

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india kerala boat

Classic South India

15 days from
USD $1,805.00
CAD $1,920.00
AUD $1,995.00
EUR €1,385.00
GBP £1,195.00
NZD $2,365.00
ZAR R18,160.00
CHF FR1,695.00

Travel through south India in comfort on this fascinating adventure that takes you through the Kerala Backwaters, into...

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india amritsar golden temples

Mountains & Mystics

13 days from
USD $955.00
CAD $995.00
AUD $1,050.00
EUR €700.00
GBP £625.00
NZD $1,240.00
ZAR R9,535.00
CHF FR865.00

Travel to India and visit Delhi, Shimla, Mandi, Dharamsala, Dalhousie, Khajjiar, the Chamba Valley and Amritsar on this...

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india tibetan prayer flags

Highlights of India and Nepal

19 days from
USD $1,825.00
CAD $1,840.00
AUD $1,905.00
EUR €1,335.00
GBP £1,150.00
NZD $2,275.00
ZAR R15,820.00
CHF FR1,645.00

Take a tour of India and Nepal, travelling from Delhi to Agra, Jaipur, Orchha, the sacred River Ganges, the ghats of...

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india colourful ladies boat

India South & North

29 days from
USD $2,335.00
CAD $2,365.00
AUD $2,460.00
EUR €1,695.00
GBP £1,470.00
NZD $2,895.00
ZAR R22,380.00
CHF FR2,095.00

This all-encompassing tour of India travels from Kochi to Delhi via cultural and scenic highlights. In a nutshell,...

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Woman washing Sari in Ganges, India

North India Adventure

25 days from
USD $2,240.00
CAD $2,270.00
AUD $2,360.00
EUR €1,640.00
GBP £1,415.00
NZD $2,795.00
ZAR R21,480.00
CHF FR2,025.00

Mix verdant jungles and expansive deserts with heritage cities and cultural richness and you have North India Adventure.

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Young friends of Chanderi posing together, India

Best of North India

25 days from
USD $1,950.75
CAD $1,980.50
AUD $2,057.00
EUR €1,432.25
GBP £1,232.50
NZD $2,439.50
ZAR R18,700.00
CHF FR1,763.75

Experience Northern India's best-known sights on a tour that sails the River Ganges, explores heritage cities and...

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Taj Mahal smiles

India Experience

26 days from
USD $3,420.00
CAD $3,635.00
AUD $3,775.00
EUR €2,635.00
GBP £2,265.00
NZD $4,480.00
ZAR R34,405.00
CHF FR3,260.00

Enjoy a comprehensive tour through India in comfort. Starting form Delhi, travel through Agra, Varanasi, Pondicherry,...

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Varanasi

India & Nepal Experience

22 days from
USD $4,045.00
CAD $4,095.00
AUD $4,260.00
EUR €2,965.00
GBP £2,550.00
NZD $5,050.00
ZAR R38,775.00
CHF FR3,655.00

Beginning in the hustle and bustle of Delhi, travel through Jaipur, Varanasi, Bandipur, Chitwan National Park and...

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india agra taj mahal pink turbans

Taj Mahal Extension

3 days from
USD $357.50
CAD $380.00
AUD $395.00
EUR €275.00
GBP £235.00
NZD $467.50
ZAR R3,595.00
CHF FR337.50

Visit India and travel from Delhi to Agra. Travel to the Taj Mahal and Agra’s Red Fort, taste Indian cuisine and...

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india amritsar girls

Spiritual India

19 days from
USD $1,490.00
CAD $1,540.00
AUD $1,595.00
EUR €1,115.00
GBP £960.00
NZD $1,895.00
ZAR R14,570.00
CHF FR1,375.00

Take a spiritual Indian holiday from Delhi through to the wonder of Rajasthan. Visit the Taj Mahal of Agra and travel...

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Intricate stone carved statues in Khajuraho

Kathmandu to Mumbai

31 days from
USD $2,600.00*
CAD $2,700.03*
AUD $2,720.96*
EUR €1,956.33*
GBP £1,647.00*
NZD $3,171.85*
ZAR R25,451.34*
CHF FR2,312.15*

Travel Overland from Kathmandu to Mumbai and see why India and Nepal are two of the world's most popular off-road...

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india varanasi ganges colour

Varanasi Extension

3 days from
USD $175.00
CAD $187.50
AUD $195.00
EUR €135.00
GBP £117.50
NZD $230.00
ZAR R1,775.00
CHF FR167.50

This tour is a great way to extend your time in Varanasi. Lift your spirits as you float on the Ganges, marvel at the...

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Markets and local sail boats spread along Goa beach

Mumbai to Chennai

24 days from
USD $1,899.00*
CAD $1,997.52*
AUD $2,036.48*
EUR €1,390.95*
GBP £1,153.13*
NZD $2,251.41*
ZAR R18,780.21*
CHF FR1,680.72*

For adventure travel in India, discover Pappadams and Palm Trees as you visit India's incredible attractions. Grab your...

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Friendly locals interacting with tourists in Kathmandu

Kolkata to Kathmandu

16 days from
USD $1,350.00*
CAD $1,390.01*
AUD $1,305.32*
EUR €1,020.44*
GBP £849.00*
NZD $1,653.95*
ZAR R13,047.11*
CHF FR1,202.38*

Travel from Kolkata to Kathmandu on this captivating journey through India and Nepal. Visit colorful Kolkata and modern...

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india pushkar market dyes

Classic Rajasthan German

15 days from
USD $1,045.50
CAD $1,058.25
AUD $1,100.75
EUR €760.75
GBP £658.75
NZD $1,304.75
ZAR R10,017.25
CHF FR930.75

Travel to India and visit the romantic Rajasthan region. Tour from Delhi to Pushkar and travel to the Taj Mahal of Agra...

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india agra taj mahal visitors

Delhi to Kathmandu German

15 days from
USD $1,320.00
CAD $1,405.00
AUD $1,460.00
EUR €960.00
GBP £875.00
NZD $1,730.00
ZAR R13,290.00
CHF FR1,185.00

Travel to India and Nepal on a tour from Delhi to Kathmandu. Visit the Taj Mahal of Agra, the sacred River Ganges, and...

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India trip reviews

Our India trips score an average of 4.7 out of 5 based on 399 reviews in the last year.

Classic South India, April 2014

Southern India Family Holiday , April 2014

Video

Articles on India

Tips for solo female travellers in India

Tips for solo female travellers in India

Posted on Mon, 28 Jul 2014 by Lorinda Childs

The reality for solo female travellers is India can be challenging, but don't let that put you off experiencing this incredible country.

Read more
More praise for Monty

More praise for Monty

Posted on Wed, 16 Apr 2014 by Sue Elliot

We are thrilled that Intrepid’s Dheeraj ‘Monty’ Bhatt is once again a finalist in the prestigious Wanderlust World Guide Awards. To be recognised as one of the best in his [...]

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Biggest paint party in India

Biggest paint party in India

Posted on Mon, 20 Jan 2014 by Laura Rinderknecht

Holi or होली is the festival of color celebrated each spring in India. Go ahead and google images for Holi right now. I’ll wait… Ah-may-zing, right? It’s an ancient Hindu [...]

Read more
Friends from Kathmandu to Delhi

Friends from Kathmandu to Delhi

Posted on Sun, 12 Jan 2014 by Sue Elliot

We always know that our travels are going to leave us with lasting memories, but as journalist Brenda McCormick discovered, our adventures can also leave us with lifelong new friends… [...]

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Transport

Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.

Depending on which trip you're on while in India, you may find yourself travelling by:

Accommodation

Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.

When travelling with us in India you may find yourself staying in a:

About India

At a glance

Trips Available: 36
Capital city: New Delhi (population 295,000)
Population: 1.14 billion
Language: Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Bengali, Kashmiri, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Telugu, English
Currency: INR
Time zone: (GMT+05:30) Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi
Electricity: Type C (European 2-pin) Type D (Old British 3-pin) Type M (see D)
Dialing code: +91

Best time to visit India

Due to India's size and topography, there's a huge amount of variation in its climate. One of the most beneficial times to visit is from September to March when temperatures are at their coolest. During winter (December-January), temperatures can get quite cold in Delhi and in the north, especially at night. Monsoon is from late-May to around October and offers hot and humid conditions, although this is considered one of the best times to visit Ladakh and the hills.

Delhi weather chart Kochi weather chart

Culture and customs

Indian fashion Praying, Varanasi
As one of the oldest living civilisations in the world, India's customs are based on an ancient cultural heritage. As contemporary India changes at a rapid pace, it stills clings to time worn traditions that have been in existence for centuries. Modern India is made up of a fascinating blend of ethnicities and religions, and as the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, any visit to India will undoubtedly be steeped in spirituality as it permeates most aspects of society. Although there are significant populations of Muslims and Christians, most Indians belong to one of the four main religions mentioned above.

Regardless of a person's religious beliefs, the family unit is given paramount importance in life and society, with generations of family members living together under one roof, often with the eldest male acting as head of the family. Indian weddings are usually elaborate affairs and arranged marriages are still common - being arranged according to caste, social standing and sometimes, favourable astrological alignments at birth. Giving the world everything from playing cards to prayer flags, yoga, cotton cultivation, ayurvedic medicine, Bollywood films, as well as many other important contributions in mathematics, science, literature and political theory, India's evolution has impacted on the entire world.

Indian cuisine, architecture, dance and fashion are also admired and reproduced worldwide, which is partly due to Indian populations who have immigrated to other parts of the world, taking their culture and beliefs with them.

Eating and drinking

Making chappati

Intrepid believes that one of the best ways to experience a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savoring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world.

Indian food is one of the world's most favoured cuisines, and travellers will be in for a real treat when visiting India. Relying heavily on spices and vegetables, vegetarians will be delighted with the multitude of meat-free dishes available and visitors will be able to notice marked differences in the cuisines of each region.

Things to try in India

1. Goa

The tropical climate and coastal location ensures the seafood is fresh and tasty here. Pungent seafood curries bubbling in coconut milk, as well as fresh crab, lobster, squid and prawns are all great picks in this region. A Kingfisher beer also goes down well with a Goan sunset.

2. Rajasthan

With little access to water, Rajasthani cuisine relies on milk or ghee as a base, making it quite rich. Legumes, pulses and breads feature heavily as access to fresh vegetables is scarce.

3. Kerala

A great producer of many spices so expect hot and spicy dishes when eating here. Rice is abundant, as is coconut, so expect coconut-based curries laced with chilli, ginger, cardamom and pepper. Having access to many waterways, seafood also features on the menu here. Dosa (pancake-like crepes) are popular breakfast items in Kerala.

4. Assam

The cuisine of this north-eastern hills region is characterised by a reliance on rice and preserved produce. There is a distinct lack of spice used but despite this, the cuisine still possesses a strong flavor due to the dried herbs and flavorsome vegetables and fruits that most dishes are based on. Pickles, salads, garnishes and condiments like mustard oil, lemon and mangosteen add a distinct flavor to Assamese dishes.

5. Gujarat

Cuisine from western India is predominantly vegetarian. Daal, rice and roti (flat bread) are the main dishes, which are sometimes supplemented with stir fried vegetables.

Geography and environment

Kerala backwaters
India shares land borders with Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar and Bhutan, and also has wide stretches of coastline along the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean. As the seventh largest country in the world, India is home to a variety of terrains - the Himalayas of the north, the deserts and plains of the west, the fertile waterways of the south and the hills and forests of the east. Development is occurring at a rapid pace, with India's large, sprawling cities consisting of everything from five star hotels to shanty towns, and with modern malls and cinemas sitting comfortably alongside bazaars and street food vendors. A trip through India will reveal a diverse range of landscapes, villages, cities and environments.

History and government

City rooftops Praying at the ganges

Early History

India has been inhabited by humans for as long as 75,000 years, with early civilisations flourishing as early as 3300 BC. Subsequent civilisations showed advanced technology and infrastructure with drainages systems and houses made of brick appearing sometime between 2600 and 1900 BC. Over the centuries, India both influenced and was influenced by other nations and kingdoms, with far reaching trade, conquest and migration spreading the subcontinent's culture far and wide. Trading with the Romans, Persians and Greeks ensured that Indian culture had an impact on civilisations that seemed worlds away. Empires rose and fell over the centuries, with the wealthy Mughal Dynasty ruling most of India by 1600. At the same time, different European nations started showing an interest in India after being brought to the area for trade. The Portuguese, Dutch, British and French all had vested interests in India, with the British East India Company being given the rights to trade in India in 1617. The 1857 rebellion and War of Independence culminated in the decline of Mughal rule and were considered the first movements against the British Raj's heavy handed rule of the country. India's independence movement continued to grow and soon changed the face of India's future.

Recent History

By the 1920s, India's independence movement had grown considerable momentum with Mohandas Gandhi leading mass movements based on passive resistance and non-cooperation against the British Raj. Although it took decades, India finally gained independence in 1947. More recently, India has seen dramatic changes in society mainly due to modernisation and globalisation. A new wave of prosperity has seen the rise of the middle class, with men and women entering into new work roles in telecommunications, manufacturing and business. India's large cities are dealing with mass migration of rural citizens, who are moving to the city to seek better employment, education and opportunities for their children. Delhi successfully hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2010, further putting India on the map as an increasingly cosmopolitan, modern country.

Top Picks

'Potent Pleasures' - Local chopping fresh chillies Spice market stall in Rajasthan, India Silky Sophistication - Lady wearing pink sari and sparkly bangles

Top 10 Sensory Experiences of India

1. Potent Pleasures

Breathe in the intoxicating aroma of fresh spices while wandering through the bustling markets of India. Cardamom, coriander, cinnamon and nutmeg are classic spices of the subcontinent and aren't hard to find - the fresh scent envelopes markets across the country.

2. Fiery Flavours

Treat your tastebuds to the spicy flavors of India with a traditional aromatic curry. Indulge in the heady mix of coconut milk, chilli, ginger, ghee and spices, then cool down by sipping on a refreshing Lassi - the prefect antidote to the unrelenting heat of an Indian curry.

3. Colourful Chaos

Experience the urban cacophony of Delhi - a unique collision of cultures, cattle and people. Hear the rumble of cars, truck and buses, the frantic calls of street vendors and hawkers, the sizzle of food and the rustic ring of a cow bell in this unforgettable and irrepressible city.

4. In The Pink

Admire the dazzling pink hues of Jaipur. Watch the historic palaces, forts, temples and monuments of the 'Pink City' be bathed in a dusky pink glow as the golden sun sets over the dramatic Aravalli Range.

5. Rat Race

Walk barefoot through the Karni Mata Temple as thousands of rats scamper across the marble floor. Just felt a furry rodent scurry over your feet? Fear not - it's a sign of good luck in this unique rat-worshipping temple.

6. Instant Karma

Experience the multi-sensory wonder of an Aarti ceremony on the banks of the Ganges. Hear the clanging of bells, watch the luminous glow of fire, smell wafts of pungent incense and hear rousing devotional songs and mantras. Be immersed in the fire and prayer of this Hindu ritual and be changed forever.

7. Gorgeous Goa

Sit beachside in Goa and gaze into the sublime beauty of the ocean. Take a moment to kick back and soak up the clear skies and deep blue sea of this exotic island. Watch the sun's rays shimmer on the horizon and bask in the golden glow of this balmy retreat.

8. Silky Sophistication

For a slice of extravagance, feel the soft, luxurious touch of traditional Indian silk. Made in a variety of vibrant colors and perfect for making everything from saris to prayer mats and decorative hangings to upholstery, the inimitable feel of finely crafted silk is a simple pleasure in life.

9. Answered Prayers

Hear the flutter of prayer flags as they flap in the wind near the isolated monasteries of Dharamsala. In a stark environment of rugged, mountainous landscapes, quietness permeates the air, except for the unique sound of prayer flags collecting prayers and sending them to the heavens above.

10. Big Screen Brilliance

Be treated to a feast for the senses at a bombastic Bollywood movie screening. Covet the glamorous costumes, marvel at the energetic choreography and delight in the lively music. Revel in the razzle dazzle of the whole spectacle and be swept away by the irresistible charm of India's triumphant cinematic phenomenon.

Shopping

Tea picking

India's fragrant bazaars, modern boutiques and village markets are brimming with wares harnessing centuries of artistic traditions. With talented artisans and top quality items at low prices, India is a shopper's paradise.

It's a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand generally have strict quarantine laws.

Things to buy in India

1. Jewellery

From big, chunky ornate silver earrings to vibrant bangles and bold statement rings, India's silversmiths and jewellery makers ensure there are lots of pieces to choose from in the bazaars and shops.

2. Wraps, Scarves and Shawls

Whether you're looking for pricey pashmina, luxurious silk or colorful cotton, India has a huge variety of materials to wrap yourself in.

3. Tea

If you're lucky enough to be able to bring tea into your home country, then pick up some of the world's finest tea from the Darjeeling, Assam or Nilgiri regions.

4. Linen

Indian cotton sheets, embroidered bed spreads and colorful cushion covers can be picked up in bazaars at a fraction of the price paid elsewhere.

Festivals and Events in India

Holi

Travellers get a chance to revel in a tangible rainbow at this festival, which occurs throughout different regions of India. While northern India has the largest celebrations, Goa and some other areas also participate in this festival with Hindu origins. Colourful powders fly through the air onto crowds of people; water balloons explode in the street, food and drink flow and devotees slip into trances - all culminating into a wonderful festival of vibrancy.

Diwali

See firecrackers, lanterns, gift giving and gift receiving during this Hindu festival of lights. While many shops and businesses close during this period of spiritual significance, it's still a special time to visit, with moving pujas (offerings) and rituals to witness.

Pushkar Camel Fair

Thousands of camels (and their owners dressed in their finest garb) descend upon Rajasthan's Pushkar for the annual camel fair. Camels are traded and raced, acrobats and performers entertain crowds at a nearby fair, while finely dressed males and bejewelled females take the chance to let their hair down.

FAQs on India

While not mandatory, tipping porters, drivers, restaurant staff and other service workers is considered polite. When taking into account the low wages earned by the average Indian person, a small tip of 5-10% of the service is a gracious way to show your appreciation.
The internet has grown rapidly in India, so finding Wi-Fi access and cyber cafes in the large cities and regional centres won't be a problem. Smaller towns, isolated areas and rural villages may have limited to no access.
Mobile phone coverage is generally good in urban areas, but can be patchy and less reliable in rural and mountainous areas. Ensure global roaming is activated on your phone before you arrive.
Squat toilets are the most common toilets in India. Always carry your own toilet paper and soap or hand sanitizer, as they are usually not provided. Western-style flushable toilets can be found in up-market restaurants, five-star hotels and in some tourist areas.
Cup of tea = 5 INR
Small bottle of beer = 40 INR
Basic street food plate = 40-60 INR
Buffet dinner in a nice restaurant = 800-1500 INR
It's not recommended to drink the tap water in India. Filtered water is a better option; try to use a refillable canteen or water bottle rather than buying bottled water. Remember to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit before eating.
Credit cards are usually accepted by modern hotels, restaurants and medium-to-large shops in tourist areas. Smaller shops, cafes, market stalls and places in remote areas probably won’t have facilities that support credit cards, so ensure you have enough cash to cover expenses while in rural areas or when visiting smaller vendors and bazaars.
ATMs can be found in India's large cities so finding one shouldn’t be a problem. Smaller towns and isolated areas will have very few or none at all, so have enough cash to cover purchases when out of major cities.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Jan 24 Milad-Un-Nabi (Birth of the Prophet)
Jan 26 Republic Day
Mar 10 Mahashivratri
Mar 29 Good Friday
Apr 1 Easter Monday
Apr 23 Mahavir Jayanthi
May 25 Buddha Purnima (Buddha's Birthday)
Aug 8 Id ul Fitr (End of Ramadan)
Aug 15 Independence Day
Aug 28 Krishna Janmashtami
Oct 2 Mahatma Gandhi's Birthday
Oct 14 Dussehra (Vijaya Dashami)
Oct 15 Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice)
Nov 3 Deepavali or Diwali (Festival of the Lights)
Nov 4 Muharram (Islamic New Year)
Nov 17 Guru Nanak's Birthday
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 26 Boxing Day

Please note these dates are for 2013. Many festivals are timed to the lunar calendar therefore some of these dates are estimates only. Furthermore, there are many other religious holidays observed regionally throughout India. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/India/public-holidays
INDIA:
Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany: Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance OR on arrival*
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance

There is NO visa on arrival in India for most nationalities. Indian visas can NOT be obtained in Nepal. Tourist visas are available in Single and Multiple Entry. Be sure to check the date you require a visa from and the length of time you will need to cover, especially if you change countries during your trip.

*Visa on arrival is available for select nationalities, including New Zealanders provided that specific criteria can be met. See link below for more information.
http://india.gov.in/spotlight/encouraging-inbound-tourism-tourist-visa-arrival-tvoa-scheme INDIEN:
Australien: Ja - im Voraus
Belgien: Ja - im Voraus
Kanada: Ja - im Voraus
Deutschland: Ja - im Voraus
Irland: Ja - im Voraus
Niederlande: Ja - im Voraus
Neuseeland: Ja - im Voraus
Südafrika: Ja - im Voraus
Schweiz: Ja - im Voraus
Großbritannien: Ja - im Voraus
USA: Ja - im Voraus

In Indien wird bei Ankunft KEIN Visum ausgestellt. Indische Visa können NICHT in Nepal ausgestellt werden. Touristenvisa gibt es mit einfacher und mehrfacher Einreise. Stellen Sie sicher, dass Ihr Visum am Tag der Einreise gültig ist und den gesamten Aufenthaltszeitraum in Indien umfasst, insbesondere wenn Sie während Ihrer Reise durch mehrere Länder reisen.

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

India Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for India

1. Be considerate of India’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered, especially when entering places of worship.

3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.

4. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

5. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!

6. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.

7. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

8. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

9. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

10. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.

The Intrepid Foundation

The Intrepid Foundation provides travellers with an opportunity to give something back to the many wonderful communities we travel to. By donating to The Intrepid Foundation you can make a difference in local communities - in health care, education, human rights, child welfare and the protection of wildlife and the environment.

In India, The Intrepid Foundation proudly supports:

Asha Ka Jharna

Providing essential services to disabled children and adults, this Rajasthan-based organisation assists disempowered people to feel part of their community. Vocational training, education, guidance and counselling all help to foster self reliance and confidence.

Image supplied by Asha Ka Jharna.

Deepalaya

This organisation builds a better future for Delhi's street children by providing food, housing, health care, education and emotional support.

Image supplied by Deepalaya.

GOONJ

This innovative group turns unwanted clothing into useful items for India's needy people. It also distributes donated books, school uniforms, toys, blankets and utensils across the country to disadvantaged students in need.

Image supplied by GOONJ.

To learn more or donate, go to: www.theintrepidfoundation.org

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
A Fine BalanceRohinton Mistry
Razor's EdgeSomerset Maugham
Life of PiYann Martel
The God of Small ThingsArundhati Roy
Holy CowSarah Macdonald
ShantaramGregory David Roberts
Gandhi, An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with TruthMahatma Gandhi
A Suitable BoyVikram Seth
No Full Stops in IndiaMark Tully
The Discovery of IndiaJawaharlal Nehru