India travel guides
Coorg’s verdant setting and abundance of wildlife attracts tourists from all over the world. When planning a visit to this scenic corner of Karnataka, you can choose between staying in budget hotels in bustling towns or at peaceful, luxurious resorts on their outskirts. When you move out of Madikeri and Virajpet, you'll find many homestays surrounded by sprawling plantations.View full guide
India travel guides
Sun, sand, and beaches are Alibaug's hallmarks. Visitors also come to marvel at the 17th-century forts and the colonial ruins in the seaside town and its surrounding areas. While planning your stay here, you can choose between high-end hotels and budget accommodation. You can also opt for tranquil beach resorts or farmhouses out in the countryside.
Agra takes pride in its fascinating history and its association with the iconic Taj Mahal. The city's accommodation options include world-class resort hotels offering lavish spa treatments, but there's something for every budget. If you're looking for all the comforts of home without a high price tag, you'll find that in Agra, too.
Nainital's emerald lake, surrounded by a lush, pine-forested valley, has long attracted tourists to the town. The cluster of hotels running along the lake's promenade on Mall Road, ranging from budget to luxury, all offer lake views. Even hotels tucked in quiet alleyways usually offer an inspiring outlook of Himalayan peaks or Naini Lake.
Mysore has hotels to suit all tastes and budgets, ranging from opulent heritage hotels to friendly little guesthouses. Many visitors are attracted by converted palaces once used by the royal family, which offer a romantic escape alongside history and style. Meanwhile, long-stay yoga students have their pick of budget hotels and lodges to choose from, which are often family-run.
Lonavala is a prized getaway destination for residents of nearby Mumbai and Pune, who mingle there with visitors from around the world. The town caters to travellers in search of something special, which is why so many of its holiday villas and resort hotels offer stunning views combined with excellent services. The Indian saying "Guest is God" illustrates the importance locals place on warmth and hospitality.
Wherever you decide to stay in Pondicherry (also known as Puducherry), you'll always be within a short distance of the city's many beaches. The French Quarter is one of the most culturally rich areas and its pastel-coloured colonial buildings have a rustic charm. Auroville is the hub of health, wellness, and spirituality in Pondicherry.
In Srinagar and the surrounding hills you can find a high-end hotel for a romantic escape or settle back at a colonial-style retreat. Many travellers make the trip to Kashmir to experience the serenity of staying on a houseboat on Dal or Nagin Lake. In wintertime, the nearby ski resort of Gulmarg is popular with visitors.
Munnar's lush surrounds and colonial history make it an interesting place to stay. It was a popular retreat for the British during the colonial era and continues to attract Indian and international tourists today. Accommodation ranges from budget hotels in the main town to plush resorts in the hills. Homestays are another alternative which offer an insight into Munnar's culture.
As a popular tourist hub, Kodaikanal offers an abundance and a variety of accommodation. For honeymooners, staying by the lake adds that extra touch of romance to your trip. Families like to camp in the north at large resorts packed with facilities for kids. If you're solo or travelling with a group of friends you can find a budget-friendly cottage to rent in neighbouring Vattakanal.
Located 800 meters above sea level in Mumbai's Raigad district, tranquil Matheran offers a range of accommodation options to suit your style and budget. You can base yourself in the town itself or in the nearby cities of Panvel and Navi Mumbai, and choose between lavish 5-star hotels, traditional resorts, and simple motels.
A shopping trip in Coorg offers visitors the opportunity to stock up on organic goodies. Local shops in the district's market areas sell aromatic coffee beans, hand-picked spices, and bottles of golden honey. If you’d like to add colour to your wardrobe and home, browse through Tibetan stalls at Bylakuppe to find bright-hued textiles and ornaments.
A popular weekend escape, the hills of Coorg are packed with adventures and cultural experiences. On treks and safaris, you can spot wildlife and admire the splendor of vast forests. The rivers that criss-cross the district are hotspots for rafting, angling, and kayaking, while travellers looking for a more spiritual experience can meditate at a Buddhist monastery.
Lush Coorg, known locally as Kodagu, stands amid the Western Ghats mountains range. The district's plantation-covered hills, abundant forests, and tranquil waterways make it a star tourist attraction in South India. Its deciduous and evergreen forests are inhabited by elephants and tigers. A 5-hour drive from Bangalore, Coorg is a favorite with trekkers, campers, and water sports enthusiasts.
A bustling seaside getaway, Alibaug fills up with city dwellers who come here for a rejuvenating break. While pottering around the beaches is the favorite pastime for visitors, there’s a whole lot more to do in and around the town. You can catch glimpses of Alibaug's naval base origins in its forts, and retrace the history of Judaism in India at Jewish settlements.
In its 17th-century heyday, Alibaug served as a naval base for the Maratha Empire. Located 100 km south of Mumbai, today's Alibaug is a weekend getaway, where you can relax on the beach, explore several historic forts, and indulge in thrilling water sports.
Agra is an exciting shopping destination where you'll find distinctive handicrafts, locally made jewelry, and memorable souvenirs inlaid with marble. Embroidery and handwoven carpets created using traditional techniques make colourful gifts to take home. From lively bazaars serving tasty street food to welcoming, family-owned stores, the city offers an inspiring variety of retail experiences.
Agra's beautifully preserved buildings and centuries-old markets almost make it possible to imagine life when it was the capital of the Mughal Empire. Exploring the city on foot or by bike is a fascinating way to see some of its less-visited sights, while visitors can enjoy close encounters with elephants and bears at 2 world-class animal sanctuaries.
Agra is where you'll find one of the most romantic wonders the world, the Taj Mahal. It's also a destination with spiritual mythology dating back to the ancient "Mahabharata." With elegant gardens from the Mughal era, peaceful wildlife sanctuaries, and 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the city offers a wealth of exciting choices for visitors.
Nainital has plenty of clothes shops for visitors to browse in, especially along Mall Road which specializes in street fashion. For bazaar bargains on woolen products like shawls, sweaters, socks, and gloves, head to the Tibetan Market. You'll find quirky wooden souvenirs, hill produce, organic fruit preserves, and handicrafts in the alleyways that radiate away from Mall Road, such as Bara Bazar.
Peaceful Nainital has something for everyone. Take your pick from a leisurely boat ride on Naini Lake for laid-back travellers, hiking trails to nearby peaks for nature lovers, or a tour of 19th-century heritage buildings for history enthusiasts. You can also visit the bustling bazaars which surround the lake to sample delicious Indian street food specialties.
Spread around a freshwater lake, Nainital is a tranquil hill station in the state of Uttarakhand. Just an hour’s drive from the scorching Gangetic plains, the town has a temperate climate. Naini Lake is the main attraction for many visitors, but Nainital also offers views of the high Himalayas, heritage buildings dating back to the mid-19th century, and hiking trails.
Shopping in Kodaikanal is a great way to engage with local culture, as vendors trade in handicrafts from around India and fresh produce from the nearby hills. Happy travellers return from expeditions to the bazaar area around Kodaikanal Lake with armfuls of colourful hand-woven fabrics, bags of souvenirs, and boxes of aromatics and chocolates.
The name Kodaikanal means "gift of the forest" in the native Tamil language. The surrounding Palani Hills and Shola Forests open out into deep valleys, inlaid with waterfalls and shrouded by swirls of mist. Visitors can make the most of this mysterious landscape by rowing across blue lakes, climbing green hills, and standing still to listen to birds, breezes, and rushing waters.
A favorite with honeymooners and nature-lovers, Kodaikanal has been called the "Princess of Hill Stations." The lush green Palani Range stands shrouded in mist above Kodaikanal’s blue lakes. As you retreat into its serene hills, on winding roads bordered by tall trees, you can take a refreshing breather from the noise and stress of city life.
The small hill station of Matheran offers a range of shops and market stalls selling handmade goods at reasonable prices. Sweet chikki (traditional candy similar to nut brittle) renowned among locals, is sold in a variety of flavors. For a more cosmopolitan shopping experience, you can take a day trip to Panvel or Navi Mumbai.
The hill station of Matheran (which means “forest on top”) offers Ayurvedic spas where you can enjoy natural healing and adventure sports which will get your adrenaline pumping. You can choose between relaxation and thrill-seeking or, in the yogic sensibility of balance, try a little of both. Either way, the town's car and bicycle-free streets make it a peaceful place to stay.
If you’re looking for a break from the noise and the bustle of city life, then a trip to the peaceful hill station of Matheran might be exactly what you need. Just 83 km from Mumbai, high in the Western Ghats mountain range in Maharashtra, Matheran is one of the smallest and most popular hill stations in India.
Mysore is a great place to shop for unusual and high-quality souvenirs. The city is famous the world over for its exquisite silks, which have been woven here for centuries. Also made locally are rosewood and sandalwood carvings, ranging from figures of the gods to pieces of inlaid furniture. Incense sticks, or agarbathies, are exported worldwide. Sandalwood and jasmine are the most popular scents.
Mysore has museums, heritage architecture, and historic sites in abundance, but also offers sparkling lakes, spacious gardens, and several nature parks. The zoo is home to 100s of native animals, while bird-spotting at Karanji Lake is a relaxing experience. A worthwhile excursion is to Sri Chamundeshwari Temple, perched on Chamundi Hill, from where you can take in a view of all Mysore.
The City of Palaces, the Ivory City, and - officially - Mysuru; Karnataka's second city has many names. Glorious royal mansions and impressive monuments lie on tree-lined boulevards, while the old town's rambling alleys and local markets make an intriguing contrast. It’s one of India's most popular destinations for students of Ashtanga yoga and Ayurveda, as well as being a shopping hub for silk and sandalwood.
Lonavala is a picturesque town known for its cool climate, rushing waterfalls, and rolling hills. Along with impressive natural attractions, you'll also come across an abundance of traditional candy shops, where you can sample chikkis (candies similar to nut brittle) and fudge. Lonavala Bazaar is an outdoor market with small shops selling everything from souvenirs, to clothes, and food.
Lovers of natural beauty and trekking in scenic surroundings will enjoy visiting Lonavala. Exploring the area on foot gives you the opportunity to experience its lush green valleys, rolling hills, and crisp air, at a leisurely pace. You can finish your trek by visiting an ancient Buddhist cave, or by taking time to reflect at a world-class yoga institute and Ayurvedic healing centre.
Lonavala is a peaceful hill station over 600 meters above sea level and 96 km from bustling Mumbai. It's well-known for its chikki (traditional Indian candies) and its lush scenery during monsoon season, when tourism peaks. Surrounded by hills, lakes, waterfalls, and quaint villas, it makes an ideal weekend getaway for nearby city dwellers.
The colourful wares sold at Pondicherry (also known as Puducherry) market show off the splendor of the city's past and the talents of its local artists. Boutiques and curio shops are bursting with bright fabrics and interesting handicrafts. A shopping spree in Pondicherry is not just about picking up vacation souvenirs, it's a fascinating introduction to a vibrant artisan culture.
Fondly known as "Pondy," Pondicherry (also called Puducherry) is a popular tourist destination. It's a 21st-century city steeped in history and surrounded by quiet beaches. Pondy was once the stomping ground of French colonists, who groomed the settlement to resemble their homeland. Today, travellers marvel at colonial-era houses and cathedrals, and visit tranquil spiritual centres.
East meets West in picturesque Pondicherry (also known as Puducherry) and its 2 distinct cultural identities are separated by a canal that snakes through the city. On 1 side, you experience the enduring charm of Pondy's former status as a French settlement by the sea. On the other, Pondicherry is a bustling Indian town with lively festivals and rituals.
Shopping in Srinagar is an adventure. You can expect to be jostled in traditional markets and to poke through stores that haven’t changed much since the time of the British Raj. Kashmiri handicrafts are famed worldwide for their distinctive designs and the skill of their craftsmen. Head to Srinagar for the source of fine pashmina shawls and richly lacquered papier-mâché work.
Tranquil lakes framed by mountain peaks, ancient temples, and elaborate Mughal gardens are among Srinagar's top sights. The city and its surrounds offer exciting adventures and fantastic photo opportunities, so take your time to explore. Trekking in the Himalayas, staying on a houseboat, and haggling at markets selling Kashmiri handicrafts are just a few of its attractions.
Known as the “Venice of the East,” Srinagar is the summer capital of the valley of Kashmir. A water lover’s paradise famous for its natural beauty, the city attracts visitors with its tranquil lakes, cozy houseboats and picturesque gardens originally created by Mughal emperors. Holy Hindu temples and distinctive wooden mosques are dotted around the city, too.
Shopping in Munnar is a feast for the senses. You can stock up for a picnic at market stalls piled high with bananas and mangoes, sift through vibrant fabrics at a community project, and buy tea from its source in the plantations. Fragrant spices are grown in the surrounding hills and supplies of cardamom, pepper, and cinnamon make delicious souvenirs to cook with back home.
Munnar's famous tea gardens are the main attraction for most travellers who wind their way up to this hill station amid the Western Ghats. But while the sculpted tea bushes covering the hillsides are a memorable sight, gazing at plantations isn't the only option here. You can spot leopards and go trekking in national parks, or take a Keralan cookery class in town.
Perched 1,600 meters above sea level, tranquil Munnar has been attracting visitors since the colonial era. The long-departed British Government retreated to this hill station every summer for their fix of mountain air, and it remains a popular Keralan destination today. It's a lush sight: tea plantations cover hills framed by the Western Ghats. Head out of town for impressive views, wildlife sanctuaries, and trekking.
As darkness descends on Coorg, travellers gear up to experience a different side of this rural district by night. If you'd prefer a relaxing evening discussing the day's activities, park yourself on a stool at one of Madikeri's many bars. However, if you’d like your adventures to continue, you can sign up for wilderness camping trips or arrange drives along sanctuary roads.
As night falls on Hyderabad the Charminar, the city's beloved monument, glows with golden lights. Bazaars buzz with energy and chatter, while street vendors call out to you to buy their wares. Elsewhere in the city, you can join a hip crowd for a night of cocktails, dancing, and music. If you like things more low-key, drop by a cinema to catch the latest blockbuster.
Hyderabad offers a wealth of experiences for families. Outings to nearby national parks and museums are engaging and educational for kids. A short drive from this ancient city, you can also soak up the culture of indigenous tribes and discover rural handicrafts. To make the most of your time, plan an action-packed itinerary of wildlife-spotting, stargazing, and visiting amusement parks.
Under the Qutb Shahi and Asaf Jahi (also known as the "Nizams") dynasties, Hyderabad claimed cultural supremacy in the region. From the 16th century onwards, the city welcomed artists, who built architectural landmarks and specialized in exquisite handicrafts. Many of these still exist and, although Hyderabad has since evolved into a technology hub, you’ll find that its artistic heritage remains the star attraction.
In keeping with its origins as a hill station retreat, Kodaikanal is more a place for rest and relaxation than all-night revelry. Things do slow down after dark up here, but that doesn't mean you have to put yourself straight to bed. In town or out in the forest, you can discover a different side of Kodaikanal when the sun goes down.
Beautiful Udaipur has been the backdrop for many films, including "The Darjeeling Limited," "Gandhi," and the James Bond movie "Octopussy." Ornate Rajasthani- and Mughal-influenced architecture creates a fairytale setting that draws visitors from around the world. The city is at the heart of Rajasthan's heritage and you can see fascinating artifacts, monuments, palaces, and temples.
With a rich Bengali tradition embracing poetry, music, theatre, film, and art, Kolkata is known as the cultural and intellectual capital of India. You can visit galleries, explore heritage buildings, and enjoy films or musical performances. Consider timing a visit to coincide with Durga Puja, West Bengal's biggest religious celebration, or the annual international film festival held in November.
In the past, Coorg's hilly landscape meant the district had little access to fresh produce from the plains and the coast. Although the region is no longer so isolated, many dishes in Coorg still feature vegetables, spices, and meat sourced locally. Today, restaurants often serve spicy Kodava cuisine alongside popular South Indian dishes and global favorites.
Alibaug faces the Arabian Sea, so you won't be surprised at the predominance of fish on local restaurant menus. The region's 2 most common cuisines are Malvani, the diet of the Konkan people of Maharashtra, and Gomantak, which is closely related to Goan cuisine. Both are renowned for dishes rich in coconut and spices.
Agra is a great place to sample traditional Mughlai cuisine, which combines Persian influences, such as nuts and dried fruits, with aromatic North Indian spices. Richly spiced, creamy curries feature on many restaurant menus and dishes are often shared. The region's fascinating history is reflected in the variety of ingredients and flavors on offer.
From spicy, aromatic street eats to a smorgasbord of Indian, Continental, and Chinese dishes (known as "multicuisine"), Nainital offers many options to tempt your taste buds. Attuned to the palates of tourists, the restaurants along Nainital’s Mall Road serve everything from North Indian delicacies like aloo parathas (flatbread stuffed with spiced potato) to international grub like pepper steaks and pizzas.
Kodaikanal draws tourists from around the world, and the local restaurant scene caters to a global range of tastes. You can embark on your own culinary adventure here, sampling all the spices, sauces, and fresh vegetables of home-cooked South Indian food. But any traveller who's hungry for a taste of home will also be able to find something comforting and familiar to eat.
There's an impressive variety of places to eat in Matheran given its small size, with Maharashtrian cuisine the most readily available. But you'll also be able to enjoy Chinese, Punjabi, Gujarati, and Mughlai dishes, each with their own flavorful twist. Vegetarian food features prominently, but meat dishes are offered at some restaurants, too.
Mysore is an ideal place for getting to grips with the fragrant flavors that characterize Kannada cooking. Classic South Indian breakfasts include idli (round, spongy, rice-and-lentil cakes) and vada (fried-gram doughnuts), which come accompanied by coconut and green-chilli chutneys. It’s easy to find western or regional Indian food as well, with popular items like pasta or rogan josh on many menus.
The Marathi cuisine you'll be able to enjoy in Lonavala is flavorful, with vegetarian dishes featuring prominently. Ingredients such as potatoes, eggplants, onions, coconut, lentils, chickpeas, and dried fruits are staples in a Marathi diet, paired with delicious spices and different types of bread. South Indian favorites like idlis and dosas, plus Chinese dishes, are also popular here.
Much like the city itself, Pondicherry’s culinary scene comes with a French twist. From smart restaurants in the French Quarter to beachfront cafés filled with sea breeze, they all offer French classics, accompanied by Italian and Romanian favorites. Indian flavors feature too, with a parade of popular dishes from both the north and south making an appearance on most menus.
Known for its extravagant use of spices, Kashmiri cooking is considered an art form. Slow-cooked meat dishes are complemented by exotic pulao rice, sweetened by dried fruit and nuts. Other regional Indian cuisines are widely available, including favorites such as chicken tikka masala. And an important ingredient of any Kashmiri meal is green tea, known as kahwa, boiled with saffron, cardamom, and cinnamon.
The aromatic South Indian cuisine you can sample in Munnar and its surrounds uses generous amounts of coconut in most dishes. Seafood also features on many menus and the region's ubiquitous fish curry can be tasted at many local restaurants. Other popular ingredients include lentils, dried chilies, tamarind, and ginger.
Surrounded by the slopes of the rugged Western Ghats, Coorg is a tranquil district in south Karnataka. It's a popular weekend retreat for city-dwellers who come to explore its diverse flora and fauna. Visitors can spend their vacation hiking along plantation trails, white-water rafting on fast-flowing rivers, or spotting wildlife at national parks.
Alibaug’s vast beaches carpeted in soft sands make for a relaxing holiday. While here, you can also explore Alibaug’s ruined 17th-century forts, and experience the fading culture of the Bene Israel people, who settled in India centuries ago. Towns close by are worth visiting for their colonial ruins and serene seashores.
The fascinating city of Agra is easily accessible from Delhi and Mumbai by air or train. With 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Taj Mahal, as well as Mughal-era gardens and tombs, it's a destination that deserves a few days of your time. Persian ingredients blend with North Indian cooking traditions in the flavorful local cuisine.
The mild hill climate of Nainital and the shimmering, green waters of Naini Lake attract tourists throughout the year. The town's proximity to Delhi, the Indian capital, makes it a popular weekend destination for city dwellers. You'll be able to gaze at many inspiring views throughout your stay - from pine and deodar forests to snow-capped mountains, and the lake itself.
With its towering green hills, misty forests, and shimmering star-shaped lake, Kodaikanal was established in the 19th century as a summer retreat from the heat of Tamil Nadu. After more than a century of visitors, this "Princess of Hill Stations" is still in tune with its surrounding natural beauty, but also with the needs of tourists who fill the local restaurants, hotels, and shops.
The quaint hill station of Matheran is cooler and less humid than nearby Mumbai or Pune. The area's steep mountains mean there are many viewpoints with stunning views of cliffs and waterfalls, as well as dramatic vertical drops to the valley below. Many visitors are drawn to Matheran for its tranquillity and natural beauty.
Mysore is known as a tolerant and safe city, and has excellent transport connections to other Indian cities by plane or train. Most citizens are Hindu, but there are sizeable Muslim and Jain communities too, giving an interesting religious mix. Mysore has embraced its heritage, and this regal history is felt through its architecture and centuries-old traditions that are still celebrated and preserved.
Around 65 km from Pune, Lonavala is a peaceful and unspoiled hill station. Staying in 1 of the upscale villas or resorts dotted around the town and surrounding area makes for a truly memorable vacation experience. Misty waterfalls, cliff-top views, and picturesque hiking trails attract outdoor enthusiasts. Rock-cut Buddhist caves filled with ancient artifacts are fascinating to see up close.
Pondicherry (also known as Puducherry) is a city of blended cultures, offering French colonial heritage, inviting beaches, and spiritual history. The French Quarter's pastel-yellow and creamy-white buildings, lined along cobbled streets, add to the city's tropical, rustic character. Botanical gardens, lush parks, sandy beaches, and a vast spiritual retreat centre provide ample opportunities for rest, relaxation, and fun.
Srinagar is significantly cooler than the rest of India and the best time to visit is between March and October. Over 95 percent of the population is Muslim, which has influenced cuisine, architecture, and the arts. For many years there have been security concerns about Kashmir, although no tourists have been targeted since the 1990s. However, you'll see a strong military presence in town.
A peaceful hill station, set among tea plantations in the Kannan Devan Hills, Munnar makes a good base for exploring the Western Ghats. The area is renowned for its mild climate and warm hospitality. Munnar has long been a popular honeymoon destination and is gradually drawing more international visitors. You can see bungalows and churches constructed by British settlers, and go walking in the hills.
Once the sun sets on this pink city, other colours begin to shine, glow a multitude of hues in the balmy night air. From traditional performance art shows, such as puppetry and theatre, to posh cocktails at opulent, Colonial-style bars, Jaipur nightlife is exotic and beguiling.
With its combination of high-art treasures and desolate desert forts, Jaipur may not seem like a top family destination, but with a bit of creativity and a gutsy sense of adventure, you’ll do more than simply keep the kids entertained – you’ll give them the trip of a lifetime.
Suffused in a pink glow, the many palaces and temples of Jaipur give this city an air of majesty. Dating back to 1727, Jaipur wears its centuries of history with an assured grace. In the midst of the very Indian noise and chaos, regal gardens and hidden forts create pockets of stillness and calm.
While Goa is tranquil during the day, come nightfall you can expect to find an energetic entertainment scene of bars, clubs, and casinos, particularly in larger towns and cities like Calangute and Panaji.
The sun-speckled paradise of Goa boasts sweeping golden sands and a lavish nightlife, but there are dozens of attractions, events, and activities designed for fun-filled family days out. Whether they're riding elephants or swimming in the sea, Goa is bound to keep your kids entertained.
Although Goa is the smallest Indian state, it certainly doesn’t fall short when it comes to its arts and culture. Beyond the soft gold beaches, you’ll discover dozens of museums, old-world art galleries, and contemporary bohemian showrooms, as well as an array of architecturally-stunning churches and temples.
A traditionally conservative city, Chennai has blossomed in the last decade into a burgeoning cosmopolitan metropolis, brimming with gleaming malls, chic restaurants, and buzzing bars and clubs. If you’re looking for a lively place to hang out on a rainy day, Chennai’s also scattered with cinemas.
Look between Chennai’s bustling metropolitan streets and you’ll discover golden beaches perfect for building sandcastles, a selection of wildlife-filled nature reserves and parks, and some fun kid-friendly entertainment spots. Plus when you’re feeling peckish, you can hunt out some tempting child-friendly eateries, too.
From ancient temples to colonial relics, Chennai’s brimming with architectural gems. Alongside the traditional Tamil style – think colourful Carnatic dance and music recitals – there’s a growing cosmopolitan breeze drifting over this beachside city, with swanky boutiques and glitzy restaurants popping up amid the religious sites, cultural institutes, and historic architecture.
While there’s more than enough to keep you busy in Bengaluru during the day, you’ll want to save some energy for the city’s buzzing nightlife. Bengaluru boasts a thriving theatre tradition and a strong live music scene. But if you simply want to unwind with a quiet drink, this modern metropolis also has plenty of elegant bars.
Although Bengaluru’s vast, sprawling size and imposing skyline of glitzy high-rises may make it seem like an intimidating city to explore with the kids, there’s actually plenty of entertaining family-themed attractions situated both centrally and further afield, ranging from lush gardens to dazzling fun-centres.
Bengaluru is known as India's Silicon Valley, but it's also the arts and culture capital of the Karnataka state. As well as being drenched in lush greenery, the city overflows with historical sights including grand palaces to centuries-old forts. Then there are the museums and galleries which showcase everything from ancient archaeological finds to captivating contemporary artwork.
As such a large city, Pune compromises many different neighbourhoods and districts, each with their own distinct atmosphere. The city’s universities and colleges give certain areas a chilled-out, academic vibe, infused with a youthful nightlife, while more touristy parts offer fine hotels with immediate access to Pune’s unforgettable palaces and temples. Whether you’re looking to relax in heavenly 5-star luxury, or are an urban adventurer travelling on a budget, Pune has a neighbourhood for you.
Pune’s flourishing shopping scene is a huge part of the city’s culture. Luxury shopping malls - speckled with tall fountains and flowery courtyards - make for a relaxed and indulgent day out, while the many market stalls provide an unforgettably buzzing setting for bargain hunters on the prowl. Whether you’re in the market for fine designer clothes, soft silky fabrics, curious trinkets or delectable foods, Pune offers it all.
Many of Pune’s most marvellous attractions are found in the centre. Discover grand old-world palaces and inspirational museums that tell of Pune’s riveting royal and military history. The city is home to several stately colleges, where the lush grounds and Oxford-inspired architecture make for pleasant strolls. Pune’s religious heritage provides dozens of magical temples. Dotted throughout the city, these golden temples will immerse you in Pune’s colourful culture, past and present.
Pune is a dazzling city set on the banks of the mighty Mutha River, in India’s western green-washed state of Maharashtra. The city dates back over 2,000 years, and its infinitely intriguing heritage can be explored in the palaces and ornate temples, which house flower-covered golden shrines and stone monuments. Food-lovers will rejoice at the mix of spicy street food and laid back restaurants, and you'll get swept away by Pune’s spellbinding dance and music festivals.
As one of Orissa’s 3 golden temple cities, Puri’s alive with religious exuberance. Hindu pilgrims head here year-round, but especially during Ratha Yatra, the dazzling chariot festival, making it a busy, colourful place to stay. Puri's shoreline also pulls in tourists – both Indian and foreign – meaning there’s a lot of hotels, both on and off the beach, from coastal resorts with pools and terraces, to hotels catering for those with tighter budgets.
As one of the holiest of Indian cities – home to Hinduism’s iconic Jagannath Temple – Puri’s brimming with shops and stalls selling colourful religious trinkets and knick-knacks popular with pilgrims and tourists. Orissa’s known for its vibrant handicrafts, and Puri has plenty of these to offer, from seashell-laden lampshades in bright colours to pattachitra – pictures painted on cloth and palm leaf.
A city of colourful temples, which come to life in full religious fervour during Ratha Yatra – the famous chariot festival – Puri is a place of pilgrimage for Hindus. Non-devout Indians head here too, but they come for the city’s swathe of golden sand and plush resort hotels. Not to be missed out, foreign visitors and backpackers have been hitting the beach since the 60s. Whichever group you fit into, Puri’s attractions are bound to intrigue.
At first glance, Puri’s buzzing cacophony of traffic and people might be overwhelming, but this colourful, chaotic, coastal city has an eclectic charm, thanks to its oddball mix of a modern beach resort caught up with a buzzing Hindu pilgrimage centre, and backpacker hangout. As one of Orissa’s three golden temple cities, Puri draws in thousands of Hindu devotees each year, all looking to worship Lord Jagannath – the Lord of the Universe – at his temple.
Honeymooning newlyweds, Indian families retreating from the overbearing summertime heat of the cities, and plucky backbackers enjoying Shimla’s colonial hill station vibe are all won over by this appealing mountain town. Whether you’re looking for a cheap bed while backpacking through northern India, or seeking some luxury surrounded by opulent Colonial style, Shimla has an array of hotels and accommodation options.
Shimla’s markets and shops overflow with traditional Kangra silk scarves and Kinnauri shawls, hand woven in the characteristic geometric patterns of the local area. You’ll also find heaps of cold weather garments, including leather gloves, knitted jumpers and thick fabrics to warm you up on chilly mountain nights. Thanks to the surrounding mountain pine forests, Shimla’s well known for its wooden handicrafts, which make perfect gifts and souvenirs.
High above sea level in the Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh, surrounded by snow-capped mountain ranges, pine tree-crammed forests, and fruit-filled orchards, this bustling hill station has been a summertime retreat from the sweltering northern Indian lowlands since Colonial days. It’s still as popular as ever, with plenty of Indian newlyweds, citied-out families and foreign visitors, who enjoy the novel mix of Colonial-era buildings, a refreshing mountain breeze, and a bustling Indian town.
Shimla will have you out of breath in no time, whether you’re briskly exploring the long, winding lanes of the town centre, taking in Colonial architecture and bustling bazaars, or hiking into pine forests to explore temples and glimpse distant snow-capped mountains. Once the British summertime capital, Shimla’s still a popular mountain retreat from the scorching summer heat of the plains.
Ooty is a town with 2 sides. A hubbub of hotels, restaurants, shops, markets, tourists, and traffic whirs around central Ooty. However, the farther out you head, the less bustling it gets, so by the time you reach the Colonial villas, pretty gardens, and tree-lined avenues of the suburbs, it can feel like you’ve stepped into a different world – and time – altogether.
Ooty’s markets and shops are brimming with cosy scarves, jumpers and fabrics to warm you up on chilly mountain nights. As a prime tourist spot, there are plenty of shops and stalls selling souvenir trinkets and handicrafts. Ooty is well known for its foodie gift items that are produced locally, including tea, chocolate, and gourmet cheeses. Although if you’re not heading home for a while, you might need to scoff the cheese and chocolate yourself.
Visit Ooty in the height of tourist season and it’s hard to believe it was once an undiscovered tribal village. The refreshing hill-top atmosphere of crisp mornings and cooling evenings first appealed to the Colonial-era British, who retreated here from the heat of the plains. Nowadays there’s a mix of Indian tourists and foreign travellers, who come to picnic in the gardens, boat on the lake, and trek into the mountains.
Ooty’s lofty spot high above sea level was first put on the tourist map by Colonial Brits, who would retreat here in the summer. Today you can hide from the incessant heat of the south Indian plains among the Victorian era bungalows. Crowds of tourists are drawn here by the lush grasslands and clusters of evergreen shola woodland, not to mention the terraced tea plantations that surround town.
Manali’s the sort of place where you can relax for hours listening to travellers’ stories with a cup of chai to hand, or head out to the snowy mountains for some adventure sports. Plenty of hotels cater to the stream of backpackers heading to Old Manali or the other hillside villages, and there’s a selection of more upmarket accommodation options thanks to the town’s popularity with Indian tourists.
Thanks to its high-up spot in the Himalayas, Manali’s markets and shops are brimming with cosy scarves, jumpers, and fabrics to snuggle up next to on those chilly mountain nights. As it's a prime tourist spot, you’ll find stores selling all manner of rustic, locally crafted souvenirs and trinkets, perfect for spending your rupees on, as well as plenty of bohemian jewellery and clothing shops.
High-up in Himachal Pradesh, surrounded by snowy mountains, pine tree-filled woodland and fruit-laden orchards, this refreshing Indian hill town is a honeymooner’s oasis, with plenty of Indian newlyweds seeking romance in the mountains. Of course, it’s every bit as popular with outdoor enthusiasts as it is with weary travellers seeking some cooling respite from India’s sticky lowlands, with attractions ranging from hiking trails and ski spots to sleepy hillside villages and thermal springs.
A Manali City Guide – a high-up mountain town popular with free spirits, honeymooners and adventurers
Brimming with couples enjoying the refreshing mountain air, travellers seeking the 1970s hippy hill station vibe and outdoor enthusiasts heading to the mountain trails come sun or snow, Manali’s a top tourist destination nestled in the mountainous Kullu Valley high above sea level. Surrounded by lush green fields and orchards, frothing rivers and tall pine forests, it’s the perfect place for trekking, snow-time adventures, or just chilling out in the cooling Himalayan atmosphere.
A lively hill station perched amid the mountains of the Maharashtra state, Mahabaleshwar is a nature lover’s paradise. From afternoons on the sprawling Venna Lake to evenings feasting on the region’s famous strawberries, there’s a heck of a lot to enjoy. Whether you’re keen to stay in the town centre, for the buzz of the market place, or fancy something a touch quieter, you’ll find plenty of hotels to choose from.
As well as being a top spot for tourists craving India's natural splendour, Mahabaleshwar and the surrounding area is surprisingly good for nabbing yourself a stylish bargain. In between all that trekking, boating, and horse riding across the alluringly lush terrain, you’ll have ample opportunity to indulge in some distinct and diverse retail therapy. Rest assured you’ll arrive home with plenty to show for a unique travelling experience.
A popular destination with walkers, adventurers, honeymooners, and fruit lovers – basically anyone with a penchant for the best of the outdoors – the hill station of Mahabaleshwar affords easy access to a magical landscape just begging to be explored. Peppered with a spectacular array of vantage points, the area ensures that any travellers chasing a glorious sunrise or sunset will be thoroughly spoilt for choice.
Perched amid a glorious succession of deep cutting valleys, rolling hills, and shining lakes, the hill station of Mahabaleshwar is a hypnotic holiday destination. As well as countless views to enjoy, the area is bursting with excellent trekking routes that snake through thick folds of leafy forest and woodland, with plenty of attractions to explore along the way. Any touring foodies and shoppers will also find a good deal to keep them entertained.
A diverse and multicultural centre, New Delhi is bursting with life. Whether you’re a keen tourist looking to burrow into the city’s buzzing bazaars and authentic markets, or a passionate foodie in search of the most inspiring recipes, you’ll want the right place to bed down. You might require something quiet and plush, surrounded by history, or perhaps you don’t care so long as it’s clean and cheap. Rest assured New Delhi’s got you covered.
An essential Indian trading centre since medieval times, New Delhi has very much continued in that vein, with shopping at the top of many a traveller’s agenda when visiting the city. Whether you’re diving head first into the hustle and haggle of the bargain-laden markets – weaving through the crowds and basking in the pungent chaos – or browsing higher-end boutiques before a classy meal, you’re guaranteed a memorable time.
A swirling blend of proud Indian heritage and the fast evolving modern world, New Delhi is a magnetic and intriguing city. Dotted with historic ruins and evocative traces of the Mughal era scattered among the most imposing of modern buildings, India’s capital has something for all tourists. Whether you want to brave the intoxicating markets of the old town or browse an impressive collection of contemporary art, there’s much to choose from.
New Delhi is a city bursting culture, colour, clutter, and chaos. Whether you’re backpacking or planning a luxury city break, there’s a huge amount to immerse yourself in. Taking in the mightily impressive array of historic sights and attractions perched all over the city, as well as the bustling marketplaces drenched in the tastes and smells of India, you’ll relish being an urban explorer in this colourful capital.
Bengaluru – or Bangalore as most know it – is as popular with tourists as it is with the businessmen and women who flood its commercial districts all year round. Just like its tasty cuisine, the city is bursting with colour and spice. Whether you’re diving into the traditional markets on a budget or looking to splash out at some of southern India’s best high street shops, when it comes to accommodation you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Whether you want to fill up a few bags with the latest in designer apparel or check out a traditional local market complete with India’s trademark hectic and fragrant atmosphere, Bengaluru – or Bangalore as most know it – is just the ticket. From epic malls to rough and ready boutiques, shopping in this sprawling south Indian metropolis is as diverse as it is indulgent. It’s a treat not to be missed.
Officially named Bengaluru but known the world over as Bangalore, this huge southern Indian city is bursting with a wealth of contemporary cultural hotspots and historical highlights just waiting to be discovered. The capital of the state of Karnataka, it’s often referred to as the “Garden City of India”, and with it’s many parks and green spaces offering delightful breaks from the vibrant hustle and bustle of the urban sprawl, it’s easy to see why.
A leading light in India’s technology trade, Bengaluru – or Bangalore as it’s more commonly known – is a modern, cosmopolitan, vibrant city that will intrigue anyone interested in today's India. Nicknamed “the Garden City of India”, it’s a landscape peppered with pockets of serene green, while its central shopping area is as thriving and electric as any. For an invigorating dose of culture, you’ll find plenty of top attractions to explore.
Pune’s endless sprawling streets hide a huge variety of restaurants, from tiny family-run curry houses, where the secret spicy recipes have been passed down from generation to generation, to sleek and trendy establishments. But Pune also offers a strong street food culture, with hundreds of vendors cooking up a smorgasbord of delectable delights, ideal for a tastebud tingling late-night snack after bouncing between Pune’s bohemian bars.
You’ll find a good selection of eateries in Puri, from fast food chains to hotel restaurants offering international menus, not to mention local eateries serving up traditional dishes. As with all Indian towns, good value eats can be had from street stalls and on the roadside, where you can try moreish chuda ghasa – a blend of rice, brown sugar, pepper, coconut, cardamom, and golden clarified butter, served with fruit and nuts.
The vast array of cuisine on offer in Shimla means that no matter what your taste, you’re bound to find something to make your mouth water. Due to its popularity with Indian and global visitors, this mountain town’s brimming with places to eat and, as per usual in India, the best deals can often be found in the markets. If your tummy’s not quite used to this, there’s plenty of squeaky clean restaurants too.
Much of Ooty’s best value food is found on the street and in the markets. Plenty of cheap eats are served up by street vendors – especially chaat, or snack food – and the local road-side eateries called dhabas. If your constitution isn’t quite used to street food just yet, Ooty has a selection of dining locations offering Westernised menus, smart restaurants often linked to a hotel, and a handful of good Chinese pig-out spots.
You might be surprised by the sheer choice of cuisine on offer in Manali. Thanks to its popularity with domestic tourists as well as foreign travellers, this mountain town has a vast array of cafés and restaurants. As with most Indian towns, some of the best deals can be found on the street and at the bazaar, but for those with delicate tummies, there’s plenty of mid-range restaurants and international cuisine on offer.
Set deep in one of India’s premier strawberry producing regions, Mahabaleshwar is a hill station literally bursting with sweet and fruity fare. But as well as captivating tourists with every berry-related culinary creation under the sun, the local restaurants churn out a delicious range of dishes to satisfy a wide variety of tastes. Whether you fancy some fine local veg, a Chinese delicacy, or something continental, you’ll not be left wanting.
An exuberantly cosmopolitan society, New Delhi presents visitors with a giant menu of culinary excellence. With sweet and spicy morsels served up amid the winding alleyways and a vast array of restaurants made famous by bold and inventive combinations, there’s something to try at just about every turn. A selection of decades-old establishments dripping with the flavours of authentic northern Indian culture might just prove the highlight of your trip.
A thriving commercial centre with excellent shopping and famous gardens throughout, Bengaluru – otherwise known as Bangalore – is at the heart of southern Indian culture. As such, it’s brimming with the most heartwarming of places to dine. A famously cosmopolitan metropolis, the city’s cuisine certainly represents its diverse spirit, offering anything from traditional bites served by street vendors to swish Western and Oriental buffets.
As Rajasthan is one of the most popular states in India for tourists, you will surely find the perfect accommodation to suit you. The large desert offers a range of accommodation from to high end hotels to attractive themed mid-range hotels as well as in-budget guesthouses. Tourists flock to all of the cities and with tourists come a wide range of accommodation options to choose from.
Rajasthan is known for its bazaars which provide an authentic Indian shopping experience. Locals and tourists alike shop in the street bazaars for everything from daily essentials to souvenirs. Look out for blue pottery, camel leather goods, spices, traditional sarees and brass curry serving dishes. Don’t forget to partake in the bartering game and haggle over prices. When you’ve had enough of bazaars, there are western malls to shop in too.
Rajasthan is such a huge and diverse state, so claiming one national dish is rather hard. However, Rajasthan is a mainly vegetarian state and food is cooked in ghee (rich butter). Daal Baati (lentil curry dumplings) is a popular dish and desserts are eaten before the main meal. Due to the desert region, water and green vegetables are sometimes scarce which impacts cooking styles, instead, milk and butter milk area used.
The largest state in India is home to the pink city of Jaipur, famous for its well organised bazars; lose yourself inside the walls and barter to your heart’s content. Each city has ancient well preserved forts and holy temples to venture to which are full of history and culture. Rajasthan has two national parks where you can see the wild tiger, plus there is a huge desert to explore.
As the largest state in the whole of India, which originally comprised of 22 areas that have now been brought together to form the one state, Rajasthan can seem overwhelming to begin with. Fear not; this guide lays out the most prominent cities and towns to visit in this desert state and what they are known for.
As the largest city in India, accommodation in Mumbai mostly consists of hotels and only a few hostels. The bustling cosmopolitan city does offer cheap hotels from the reasonable and comfortable 2-3 star properties to luxurious and glamorous 5 star hotels. Stay on Marine Drive to be among the action in up-market hotels, or head to the suburbs in west Mumbai for a quieter and cheaper stay.
As one of India’s biggest cities with a fast growing economy, Mumbai has many attractive western shopping malls. There are also plenty of markets and stalls to grab a real Indian bargain too such as the famous Colaba Causeway in South Mumbai. Mumbai has everything from designer labels and local fashion outlets to markets selling locally made jewelry and bright colorful textiles that India is renowned for worldwide.
Whilst in Mumbai, every visitor has to try traditional Marathi food which can be very mild, or very spicy. The main ingredients are rice, millet vegetables, lentils, fruit and special grasses called sorghum. Popular dishes are puranpoli (sweet flatbread), modak (sweet dumpling) and a deep fried potato snack known as bonda. Mumbai also serves vegetarian, continental, Chinese and Middle Eastern food.
Amidst the daily chaos of this city that’s striving towards modernity and power, there is still culture, history, architecture and temples. The British Raj certainly left their mark on this city. But it is still a city of two halves, next to shiny metal shopping malls are slum dwellers living in poverty. Explore the city and uncover a city buzzing with life and enjoy all it has to offer from colonial architecture to 1st century AD temples.
As the fourth most populous city in the world, Mumbai is hectic, bustling and diverse. Situated in the state of Maharashtra on the west coast of the Indian subcontinent, Mumbai is the wealthiest city in India. Known as Bombay until 1995, the city was renamed but both names are still used. Look out for the famous bumble-bee ambassador cabs in the capital that is a tale of two stories, the very rich and the very poor.
Hyderabad is well known for its delectable cuisine. Dishes have a strong Mughal flavor, and locals have a great passion for food, similar to the Mughals. Meat dishes are prominent, and the pounded meat dish of haleem is the most popular dish in the area.
Situated up in the Aravalli Mountains of the northwest Rajasthan area and not far southwest of Delhi, historic Udaipur is one of India's romantic hotspots. Founded by Maharana Udai Singh in 1568, it is often coined the ‘City of Dawn' and is positioned on the sizeable Lake Pichola.
Cochin has a long list of activities available to visitors, spanning cultural exhibitions, theme parks and water sports. Outdoor sports are particularly attractive due to Cochin’s beaches, mineral springs and forests.
Udaipur is one of the more relaxed and safer cities in northern India, with little violent crime and hassle for foreigners. Pickpockets and scammers are apparent, however, while being aware of certain vaccinations before traveling to India is advised. Udaipur is best visited in the winter when it is dry and cool.
While Udaipur is not as high profile for its eating as Madras or Mumbai, this is India, and it still has great food. There are curries galore in any and every bazaar that can be had for a snip and at any heat, right up to the swankiest restaurants amid the picturesque Lake Pichola.
Hyderabad has been at the heart of India's commercial industry for centuries. Shopping in Hyderabad's various bazaars and outlets allows visitors valuable insight into the local culture, as well as the opportunity to hunt for unique gifts and beautiful souvenirs.
On entering Hyderabad, visitors are immediately blinded by an urban maze of gleaming malls and glass-fronted office blocks. However, once they discover the charming Old City, they realize there is substance behind the shiny surface.
Hyderabad is one of India's safest large cities; however, a number of terrorist bombings shook the city's confidence in 2007. The attacks targeted major tourist attractions including Mecca Masjid, Kothi and Lumbini Park.
Cochin has been a diverse, international destination for centuries, and today’s tourists find locals well-versed in the customs of the West. This enhances the opportunity for cultural exchange and also makes shopping and price negotiation easier, as locals are more likely to speak and understand English. The transportation scheme of Cochin loosely organized, but between taxis and auto-rickshaws, visitors have no trouble getting from point to point.
Cochin may not have the massive shopping complexes of larger Indian cities, but it still offers a satisfying selection of antiques and handicrafts. Tourists who enjoy the experience will get plenty of mileage out of the small shops and galleries in the area.
Cochin is a South Indian destination that has served as an important colonial port since the 16th century. It’s considered to be the cultural hub of Kerala, with contributions from Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities. Known for its sites as well as shopping and nightlife, Cochin is one of the best-loved tourist destinations in the region.
Udaipur is fantastic for traditional crafts and everything from wooden statues to silk ties and high-end fashions can be had. The best shopping is in the many bazaars that can be found all over Udaipur.
Cochin doesn’t receive the attention that it is arguably due, a fact that pleases the relatively few tourists who decide to take a look around. This town is full of historic sites dating to Portuguese colonial times, many of which were renovated or outright rebuilt by Dutch and British colonists.
Lake Pichola presents options for entertainment away from the busy streets of Udaipur. Various companies and private individuals run boat trips around the shores of the lake and out to the islands. You get to take in the city from another perspective and you can also head for Jag Niwas Island to dine at the restaurant there.
Most of the city's attractions are tucked away in its old quarters. Although the multitude of glass-fronted modern buildings reflects attention away from the historic Old Town, they do nothing to taint the city's undeniable charm.
Udaipur has a rich history that is best seen in its palaces and temples. Most sites are based on a religious theme and it is easy to be impressed by the sheer scale of some of the palaces.
The Cochin dining experience begins and ends with seafood. Fishermen bring in fresh catches daily and by mid-morning local chefs have already set about preparing their fish for the evening’s specials.
There is no shortage of entertainment in Hyderabad as the city offers visitors a host of exciting activities during the day and after dark. Amusement parks are the main source of entertainment in this area of India. An endless selection of rides provides much adrenalin-fuelled excitement for all the family.
The local arts and crafts culture in Jaipur is as fascinating as its religious monuments and palaces. Shopping varies from traditional market places brimming with bargains to more refined options that offer gems and jewelry.
Jaipur's shopping and historical draws are supported by the city's wealth of tasty cuisines that are on offer for as little or as much as you wish to spend. The markets are home to an abundance of food stalls selling everything from breads and rice through to coconut curries and barbecued meats.
The capital of Rajasthan State, Jaipur offers its visitors more than just a wealth of interesting history, with lively markets, authentic restaurants and a multitude of ancient palaces to also occupy its guests - all set in the heart of a desert. Often referred to as the ‘Paris of India', Jaipur is home to more than two million residents.
The surprisingly modern city of Jaipur successfully mixes and blends an interesting history with captivating architecture in the form of palaces, temples and lively commercial centers that house numerous businesses and companies.
Jaipur is home to a surprising amount of attractions and a wealth of activities that rival that of any major city. Visitors to Jaipur can choose between an authentic visit full of local markets and temple hopping and a luxurious break in a five-star hotel complete with spa treatments. These options blend together to make this diverse city a great choice for people searching for all types of holidays.
Shopping is one of Jaipur's primary draws and the city's multitude of impressive palaces and temples are another prime reason for many to visit. Restaurants usually close at 23:00 and the nightlife in Jaipur is relatively calm in comparison to that of other cities. Theaters often host puppet shows that are colorful and fun for all the family.
Kolkata's restaurant scene would be the envy of most world cities and is certainly the dining out capital of India. Kolkata's restaurants are famously diverse and though some of them are 200 years old they tend toward décor that is simple, 1930s Art Deco rather than ornately moldy.
Mumbai is the curate's egg of Indian sightseeing. Some critics deplore the city's monolithic architecture while others delight in Mumbai's eccentric gigantism that climaxes with impossibly excessive Gothic spreads such as Victoria Terminus.
Gritty and glamorous, Mumbai personifies today's India. A megalopolis of 14 million people, Mumbai is India's commercial and business hub. Contributing to Mumbai’s tourism industry is the city being host to the world's largest film industry (Bollywood, of course). Mumbai is also home to the region of Dharavi, one of the world's largest and most idiosyncratic slums.
A international city with a classically Asian street-food core and incessant buzz, restaurants in Mumbai offer cuisines from all over the world, but visitors would be missing out if they didn't have at least several Indian meals prepared in the various styles of different regions of the country.
No city in India can compete with the Southeast Asian cities of Bangkok and Singapore when it comes to shopping, but Kolkata more than holds its own as a place to spend money. There are a growing number of shopping malls and department stores, particularly in South Kolkata and the plethora of souvenirs left over by the Raj keep outdoor markets very well stocked.
Though Mumbai thrives during the daytime, evenings take a much more sedate turn and the most popular evening activity in Mumbai by far is strolling on the beachfront promenades and taking in the markets and outdoor activities there. Families enjoy an occasional night at a local restaurant or an evening cricket match.
Mumbai is a progressive and modern city that isn't easily offended. Draconian laws related to dress, alcohol, and homosexuality that apply to other Asian cities are far more lax in here. On the other hand, there's no pumping club scene and raucous night-owl behavior will only really interest the local police.
Mumbai isn't a shopping paradise along the lines of Singapore or Bangkok. Even though this is a great city of commerce. Mass retail has yet to really catch on and department stores or shopping malls are very thin on the ground. Instead, visitors should aim for eclectic market purchases or excellent second-hand buys.
Kolkata may boast a dozen major universities but anyone expecting a swinging student bar scene here will be disappointed. Students here take their studies seriously and time away from the books is invariably spent earning some much needed part time cash, and budget beer busts are not the norm.
The intractable poverty of Kolkata—which reverted to the Bengali spelling of its name in 2001—may be the stuff of legend but the former Indian capital's heritage as a center of arts and literature is under-reported.
Kolkata is a cosmopolitan city and its sheer size may intimidate the first time visitor. It is a very safe city though with the only recurring crime-related problem are the drug dealers of Sudder Street, who tend to keep to themselves anyway. Public transportation around the city is excellent but visitors on a tight schedule may want to narrow their Kolkata trip down to just one or two key districts.
There are hundreds of grand buildings built by the British Raj in Kolkata. Since it was the capital of India during the British years and everything from a semi-replica of St Paul's Cathedral was built here to celebrate and emulate the style and power of London. The so-called ‘City of Joy' is a bounty of grand colonial architecture and the Ministry of Tourism provides a comprehensive Kolkata guide.
Despite being one of India's largest cities, Chennai enjoys a slower pace of life compared to others. However, there are plenty of entertainment outlets for both locals and visitors alike.
Goa offers visitors a wide array of entertainment, from water and sporting activities to museums and casinos. The nightlife in Goa is lively and exciting, with countless bars and discothèques as well as frequent outdoor parties in the jungle and along various beaches.
The Indian city of Chennai, formerly known as Madras, is a major industrial center and the capital of Tamil Nadu. The city was established by the British in the 17th century and functioned as a large urban center and naval base. By the 20th century, Chennai gained more significance and has become India's fifth largest city.
Visitors to Delhi should be aware that many scam artists and pickpockets are in operation. People offering advice, especially taxi drivers are often unreliable and first time visitors should avoid admitting their lack of experience in India as they are likely to be targeted by scam artists.
Thought to be more than 5,000 years old, India's capital is one of the world's oldest existing cities. Having been destroyed and rebuilt 11 times, Delhi has a colorful history which is represented by a collection of ancient monuments and buildings, including three UNESCO World Heritage sites.
If you aren't afraid to elbow your way through crowded bazaars and haggle with vendors, Delhi is a fantastic shopping arena. Large Western-style shopping malls cloud the horizon; however, the city's shopping turf is still largely confined to the rudimentary marketplace.
Chennai is Tamil Nadu's dining capital. The city has an excellent selection of both Indian and international restaurants. The restaurants along the waterfront have unrivalled ambience, are the best maintained and serve the most authentic cuisine.
Located on the far western coast of India and bordering with the Arabian Sea, Goa is a small seaside state that is a colorful and interesting fusion of Indian and colonial Portuguese styling. Well-known for its beaches, as well as its laid-back and relaxed atmosphere, Goa has been attracting a wide array of foreign tourists since the 1960s.
Delhi is widely known as a dining destination; aside from the delicious Indian cuisine, a number of excellent international restaurants serve up dishes from around the globe.
Goa is an easy city to visit as the pace of life here is decidedly egalitarian and laidback. A multi-cultural but decidedly modern city, Goa offers visitors friendly hospitality, high-tech conveniences and plenty of diverse recreational options.
Due to the vast array of different cultures residing in the city, Chennai is a cosmopolitan city. It is also one of India's safest cities in terms of crime but like all big cities it has its fair share of pickpockets.
Delhi is a thriving city, with endless opportunities for fun and enjoyment. Aside from shopping, visitors can enjoy a host of activities such as rock climbing, horseback riding, ballooning and boating. A number of expansive lakes are in close proximity to Delhi, and provide the opportunity for visitors to escape the chaos of the city and lap up the surrounding scenery and wildlife.
Chennai is gradually emerging as one of India's top shopping destinations. The city offers immense variety, ranging from glitzy malls to busy bazaars.
The unique background and architecture of the city makes tourism in Goa comparable to no other place in India or the world. It seamlessly blends old colonial Portuguese styling and architecture with modern India. The state has a wide variety of impressive sightseeing options, interesting attractions and ancient landmarks.
The majority of Delhi's notable sights are located within the Old Delhi quarters; however, New Delhi also has an abundance of prominent structures which attract hordes of visitors each year.
Aside from an exhaustive list of religious sites, Chennai's tourist appeal is rather limited. Most of the city's colonial buildings have been converted into offices, and the traditional Tamil territories of Triplicane and Mylapore are overpopulated and somewhat intimidating for visitors.
Visitors who enjoy bargain hunting will be in shopping paradise in Goa with its extensive array of markets offering a wide selection of goods for sale. There are food stalls with dried fruits, nuts and local delicacies as well as handmade items, jewelry, clothing and home wares on offer.
Restaurants in Goa offer visitors a wide selection of flavors and cuisines from around the world as well as an abundance of local restaurants serving unique Goan dishes. The local Goan cuisine was influenced by the Portuguese during colonial times but today draws many of its influences from the rest of India.
From Mumbai’s crunchy bhelpuri to a simple fish sandwich in Istanbul, street food adds flavour to your trip. Follow this guide to the top 10 street food destinations in the world to help you choose where to book your hotel.
Spend a holiday in Goa and relax on powdery beaches dotted with swaying palm plantations. Stroll out from your Goa hotel to dine at rickety shacks serving fresh curried seafood. Inland, dusty roads link villages and towns in rainforest clearings, while Hindi shrines and hippy trail culture live side by side.
Embrace teeming, Technicolour variety on a holiday in India. From remote deserts to temple festivals, buzzing street markets to soaring mountains, all stirred up with sizzling cuisine, book a hotel in India to find your own personal nirvana.
Dive into the heart of India’s commercial and entertainment worlds on a Mumbai city break. Cocktail bars, a whirl of markets and Bollywood soundtracks bring this spicy city to life. Book a Mumbai hotel to get into its rhythm.
Mumbai is an exhilarating, intoxicating mass of humanity. It’s at times thrilling, and at times bewildering, so it’s always worth planning your visit in advance and making a shortlist of places you want to visit, whether it’s the religious temples or happening nightlife hotspots. One minute you’ll be frolicking with monkeys, the next clinking cocktail glasses in a high rise drinking den, in this kaleidoscope of a city.
Pune is a blend of historical grandeur and contemporary energy, with sleek modern buildings alongside towering temples. However, it also boasts plenty of natural beauty, being set within voluptuous hillsides and hiking trails where you can enjoy spectacular views. The city also has a thriving culture and arts scene for visitors to delve into.
The cultured capital of Rajasthan state, Jaipur's impressive architecture is carved out of rosy sandstone, giving it the nickname Pink City. It’s a city where mystical adventure is never far away, whether you discover it in a majestic desert fort or at an elephant sanctuary. It may be modernizing fast, but the ghosts of history are ever-present, with strong traditions present in everything from the cuisine to the theatre scene.
Located on India’s southwestern coast, much of Goa’s shoreline is speckled with small resort towns thanks to the stretches of pure, palm-lined sands. While Goa’s sun-dappled beachfront brings teems of tourists to the state year-round, don’t forget that the surrounding countryside is littered with wonderful cultural and historic sights, from the towering churches and temples of Old Goa to the arty hubs in Panaji.
As India’s 4th largest metropolis, Chennai’s an undeniably bustling city of tooting, honking, and chattering, but amid the urban chaos there’s a hint of cosmopolitan glam thanks to glitzy bars, luxury hotels, and swanky malls. In Chennai you can enjoy gloriously golden sandy beaches, a cooling sea breeze, and a delectable dining scene.
The capital of India’s southwestern Karnataka state, Bengaluru is an immense and sprawling city. Its centre is a thrilling mishmash of restaurants, markets, theatres, and temples, and it seems that around every corner you’ll run into an ornate religious building or historic landmark. If all this urban energy gets too much, you’ll never be far from one of Bengaluru’s Eden-like green-spaces, which offer tranquil areas to unwind.
Mumbai’s magical madness continues once the sun’s faded into the Arabian Sea, the city lights up with music, food and fun, and the night owls come out to play. Rub shoulders with Bollywood royalty in its bars and clubs, or bounce to the live music that echoes around the city’s intimate venues.
It doesn’t matter what age you are – you can’t help but feel a sense of childlike wonder as you experience the colourful chaos of the markets and the terrifying thrill of weaving through Mumbai's wild traffic in a rickshaw. So it's no surprise that kids love Mumbai's vibrant energy - and there’s plenty to keep them busy here too.
Mumbai is a massive melting pot of different cultures, which explains why it’s overflowing with cultural highlights and creative outlets. From the temples that throb with colour and chaos, to the Bollywood film screenings that draw huge, dancing crowds, Mumbai has a vibrancy and authenticity to it that few places in the world can match.
Beneath its historical veneer, Pune boasts a lively nightlife scene with locals and backpackers enjoying the modern bars and clubs that are popping up. There’s everything from glamorous nightclubs filled with the young and well-heeled, to laid back European-style pubs and brewhouses where you can enjoy a quiet ale with friends.
Taking children to a busy city such as Pune might feel like a challenge, but as long as you’ve got a good game plan there's no reason why younger travellers won’t enjoy this thrillingly historic city. There's plenty for kids to do in Pune, and they'll no doubt love the vast outdoor hiking trails, the colourful landmarks, and the attractions specifically aimed at young and questing minds.
With a rich history that can be traced back over 2,000 years, Pune is a colourful world of ornate palaces, religious temples, and treasure-filled museums. From medieval dynasties to the British Raj, its tangled history can be seen in the artefacts and architecture remaining from long-gone epochs, making simply walking around a distraction in itself.