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India

INDIA TOURS

Bursting with colour, sights and sounds, the diverse natural and cultural history of India is wonderful to immerse yourself in. On one of our India tours, you'll find that this beautiful country is the home of breath-taking contrasts, vibrant places and people, as well as the most impressive landscapes. All of our staff have visited and explored India, so we know it well and really enjoy opening its doors to new visitors, and showing repeat travellers places and experiences they haven’t considered before. 

Our India tour range has been completely re-worked and updated with itineraries designed to strike a balance between including must-see sites like the Taj Mahal and the Golden Temple, with a range of different activities and local experiences much more off the beaten track. Examples could include a walk through fields and homesteads with a local villager on the opposite bank of the Yamuna River to the Taj Mahal, more exploration on foot through villages and markets, and performing Langar Sevar (helping prepare and serve food) in the huge community kitchen at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

With an updated and improved selection of hotels, including some fascinating heritage properties, smaller group sizes, and excellent drivers and guides, we’re confident you’ll have a fascinating and rewarding time on any of these new India holidays. You will find both small-group, shoestring and tailor-made tours featured. All of our India holidays, including the group tour itineraries, can be run privately and customised to fit your personal requirements, interests, budget and available dates.

TOP India TRAVEL DEALS & UPCOMING TOURS

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What type of climate can I expect in India?

The best time to visit is between October to March as the weather is warm, dry and sunny.

India usually only experiences three seasons a year – mainly, summer, monsoon, and winter. The north of India will experience extreme heat in the summer and icy cold winters . November to January is the winter season whereas April and May are the hotter months – there is a brief spring season in February and March but mainly in North India.

India experiencing autumn is debatable but the ancients have identified such a season among the five other seasons – Vasanta - Spring, Greeshma - Summer, Varsha - Rainy, Sharat - Autumn, Shishira - Winter, and Hemanta - mild winter.

What are the top cities to visit in India?

  • Delhi, the Capital of India, has numerous historic monuments, markets, and is a major gateway to rest of Northern India.
  • Bengaluru also known as the garden city, has been transformed into Silicon Valley with major software companies and an aviation/rail hub for South Central India.
  • Chennai is the main port in Southern India - the cradle of Carnatic Music, Bharatanatyam and Indian Tamil Film Industry, and home of the famous Marina beach, Automobile Capital of India and a fast emerging IT hub.
  • Jaipur, the Pink City, is a major exhibit of the Hindu Rajput culture of medieval Northern India.
  • Kochi, the Queen of Arabian Sea, is the gateway to sandy beaches and backwaters.
  • Kolkata is the hub to Eastern/North Eastern India and home to numerous colonial relics, eclectic culture, street food, Indian Bengali film industry, Oscar winners and Nobel Laureates, has earned the sobriquets of City of Joy, and the Cultural Capital of India.
  • Mumbai, known as the financial capital of India, houses most of the Indian/multinational corporations, and not forgetting home to Bollywood.
  • Shimla, the former summer capital of British India located in the Himalayan foothills with a large legacy of Victorian architecture.
  • Varanasi is considered the most sacred Hindu city and one of the oldest continually inhabited cities of the world.

What can I see and do in India?

The Taj Mahal - bigger and more majestic in person. This world wonder was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and took over twenty-two years to complete.

  • Varanasi - the oldest city in the world and home to Hindu religious rituals, some harking back to the Vedic age, 5,000 years ago. Don't miss the evening Ganga Aarti.
  • Sundarbans - home to the famous Royal Bengal tigers and estuarine crocodiles.
  • Sangla Valley - considered one of the most beautiful valleys of the world lies in the upper regions of Himachal Pradesh.
  • Leh - one of the highest inhabited cities of the world offering unbelievable landscapes.
  • Srinagar - the capital of the State of Jammu and Kashmir is a beautiful city in the midst of the Himalayas.
  • Gangtok - the Capital city of Sikkim is a bewitching hill-station located amidst the multiple-hued mountains.
  • Holi - the Spring Festival of India, Holi - is a festival of colors. Celebrated in March or April, to welcome the spring and win the blessings of Gods for good harvests and fertility of the land.
  • Diwali - the festival of lights, celebrated on a nation-wide scale on Amavasya - the 15th day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu month of Ashwin every year. It symbolizes that age-old culture of India which teaches to vanquish ignorance that subdues humanity and to drive away darkness.
  • Pushkar Mela - Every November, the township of Pushkar in Rajasthan comes alive with a riot of colors and a frenzied burst of activity during the Pushkar Fair.

What currency is used in India?

The currency in India is the Indian rupee (sign: ?; code: INR). The rupee is subdivided into 100 paise (singular: paisa). 5 rupees 75 paise would normally be written as ?5.75.

There are many ATMs in most towns, but we suggest carrying cash as a backup. A useful technique is to keep small notes (?10-50) in your wallet or in a pocket, and to keep larger notes separate. Then, it will not be obvious how much money you have.

What type of food can I expect to eat in India?

Indian food has a well-deserved reputation for being hot, owing to the Indian penchant for the liberal use of a variety of spices, and potent fresh green chilies or red chilies powder - however the degree of spiciness does vary throughout the country.

It is, of course, impossible to do full justice to the range and diversity of Indian food - not only does every region of India have a distinctive cuisine, but you will also find that within a region its communities have different styles of cooking and often have their own signature. The adventurous traveler is to try various by lanes of the city and look for food in unlikely places like temples in search of culinary nirvana.

TOUR REVIEWS

I purchased my rid tour as part of a group coupon. Is obituary hesitant but my tour was great. The staff at Encounters were professional and helpful. I had a lot of questions but no one made me feel like a pest. Good experience.
I always wanted to go to Morocco and I finally got to go last September. I'm glad I chose this tour group. They were professional and attentive. Good times!

Conscientious in early communication; knowledgeable, humorous and caring tour guides; an exemplary itinerary that was well organized yet flexible; an overall extraordinary experience. I'd recommend them enthusiastically.

I have dealt with Anthony Horrobin on a number of occasions and it is like talking to an old friend on the phone. Anthony is super-efficient and will always go the extra mile to create the perfect trip.

I had an amazing time on the trip. Everything was incredibly well organized and planned out to a tee. Our tour guide, Big Mo, was amazing and super knowledgeable. I couldn't have imagined a better trip to Egypt!
Excellent

There was a lot of communication from the beginning. The encounters staff was very responsive and the tour guide was great and very accommodating. Encounters was also able to help me with last minute changes to my itinerary while I was on the trip.

ratings

India Country Guide

India Country Guide Flag

Factfile


Time: GMT+5:30
Dial Code: +91
Area: 3,287 million km²
Elevation: The lowest point In India is Kuttanad at ?2.2m (?7.2 ft.) | The highest point in India is Kangchenjunga at 8,586m (28,169 ft.)
Population: 1,354,051,854 (2018)
Capital: New Delhi
Governemnt: Parliamentary system
Language: Hindi, English

India also called the Republic of India is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. It is bordered by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast.

The Indian subcontinent was the birthplace of the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. The following millennium saw the composition of the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism.

In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. After market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest growing economies in the world and is considered a newly industrialised country.

With a pluralistic, multilingual and multi-ethnic society, India also has a variety of wildlife in a collection of protected habitats. The Indian climate is greatly influenced by the Himalayas and the Thar Desert. Four major climatic groupings predominate India: tropical dry, tropical wet, subtropical humid and montane.

The two major language families that are spoken in India include Indo-Aryan (spoken by about 74% of the population) and Dravidian (spoken by 24% of the population). India has no national language, but Hindi has the largest number of speakers and is the official language of the government. English is used in administration, business and education. India is renowned for its religious diversity and Hinduism is the predominant religion, followed by Islam.

Highlights

  • Akshardham Temple – a Hindu shrine and spiritual-cultural campus in Delhi featuring intricate details and different architectural styles.
  • Abhaneri Step Well – located in the village of Abanheri, this step well has 3,500 steps and 13 stories.
  • Keoladeo National Park – a bird sanctuary and former royal game reserve in the state of Rajasthan.
  • The Lost City of Fatehpur Sikri – a town in the Agra District of Uttar Pradesh that was abandoned in 1610.
  • Humayun;s tomb – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the tomb of the Mughal emperor Humayun in Deli.
  • New Delhi – a district of Delhi, serving as the capital of India with historic sites and museums.
  • Pushkar – a town bordering the Thar Desert and overlooking the Pushkar Lake, a sacred Hindu site.
  • Agra Fort – a historical fort in Agra that was home to the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty.

Tips

  • Tourists, especially women are encouraged to dress modestly when travelling through India.
  • When entering a home or a religious site, it is polite to remove your shoes.
  • Ask permission before taking a photograph of a person, sacred site or ceremony.
  • Be conscious about washing your hands and eat freshly cooked food that is served hot.
  • Bargaining is acceptable in markets and most shops so be prepared to haggle.
  • Beware of fraudsters and watch your valuables when walking around busy areas.
  • Learn a few basic Hindi phrases and greetings to interact and engage with the locals.

Small Group India TOURS

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Shoestring India TOURS

TAILOR-MADE India TOURS

Map

Our tailor-made tours seek to create a personalised experience – one that is completely exclusive to you. By taking all your interests and requests into consideration, we design an itinerary that ticks off your specific boxes. If you are after adventurous exploration, cultural immersion, a relaxing escape or a balanced blend of everything, we can make it happen.

A highlight of our tailor-made tours is that the itinerary is flexible and incorporates plenty of free time – so you can do some exploring on your own. Our local, friendly guides, experts in their country’s history and culture, will be happy to adjust the activities or your schedule as you travel.

If you are a group of friends, a large family or a company, our tailor-made tours are an ideal, stress-free option. You can even select your own hotels or make use of our recommended accommodation. We have a varied selection of sample holiday itineraries to choose from, either as they stand or as a base for inspiration.

VIDEO FEATURE

Our video features aim to bring our adventure tours to life in a way that no photo can, giving you a great taste of the destination.

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Need some travel inspiration or looking for some handy travel tips? Our blog provides excellent insight into our travel destinations - from tour updates to country guides, packing lists to little known things to do, you'll find it all in our travel blog.

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