India is rich in tradition and colourful cultures -a mystical land that offers an array of unforgettable experiences and casts a magical spell on its visitors.
Northern India is home to the capital Delhi, a city brimming with tombs, forts, mosques and bazaars. Just three hours from Delhi, Agra boasts three UNESCO-listed World Heritage sites including the magnificent white mausoleum of the Taj Mahal by the River Yamuna.
Northwest India shelters Rajasthan, the legendary land of Rajas and Maharajas and the epitome of romantic India with its sand dunes, dusty deserts, ornate palaces and imposing forts.
Coastal India enjoys a relaxed atmosphere. Goa’s Portuguese history is reflected in its cuisine and its Catholic churches. Its laidback air and hippy markets have remained long after the hippies left. Further south, Kerala’s secluded backwaters may be experienced at a leisurely pace from a wooden houseboat.
West coast Mumbai showcases colonial architecture and the glamorous world of Bollywood, while Chennai clings on to its artistic and cultural heritage. In Bangalore, a dynamic hub for young IT professionals, the face of modern India is emerging.
Winter season: December – February
Spring season: February – March
Summer season: March – May
Monsoon season: June – September
Autumn season: October – November
Pre-winter season: Mid Oct – mid Dec
Although predominantly hot, India has different climatic regions, ranging from the glacial north to desert in the west and the tropical coast and islands in the south. The largely tropical weather patterns of India make it subject to natural meteorological events such as drought, cyclones and flooding.
The best time to visit India is in the winter, from December until early March. The whole country tends to get very hot from April onwards and most regions experience the summer monsoon from June to September. If visiting the Himalayas, please be prepared for very cold weather in January and February.
India is a huge country with diverse weather conditions so please check the weather in advance for the areas you will be visiting.
Indian architecture is rooted in its history, culture and religion. The best-known architectural styles include the many varieties of Hindu temple architecture; Indo-Islamic architecture, especially Mughal architecture; Rajput architecture and Indo-Saracenic architecture. The origin of Indian art can be traced to prehistoric settlements. It consists of a variety of art forms, including painting, sculpture, pottery, and textile arts such as woven silk.
Theatre in India is one of the most ancient forms of theatre and features detailed textual, sculptural and dramatic effects. Like in the areas of music and dance, Indian theatre is also defined by dramatic performance based on the concept of Nritya, which is a Sanskrit word for drama but encompasses dramatic narrative, virtuosic dance, and music. In contemporary India, the country is famous for its film industry based in Mumbai – known as Bollywood.
- Do eat using your hands or bread.
- Do make sure your head is covered if entering a mosque or Sikh Gurdwara.
- Do leave a small amount of food on your plate when you are full. Eating everything off your plate means you are still hungry.
- Do fold your hands, bow your head, and say “Namaste” when greeting
- Don’t wear clothes that are tight or expose too much skin
- Don’t use your left hand to touch, eat, or hand something to someone
- Don’t take pictures in temples or airports
- Don’t show affection in public
- Don’t shake someone’s hand unless they extend their hand first
- Don’t point your feet towards an alter
According to the 2011 Indian national census, the population of India stood at over 1.2 billion people, making it the world’s second-most populous country. It is a diverse multi-ethnic country that is home to thousands of small ethnic and tribal groups. Among the documented invasions that added significantly to the Indian ethnic mix are those of Persians, Scythians, Arabs, Mongols, Turks and Afghans. The last and politically most successful – that from Europe – vastly altered Indian culture but had relatively little impact on India’s ethnic composition.
Although approximately 80% of the citizens of India are Hindus, the country has a substantial population of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and adherents of tribal faiths.