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India: सत्यमेव जयते (Satyameva Jayate - Truth alone triumphs)

India is rich in tradition and colourful cultures. This vast sub-continent is 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 3 hours from Delhi, Agra boasts 3 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; here palm-fringed tropical beaches slope gently towards clear blue waters. Goa’s Portuguese history is reflected in its cuisine and its Catholic churches. Its laidback air and hippy markets remain long after the hippies have left. Further south, Kerala’s secluded backwaters may be experienced at a leisurely place from a wooden houseboat.

West coast Mumbai showcases colonial architecture and the glamorous world of Bollywood, while Chennai continues its pivotal role at the heart of the South’s artistic and cultural heritage. In Bangalore, a dynamic hub for young IT professionals, the face of modern India is emerging.

The newest face of India may be seen in Bangalore whose burgeoning IT industry attracts well-heeled young professionals with a yearning for the best of modernity.

All humanity is here in this vast “sub-continent of nationalities”. Walk with a trusted guide from ICS Travel Group and let India reveal its glories.

Capital

New Delhi

Population

1.3 billion

Language

Hindi, English

Time Zone

GMT +05:30
(ITZ) India Time Zone

Electricity

230v, 50Hz

Currency

Rupee

When to Go

India’s vast area experiences a number of variations throughout the country so there is always pleasant weather somewhere in the country year round. Generally the large southern areas are best explored during the cool season from late October to March. To beat the heat and get a feeling of India’s beautiful diversity go north when the subcontinent experiences its hot and rainy seasons.

The seasons in the north are generally influenced by the monsoon from the south and rugged high altitude conditions with winds blowing in from the west and north. The north experiences four seasons with a cold winter from November to February, cool yet warming weather from March to May and slightly warmer summer from June to august. Weather starts to cool in the months of September and October as the rainy monsoon begins to recede in the south.

A large part of the country lies in the south western monsoon path and experiences three unique seasons. The cool season lasts from the end of November until February when the temperatures start to dramatically increase until June. At the beginning of June the monsoon rains arrive and begin to taper off at the end of October.

During the summer months when the rest of India experiences its monsoon, the northern areas experience relatively dry and cool weather in comparison to their southern neighbours while some areas can experience damp and even cold weather compared to dryer areas to the west. The weather starts getting cooler into September and October while cold winters are experienced from November to February with extreme winter weather in the foothills of the Himalayas. The season begins to shift in March and the weather starts getting warmer between March to May.

A large part of India experiences a more traditional hot and humid monsoon system which arrives from the southwest and pushes eastwards towards Southeast Asia. The cool season is characterised by hot and humid weather but very little rain; this lasts from late November to February. Temperatures continue to rise from March to the beginning of June when the monsoon arrives to the relief of local people. The monsoon is characterised by heavy rain showers and high humidity. Some areas of the subcontinent receive more rain than others. The rainy season winds down in October and the cool season arrives again.

Lightweight clothing for most of India is absolutely essential. If you plan on visiting holy sites, thin yet conservative dress is also necessary. Walking shoes, plenty of pairs of socks and undergarments are also recommended. Because of the cooler weather in India’s northern regions, especially in winter months, warmer attire is highly encouraged. An umbrella and a light waterproof jacket are also recommended for any time spent in the rainy season.

Don’t forget to double check the expected seasonal weather patterns before setting out on your India adventure. Climate zones are sub-divided into a number of sub-climates described above as the country hosts soaring mountains, dry arid deserts and hot tropical rain forests

Customs & Traditions

During the Indian kingdom age (ca. 500 BC-1200 AD) two distinct types of architecture emerged: Buddhist and Hindu/Jain. The most famous form of Buddhist architecture is the stupa, and the primary building type of Hindu and Jain architecture is the temple, often featuring heavily sculpted exteriors and great tapered towers.

Deities are the main subject of Indian sculpture and painting and may be depicted as lone figures, or in scenes from scripture. The foremost collection of Indian sculpture and wall painting is found at the Ajanta Caves, a complex of Buddhist temples and monasteries hewn out of solid rock.
With the rise of Islamic states as the dominant powers of South Asia (ca. 1200-1800), Indian art was subjected to Islamic influences, a prime example of this is the Taj Mahal, the masterpiece of Indo-Islamic architecture.

Traditionally, Indian theatre incorporates music and dance and in most forms of Indian classical dance the performer is an actor and musician, as well as a dancer. Dance in India is as diverse as the multiethnic society from which it stems. Each region, with its own language, literature, customs, costume, and cuisine, has its own dance forms, some of which are traced through wall paintings, ancient manuscripts, and temple sculptures to well over three thousand years ago.

Indian dancers gesture with the eyes, head, neck, and hands. With wrists bent and arms flowing, the dancer interprets the lyrics of accompanying songs, telling stories through facial expression and hand gestures. A popular form of dance is Kathakali which literally means story-play. A Striking feature of Kathakali is the use of elaborate make-up and colourful costumes to emphasize that the characters are superbeings from another world.

– In Indian culture it is unseemly to show too much emotion so avoid losing your temper over problems and delays.
– You should always take your shoes off when entering a temple or when visiting private houses.
– You should never touch anybody’s head intentionally as it is regarded as a particularly holy part of the body.
– Accordingly, the feet are literally the lowest part of the body so do not point your feet at anybody or at a Buddha image.
– It is polite to ask permission before taking photographs of people.

Impossible to find out the exact origin of Indian people as it is an amazing amalgamation of various races and cultures. However two major strains predominate: the Aryan in the north, and the Dravidian in the south. India is a land of great cultural diversity, as is evidenced by the enormous number of different languages spoken throughout the country.
Although Hindi (spoken in the north) and English (the language of politics and commerce) are used officially, more than 1,500 languages and dialects are spoken. India is currently home to about 1.21 billion people, representing a full 17% of the earth’s population.

India is known as the land of spirituality and philosophy and is the birth place of four of the world’s major religions: Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. Over 80 percent of the population is Hindu and the remaining are Muslims, Christians and Sikhs. Indians are very tolerant of each other’s religions and retain a secular outlook, although inter-religious marriage is not widely practiced.
Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world dating back about 5000 years and is a colourful religion with a vast gallery of Gods and Goddesses.
Zoroastrianism and Judaism also have an ancient history in India and each has several thousand Indian adherents.

Selected Tours

Discovery of South India

Highlights Discover the legacy of the French, Dutch and Portuguese in quaint colonial-era cities. Take a boat ride on Lake

Fort Cochin by Tuk Tuk

Highlights Travel by tuk-tuk through the narrow alleys and picture-postcard streets of Fort Cochin. Visit the 16th century St Francis

Cycling tour of Jaipur

Highlights Take an early morning cycle ride through the colourful streets of Jaipur. See the Water Palace in Sagar Lake

Kolkata Market Walk

Highlights Browse for unique items and souvenirs in the bustling bazaars and markets. Sip coffee in a beautiful coffee house

The Deccan India

Highlights Discover the striking monuments, ancient capitals and unique culture of the Deccan Plateau. Wander amongst the unique landscapes and

The Amazing North India

The Amazing North India (10D/9N)      

Mystic Kerala

Highlights Uncover the charms of Cochin, home to giant fishing nets and classical Keralan arts. Spend a night on a

Palace on Wheels

Highlights Explore India in royal old-world style on one of the most luxurious trains in the world. Discover incredible North

The Golden Triangle

Highlights Compare the chaotic narrow lanes of Old Delhi with the imperial monuments of New Delhi. Explore the sprawling Amber

Toy Train & Visit to Tea Garden

Highlights Take a ride on a heritage train through breathtaking mountain landscapes. Visit a charming colonial tea plantation set on

Turban Tying, Kite Flying, & a Home-Cooked Meal

Highlights Enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal of local specialties in an old aristocratic house. Learn the traditional art of turban

Renewal of Vows and Henna Experience

Highlights Spend a romantic afternoon with your loved one renewing your vows. Experience an ancient Indian blessing performed by a

Wild Central India

Highlights Search for the elusive tiger in some of India’s finest national parks and tiger reserves. Witness the wild beautiful

Jewish Heritage of Mumbai by Walk

Highlights Gain insight into the history, culture and sects of India’s Jewish communities. Visit the historical docks and stunning synagogues

Experience Thailand in Style

Experience Thailand in Style (13D/12N) Overview Indulge in the ultimate Thailand Experience on this 13-day stylish journey exploring northern and

Elephant Encounter at the Sanctuary

Highlights Gain an insight into the life and history of rescued and orphaned elephants. Join the elephants in the river

Street Eats in the Village of Love at Night

Highlights Explore the historic Bang Rak area as it comes alive in the evening. Visit popular local eateries to sample

Street Eats and History in the Village of Love

Highlights Walking through one of Bangkok’s oldest neighborhoods to take in the historical sites and taste some local drinks, snacks,

Temple Dinner Angkor

Highlights Luxury dining experience at a sacred Angkor temple. Delicious dinner with free-flow wine and traditional Angkor music and the

Storytelling and Insights over Dinner

Highlights Experience unique, informative, interactive and entertaining performances under the stars. Be taken back in time through Cambodia’s turbulent history

Khmer Cuisine Experience

Highlights Learn to cook traditional and authentic home-cooked Cambodian dishes. Select your fresh vegetables and herbs from the organic garden.

Roluos Group by Electric Scooter & Boat Trip at Kampong Phluk

Highlights Explore the ruins of the Roluos temples on an eco-friendly electric scooter. Cruise through Kampong Phluk floating village to

Luxury Camping Under the Stars

Highlights Venture off the beaten track to discover remote temples of Cambodia. Enjoy cocktails and a romantic dinner by the

Spiritual Tour of Siem Reap

Spiritual Tour of Siem Reap   Overview Start the tour at a beautifully decorated shrine containing the statues of two

Hidden Temples and Countryside by Quad

Highlights Explore Siem Reap rural way of life by quad bike seeing lush rice fields, local farms and house on

A Truly Unique Dinner Experience

Highlights A romantic dinner served in a peaceful countryside venue with candle-lit atmosphere Your local host and private chef will

Bespoke Family Experience in Hanoi

Highlights Explore the city by an open-sided electric car for an hour. Visit the artisan’s house who is last traditional

Old Saigon Walking Tour

Highlights Stroll down the bustling narrow alleys to see the variety of local people’s daily life. Visit the vendors and

Jeep Safari – My Son and Beach BBQ

Highlights Discover Vietnam’s ancient culture followed by a romantic beach barbeque. Travel in a restored US army jeep and head

Sunset by Speedboat with Evening Cocktail

Highlights Cruise under important bridges and past historical sites. Watch the sun go down over the charming Saigon River. Enjoy

Inle Balloon Ride

Highlights : Get a bird’s eye view of the shimmering Inle Lake from a hot air balloon. Look down on

North East Cambodia Discovery

Highlights: Join elephants in a jungle waterfall to splash and bathe. Swim in the emerald waters of a circular crater

Mekong Delta Cycling

Highlights: Explore the canals of the Mekong on a hand-rowed sampan. Cycle along the Delta’s shaded backroads, visiting local villages.

Kalaw to Inle Bike & Hike

Highlights: Bike and hike in the forested hills of Kalaw, enjoying the cool mountain air. Visit remote villages of the

The Natural Wonders of West Bali and Ijen National Park

Highlights: Be a park ranger for a day in the West Bali National Park. Snorkel and swim among the fish

Flores - Wae Rebo Trekking

Highlights Trek off the beaten track to an isolated highland Manggarai village. Stay overnight in a unique cone-shaped communal house.

Java to Bali Overland

Highlights See the spectacular blue flames of Ijen’s crater lake in East Java Explore Yogyakarta and the ancient temples of

Sumba Adventure

Highlights See amazing megalithic burials, used as a “living tradition” to inter prominent individuals when they die. Take a swim

Delhi Cultural Safari

Highlights Discover Delhi’s historic time-honoured Mughal and British heritage. Weave in and out of the vibrant streets of old Delhi

Rafting in Rishikesh

Highlights Get soaked in the adrenaline rush of river rafting on the Ganges. Experience the exhilaration of fun-filled rapids and

Udaipur Village Trek

Highlights Trek through scenic countryside with views of the rugged Aravali Mountains. Interact with the villagers to gain an insight

Biryani Cooking Class

Highlights Take part in a cooking class in the kitchen of a local house. Learn how to prepare traditional biryani

Cochin Cooking Class

Highlights Learn to cook traditional and authentic home-cooked Cochin cuisine. Prepare dishes using local ingredients of seafood, spices and coconut.

Classic Rajasthan

Highlights Explore the havelis, forts and palaces of vibrantly coloured romantic Rajashtani cities. Take an early morning boat ride along

Agra Heritage Walk

Highlights Get to know the street culture of Agra the local way, by exploring on foot. Taste traditional Indian treats

Alleppey Backwater Cruise

Highlights Cruise along India’s largest wetland in a traditional wooden houseboat. Photograph waterbirds, ancient temples, paddy fields and the lakeside

Pink City Jaipur by Train

Highlights Travel by train to the pink city of Jaipur, home to forts and havelis. Visit the majestic Amber Fort

Bollywood Close Up

Highlights Get a glimpse behind the scenes of the glitzy, glamorous and vibrant world of Bollywood. Tour the studios and

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Highlights Float high above the pink painted rooftops of the city of Jaipur. Watch the balloon being inflated and prepared

Taj Mahal by Helicopter

Highlights Take an exhilarating helicopter ride above the Taj Mahal. Visit the beautiful palaces within the Agra Fort. Enjoy a

Cricket Match with Locals

Highlights Join in a fun cricket match in India with a local Indian team. Understand the passion behind India’s much-loved

Jaipur by Vintage Car

Highlights Explore the rich culture and heritage of Jaipur by vintage car. Navigate the chaotic streets in the glamorous style

Dinner with the Nobles of Jaipur

Highlights Spend the evening in a traditional Haveli owned by a noble family. Watch your hosts preparing tasty authentic Rajasthani

Tanah Lot & Romantic Rice Field Dinner

Highlights Visit the stunning Tanah Lot Temple and make some photography. Have a romantic Balinese dinner at the rice field

Yogya’s Highlights with an Archeological Expert

Highlights Explore the the awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Site of Borobudur with an archaeological expert. Yogya’s Highlights with an Archeological

On the Blessing Trail

Highlights A spiritual trip into the heart of Ubud’s elephant cave with a stroll through the rice fields. Visit a

Bali Foodie Heaven

Highlights Join an expert ‘foodie’ on a culinary journey to experience the aromas and flavours of Bali. Take a walk

Local flavors of Yogya

Highlights Explore Yogyakarta in the evening by the becak and have the feast on the main course of Javanese cuisine

Diving to Pemuteran Underwater Temple

Highlights Spend an indulgent day in an award-winning wellness retreat and spa. Experience a traditional healing ritual performed by Balinese

Bali’s Most Active Volcano from the Air

Highlights Fly in an helicopter over the coastline and the Indian Ocean before turning inland to view the stunning emerald-green

Hidden Beaches, Cocktails and a Candlelit Cave Dinner

Highlights Indulge in a one-of-a-kind dining experience in a romantic candlelit cave. Swim, sunbathe and take in the breathtaking seascapes

Tjampuhan Ridge Walk and High Tea over the Ayung

Highlights Enjoy the panoramic scenery on a nature trek along the Tjampuhan Ridge. Visit the flamboyant hilltop home and studio

Off the Beaten Path Nusa Penida on Rhino

Highlights Snorkel and paddle board alongside the coastal cliffs of Nusa Penida. Look for manta rays in a turquoise pool

A Day to Remember in Sagaing and Amarapura

Highlights Exploring Sagaing and Amarapura ancient capitals of Myanmar. Crossing Yodanapon Bridge, known as New Ava Bridge overlooking to the

Epic Train Ride over Highest Railway Bridge in Myanmar

Highlights Take a sunset stroll across the beautiful U-Bein Bridge. Enjoy an epic train in a chartered carriage over Myanmar’s

Hidden Treasures by Circular Train

Highlights Travel by circular train to discover some of city’s best kept secret – shattered glass factory and scenery leafy

Sunset Cycling to Red Mountain

Highlights Cycling to the Red Mountain Vineyard in the after and stopping by some interesting places for photography of Kyauk

Explore Ancient Bagan by Electric Scooter

Highlights Explore ancient city of Bagan by eco-friendly electric bike. Stop at temples for photography and listen to history and

Camping in Paradise – Mergui Archipelago

Highlights Explore the untouched island Nyaung Oo Phee as well as Mergui-Archipelago. There you can swim, snorkel to see fishes

The Capital Inside Out

Highlights Visit a gleaming golden stupa which is perhaps the most important national monument in Laos. Gain an insight into

Local Tastes and Traditions

Highlights A spiritual Baci ceremony at a local house to call escaped spirits back to the body. A memorable experience

Explore the Capital by Tuk Tuk

Highlights Explore the hidden spots of Vientiane in a comfortable “Tuk Tuk”. Taste some local delicacies sold by typical street

Beyond the Temples – By Electric vehicle

Highlights Explore Luang Prabang in a environmentally friendly manner by electric tuk tuk Visiting UXO Visitor Center where informative exhibition

Heritage Tour of Luang Prabang by Rolls-Royce Tuk Tuk

Highlights Explore historical and sacred temples in a Rolls Royce electric tuk tuk. Discover priceless art, jewels and royal artifacts

2 Day – Photography in Depth Tour

Highlights Improve your photographic and technical skills with a professional renowned photographer. Tell a story through your images as you

Sunset Champagne Cruise on the River of Kings

Highlights : Enjoy the most luxurious cruise that has ever been launched in the history of Chao Phraya River during

Angthong by Boutique Yacht

Highlights : Explore the stunning uninhabited islands of the Angthong National Marine Park on a beautiful boutique yacht. Swim in

Samui Island Cruise

Highlights Discover the beautiful coastline and offshore islands of Koh Samui on a boutique yacht. Discover the underwater life with

Bangkok by Train, Boat, Foot and Tuk Tuk

Highlights : Travel like a local by using different types of transportation Avoid traffic, and see Bangkok from a different

The Perfect Family Day with Elephants

Highlights : Care for elderly elephants in their final home and treat them to a fun and messy mud bath.

Distillery Tour Phuket

Highlights : Soak in the breathtaking views of three beaches and the Andaman Sea. Learn how to make delicious cocktails

Toul Sleng Museum with a S21 Survivor

Highlights : Learn about a chapter from Cambodia’s more recent history at the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum, also known as

Artist Encounter at Phare Circus

Highlights : Meet a talented circus performer over a cocktail and a light snack. Watch an amazing show that is

Private Vespa Tour with an Angkor Born

Highlights : Drive through the ancient temples of Angkor on a vintage Vespa accompanied by a former monk and resident

Art Insider and Cruise

Highlights : Get an insight of art scene and the history of Cambodia’s 2nd largest city Enjoy a delectable lunch

Local Life Discovery on Sangker and Tonle

Highlights Witness the daily life of the river people at close range as you cruise along the Sangker River. Visit

A Perfect Family Day in Angkor

Highlights : Have a water blessing morning by a monk at one of the ancient temples of Angkor Thom. Get

Mekong Cruise to Pak Ou in Style

Highlights : Board a luxurious wooden for a gentle ride on the Mekong River and observe the life passing by

Behind the Scenes of the Bear Sanctuary

Highlights : Spend a day feeding bears during a personalized tour with the Manager at a Bear Sanctuary. A private

An Intro to Lao Cuisine

Highlights : An introduction to the Lao cuisine with a short cooking course with an experienced head chef A real

A Wat to Wat Insider Walking Tour

Highlights : Discover the main sights of Luang Prabang by walk. Get an insider’s view of the religion and culture

Sunrise Balloon Ride over Temples

Highlights : Lifetime experience with breathtaking scenery over temples of Bagan. Bagan is rated as one of the top 5

Sunset Cocktail Cruise and Sandbank Dinner

Highlights : Cruising down Irrawaddy River by a private wooden river boat. Sunset cocktails on the boat and private dinner

Home Hosted Inthar Meal on Inle Lake

Highlights Discovering Inthar people daily life, culture and cuisine. Taking a longtail boat exploring a local farm and meet the

Pindaya Caves with Home Cooked Lunch

Highlights : Discover hundreds of Buddha images in a vast limestone cavern. Join a local family in their home for

War Insights of Hanoi with a Veteran

Highlights Meet up with Mr Nguyen Hong My and get guided through Vietnam’s war history by a pilot who famously

Saigon Insider

Highlights Explore streets and secret spots beyond the usual tourist trail. Venture into a hidden bunker used in the 1968

Cycle in Sam Mountain Valley

Highlights Cycling and being surrounded by lush green paddy fields of Sam Mountain. Visiting famous Vietnamese pilgrimage sites, Chua Xu

Cholon, A Photogenic Experience

Highlights : Visit the historic district of Cho Lon on a different angle: get the chance to see the backstreets

Walk the Rail Tracks of Hanoi

Highlights Take the train to explore another side of Hanoi by walk through local’s people life style, shops along your

Pedal and Paddle with the Kids

Highlights Explore riverside village of Tra Nhieu by bike and boat with family. Join the farmer raking and harrowing the

In the Footsteps of a Culinary Connoisseur

In the Footsteps of a Culinary Connoisseur 2D/1N This overnight tour introduces you to the lively and fresh flavours of