A riot of noise and colour, intoxicating India truly is a country of contradictions. Where deep-set tradition meets technological revolution; where skyscrapers soar metres from the squalor of the slums – India is devastating but irrefutably wonderful. Within the chaotic tapestry of heaving cities and towns, oases of calm are generously sprinkled. From the verdant tranquillity of lazy Kerala and fairytale Ladakh, to the throbbing, congested cores of roaring Chennai and hot Delhi, there is something here for everybody.

Beguiling history and enthralling culture encompass India. A trip here is a sensory assault; vibrant colours, deafening traffic and an aromatic cuisine diverse as the country it belongs to. Delve into a past of Maharajan majesty in Mysore, Karnataka, where scintillating palaces and mahals stand testament to a rich regal history. The west is dominated by sprawling Rajasthan, home to tradition and romance – its gem being the dreamy city of Udaipur. Head north to magical Agra, and take your time there – the dazzling Taj Mahal is far from the only cultural treasure! For a contrastingly contemporary taste of Indian glamour, visit the pulsating capital of Mumbai for its dazzling nightlife and glossy Bollywood scene.

If you’re looking for an escape into unspoilt Indian tranquillity, the top and bottommost states are for you. The glacial Himalayan splendour of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are perfect for the intrepid explorer and nature lover respectively. For a clash of vibrant urban culture within a surreally peaceful setting, head to the lush beauty of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, in the far south. For sheer indulgent beach relaxation, the famous golden towns of coastal Goa are simply unrivalled.

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HIGHLIGHTS OF INDIA

The iconic sunrise over the Taj Mahal. The sunlight sparkles off the marble as it starts to absorb the warmth of the morning light. Getting there as early as possible will help you beat the crowds.

Darjeeling Toy Train – the toy train has UNESCO World Heritage status for a reason. This small steam engine slowly makes its way up through the steep mountains surrounded by beautiful countryside.

Shimla Hill Station – nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, Shimla used to be where the British would retreat to in the heat of the Indian summers. Elizabethan architecture mixed with the Indian life is wonderful fusion of the two cultures.

A night on a Keralan Rice Barge. Meander lazily through the fabled backwaters of Kerala in a former rice barge which have now been converted into comfortable air-conditioned houseboats.

Spotting the elusive tiger and the Asian rhino.

Scuba diving in the Andaman Islands. With some of the clearest waters in Asia and combined with the most colourful marine life, the Andaman Islands are a divers paradise.

Eating the food!

The contrast between a sunrise and a sunset cruise on the Ganges. The mornings on the Ganges are full of sights, sounds and smells to excite all your senses! In the evening the river is a lot more calm and relaxed.

India festivals – vibrant and full of life, festivals in India are always an exhilarating experience. From the colourful Holi festival to the camel festival in Pushkar, there are many different festivals to experience.

HOLIDAYS IN INDIA HANDPICKED BY EXSUS

PLACES TO STAY IN INDIA HANDPICKED BY EXSUS

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