Top Destinations for 2016: India
Share This Article:
It’s been a staple of the hippie trail and a must-visit for backpackers for generations. But despite its longstanding popularity India has lost none of its allure, and in the 21st Century it’s just as mythical and enthralling as ever. Of course it’s still shrouded in intrigue. It’s the land of Ghandi, of painted elephants, of the Taj Mahal; of bindis and orange sellers and fuchsia saris and rickshaws careering through crowded streets at a break-neck pace. From the southern temples of Kerala to the beaches of Goa to the birthplace of Buddhism at Varanasi, it’s a country that dominates Asia and is home to a billion people - and it’s as varied and magical as it seems. Nowhere is more contradictory, hectic, infuriating or fascinating. Come join us there in 2016 – and be prepared for a whirlwind. Where to go The Golden Triangle of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, in the north, is likely to be where you start your Indian adventure. India’s most famous landmark, the Taj Mahal, is a given – and yes, seeing it with your own eyes is as impressive as you might expect. Once you’ve completed your visit to the world’s most ornate death tomb, make sure you get some zen back at a lotus temple – a calming experience that only seems possible in a country that’s so heavily spiritual. If you have time once you’ve navigated the Golden Triangle, head east to Varanasi - one of the world’s oldest cities, which sits on the Ganges and is the widely-accepted spiritual centre of the whole country. Next it’s on to the massive, hectic, coastal home of Bollywood itself, Mumbai. Aside from the glamour of a film industry bigger than Hollywood (or so we’ve heard) Mumbai also houses the world’s most expensive house, as well as a tropical forest... yes, in the city. Check out the UNESCO-listed Elephanta Island, the imposing Gateway of India monument, and the majestic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, an essential piece of the city’s history that has been fully restored since its 2008 terror attack. Head south to check out Kerala, stopping off halfway for some relaxing downtime in the beachside party resort of Goa. Kerala’s sex temples will be a highlight, as will the Thekkady wildlife refuge – where you can spend the day rock climbing and mountain biking, and the night suspended amongst the sounds of the jungle in a tree house. What to do Get lost in the “pink city” Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan, and at its heart is the Amber Fort – the 16th Century behemoth that sits high on a hill, overlooking the Maota Lake below. The City Palace – still home to the one-time royal family – and the pink and honeycombed Hawa Mahal (pictured), the 18th Century landmark that allowed Jaipur’s upper-crust ladies to look down on the streets below, will also be high points of your visit. Wander the streets of Delhi Busy, beautiful, infuriating, historic... India’s capital is all of these things, and more. Visit a lotus temple at sunset for some calm, and then get lost in one of the city’s many gilt-laden bazaars before craning your neck to see the top of Qutb Minar (pictured), the world’s tallest minaret. It’s a city where orange sellers cycle past giant glass buildings on broken bicycles and 1,000 year old men herd cattle through the streets in the shadow of skyscrapers. From the Red Fort to Raj Ghat - the final resting place of Gandhi - to the art reflects the country’s colourful culture, it’s a city that surprises at every turn. Be enthralled. Track down India’s three new World Heritage sites
- Article continues below...
- More stories you may like...
- Top Destinations 2017: Peru
- 7 reasons you should visit Peru, according to the experts
- Top Destinations for 2017: Colombia