Taj Mahal, Agra, India

India Holidays

India is one of the most exciting and fascinating countries on Earth, offering incredible diversity from the mighty Himalayas of Ladakh bordering the north to the coastal backwaters and rolling tea estates of the tropical southern Kerala. An India holiday can feel like a visit to more than just one country with the colourful and historical cities of Rajasthan contrasting with the abundance of wildlife you will discover on a Tiger Safari holiday.

It is impossible to see the country in its entirety on a single India holiday. Consider it a continent masquerading as a country when researching your holiday. With 28 states, all worthy of a visit, every tailor-made holiday to India requires intrinsic planning. Let us help craft a personalised luxury holiday itinerary or recommend one of our small, expert-led group tours.

Explore the highlights of India

  • Stay in luxurious leading hotels such as Oberoi throughout Rajasthan.
  • Visit remote villages with strong cultural identity and stay in small, boutique heritage hotels.
  • Arun Pratop leads our small group tour of Rajasthan. Benefit from after-hours events and private tours in the company of experts.
  • Take a Jeep ride in search of tigers. See our safari guide for where to go and when.
  • Join a wildlife group tour to experience and learn about a variety of endangered species.
  • Stay at Taj Mahua Kothi Lodge in Kanha National Park for the ultimate luxury tiger safari.

 

  • Spend time on board a private houseboat, cruising the backwaters of Kerala.
  • Visit the tea plantations of Munnar and experience spectacular scenery.
  • Relax on the white sandy beaches at Neeleshwar Hermitage and indulge in the art of Ayurveda.
  • Board the M.V. Mahabaahu and experience one of the Asia’s largest rivers, the Brahmaputra.
  • Discover remote towns and villages lining the banks of India’s sacred Ganges River, cruising between Kolkata and as far north as Varanasi.
  • From Kolkata cruise the charming Hooghly River on the ABN Rajmahal.

 

Meet our India Specialists

Without a doubt a tailor-made holiday to India requires some planning and the best place to start is to call one of our extremely knowledgeable and experienced travel consultants. Joe and Charlie have considerable experience of creating exciting, interesting and varied holidays to India without losing sight of the “must-see” places.

What to expect on your luxury India holiday

Forget the stereotypes, go with an open mind. Don’t expect anything and every day will bring new experiences. Whether it is architecture, food or local customs, India is unpredictable. Go with the flow. Our expertise and contacts are there to reduce any delays in your India holiday and to help you negotiate Indian bureaucracy. We are there to ensure your holiday goes as smoothly as possible. Hotels cater to every level of requirement from the utterly fabulous to slightly quirky palaces of Maharajas where old family retainers look after you in a wonderfully haphazard fashion. In addition, sophisticated African-style tented camps have sprung up near the game parks.

Some ideas for your India holiday

  • Ladakh - Travel to the last bastion of true Tibetan Buddhism - tracking the elusive snow leopard.
  • Visit the interior, home to the Western Ghats famous for coffee and paddy fields, in addition to possibly the most historical site of India, Hampi. The wildlife in Karnataka is a welcome surprise not to mention Nagarhole National Park being home to black panther, tiger and elephant.
  • For the first-time visitor to India, our Golden Triangle holidays allow you to see the very best of the country through the three well-known cities Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.
  • Walking in the Himalayas - see holy cities, rivers and mountains at a comfortable pace on well-maintained routes.

Advice from our India Holiday Experts

"India is less a country, or even a subcontinent, but more a world of its own. Soaring mountain peaks, vast deserts, mega cities bursting with colour and clamour, ancient civilizations, unique wildlife, fabulous food. Whatever you crave from your travels India will deliver in spades. And throw in the odd surprise or two. With some of the world’s best hotels to retreat to after a day’s explorations what is stopping you?"

Joe Parkes | Steppes Travel India Expert

India FAQs

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When is the best time to travel to India?
India is a huge country – it is fourteen times the size of the UK – and its weather is wide-ranging with considerable regional variations. The key feature of the subcontinent’s climate is the monsoon, which breaks on the Keralan coast at the end of May and then works its way northeast across the country. At this time rainfall can be very heavy, particularly over the higher regions facing the sea. Thus the best time to travel to India, or at least the majority of the country, is during the dry season from November and March when it is cooler. It is a great time to visit Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The best time to visit the tiger parks is from October to April. If you can bear the heat then May is also an option when the vegetation is not as thick and it is also mating season. In the south – Kerala and Goa - the weather is comfortable from November through to January. In the Himalayas, the best time to go trekking is in August and September. However, we would recommend travelling earlier in the year, in March, if you want to try and see snow leopards.
Do I need a visa to visit India?
UK passport holders require a visa for India and you must obtain this visa before you travel to India. The easiest way to do this is to apply online – there is no need to involve a visa company or to go to the Indian Embassy in person. The application process takes four days and costs £52.50 for a single-entry tourist visa. The visas is valid for six months from its date of issue.
The web address is https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/index.html Please don’t hesitate to call our travel experts if you have any queries.
How safe is the food and drink?
One of the great fears about travelling to India is the quality of the food. Let’s put your mind to rest straight away and say the opposite: the food in India is delicious and indeed one of the highlights of a visit to India. Indian cuisine is heavily influenced by religion, cultural and ethnic groups – one of the joys of travel to India is the diversity of the cuisine. Also, it is important to note that not all the food is spicy.

Many of the diseases are water-borne so do not drink the tap water. Drink filtered water as opposed to water out of plastic bottles – we do not condone the use of single-use plastic.

In terms of alcohol, beer, wines and spirits are all available although the quality is sometimes not what you might be used to.
What vaccinations do I need for India?

We recommend that you speak to your GP and visit the excellent travel-medicine website http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx

It strongly recommends you get vaccinations for typhoid, tetanus, poliomyelitis and hepatitis before travelling to and around India. The key for travel vaccinations is to start planning well in advance. Both diphtheria and tuberculosis require a three-month incubation period before the start of the trip. Start by consulting your GP (who will be able to advise if you are up-to-date with your polio and tetanus jabs); he or she may be able to provide the jabs, or direct you to a travel-medicine specialist.

What is the best way to get around?
India is a huge country and often travel distances are large. The best way to get around is via internal flights. There is an extensive network of flights which are both frequent and inexpensive. Added to this they are reliable and good.

To experience the real India, take a train journey- no visit to India is complete without experiencing the bustle of an Indian railway station. We recommend express trains, which normally offer air-conditioned seats or first or second class sleeper cabins. All seats and berths are reserved for the ticket holder. The reservation list is displayed on the train itself, your name and reserved berth clearly shown. Berths are numbered in classes, so AC1 AC2 AC3 and sleeper class cars. There are toilets on the trains. Don’t expect pristine western standards but if travelling on an air-conditioned express train then the service is reasonable.  High speed express trains link cities efficiently, such as Delhi to Agra, Jaipur to Jodhpur. 
What clothing should I take?

When visiting any country it is important to respect their dress code. Women should avert from wearing sleeveless and tight-fitting clothing and dress modestly, especially when visiting temples and religious monuments.

Short dresses and skirts should also be avoided, loose trousers and long skirts being more favourable and cooler in the heat. If travelling during the winter months or in the north of the country, we advise a jumper for the evenings and early mornings when it can be quite chilly, and of course comfortable footwear for days out and about.

Is there an etiquette to photographing people?

When photographing people in India, we always advise to ask the person you would like to photograph beforehand out of politeness. In most cases people are happy to have the picture taken, especially children who will readily pose for several! If photography is prohibited, this is usually clearly marked.

Are there lots of mosquitoes in the Keralan backwaters?
During the day mosquitoes are not too much of an issue but by night they can be more so. We tend to advise against staying overnight on the houseboats in the backwaters, instead recommending you cruise in the day when you are able to enjoy the wonderful scenery in peace!
Do I have to take my luggage with me on the train?

This would depend on the length of the journey and whether your car and driver are following the train or not. For many shorter journeys the car would follow with luggage and you would be met the other side.

As a general rule of thumb if you are travelling overnight by train or for more than around six hours then you will have your luggage with you.

Where is the best place to see tigers?
India is home to more than 40 national parks. To help increase the odds of spotting a tiger Steppes Travel can offer you a greater understanding of the local issues and differences between the parks, the best chance of being in the right place at the right time and advice on how to avoid the many pitfalls that create substandard safari experiences.
Is it safe to travel to India as a single woman?
It is largely safe for women to travel in India alone. There are measures we can put in place to ensure you are well looked after. Some city hotels offer women butlers, and women’s rooms on a dedicated floor. Private same sex drivers and guides can be requested for your peace of mind. Train journeys can be organised with an accompanying escort.

Holidays

India - A journey through Tamil Nadu and Kerala

A journey through Tamil Nadu and Kerala

This holiday itinerary offers you the most comprehensive, contrasting and experience-led journey ...

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India - Highlights of Central India

Highlights of Central India

This itinerary to Central India features some of the most memorable and varied aspects of the cou...

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India - Classic Rajasthan

expert led group tour

India - Classic Rajasthan

The tour includes the most celebrated cities and sites of Rajasthan: the bustling streets of Jaip...

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India - Highlights of Kerala

India - Highlights of Kerala

Kerala competes with Rajasthan as India's most popular destination – and this 13 day itinerary su...

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India - On the trail of snow leopards

wildlife group tour

India - On the trail of snow leopards

As one of the only animals that has eluded Sir David Attenborough, snow leopards are highly endan...

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India - Photography Expedition to Ladakh with Jon Nicholson

expert led group tour

India - Photography Expedition to Ladakh with Jon Nicholson

Led by professional photographer Jon Nicholson, our photography expedition to Ladakh is an "assig...

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India - Textiles and Artisans of India

expert led group tour

India - Textiles and Artisans of India

Travel from India's north-west region of Gujarat to Hyderabad. Discover the fascinating...

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India - The Golden Triangle including Tigers

India - The Golden Triangle with Tigers

This classic tour of India's Golden Triangle takes you to Delhi, Agra and Jaipur and al...

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India Deccan Odyssey - A Historical Rail Journey in the company of Mihir Bose

expert led group tour

India Deccan Odyssey - A Historical Rail Journey in the company of Mihir Bose

Join this 11 day expert led group tour to Central India, including seven nights on board the Decc...

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India New Scientist - Snow Leopard Tracking -

wildlife group tour

India New Scientist - Snow Leopard Tracking -

Endangered, beautiful and elusive, snow leopards are rarely seen in the wild. In an effort to pro...

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India and Nepal Luxury Tiger Safari

Luxury Tiger Safari in Nepal and India

This 13 day luxury safari holiday combines the best of Nepal and Indian wildlife experiences with...

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India - World Heritage Sites of Central India

World Heritage Sites of Central India

This nine day holiday to Northern Karnataka highlights the finest example of rock cut architectur...

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India ABN Rajmahal (8 days/ 7 nights) City of Light Upstream with Delhi and Varanasi

Cruise the Ganges

The ABN Rajmahal will be the first vessel to offer extensive cruising on the Ganges, on the stret...

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India - Dudhwa National Park

India - Dudhwa National Park

Billy Arjan Singh successfully hand-reared and reintroduced zoo-born tigers and leopards into the...

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India: Honeymoon/ Romantic luxury high end Rajsthan

India - Romantic Rajasthan

If finding the perfect balance between culture and indulgence is important on holiday then this i...

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India - Cycling in the Tiger Corridor

India Cycling in the Tiger Corridor

Experience an Indian wildlife holiday from a different perspective. Bike through the buffer ...

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India: In the Footsteps of Lord Mountbatten

India Raj - In the Footsteps of Lord Mountbatten

Experience the story behind the end of an empire and birth of two nations that changed the world....

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India Tiger Safari - The Jungle Book Experience

India Tiger Safari - The Jungle Book Experience

Spend seven days on safari between two of the most famous parks in Central India – including...

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India -  Luxury Rajasthan with Oberoi Hotels

Luxury Rajasthan with Oberoi Hotels

This twelve day holiday follows the classic route through Rajasthan, visiting the stand out gems ...

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India - The Tigers of Tadoba

Tiger Safari in Tadoba National Park

The Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is arguably one of India's most exciting and best protected tige...

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India - Jaipur Literature Festival ( FIT with Royal)

VIP Invite to Jaipur Literature Festival- India

This nine day tour has been created by Steppes Travel to bring you closer to the action with excl...

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India - Slow life in India, family holiday in Kerala and Nagarhole NP

A Family Holiday to South India

This family orientated itinerary to South India is brimming with activities to satisfy even ...

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India with Oman - 8 nights Golden Triangle with 3 night Chedi

Golden Triangle with beach extension in Oman

This 13 day holiday combines the best of both worlds. A perfect introduction to the wonders of In...

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India - The Ultimate Tiger Safari

India Tiger Safari - Pench, Kanha and Bandhavgarh

For anyone with a passion for Indian wildlife spend 14 days visiting three tiger parks; Pench, Ka...

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India - Kaafila Camping  (4N) and Stok Palace (2 )  10 days including 2 N Delhi

Nomadic Explorations - Camping in Remote Ladakh

Experience a nomadic journey in mystical Ladakh, in a mobile camp beyond the ordinary - in a land...

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India - Walking in the Himalayas

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Inspiration

Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur, India

Viceroy's House filmed at Umaid Bhawan- Rajasthan

Viceroy’s House is released in the UK on the 3rd March, and portrays the life of the last Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten.

Stay at Umaid Bhawan to relive life as a Maharaja. Contact our India experts to start planning.

. Set in 1947 it depicts the historical event of India being handed back to its people. A star-studded cast including Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson, written by English film writer, Gurinder Chadha, famously known for Bend It Like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice.

The entire film is set in Viceroy’s House in Delhi, allowing to bring under one roof the Mountbattens, the key Indian leaders (Nehru, Jinnah and Gandhi), and the 500 ordinary Indians Hindu, Sikh and Muslim – who served the Mountbatten’s as domestic staff.

For many of us who have been following Prince William’s first visit to India last year, we cannot help but be reminded that his great-great uncle, the same Lord Louis Mountbatten, and mentor to Prince Charles, presided over the independence of India and birth of Pakistan – events that have shaped our entire lives.

An Indian Downton Abbey, visually embracing the splendour of the Raj, set in the real-life palace Umaid Bhawan, set in Udaipur, as opposed to Delhi.

Umaid Bhawan today is home to Gaj Singh, the grandson of the Maharaja Umaid Singh, of whom the palace was built for over 15 years, completed pre-independence. The residence of the Jodphur royal family is shared with the Taj Hotels group, who manage part of the palace as an opulent palace hotel. Recently voted the world’s best hotel of 2016 in the Traveler’s choice awards.

Stay at Umaid Bhawan to relive life as a Maharaja. Contact our India experts to start planning.

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Be one of the First - Dudhwa National Park

Client Reviews

Langur monkeys, India, JK
'' Kate Hitchen was excellent.
Thanks to her knowledge and responsiveness the trip exceeded my expectations! ''
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Amanda Morgan

India
Holi Powder, India
'' Excellent as always. 
There really is no substitute for a travel expert with recent personal knowledge of the destination. ''
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Silke Bernau

India
Indian Elephant, India
'' Kate took time for face to face contact. 
She tailored the trip to our particular interests. We had an excellent driver and knowledgeable and engaging guides at all times. An excellent experience from first to last. ''
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Graham Powell

India
Flowers and Coconuts, India
"Trip was booked at very late notice and it was great that Steppes were able to be so accommodating.
Local representatives in Leh were fantastic. Standard of everything was very high. The experience that we received in Leh was amazing."
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Henry Tufnell

India
Rajasthani Woman, India
"We had several awkward requests and these were all dealt with extremely professionally. 
Steppes tailored to our specific needs and desires with Kate's knowledge and expertise on hand to steer us in the right direction. Our private guide and driver made a special holiday exceptional."
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Sonia Bowen

India
Ganesha, India
"Everything we asked for was arranged and useful suggestions were made which enhanced our own ideas.
The car and driver were very reliable and we felt safe and at ease despite the traffic! Representatives and guides were prompt and reasonably well informed. It was a very professionally organised trip."
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Trevor Clitheroe

India
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FLIGHT INFORMATION

8 hours from UK
(Direct)

Holiday Ideas in India

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