travel

Whether it’s exotic adventures, spiritual nourishment or stunning scenery and wildlife, the Indian subcontinent has an experience to thrill everyone.

India is on the boil. There is no other country that offers the diversity, the complexity, the weirdness and human drama as India. Not least among its virtues is the balm of spirituality, not always evident on the surface of daily life, but real just the same.

In 2013, travelers will find India easier to visit than ever before. The choice of hotels has expanded, domestic airlines offer low prices and good services, and international air connections improve each year. Here are some good reasons to plan a trip.

Spectacle

A filigree of green valleys cradled between the peaks in the Great Himalaya and Karakoram ranges, Ladakh is known as India’s Little Tibet, and it’s two-day Hemis Festival celebrates the birthday of Guru Rinpoche, who introduced tantric Buddhism to Tibet. The festival takes place at Hemis Gompa, the largest and wealthiest of all Ladakh’s monasteries, and the one whose sequestered position in a serpentine valley protected it from the marauding armies that swept through Ladakh.

Description: Ladakh is known as India’s Little Tibet

Ladakh is known as India’s Little Tibet

Over two days in June or July, villagers and goat-herding nomads from far-flung regions congregate to trade, socialize and drink fermented barley, while Buddhist lamas perform the stylized masked dances that form one of the highlights of the Buddhist calendar.

Atmosphere

Close to the pointy end of the Indian shark’s tooth, Kochi is the largest city in Kerala, and is perpetually in slumber mode. There are several bits to Kochi but Fort Cochin and its southern neighbor, Mattancherry, is where you want to be.

Since the time of the Caesars, Fort Cochin has been a spice port. In its bazaars, Jewish traders rubbed shoulders with merchants from China and Arabia, each of whom left their mark. Although Fort Cochin still trades in spices, these days its specialty is collapse. Browsing goats, rust and creeping mould are as much a part of its architecture as the giant Chinese fishing nets, the old Jewish quarter and the nightly kathakali performances. Don’t miss cocktail hour at Brunton Boatyard.

Beach

Goa is India’s hottest beach destination – more than 100km of sea-swept sand amply furnished with coconut palms, mangoes and great sunsets. The state first appeared on the modern tourist’s radar in the late 1960s, when it sprang to prominence as a hippy nirvana.

Description: Goa is India’s hottest beach destination – more than 100km of sea-swept sand amply furnished with coconut palms, mangoes and great sunsets

Goa is India’s hottest beach destination – more than 100km of sea-swept sand amply furnished with coconut palms, mangoes and great sunsets

Anjuna, once the ground zero of hippiedom, still has a few dreadlocked veterans, but these days the packaged mass tourists rub shoulders with minor league jetsetters from Mumbai and Maharashtra, and swish new cafes, restaurants and nightclubs have sprung up along the busy Calangute to Baga stretch to cater to their tastes. The countryside is another story, and a languid, wandering journey along Goa’s sleepy roads is one of the more sublime experiences of the Indian subcontinent.

Nostalgia

Surveying the Indian hill station of Darjeeling from its flowery slopes on the flanks of Observatory Hill, the Windamere Hotel is an absolute hoot, a world of make-believe where the clock stopped ticking in 1930. Built as a ‘chummery’ – a boarding house for colonial chaps sent out as tea plantation managers – today Windamere is a hotel full of enchanting eccentricities.

The hotel is tailor-made for devotees of the Raj, where the style and tastes of British India are still scrupulously observed over cucumber sandwiches at afternoon tea, served daily in Daisy’s Music Room. Located within The Snuggery, the hotel’s library has a substantial collection devoted to India’s railways. Ask for a room with a wake-up view of Kanchenjunga, the world’s third tallest mountain.

Romance

Rajasthan, ‘Land of Kings’, is India at its flamboyant best. If you want an India that fulfills every exotic fantasy – palaces, warrior kings, camel cities – Rajasthan is the place. For more than a thousand years the state was ruled by the Rajputs, warrior kings who embraced the romantic ideals of bravery, etiquette and chivalry. And heroism and tragedy on a majestic scale has left the landscape splashed with bloody legends and impressive forts.

Description: Rajasthan is the most colorful state of India

Rajasthan is the most colorful state of India

Gateway to Rajasthan is the pink city of Jaipur, but in the process of opening itself up to the wider world the city has lost some of its colour. Plan a wandering circuit of the state to include Jodhpur, Bikaner, Ajmer and Chittorgarh, where the women of the city once committed mass suicide while the men marched out to face certain death at the hands of a besieging Islamic force.

Monument

The Taj Mahal, the tomb that Mushal emperor Shah Jahan built for his beloved wife, Mumtaz, is poetry in stone – colossal yet ethereal.

Description: The Taj Mahal is the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage

The Taj Mahal is the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage

My own personal favourite Taj moment involves a slight diversion. When you get to the main gate, turn right and follow the wall downhill, passing a small bazaar, until you come to the river. Instead of the hordes visiting the Taj, you will be the only foreigner. At the bottom is a boatman who will pole you across to the other side, and while this modest voyage is likely to cots 200 rupees – probably 10 times what the locals might pay – the reward is a sublime view of the Taj from the riverbank. Villagers regularly come down here to bathe, slashing in the water and fracturing the mirror image of the Taj into a shimmering mosaic.

Float

Stretching across 1500 square kilometres, the backwaters of Kerala are a lacework of rice paddies and muddy villages threaded together by canals and rivers that run between corridors of coconut palms. Drifting through this liquid landscape on a houseboat is one of the staples of Keralan tourism. All but the most basic houseboat comes with solar-heated showers and a mosquito net. A one-night journey will give you a taste, but three nights is better if you want to taste life along the less visited water ways.

Roar

India has more than half the world’s tigers, which current estimates put at about 3500, and the place to see them is Rajasthan’s Ranthambore National Park. The Oberoi Vanyavilas Ranthambore in consist of 25 luxury tents each set within a walled garden, with teak floors, a king-size bed, air-con and a freestanding bath in a marble-plated bathroom. Twice daily game drives provide the essential khaki element.

Description: Roar! Tiger Encounters in Ranthambore, India

Roar! Tiger Encounters in Ranthambore, India

Spa-aah

Set on a hilltop high above the Ganger River and the temples of Rishikesh, Ananda in the Himalayas brings five-star luxury to the spa retreat. Meditation, yoga, food, spa programs, art, culture and adventure activities are part of the arsenal that Ananda deploys in its efforts to rebalance and rejuvenate.

Description: Ananda Spa Resort India has been rated as the best spa in the whole world

Ananda Spa Resort India has been rated as the best spa in the whole world

Guests can stay on a room-only basis, but it’s the packages with meals, spa treatments and therapies included that are the real reason to be here. A regular contender for the title of ‘world’s best spa’, Ananda delivers serenity with a silk touch.

 

 

Top search
Women
- Foods That Cause Miscarriage
- Losing Weight In A Week With Honey
- Can You Eat Crab Meat During Pregnancy?
- 4 Kinds Of Fruit That Can Increase Risk Of Miscarriage
- Some Drinks Pregnant Women Should Say No With
- Signs Proving You Have Boy Pregnancy
- Why Do Pregnant Women Have Stomachache When Eating?
- Top Foods That Pregnant Women Should Be Careful Of
- 6 Kinds Of Vegetable That Increase Risk Of Miscarriage
Other
travel
- New York - Around Town : Chelsea and Herald Square (part 2) - Chelsea Galleries, Places to Eat
- New York - Around Town : Chelsea and Herald Square (part 1)
- Paris - Around Town : St-Germain, Latin and Luxembourg Quarters (part 4) - Picnic Providers, Places to Eat
- Paris - Around Town : St-Germain, Latin and Luxembourg Quarters (part 3) - Late-Night Bars, Literary Haunts
- Paris - Around Town : St-Germain, Latin and Luxembourg Quarters (part 2) - Booksellers, Specialist Food Shops
- Paris - Around Town : St-Germain, Latin and Luxembourg Quarters (part 1)
- London - Around Town : Kensington and Knightsbridge (part 3) - Pubs and Cafés, Restaurants
- London - Around Town : Kensington and Knightsbridge (part 2) - The Best of the Rest, Shopping
- London - Around Town : Kensington and Knightsbridge (part 1)
- Berlin - Around Town : Prenzlauer Berg (part 2) - Best of the Rest, Restaurants, Pubs & Bars
- Berlin - Around Town : Prenzlauer Berg (part 1)
- San Francisco - Streetsmart : Budget Hotels and Hostels, Apartments and Private Homes
- San Francisco - Streetsmart : Neighborhood Hotels, Gay and Lesbian Hotels
- Washington, D.C - Streetsmart : Boutique Hotels, Business Hotels
- Washington, D.C - Streetsmart : Child-Friendly Hotels, Bed-and-Breakfasts
- Rome - Around Town : The Esquiline and Lateran (part 2) - Clothing and Discount Shops, Places to Eat
- Rome - Around Town : The Esquiline and Lateran (part 1)
- Hong Kong - Streetsmart : Long-Stay Hotels, Great Escapes
- Madrid - Around Town : Comunidad de Madrid (part 2) - Historic Places to Eat
- Madrid - Around Town : Comunidad de Madrid (part 1)
 
women
Top keywords
women
Miscarriage Pregnant Pregnancy Pregnancy day by day Pregnancy week by week Losing Weight Stress Placenta Makeup Collection
Women
Top 5
women
- Cinnamon: A natural treatment for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?
- 5 Tips for Safe Exercise During Pregnancy
- Four Natural Ways Alternative Medicine Can Help You Get Pregnant (part 2)
- Four Natural Ways Alternative Medicine Can Help You Get Pregnant (part 1)
- Is Your Mental Health Causing You to Gain Weight (part 2) - Bipolar Disorder Associated with Weight Gain