NORTHERN INDIA - A rich, eclectic experience
A Cornucopia. Soon to be the most populous country in the world and already the largest democracy, India combines an incredible palette of disparate cultures, nations, topologies, and experiences. This is a huge country with vastly diverse terrain from snow capped mountains, to hot tropical rain forests, fertile valleys, arid plains, deserts, beaches, tiny villages, huge cities and much more. There is a vast variety of architecture from palaces, to ancient ruins, to forts; a mix of many cultures, religions, garb, holidays and celebrations.
From all this, one easily become confused and frustrated in planning travel in this vast country. This is where we can help!
The Northern Triangle. A typical initial visit to India will include what is often called the Northern Triangle described in our Northern India Travelogue. The primary places on such a tour include Delhi, Agra (for the Taj Mahal), Jaipur, Udaipur, Varanasi, and Mumbai. We also recommend a visit to the fertile Ajabgar Valley to see and participate in typical rural life in villages, farms, herding, and other daily activities, in addition to ancient ruins. A great way to stay in this pretty, quiet valley is at the gorgeous Amanbagh resort. The only reason to visit Agra is the Taj Mahal and it is highly recommended to stay at the one hotel with a view of that shrine, and gorgeous accommodations - the Oberoi Amarvilas. But each of these other destinations have their own charms with palaces, shopping and many sights to see and things to do. A visit to the slums in Mumbai is a fascinating experience.
When to visit. The best weather for visiting India is October through March. We visited in early March, just after the major tourist season. The weather was still perfect and the crowds had gone. Tourist crowds are quite intense from November through February when the weather is mildest. Temperature become quite hot starting in April, reaching scorching heights in the summer. Things begin to cool in the fall, but the rainy season runs from July through September. October is another good "shoulder" season for a visit.