India Key Facts
3, 287, 590 km²
1, 210, 193, 422
For India travel insurance, select Asia Region
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In India they drive on the left side of the road
When is the best time to visit?
The best time to visit India's is between November and March - at that time, temperatures are not too high (even cool by Indian standards), and this time also corresponds to the dry season.
Airports (26 international, 73 domestic), railway (regular commuter trains and luxury trains), buses, highways, ports and harbours, rickshaw.
World Heritage Sites
- Agra Fort, and important 16th century Mughal monument that used to contain the imperial city of the Mughal rulers.
- Ajanta Caves, dating back to the 2nd and 1st centuries BC and considered masterpieces of Buddhist religious art.
- Buddhist Monuments of Sanchi, a group of Buddhist monuments in the oldest Buddhist sanctuary in existence.
- Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, which is the only complete and unchanged Islamic pre-Mughal city in existence.
- Chhatrapati Shivaj Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus), a great example of the blending of traditional Indian themes with Victorian Gothic Revival architecture.
- Churches and Convents of Goa, which bear witness to the evangelization of Asia.
- Elephanta Caves, containing a collection of rock art linked to the cult of the god Shiva.
- Ellora Caves, which consist of 34 monasteries and temples devoted to Hinduism, Buddhism and Janism that were dug side by side in the wall of a high basalt cliff.
- Fatehpur Sikri, the capital of the Mughal Empire during the second half of the 16th century.
- Great Living Chola Temples, which are three great 11th and 12th century temples built by the kings of the Chola Empire.
- Group of Monuments Hampi, which is all that is left of the last capital of the last great Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagar.
- Group of Monuments Mahabalipuram, consisting of several sanctuaries that were carved out of rock in the 7th and 8th centuries.
- Hill Forts of Rajasthan, containing 6 majestic hill forts that were the fortified seats of power of Rajput princely states.
- Humayun's Tomb, Delhi, is the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent built in 1570.
- Khajuraho Group of Monuments, these 20 temples represent the remains of the Chandella dynasty.
- Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya is one of the four holy sites related to the life of Lord Buddha.
- Mountain Railways of India, which is a collection of three railways that were opened between 1881 and the mid-19th century and remain operational today.
- Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi, a 72.5m high, red sandstone tower as well as a surrounding archaeological area.
- Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen's Stepwell) at Patan, Guajarat, which is a 30m deep well designed as an inverted temple highlighting the sanctity of water.
- Red Fort Complex, which reflects a fusion of Persian, Timurid, and Hindu traditions into one cohesive architectural style.
- Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, which contain cave paintings that date from the Mesolithic Period.
- Sun Temple, Konârak, which was built in the 13th century and is one of India's most famous Brahman sanctuaries.
- Taj Mahal, probably the most famous mausoleum in the world and one of the jewels of Muslim art in India.
- The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur, which is an astronomical observation site built in the early 18th century.
- Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area, an area characterized by high alpine peaks, alpine meadows and riverine forests that is of huge significance for biodiversity conservation.
- Kaziranga National Park, one of the last true wilderness areas in eastern India where you can still find one-horned rhinoceroses, elephants, panthers and tigers.
- Keoladeo National Park, a major wintering area for at least 364 species of birds.
- Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, home to tigers, pygmy hogs, Indian rhinoceros and Indian elephant.
- Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks, an area famous for its flowers, natural beauty and rich diversity.
- Sundarabans National Park, a 10 000km2 area in the Ganges delta that also contains the world's largest area of mangrove forests.
- Western Ghats, which is a chain of mountains that is older than the Himalaya mountains and one of the world's eight 'hottest hotspots' of biological diversity.
- Group of Monuments at Pattadakal, a series of nine Hindu temples dating back to the 7th and 8th century that represent the blending of north and south Indian architectural forms into one harmonious form.
Average Annual Temperature
Average Annual Rainfall
India has a variety of climatic regions ranging from a temperate alpine climate in the Himalayan north to a tropical climate in the south. Generally, India offers four seasons: Winter (from December until March), which is India's coldest season with temperatures in the north averaging around 10-15 degrees, and 20-25 degrees in the southeast; Summer (April until June), which is also the pre-monsoon season with temperatures averaging around 32-40 degrees in most of India's interiors; Monsoon season lasts from July until September and is characterized by lots of rain, and finally Autumn or the post monsoon season, when it is typically overcast.
There are only three holidays that are national: Republic Day, Independence Day and Mahatma Gandhi's Birthday. All other public holidays are set by each state government.
- January 26 - Republic Day
- August 15 - Independence Day
- October 2 - Mahatma Gandhi's Birthday
Why Visit India?
India offers a wide range of attractions: from the religious and pilgrimage sites, the historical sites, the amazing range of different food cultures, and the spectacular festivals such as Diwali. India is also famous for being easy to backpack through, making it an affordable location to visit.
Things To Do In India
- Visit the Taj Mahal, try the regional food.
- Swim on the beaches in Goa.
- Visit a temple.
- Enjoy a trip with the mountain railway.
- Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- Walk through the famously busy cities such as Mombai or Delhi.
- Enjoy an Indian cooking class.
- Visit a spice market.
Travel Tips For India
- A good way to avoid any stomach problems is to initially stick to vegetarian foods until your body has acclimatized.
- Avoid drinking the tap water.
- Avoid tattoo parlours in India, as they are not licensed and hygiene is not their main concern.
- Use only your right hand to eat.
Indian cooking is world famous and absolutely delicious. With its many tropical fruits, varied cooking methods, pungent spice mixes and range of colorful foods, Indian cuisine hast a lot to offer to any travellers. The first thing to note is that the cooking traditions within India not only vary between the regions (so the food from north India is different from the food in south India), but you will also find different cooking traditions within any given region (meaning that you can find neighboring villages that enjoy different diets). In short, where ever you may find yourself, there will be an interesting, ever changing, and delicious selection of food around. North Indian cuisine is the template for most Indian restaurants abroad, with a strong tradition of making breads (such as roti, chapatti or naan) and typical meals consisting of a gravy based dish eaten with a naan. Famous examples of this type cooking are Samosas, deep fried packets of potatoes and peas, Biryani, a mixed rice dish with meat or vegetables, the world famous butter chicken, as well as the delicious Pala Paneer, which are cottage cheese cubes in spinach gravy. South Indian cuisines tends to put more emphasis on rice and rice based dishes as well as using different spices. Dominant spices in the south are mustard seeds, curry leaves and fenugreek sees. Famous south Indian dishes include Dosa, a delicious rice pancake, Idli's, south India's famous fermented rice cakes, and Kanjo, a rice porridge. The various regions of India also operate at different spiciness levels, with Gujarat offering mild food and Andhra famously hot food. It is best to approach hot food with caution when in India!
India Travel Safety and Warnings
- India is a reasonably safe country, but every region is slightly different and it pays to make specific enquiries before going anywhere. In bigger cities be careful when roaming the streets at night, especially if you are a woman. Petty theft and scams are not uncommon either, so keep an eye on your belongings.
- In case of beggars, the best policy is to ignore them. It is particularly important not to give money to children, as they tend to be exploited by adults.
- Should you be lost and trying to get help, talk to the nearest man. Women tend to be shy towards foreigners, especially men.
- Make sure you have travel insurance for India before starting your journey.
The second most populous country in the world, home to the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, famous home of the Buddha and birthplace of 4 different religions, these are but a few claims to fame of the Republic of India, and that’s just barely the tip of the iceberg.
Once you travel to India you realize that there is lots to explore and discover in this vast country, from the diverse and long history to the many spiritual traditions, all the way to eating your way through the various regions.
The tourism slogan for India is 'Incredible India' and that is no exaggeration. Make sure you have some comfortable walking shoes, sort out your travel insurance for India, and go explore the country of the Indus.
As you get off the airplane in any major city, there are so many sites, sounds, and smells, there just is so much going on, that it does take a while for your brain to adjust to where you are. Once you’re passed that stage, you can start to gently explore India with its many cities, tourist sites, spiritual meccas, and party destinations.
The north of India is home to the Himalayan plateau and some of the most stunning nature areas in the world. It is also home to many spiritual sites and religious temples that are worth the trip.
Kashmir, the internationally famous production site of Kashmir wool as well as the conflict between India and Pakistan, also happens to be one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth. Travelling to Kashmir used to be very difficult, but recently it has been made a lot easier with many direct flights into the region now. Ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for India before travelling though.
The north of India is also home to a region known as The Plains, where you will find the regions of Punjab, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. New Delhi is India's capital, one of the oldest cities on the planet, and absolutely enormous. The Red Fort, one of India's top tourist sights, is located here as well and with its stunning mix of architecture, is a must see for any traveller. While in Delhi, make sure to visit Connaught Place, the heart of Delhi originally designed by the British, with the infamous Palika Bazaar around the corner, where you can get cheap, smuggled and pirated wares from overseas.
For more adventurous travellers, there is also the option of doing a tour of the slums around Delhi, which can be a really eye opening experience, just be sure to have appropriate travel insurance for India before the tour starts.
In the city of Agra not far from Delhi is where you will find the most iconic of India's tourist destinations: the Taj Mahal. Built as a mausoleum, this building is absolutely spectacular and is definitely worth a visit.
Agra is also where you will find the Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikiri, both UNESCO Sites. A wonderful way to explore both history and cuisine is to take an Agra Food Tour, which takes you to monuments and nearby places to eat some traditional foods.
Goa is where India's best beaches can be found, and if you need a break from the bustling cities, Goa is the place to go. From hippies to pilgrims visiting religious sites, there are a wide variety of different people that are attracted to this place, making it wonderfully eclectic and always interesting.
If you don't want to spend all day at the beach, you can also opt to do kite surfing or visiting one of the many wild life sanctuaries in the area.
As you head into south India you will notice a distinct change: firstly the diet is much more rice based than in the north, and the culture is quite different.
While the north is more closely related to East European culture, the south is essentially based on Dravidian culture. You can see a lot of Temples and other remains of Dravidian architecture, which is quite striking. The south is also home to some of the best diving sites in India, namely in the Andaman and Nicobar islands.
While India is generally a safe place for travellers, buy India travel insurance before setting off on any adventures in this spectacular country.
For more information on India, visit the India Tourism Website.
If you're looking for a great trekking itinerary in North India, check out the Ladakh Trekking Tour from our friends at Touch of Spirit Tours.