Things to do in India

Our top activities in India

Go back in time

Indiaís history stretches much further back than the colonial tea plantations and hill towns. If you go on a cultural tour of Rajasthan you will enter the world of princes and palaces, soaking up the luxurious lives led by Maharana, Maharajahs, Nawabs and Rajkumars going back centuries. If you want to feel 'to the manor born' you can visit them via luxury overnight trains, such as the Maharajasí Express. The other major architectural influences are from the Mughal period in India, the most famous being the Taj Mahal, of course, as well as the Agra Fort, the fort-city of Fatehpur Sikri and the Red Fort in Delhi - all part of the Golden Triangle. For Buddhist influences, head to Ladakh with temples and shrines enveloped by the regionís dramatic peaks. For some of the finest Hindu temples, Tamil Nadu is an unexpected treat where you are not only given access to temples but also the Hindu dance of Theyyam which takes part in them.

Cycle to beaches, backwaters and borders

Always the best way to slow down and really see a place, the choice is vast. Cycling vacations take you along the Konkan Coast, from the Western Ghats to Goa, or through the tea plantations and backwaters of Kerala. You can stretch yourself a little further into the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, and cycle from Chennai down to the reward of the Kerala coast in Kochin. Or combine cycling with safari in the extraordinary northeast region of Meghalaya, heading through a wonderscape of waterfalls and luscious forest, natural swimming pools and Khasi villages bordering Bangladesh. You can even cycle coast to coast in the south if you want, on a tour from Fort Kochi on the west coast to Mahabalipuram on the east. Cycling through these contrasting landscapes allows you to connect with both people and place, staying in everything from houseboats to homestays, plantation houses to eco lodges.

Get your eye on a tiger

Seeing tigers in the wild is rare. But tigers are rare with just over 3,000 in the wild, worldwide. India is home to half of these and, with poaching still a serious threat, it is vital to support conservation efforts. The best places for viewing tigers are Bandhavgarh National Park, Corbett Tiger Reserve, Bandipur National Park, Kanha National Park, Periyar National Park, Ranthambore National Park and Pench Tiger Reserve

Go get the Ghats

Few people associate Kerala with mountains, the Himalayas monopolizing the western desire for elevated landscapes. Although they may not appeal to the serious explorers out there, the Western Ghats range is rapturous for most ramblers. And mountain bike riders. A good starting point is the town of Munnar, with the backdrop of Anamudi, Kerala's highest peak at 2,695m.
Photo credits: [Go back in time: rajkumar1220] [Cycle to beaches, backwaters and borders: Abhijit Kar Gupta] [Get your eye on a tiger - Ranthambore National park : bjoern] [Go get the Ghats: Magentic Manifestations ]
Written by Catherine Mack
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