Colourful, chaotic and bewildering, India is one of the world's great civilisations. The largest democracy on Earth, India is a seething tumult of humanity living amid a staggering spectacle of age-old temples and astonishing biodiversity.
India was already incredibly ancient when Alexander the Great ventured into its exotic unknowns. Indeed, India's vast cultural heritage includes the origins of seven of the world's great faiths, with Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism all thriving in the dusky heat of India.
Beginning amid the snow-capped majesty of the Himalayas, the awe-inspiring diversity of the Indian sub-continent encompasses all extremes, from sun-scorched deserts to lush paddy-fields, icy wilds to pulsating metropolises. Visit India and be dazzled by its luscious, savage and enchanting beauty.
Flights to India from London take you into all the major destinations including Indira Gandhi International Airport, which is close to the capital city of New Delhi. Conquered repeatedly throughout history, Delhi bears the imprint of marauding empires, from the wealthy Mughals to the enterprising British. The imposing splendour of the Red Fort once symbolised British supremacy - as well as the incongruous roundabouts - while the awesome scale of the Jama Masjid is a monument to Mughal power.
History and architecture
In a land of magical lustre, the pearl-white elegance of the Taj Mahal is the undisputed jewel in India's crown. As the Indian sun sets, flooding the plains of Agra in a pink glow, the looming white beauty of the Taj Mahal is a sight so romantic, so spellbinding, you'll never forget it.
Lying on the banks of the sacred Yamuna River, Agra's red-sandstone fort is one of the great Mughal achievements. The fort's imposing bulk contains a lavish interior, exquisitely decorated and featuring delicate vaulting columns.
Rajasthan is dense with historical treasures, a sun-scorched landscape and fabled heartland of the maharajas. The old city of Jodhpur is dominated by the giant stone fortress of Mehrangarh, a stronghold so impressive it appears crafted out of one immense rock.
The holy sites of India that hug the timeless waters of the Ganges are a good base from which to explore India's spectacular scenery. Varanasi's spiritual vibrancy enlivens the shores of the mighty Ganges, with ramshackle temples spilling out into the holy waters.
Follow the river up and you'll discover its source amid the rugged Himalayan peaks. The Great Himalayan National Park is rich in wildlife, while a simple stroll reveals the astonishing scale of Earth's greatest mountain range.
Food and drink
Nothing reflects the bewildering diversity of India better than its cuisine. More sensory overload than culinary insight, sampling India's gastronomic heritage is a thrilling experience. A riot of colours and smells, great sacks full of purple, ochre and yellow spices typify the bold flavours that define Indian cuisine.
Wherever you go in India, from New Delhi to Pushkar, you'll be treated to sumptuous curries, delicious pesarattus, and pork vindaloo. After all that, you can relax with a delightful masala tea.
|Food and drinks||Prices average|
|Beer (0.5 litre)||£1.00|
|Meal at McDonald's||£3.00|
|Water (0.33 litre)||£0.00|
|One way tube ticket||£0.00|
|Taxi starting price (normal tariff)||£1.00|
|1 summer dress in a chain store (Zara, H&M,...)||£28.00|
|1 pair of jeans (Levi's 501 or similar)||£28.00|
|Average monthly disposable salary (net)||£413.00|