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Varanasi India

Cultural Holidays in India

India Culture Holidays

Highlights of Northern India

Cultural Holidays in India
9 Days from £ 1,099

Guided Group (Excl. Flights)

From the Taj Mahal to the Bengal tigers of Ranthambore, explore a land packed with culture and excitement

Culture
New

India's Golden Triangle

Cultural Holidays in India
7 Days from £ 645

Guided Group (Excl. Flights)

A gateway to India’s fascinating culture and spectacular Moghul architecture.

Culture

Highlights of Northern India – Summer itinerary

Cultural Holidays in India
9 Days from £ 1,099

Guided Group (Excl. Flights)

Discover India's Golden Triangle plus the incredible city of Varanasi

Culture

The Tropical South

Cultural Holidays in India
14 Days from £ 1,299

Guided Group (Excl. Flights)

Find peace and paradise in India’s two southernmost states: Kerala and Tamil Nadu

Culture

Cycling Through Rajasthan

Cultural Holidays in India
15 Days from £ 1,899
£ 1,799

Guided Group (Excl. Flights)

Hop on the saddle to discover majestic monuments and picturesque palaces in India’s Land of Kings

Cycling

Colours of Rajasthan

Cultural Holidays in India
13 Days from £ 1,299
£ 1,199

Guided Group (Excl. Flights)

Discover the domain of the maharajas, exploring regal residences, seeing the Taj Mahal and searching for tigers

Culture
New

Highlights of Northern India & Nepal

Cultural Holidays in India
15 Days from £ 2,249
£ 2,049

Guided Group (Excl. Flights)

Take a classic journey from India's plains to the mountains of Nepal

Culture

Colours of Rajasthan – Pushkar Festival

Cultural Holidays in India
13 Days from £ 1,545

Guided Group (Excl. Flights)

Experience the best of India's colourful desert state

Culture
New

India's North & South – Premium Adventure

Premium Adventures

Cultural Holidays in India
15 Days from £ 3,499
£ 3,399

Guided Group (Excl. Flights)

A cultural immersion in one of the world’s most fascinating lands

Culture

Top 5 Historic Sites to Visit on India Holidays

Taj Mahal, Agra: One of the most iconic sites in the world, the Taj Mahal has a romantic backdrop that draws artists, photographers and history lovers to its breathtakingly beautiful setting. Completed in the mid-17th century, this magnificent building was constructed by the Moghul Emperor Shah in memory of his wife who died in 1631. You can see that every inch, from the glistening marble exterior to its ornately jewel-studded interior, was made from a deep love that has captivated the world over. On some of our holidays to India you can visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise and watch the soft pink glow that casts against the white marble walls.

The Red Fort, Old Delhi: Enclosed by a 75 ft high, red sandstone wall in Old Delhi, the Red Fort is an architectural feat that took 10 years to build and was founded by Emperor Shah Jahan who was taken prisoner by his son in Agra Fort. As well as being a magnificent building, it also boasts a rich history, and it has become one of the most popular attractions to visit on India holidays. In 2007 Red Fort was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and inside its walls you’ll find an impressive complex of balconies, palaces, baths and a mosque.

Jama Masjid Mosque, Delhi: Dating back to 1644, the Jama Masjid Mosque is the largest in India and was built by Shah Jahan, who also built the Red Fort and Taj Mahal. Away from the buzz of Old Delhi’s streets, the mosque is an oasis of calm and is also known as the ‘Friday Mosque’. This giant building can hold a staggering 25,000 people and is made from marble and red sandstone. It’s worth climbing the 121 steps to the top of its minaret for the most amazing views across the city.

Varanasi: Flanked by the Ganges River, Varanasi is one of the holiest of India’s cities and is the essence of Hinduism. Holy men called Sadhus, often dressed in orange, and babas spend their time by the ghats performing spiritual rituals. At the centre of the city, you can witness holy ceremonies and explore the many temples that line the warren of meandering streets. At every turn Varanasi will enthral you and it’s one of the best places to visit on holidays to India if you want to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Humayun’s Tomb, New Delhi: This beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site is the first ever garden tomb in India and is worth visiting on family holidays to India as it gives you an insight into the typical Mughal architecture and its Persian influences. Humayun’s Tomb is the resting place of Humayun, the Mughal Emperor, and has an illustrious history that stretches back to the 16th century. The tomb can be found wrapped inside a perfectly manicured Mughal Garden on the banks of the River Yamuna and is also the resting place for other Mughals.

Good points about my trip:
The local organisation was very good. Our guide ‘G’ and the support staff provided an excellent service.
With the exception of Whale Island and the overnight trail, the trip accommodation was excellent.
Varied landscapes with a good mix of beaches, rice paddies and mountains.
The equipment provided was of a good quality and well maintained, with very few mechanical issues for the group.

Bad points about my trip:
The trip notes did warn that ‘The weather will be hot and humid throughout’, but the heat and humidity was of another level, with 35-40 degrees c each day. Do not go on this trip unless you can tolerate cycling in extreme heat.
90% of the roads used were busy, with significant traffic. Drivers in Vietnam are very considerate, but you need to be confident riding in busy traffic to go on this trip. The lack of quiet back roads was a real disappointment.
I have travelled in Thailand, Malaysia and Laos and in comparison the food in Vietnam was rather disappointing, being generally bland and reparative. As a vegetarian option were limited and I would strongly challenge the guidance from Exodus that ‘Vegetarians are well catered for’. If you are a vegetarian or vegan I do not recommend this trip.
Overall the service from Malaysia Airlines was very poor, with an 11 hour delay to the group flight from Kuala Lumpur to London. Service on both flights from KUL to LHR was also poor. I recommend that you arrange your own flights to avoid Malaysia Airlines.

Overall: An interesting time to visit Vietnam considering the rapid pace of change. However I cannot recommend this cycling holiday due to the extreme heat and busy roads. If you want to visit Vietnam with Exodus I recommend you book onto ‘Vietnam Adventure’ or ‘Trails of Vietnam’.

Anthony Turner Cycling Vietnam

One of the most beautiful places I’ve been from the turquoise blue mosaics and the hand crafted embroidery and silks to the art deco style space metro station and Soviet constructivist sculptures

Louisa Chowen Uzbekistan Uncovered

When is the best time to visit India?

Choosing the best time to visit India depends on the region you plan to explore. Generally, the ideal time to visit India is during the winter months from November to March when the weather is pleasant, and most regions experience cooler temperatures. These months allow for more comfortable sightseeing and outdoor activities across the country. Avoid the scorching heat of the summer months and the heavy rainfall during monsoon season so you can fully enjoy the rich cultural heritage, festivals and diverse landscapes.

Which is the best festival to attend in India?

While there are many festivals that take place across different regions of India throughout the year, the Pushkar Festival, also known as Pushkar Camel Fair, is one of the most lively and exciting. Each year, the event is held in the town of Pushkar, Rajasthan and it brings together thousands of camels, livestock traders and visitors from around the world. The highlight of the festival is the trading of camels, where buyers and sellers negotiate deals among a lively atmosphere filled with music, dance and cultural performances. Pilgrims also gather to take a dip in the holy Pushkar Lake, which is believed to cleanse your sins.

FAQs on Cultural Holidays to India

Do I need a visa for travelling to India?

When travelling to India you’ll generally need a visa to enter the country. The visa policy for India varies based on nationality and the purpose of the visit. Most travellers need to apply for an appropriate visa before their planned arrival in India. The process usually involves submitting an application, with required documents, and paying the necessary fees. It is essential to check with the nearest Indian embassy or consulate or visit the official website of the Indian government for the latest and most accurate information regarding visa requirements and application procedures. Also, please ensure that when you enter India, your passport is valid for a minimum of 180 days.

Will I need to have vaccinations before I visit India?

Although there are no vaccination requirements for visiting India, the country is known to have specific health risks. Vaccines for diseases such as Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Yellow Fever are commonly recommended for anyone visiting India. Hepatitis B, Rabies and Japanese Encephalitis vaccines may also be suggested depending on the duration of travel and intended activities. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider or travel clinic well in advance of your trip to ensure you are adequately protected. If travelling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission, you will also require a yellow fever vaccination certificate.

What foods should I try when visiting India?

India is renowned for its rich and diverse culinary traditions, with explosive flavours and distinct spices. Some must-try foods include biryani, a fragrant rice dish cooked with meat or vegetables and aromatic spices. If you’re not one for hot and spicy dishes, try the creamy and savoury butter chicken, a popular Indian dish made with tender chicken cooked in a velvety tomato-based sauce. And you can’t miss out on the crispy samosas, triangular shaped pastries filled with spiced potatoes, peas and sometimes meat. Complete your culinary journey with a sweet treat like gulab jamun, soft fried dough balls soaked in sugary syrup.

What are the best cultural experiences in India?

India is blessed with a rich cultural heritage and around every corner is something new and exciting to discover. One of the best cultural experiences is witnessing the iconic Taj Mahal in Agra, an architectural marvel and a symbol of eternal love. The palace is arguably India’s most famous landmark, and a sunset trip is an unforgettable experience. Throughout the year there are vibrant festivals, such as Pushkar Festival, which showcase traditional music, dance and camel trading. Attending a festival is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the Indian culture. Other unmissable cultural experiences include a cruise along the Keralan backwaters, which provides a glimpse into rural life, and a tour of the iconic tea plantations, which give you a fascinating insight into India’s long-established tea production.

What are the best sights to see on family holidays in India?

Blessed with a rich history, diverse culture and unique landscapes, India is filled with incredible sights to explore. One of the most iconic sights to discover is the world-famous Taj Mahal in Agra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its exquisite architecture and romantic history. The vibrant city of Jaipur in Rajasthan offers a glimpse into the royal heritage of India with its magnificent palaces and forts, while the backwaters of Kerala provide a tranquil escape and let you experience traditional rural life.