India is a land of intrigue for many agents, and an unknown for others. A vast country with diverse terrain, there’s more to India than cricket and curry. There are also experiences that appeal to all of the senses.
1. TASTE IT
INDIAN cuisine has made its way across the globe for its mouth-watering blend of herbs and spices, but good luck trying to recreate those dishes at home. Intrepid’s Real Food Adventure can shed some light on the situation with 15-days of travel dedicated to the flavours of India. Highlights include a visit to the Spice Farm in Goa, cooking demonstrations in Jaipur, high tea at the Taj Mahal Palace, and a Thali cooking class. Prices start from $2135 per person including internal transport, some meals and activities.
2. SEE IT
FOR travellers who want to steer clear from the crowds, Ladakh will deliver. As one of the highest inhabited plateaus in the world with barren landscapes and numbingly cold temperatures, it doesn’t sound that appealing on paper. But with a melting pot of cultures and religious influences from Tibet, India and Central Asia, Ladakh has its own unique charm, along with stunning views at 3500m above sea level. Leh Ladakh Tours offers a six-night package which covers Thiksey and Hemis monasteries, Uletokpo, Khaltsi, and Korzok village.
3. HEAR IT
INDIA’S music scene is a unique blend of classic, folk and pop, teamed with Hindustani music and chants. But it works – there’s a reason the Beatles were influenced by Indian musician Ravi Shankar back in the 70s. Niche tour operator Sound Travels offers a range of music-inspired tours in Rajasthani, Assam and West Bengal featuring workshops, performances and seminars with local experts. Tours can be tailored to interest.
4. BELIEVE IT
RELIGION is synonymous with India, with around one billion practicing Hindus and 25 million Christians. India Travel Services knows the country’s religious story better than many in the business and offers a Christian Pilgrim group tour over 13-nights. Highlights include mass in an old colonial church, visits to an array of Christian churches, mass at Holy Hour, volunteering, and a visit to the Tomb of St Alphonsa. Prices lead in from $2500 per person including all meals, entrance fees and accommodation.
5. EXPERIENCE IT
AUSTRALIA is home to some of the most delicious scenery and windswept beaches, but India also has its fair share. Goa has a unique hippy vibe that’s akin to NSW’s Byron Bay, while the nearby beaches of Anjuna and Vagator are heavily populated, so spare a thought before locking in a client booking. South Goa is rising through the ranks for its laid back vibe, while the north is earning high acclaim for its modern cuisine with international influences. Galgibag, Cola and Keri offer undeveloped beaches, Morjim has a modern beach culture with boutique properties, while Central Goa has five-star resorts for more discerning travellers.