Transport: Transportation in India is surely an interesting experience depending upon urban and semi urban areas. If you plan well, there are different transport modes available, among them, the most exciting journey undertaken is in Auto rickshaws (Autos), similar to Tuk tuk with their open doors. Locals prefer hiring autos over taxis for short distances in town. If you are not a good negotiator and if you worry about safety, then you can also choose to hire Uber or Ola in cities. Most small towns still prefer auto rickshaws and mini buses within their boundaries.
Popular Indian Transport Autorickshaw
Finding a bus stop to board and get down is an exertion in many towns as it is common for buses to have irregularly scheduled services. Many bus stops are not named but every destination will be indicated in English and also in local language on the bus. There are long distance passenger trains running interstate throughout the country having an excellent network of trains. One can experience panoramic views while riding through vast fields of wheat and paddy, over rivers and cutting through mountains along deep gorges and valleys. The diverse geographical terrain in India makes for an unique experience for travellers. Passenger trains include General, Reserved Non-AC and Reserved AC coaches. I would suggest taking flights for long distance to save time and interstate trains for admiring the many landscapes dotting the countryside. Transportation is economical if you book flights and trains before beginning travel, months in advance.
Place not to miss: It is quite hard to choose a place in a country so rich and varied with history, culture and natural marvels. So if I have to suggest my fellow travelers one exceptional place where people could go and come back with only the most enchanting experience ever are- The Himalayas. Journey to this marvel can be the trip of your life time irrespective of the trekking trails you choose and explore. Himalayas are the highest mountain ranges in the world and one must travel to the altitudes from 8000-14000 feet to experience forested, semi-alpine and alpine regions. The mountain passes and lakes are the characteristic features of Indian Himalaya. The passes connect the valleys and regions, higher ones remain snowbound during winter. Despite the hardship of the mountain travel, slow and long journey, the untouched beauty of the mountainscape will bind its seekers. This majestic mountain chain is the global heritage to mankind. Best time to travel is between October to May apart from at Ladakh, when the tours are open between May and September.
India is a culinary homeland to a variety of cuisines and you will always find something new to taste even after you live here for a long time. So make sure you have a list of dishes to try depending on your taste and spice level. The first and foremost food item to experiment with are Indian curries. Every curry is unique and tastes differently because of the fresh herbs & spices used. To be more precise, I suggest you to try an authentic Indian Thali or an Indian meal to experience the traditional Indian food custom. Thali or meal is not a dish but a full course menu from appetizers to dessert served on a single plate. Every thali (meal) varies with curries in different states.
India also offers an unique food variety during every part of the day. For instance, you get exclusive tiffin breakfasts like Idlis & Dosas in the morning, exceptional wholesome dishes of curries and Biryani (rice with meat) for lunch. In the evenings, yummy street food to snack around includes pani puri (gol gappe), samosas and an assortment of chats in the evening along with famous bread varieties like Naan, Roti and Parathas in the night with an Indian gravies and milk desserts.
Also, don’t miss out the popular milk tea known as ‘chai’, appetizer drinks like buttermilk & Solkadhi and special salt Lassi.
Day tours from capital:
Because of the vast geographical area in India, it is quite tough to cover all places around Delhi or in neighboring states on day tours. I recommend a well planned itinerary over a week in the capital’s vicinity.
Travelling in India without visiting Taj Mahal in Agra, one of the wonders of the world is impossible. Good news is you can have a day tour to Agra from Delhi to enjoy its exquisite architecture and incredible story behind. Delhi also has places like Neemrana and Hauz Khas village where the Neemrana Fort is delightful in the winters and romantic in the rains.
If you want to escape Delhi for the tranquility of nature, hill stations like Shimla, Manali, Shillong further North are best to explore with meticulously planned flights and connecting buses in the mountains ahead. For spiritual and religious tours around Delhi, places like Vrindavan in Banaras, Rishikesh, Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, Amritsar in Punjab will soothe you with their peaceful abodes and ornate Temple designs. If you choose to see places by interstate trains, Rajasthan’s capital city Jaipur offers many architectural and historical sights that include palaces and forts to visit. Other cities like Udaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer offer delightful sightseeing like Mehrangarh Fort and Umaid Bhawan Palace with its many lakes and huge gardens.
Best season to travel: Winter and Spring
India is a large country with varying climates in different regions. Considering the average weather conditions, India is usually warm in every season. Hence, it is recommended to travel in winter and spring to enjoy without getting caught in the harsh rains and heat of the plateau. The coldest months in India are from December to March with temperatures of 10 to 15 degree in North and 20 to 25 degree in the South. It is perfect to escape to India in winters to enjoy its warmth and colours.
Personal insights: India is the most diverse and colorful country to come across one’s travels. You can feel its cultural charm right since you enter this land of mystic and marvels. Right from the many hued dressing, the settlements, food, people, one can feel diversity that makes India exotic in one big land stretched from Kashmir in North to Kanyakumari in South. All these colors are so wonderfully associated with their own cultural settings. Hence, when you are travelling in India, I recommend experiencing these diverse cultures all around India. For instance, most Indian women wear Sari, a traditional costume in India and the draping style changes with different states.
Therefore, instead of planning itineraries around places in India I suggest you to center your India trip around traditions, cultures and festivals. It will be an astounding experience to attend an Indian wedding to look at customs and people in their traditional attire. I believe itinerary is the key to have unique experiences in India. There are popular festivals through all Indian seasons to look at its mighty mountains, lovely beaches, warm and welcoming people, ornamental Temples, orthodox practices, royal palaces, age old Ayurveda to its local streets, theme gardens and museums. Everything will be a unique experience. Most Indians speak English so it is quite easy to commute and communicate during your visit. Along with its offering of spicy food, joyous celebrations and interesting culture, no traveler would ever want to miss India, rightly placed on top of bucket list travels.