Luxury Holidays in India: An Overview

Pretty much indisputably the most vibrant country on Earth, India can conjure up a multitude of conflicting emotions during any stay. As a result it's not everybody's cup of chai, but those who fall for the subcontinent fall hard, and become lifelong devotees.

Miranda is here to help give you the inside track.

Why we think you’ll love it

  • Because there's nowhere quite - in fact, at all - like it. India is a kaleidoscope of cultures with different customs, dress, history, religion food and landscape - and as a result, it has something for everyone. Sip tea on an old colonial estate, visit the tattooed tribes of Orissa, witness the extraordinary rituals and ceremonies in the Temples of Tamil Nadu, gallop Mawari horses through the Thar Desert, or gaze in awe at a majestic tiger as he crosses your path.
  • It's a place of unparalleled diversity, from the soaring Himalayas in the north to the tropical palm-fringed beaches in the south, the jungles of the central regions to the deserts of Rajasthan.
  • There are innumerable cultural gems to be explored, from the forts, palaces and mausoleums of the Mughals in colourful Rajasthan to the elegant architecture of the British Raj in Bombay, Calcutta and Delhi.
More information

Luxury Holidays to India: The Detail

India is a place of unparalleled diversity - from the soaring Himalayas in the north to the seemingly endless string of white sand beaches in the south, the country has something for everyone, be it impressive landscapes, outstanding cultural sites, colourful festivals, relaxing mountain or coastal retreats and invariably friendly people. It's no surprise then that India is such a fabulous and popular destination for a luxury holiday.

Did you know

  • India is the world's second largest country by population and 7th largest by land mass
  • The Himalayas extend 1,500 miles into northern India and are slowly growing taller (2.5 cm a year!)
  • There are 150,000 post offices in India, making it the largest postal network in the world (however letters taking two weeks to cover a small distance isn't unusual)
  • It's illegal to take India's currency, the rupee, out of the country
  • The Bengal Tiger is India's national animal
  • Tea had been growing in India for centuries before the British started its commercial cultivation

There are innumerable experiences - far too many for just one trip - that Original Travel's India team can talk you through in the search for the perfect luxury holiday designed just the way you want it.

The obvious (with good reason) starting point is the magical state of Rajasthan, home to majestic palaces, bustling cities, serene deserts and tiger inhabited national parks. A visit to the Taj Mahal, though technically not in Rajasthan itself, combines well with this part of the country.

Once you've got the bug (and we don't mean Delhi belly), you will want to explore more, and that's when it gets complicated. Where to head next? The North West frontier of imperial legend is home to Kashmir, finally back on the map after decades of being off limits, and the Tibetan Buddhist enclave of Ladakh - perfect trekking country with charming homestay accommodation and a blessed opportunity to see Tibetan culture as it should be.

South East of here are the Indian Himalayas proper, bordering Nepal, and this region is home to more fantastic walking country and elegant spa hotels.

Further east still, the legendary city of Calcutta awaits on your India luxury holiday, and the less explored but equally interesting states of Sikkim and Assam.

Safari nuts should head straight for Central India where the country's finest National Parks are reporting - finally - a small and very welcome increase in tiger numbers. In our humble opinion very little beats the thrill of seeing this most magnificent big cat in the wild.

Overlooking the Arabian Sea is unmissable Mumbai for a touch of glamour and a gallon of chaos, and the perfect way to decompress after the city is heading south for a stay in elegant Kerala with its beaches and backwaters best explored on an overnight stay aboard a charming converted ricebarge.

Last but not least, the most original - in all senses of the word - destination in India is the extraordinary Andaman Islands, nearer to Burma than the Indian mainland and home to sea-swimming elephants and indigenous tribes who have little or no contact with the outside world. A destination with a high luxury holiday 'boastability' quotient if ever there was one.

In an ever-changing country, we are constantly adding to our knowledge of this vast region on research trips (tough life), sniffing out the finest little antique shop in Udaipur or the best bhaji in Bangalore. Speaking of Bangalore, we are constantly researching more unusual parts of the country such as Karnataka (of which Bangalore is the capital), or the temples of Tamil Nadu. Watch this space for more information on both, and more.


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Original Highlight

Seeing tigers in the wild is a serious highlight – it may be a cliché, but there honestly is nothing quite like it.

Miranda, Original Traveller

A note on price

Flights to India cost approximately £570 (economy) and many airlines fly directly from the UK. Accommodation-wise, prices vary hugely: Rajasthan could cost around £3,000 per person for two weeks, whilst South Kerala would come in a lot cheaper comparatively for a luxury holiday of a similar length. Learn more about our pricing

More helpful tips
Weather in January January February March April May June July August September October November December
  • Average Temp. — 13°C / 55°F
  • Rainfall — 1cm / 0.6 inches
Language

Hindi

Currency

Indian Rupee

Visa Requirements

Required

Religion

Hinduism

Food & Drink

Mughlai cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines – the famous chicken korma and tikka are just two of the many famous Mughlai dishes

What to pack

comfortable sandals (that can get dirty!) and a good Indian travel book for useful background information about the country and its many attractions!

Flight from London

8:15 hrs

Time Difference

GMT +6 hrs


Top picks for India

Zip Touring

Zip Touring

Rajasthan & Agra

Try India’s first zip tour.

What to do

Zip Touring
Bungalow on the Beach

Bungalow on the Beach

Tamil Nadu

While the little fishing village of Tranquebar housed the headquarters of the Danish East India Company during the 17th and 18th centuries, this grand colonial mansion was home to Danish admirals. Careful restoration has ensured that this building on the shores of the Bay of Bengal still stands today, offering visitors a window into a bygone era.

Where to stay

Bungalow on the Beach
The Bangala

The Bangala

Tamil Nadu

Over the last century this building has played the roles of a private men’s club, guest house and place to entertain visiting dignitaries, yet has always remained in the hands of the Meyyappa Chettiar family. Still under the same ownership with many long-existing members of staff, The Bangala is now a restored charismatic heritage hotel with the warm hospitality and feel of a private home.

Where to stay

The Bangala
The Ideal River View Resort

The Ideal River View Resort

Tamil Nadu

The Ideal River View Resort offers the rare position of accessibility to a historic city that remains in a quiet rural setting, located on the banks of a tributary of India’s largest river.

Where to stay

The Ideal River View Resort
The Indian Himalayas

The Indian Himalayas

India

Pristine mountainous landscapes, village walks and homestays, and the unique retreat of 360 Leti lodge.

Where to go

The Indian Himalayas
Karnataka

Karnataka

India

The best of India (minus the mountains) in one hugely under-rated state.

Where to go

Karnataka
Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu

India

The beaches, hills and temples of Tamil Nadu represent a gentler introduction to India or a perfect 'deeper cut' for regular visitors.

Where to go

Tamil Nadu
Rajasthan & Agra

Rajasthan & Agra

India

Visit evocative cities such as Jodphur and Jaipur and the iconic Taj Mahal, alongside enjoying a slower pace of life in the villages of Rural Rajasthan.

Where to go

Rajasthan & Agra
Mountain Villages & Trekking

Mountain Villages & Trekking

Ladakh

One of the highlights to this trip are the villages the trekking passes through.

What to do

Mountain Villages & Trekking
Palais de Mahe

Palais de Mahe

Tamil Nadu

Palais de Mahe is an au courant take on the rich French culture and ancestry that swathes Pondicherry, with its white and mustard façade. Just two streets back from the seafront of the Bay of Bengal, not only is this boutique hotel conveniently located, but also benefits from a cool sea breeze - not something to be taken for granted in the intense heat of Indian summer.

Where to stay

Palais de Mahe
Eastern India & Calcutta

Eastern India & Calcutta

India

Eastern India retains much of India’s colonial architecture and atmosphere, and Calcutta is an endlessly fascinating city, but there is far more to see aside from the capital of West Bengal.

Where to go

Eastern India & Calcutta
The Bison Resort

The Bison Resort

Karnataka

Right where the Bandipur and Nagarhole National Parks meet, on the shores of the Kabini River, boldly stands The Bison Resort; an East African camp meets lavish Raj lodge.

Where to stay

The Bison Resort
Kashmir Dal Lake

Kashmir

India

Kashmir is back. Enjoy this beautiful part of India for the first time in a generation.

Where to go

Kashmir
Forts and Palaces

Forts and Palaces

Rajasthan & Agra

Rajasthan is justifiably famous for its wonderful forts and palaces

What to do

Forts and Palaces
Taj West End

Taj West End

Karnataka

The Taj West End is a rejuvenated old regal property set in a 20 acre garden in the heart of fast-paced Bangalore. Once an army base, it grew into a boarding house for passing army officers in the 1880s, and has remained a beacon of Indian warmth and hospitality ever since.

Where to stay

Taj West End
Sukoon Houseboat

Sukoon Houseboat

Kashmir

Sukoon is, quite simply, the best luxury houseboat on Dal Lake in Kashmir, the mystical corner of north east India that has come in from the cold.

Where to stay

Sukoon Houseboat
Shreyas Retreat

Shreyas Retreat

Karnataka

As one of the world’s best yoga getaways Shreyas Retreat is the place to go to cleanse mind, body and soul and all that zenful jazz. Guests are spoiled with rejuvenating spa treatments, fresh organic food and 25 acres of landscaped greenery to bring them closer to nature.

Where to stay

Shreyas Retreat
Traditional Fishing Nets on a Keralan Beach

Kerala

India

Drift through backwaters on a rice barge, explore Cochin, chill on a beautiful beach and hike among tea plantations in the hill country.

Where to go

Kerala
Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Rajasthan & Agra

In our humble opinion, this might just be the classic site anywhere worldwide that most lives up to expectations.

What to do

Taj Mahal
Riding

Riding

Rajasthan & Agra

One of the best ways to explore the beautiful Rajasthani scenery is on horseback, riding through small villages and experiencing the culture close up.

What to do

Riding
Monastery Visits

Monastery Visits

Ladakh

During the trek, there are opportunities to visit some of Ladakh’s finest monasteries.

What to do

Monastery Visits
Aerial View of the Andaman Islands

Andaman Islands

India

Pristine diving + snorkelling elephants + indigenous tribes = one of the world's most original destinations.

Where to go

Andaman Islands
Visalam

Visalam

Tamil Nadu

Over half a century ago, and quite unusual at the time, Visalam was built for the daughter of a local merchant. The same love was taken in its restoration, allowing it to be opened as a hotel in 2007. Dispel thoughts of golden doors adorned with jewels, but rather local craftsmanship and original woodwork that stand at the heart of the Chettinad community.

Where to stay

Visalam
Royal Orchid Metropole

Royal Orchid Metropole

Karnataka

Built by the former Maharaja of Mysore in 1920 for his British guests, Royal Orchid Metropole is a conveniently placed heritage hotel saturated with Mysore culture and colonial influences. It quietly stands on the Cauvery River looking out across the stunning Brindavan Gardens.

Where to stay

Royal Orchid Metropole

Our enthusiastic experts are seasoned travellers with the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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