India has long been a favourite amongst Original Travel staff and clients alike. It's the kind of country that inspires a lifelong affinity and, once people catch the India bug, they tend to go back again and again - there is always more to discover. With that in mind, here are eight reasons you should go to India right now...
1. New Flight Routes
With new routes between India and the US, and Air Canada introducing a route from Vancouver to Delhi, India is becoming easier to get to than ever. Air India now flies from Singapore to Chennai and there are also more domestic flights, making it easier to combine different areas of India. One of the domestic airlines, Indigo, even serves smoked almonds - very fancy. And if you are looking to see lots of India in a small amount of time (historically not an easy endeavour) you can now charter a private plane in Rajasthan so it is quick to get around some of the country's most iconic cities.
2. Much easier to get a visa
With the introduction of E-visas it means you can get a visa in as little as four working days and, what's more, there is no need to queue for hours at the embassy anymore - result!
3. Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is currently undergoing an extensive 'mud pack' facelift to clean up all the marble. This means that, once finished, the Taj Mahal will look even more magnificent than it has done for many years.
Two words have historically prevented India from being a fantastic family destination: Delhi belly. But this is not such an issue any longer with food standards rising all the time, although it is probably better for older children than little monsters. Shakti is nothing new to travellers to India but its family-friendly credentials warrant a mention; white water rafting; bicycle rides; meeting local monks; exploring monasteries; incredible scenery. And to boot, the lack of available technology means it's perfect for dragging teenagers away from their phones and enjoying a digital detox en famille. Another family favourite of ours is Dera Amer, a tented camp just outside Jaipur. You are taken on elephant back to your family-sized tent, and the children will love washing and painting the elephants. Aside from this you can take part in camel cart trip rides into neighbouring villages, it's an incredible way to get up close to the local people and escape the hustle and bustle of Jaipur. What's more, the tigers have been busy with lots of cubs being born in the monsoon season, meaning you can now do a full day's safari in Ranthambore National Park, a perfect way to keep the children busy.
5. New Hotels
With new hotels popping up across India there is now much more choice for where to stay, from small family-run havelis to regal forts and palaces - there's something for everyone. One hotel that has recently opened which we are particularly fond of is the Ahilya by the Sea in Goa. Also, the RAAS Devi Garh in Rajasthan has undergone a huge facelift.
The shopping in Delhi and Jaipur has reached new heights; both are much less chaotic than Mumbai and shops cover everything from design, interiors, vintage and culture. The Mehar Chand Market in New Delhi is not one to be missed, an off-the-beaten track market full of undiscovered designers and boutique shops.
7. The Andaman Islands
The Andaman Islands still remain relatively untouched, for now. The great thing about them is that you have two options; you can either go barefoot for an eco, back-to-nature experience on the 'world's most beautiful beach' at Barefoot at Havelock, or you can head to Jalakara for a unique boutique-chic experience. This is a great time to go to with amazing hotels, but not too many, yet.
Something that always has and always will draw people to India is its incredible cuisine. The beauty about it is that each part of the country allows you to take a different gastronomic adventure. You could be eating biryani in Hyderabad, seafood in Goa, dhokla in Gujerat and dosas in Tamil Nadu.
So there you have it, eight reasons you should go to India right now. For more information, get in touch.