Best cultural experiences in India for your next family holiday

Last updated 19th August 2023

Home to an almost bewildering mix of cultures, histories, topographies and cuisines, India is one of the world’s most rewarding destinations. Its vibrancy is also irresistible to kids, who will be amazed by the captivating cultural experiences. Here are a few of our favourites.


The Taj Majal at sunrise

The Taj Mahal is a must-see on holidays with kids

Imagine stepping into a timeless wonder, a place that has captured the hearts of millions worldwide. The Taj Mahal is hailed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and it’s a masterpiece that took 22 years, and more than 22,000 skilled artisans to complete.

Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in loving memory of his beloved wife, Noor Jahan, today it stands as it always has, majestically, against the backdrop of the Yamuna River.

Approaching it, your children’s eyes will light up in amazement at the grandeur of this architectural marvel, intrigued by its fascinating history and legends. Don’t forget to capture iconic family snaps in front of the world-famous monument.

There’s plenty of room to stroll around in the beautiful gardens and elegant fountains. Then you can venture into the city of Agra, where you’ll see craftsmen creating artefacts using the same techniques used in the Taj Mahal’s construction. Plan your trip in the months of March/April or September/October for the best experience.

See our recommended family hotel in Agra


Holi Festival, Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh

Visit in March to celebrate Holi the ‘Festival of Colours’

Celebrated in March, Holi is a much-awaited time in India, honouring the abiding love between Hindu God Krishna and Radha.

Affectionately known as the ‘Festival of Colours’, it’s a joyous occasion where vibrant colours paint the sky and laughter fills the air. And let’s not forget the mouth-watering mithais (sweets) that add a delectable touch to the celebrations.

Head to Mathura, the birthplace of Krishna, where thousands of Indians and foreigners gather to partake in the riotous Holi festivities.

At first, your little ones might be hesitant to have colours gently smeared on their faces. But as they see you embrace the festivities with open arms, their curiosity will ignite and they’ll eagerly join in the fun. Expect them to be enchanted by the vibrant hues thrown up in the air, the energetic music and joyful dancing.

Aside from Mathura, Holi is also celebrated at its most colourful in Vrindavan, Agra, Barsana, Udaipur, Jaipur, Pushkar, Hampi, Delhi and Mumbai.

See our recommended family hotel in Mathura


Diwali Street Festival, Nandu Menon

Celebrate the festival of lights all over India

Diwali — the Festival of Lights, is a time for gratitude, prosperity and togetherness, celebrated in every corner of India. Every home, every shop, every street comes alive with a mesmerising display of colourful lights. Every region celebrates Diwali in its own distinctive cultural manner, creating a rich tapestry of customs and holidays.

To truly experience the holiest allure of Diwali, venture to the sacred city of Varanasi. Witness the illuminated ghats adorned with countless diyas (earthen lamps) and candles, as the Ganga Aarti ceremony casts a spellbinding aura. Diwali has a unique meaning in Kolkata since it celebrates Goddess Kali. Be amazed by the expansive pandals that are festooned with countless lights, colourful flowers, and magnificent goddess idols. Indulge in the city’s culinary delights, from mouth-watering rice and fish preparations to authentic desserts.

Jaipur, the Pink City, paints itself in hues of red and gold during Diwali. Traditional musicians serenade the streets as the city’s forts offer a breathtaking view of the illuminated panorama. With its luxurious family-friendly hotels, Jaipur beckons travellers from far and wide.

See our recommended family hotel in Jaipur


Gulmarg Ski Hill Resort, Kashmir

Gulmarg is a dream destination for family skiers

The hub of winter sports in India, Gulmarg in Kashmir is a dream destination for a family-friendly skiing holiday. Picture yourself gliding through fine powder snow, surrounded by a breathtaking winter wonderland. Embrace the charm of old-world hotels, local shrines, and quaint villages.

Start off a wonderful experience for your kids by having daily practice sessions under the watchful eye of a local instructor. Watch as they quickly develop the skills to become accomplished skiers, carving their way through the pristine slopes.

Take a break from skiing and hop on a ski mobile for exhilarating hours exploring the higher slopes. Ascend to the summit of Mt Apharwat on the world’s highest cable car, soaring up to an astonishing 4,000 metres. From there, soak in the unique topography and marvel at the awe-inspiring views.

As the sun sets, gather around a roaring bonfire, surrounded by brilliant stars illuminating the night sky. Sip on cups of hot chocolate and enjoy steaming bowls of Maggi (Indian instant noodles), for the ultimate feeling of warmth and cosiness.

See our recommended family hotel in Gulmarg


Fort Aguada, Goa

Go Goa for some of the best beaches in India

With its umpteen beaches and diverse attractions, Goa is nothing short of a sun-kissed paradise. In the north, explore the pristine beaches of Mandrem and Morjim or in the south, relax on the serene coasts of Agonda and Patnem.

Sign up for dolphin-spotting tours across Goa, like those near Fort Aguada. Your kids will squeal in delight as they catch these playful creatures bobbing in the waters. The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is located on the gorgeous Island of Chorao along the river Mandovi. Take the kids there for a pleasant ferry ride and see a variety of lovely bird species.

Don’t miss the chance to visit the enchanting Bondla wildlife sanctuary with its mini zoo, sprawling deer park and gorgeous rose gardens. Let the little ones feed friendly macaques amidst the picture-perfect backdrop of the Dudhsagar waterfall.

But one of the best ways to experience the culture of Goa is through its local cuisine: which represents a variety of communities, including Indo-Portuguese and Hindu.  Explore vibrant food markets and learn about the flavours of the region from local fishermen. But the real treat awaits you in pretty much every nook and cranny along the coast, where you can indulge in fresh seafood served at delightful beach shacks.

See our recommended family hotel in Goa

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