The world’s seventh largest country is complex, bewildering at times, mainly magnificent and, as a family holiday, it has no equal anywhere.
There are 29 states and a population of 1.2 billion people, so choosing where to go isn’t always easy. Some areas are best avoided and if you’re in any doubt, check UK travel guidelines online.
Very young children may struggle with the crowds and chaos in Mumbai and Delhi but the cities of Rajasthan are wonderful and an easier introduction to the hectic that’s part of every day life here.
But whether you go to see tigers, play on the beaches, explore the desert, dive into the great metropolis or trek with teenagers in the Himalayan foothills, travel wisely, with an open mind and you’ll fall in love with India, because everyone does.
Direct flights all year round from London to Mumbai, New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai.
India has the world’s third largest rail network after Russia and China: over 63,000km of railway, 6800 stations and at least 5 of the greatest all time rail journeys including: the Goa Express, the Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express and the Indian Maharaja Deccan Odyssey from Mumbai to Delhi.
India has a total of 6100km of coastline washed by the Indian Ocean.
India has 35 World Heritage sites including the Taj Mahal, the Mountain Railways of India and the Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area.
In 1970, India had five National Parks today it has 166. Kaziranga National Park in Assam has the largest known tiger population in the world.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are known as India’s Maldives and float between the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, closer to Burma than India.
The country’s mountains include the Eastern Himalayas, Sulaiman, Kirthar, Karakoram and Hindu Kush ranges.
Driving in India is a bit of an art and one you’re unlikely to feel like mastering on holiday. Train services are excellent and widespread. Inter-state air travel is inexpensive and the best way to cover longer distances in this huge country. Water taxis are good on the coast at Goa and if you’re in cities like Kochi, take tri-taxis with kids, they’re fun, and everywhere.