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Indulge your senses in magical India
From ancient wonders to modern marvels

Holiday ideas for India

Taj Mahal, Agra
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4.7 stars(202 reviews)
2024SepOctNovDec
2025JanFebMarAprSep...
14 days from
£1,895 pp £1,695 pp
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Kerala & Exoctic Southern India
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2024OctNov
2025JanFebOctNovDec
16 days from
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Tigers, the Taj Mahal and Mumbai
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4.7 stars(44 reviews)
2024SepOctNov
2025JanFebMarAprSep...
11 days from
£1,695 pp £1,495 pp
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Darjeeling & the Last Himalayan Kingdom
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4.8 stars(25 reviews)
2024Oct
2025FebMarOctNov
16 days from
£5,095 pp £4,895 pp
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The Maharajas Express
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2024SepOct
16 days from
£9,995 pp £9,795 pp
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Grand Tour of India & Nepal
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4.3 stars(31 reviews)
2024OctNov
2025FebAprSepOctNov
18 days from
£3,695 pp £3,495 pp
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India holidays

Thinking of India brings to mind a blend of spice, vibrant colours, and a sense of excitement. This country is like a diverse tapestry, weaving together energetic cities, ancient history, and tropical paradises. With its dynamic spirit and iconic landmarks to explore, a holiday to India truly becomes the experience of a lifetime.

In the Golden Triangle, you can wander through the narrow streets of Old Delhi, explore the grand palaces of Jaipur, and be awestruck by the majestic Taj Mahal in Agra. You could also discover the history and culture of Shimla, experience the wildlife of Ranthambore National Park, and visit Amritsar, home to the peaceful Golden Temple.

For a blend of cultural immersion and relaxation, head south to discover the picturesque Chinese fishing nets of Kochi. Additionally, experience the serene 'backwaters' of Kerala, and admire the terraced plantations of Ooty.

Discover your ideal India holiday and experience this amazing country with us.

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India Holiday Experiences

Vibrant Cities

India's cities showcase a rich tapestry of history and culture. Agra, famed for the iconic Taj Mahal, enchants visitors with its architectural grandeur. In the Pink City of Jaipur, lively markets and majestic palaces paint a picture of splendour while Jodhpur, known as the Blue City, captivates with its azure-hued buildings and the imposing Mehrangarh Fort. Delhi, the dynamic capital, seamlessly blends ancient marvels like Qutub Minar with modern elements, showcasing a balance of tradition and progress.

The Taj Mahal

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Taj Mahal is a magnificent ivory-white marble mausoleum. It was commissioned by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his cherished wife, Mumtaz Mahal, making it a poignant symbol of eternal love. Constructed and completed in 1653, the sublime structure is a symmetrical masterpiece adorned with intricate Mughal architecture, a central dome, minarets, and tranquil gardens. It stands as a testament to India's rich cultural and architectural heritage.

Wonderful wildlife

India has a diverse range of wildlife for you to witness. Head to National parks like Ranthambhore to see iconic animals such as Bengal tigers, Indian elephants, and one-horned rhinoceroses. In the skies, you'll discover the birdlife is equally as stunning, with notable species like the Indian peafowl and the endangered Great Indian Bustard. Ongoing conservation initiatives are actively working to protect these valuable species.

Indian cuisine

Indian food is an experience in itself. You'll enjoy a rich blend of flavours, colours, and aromas that showcase the country's diverse cultural heritage. Regional dishes use spices, herbs, and vibrant elements to make rice and wheat taste even better. From the spicy curries in the south to the fragrant biryanis in the north, India's food scene offers a delicious journey.

India’s unique railways

India's railways stand as a testament to the nation's rich history and diverse landscapes. The Maharajas Express epitomises luxury travel, offering a regal journey through iconic destinations. With opulent interiors and impeccable service, it caters to discerning travellers seeking a royal experience.

On the other hand, the Toy Train on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway provides a charming ride through the picturesque hills. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it showcases the marvel of narrow-gauge engineering, navigating steep slopes and breathtaking scenery. These railways weave together a tapestry of experiences, offering a glimpse into India's cultural and natural wonders.

Our Guide to India

About India

The facts about India are almost as incredible as the country itself. Covering nearly 1.3 million square miles in total, it's the seventh largest by area in the world but with the second highest population at around 1.3 billion people. You'll also find that there are an estimated 447 different languages spoken across the country. But don't worry, English is the official language - a welcome relic, for some of us at least, from the country's colonial past.

The days of empire with croquet on the lawn, afternoon tea on the veranda and kedgeree for breakfast may well be long-forgotten. But in many places you will still see other influences that the British occupation left behind. For example, on tours that also involve coach travel you'll notice that the country is one that also drives on the left.

You'll also find countless other kinds of history wherever you travel across the Indian sub-continent from medieval temples to mosques and minarets constructed in the 16th century when the country was predominantly Muslim, compared with the prevalence of Hinduism of today.

In the cities you will also see the great coming together of the ancient and the modern. In the capital, New Delhi, this is certainly the case whose tree-lined boulevards may be very different from what you imagine the city to be in your mind's eye.

Naturally, there is also magnificent wildlife to be sought out and savoured. This may be in the world-famous Ranthanbore National Park, 81 miles from Jaipur, where tigers still roam in the wild or even in the Chitwan National Park in Nepal, a world heritage site and home to the increasingly rare Indian rhino.

This is just one of the breath-taking places that you'll visit on our Grand Tour of India, Nepal and the Himalayas along with Kathmandu, made famous by the 1960s "hippy trail".

Elsewhere in the country, you'll find great diversity, whether you're exploring the Portuguese influences in Kerala and cruising through its scenic backwaters on a traditional kettuvallam, or houseboat, or ascending one of the world's steepest railway lines taking you up through the tea plantations of Nilgiri.

It all adds up to a holiday experience that will stay with you forever. And at Great Rail Journeys we will make sure that it is everything that you hope it will be and more.

Above all, we want to make sure that you feel safe and relaxed while surrounded by a culture that may be very different to the one that we are accustomed to in the UK. We also aim to make sure that you are travelling with like-minded companions who want to explore everything this captivating country has to offer.

The enjoyment of the rich tapestry of history and culture that awaits the visitor to India is also enhanced by having knowledgeable and informative guides, whether you're visiting the wonders of Agra or Amritsar's legendary Golden Temple. So all of our accompanied excursions include this service.

Experiencing the traditional cuisine of India is another element that will make the holiday a memorable one. On some days you may be enjoying silver service treatment on board trains like the Maharajah's Express. At other times there will be lavish restaurant meals of five-star hotels like the Taj Bengal Hotel, Kolkata or the Taj Malabar Resort and Spa in Kochi.

On other days you may be left free to explore the local dining scene for yourself or to follow your Tour Manager's recommendations.

In fact, your Tour Manager will play an important role throughout your holiday offering exactly the level of support you need.

You can also be sure that we have taken great care to choose the perfect accommodation on all of our tours of India with four-star service as a minimum and many hotels achieving five stars. We also have long-established relationships with the hotels in question so any special requests you may have can generally be accommodated.

Culture

Indian culture is widely known, yet little understood. Obviously for such a large country, there will be diversity as you travel from province to province but there are still few key factors to bear in mind.

Traditions

Often-times in India, traditions are honoured through age-old festivals and holy days. Holi is the country's festival of colour, and is one of the biggest events in the calendar for Hindus.  Diwali is marked in late autumn on the night of a new moon, and is the Hindu festival of light. 

Haggling in India

Indian markets have a thriving bargaining culture which is not just accepted, but welcomed. When negotiating with a street merchant never accept the first price you are offered, which could be ten or even twenty times the price they will settle for.

Key Facts of India

  • Language - Hindi
  • Currency - Rupee (INR)
  • Visa Requirement - Yes
  • Time zone - +5 hours 30mins
  • Flight Time - 8.5 hours approx
  • Vaccinations needed - Yes
  • Climate - Tropical/Humid
  • Tipping - Yes
  • Best time to visit - October to March
Currency and money

The Indian Rupee is the official currency and one rupee is worth a little over 1p in sterling. As a closed currency, you can't take in any rupees to the country, or leave with any either.

US Dollars are also widely accepted in the country, particularly in the cities, so it's a good idea to take plenty of these to exchange when you're there, or simply to use as currency.

Visa and Mastercard are both widely accepted in India and there are also plenty of ATMs, including in many hotels. It's worth noting, however, that using credit cards in shops can attract transaction charges of between 2% and 4%.

Dollar traveller's cheques can also be cashed at all major banks, exchange bureaus and airports. You may also be able to use them at some shops providing that you also present your passport.

When buying food or drink, tipping is expected, but not compulsory. The standard amount is 10% of the total bill. For taxi drivers 100 rupees is generally considered to be about the appropriate amount per journey.

When shopping in markets and smaller shops, bargaining is very much expected. So be prepared to haggle if you don't want to risk offending the owner. But in more up-market outlets, it's very much a case of paying the advertised prices.

Food and eating out

In the UK we may all think that we know all about Indian food and, although chicken tikka masala may be our favourite Indian curry, it's fairly different from the sorts of dishes that you'll find being served. Like many countries, there are certain regional flavours and ingredients and here are just a few of them.

Northern India

The cuisine of Northern India is perhaps the closest to that which we enjoy in the UK. It uses many dairy products including milk, paneer cheese and ghee as well as the yoghurt that forms the base of sauces like the mild korma. In fact, hot and spicy curries hardly feature at all in this part of the country. There's also extensive use of the tandoor clay ovens that are used for everything from roasting chickens to baking naan bread.

Western India

The combination of geographical position of Western India and its Portuguese occupation dating back to the 16th century means that there is a crossover between the two country's cuisines. Pork and beef feature more than in other parts of the country - and so does vinegar, a key ingredient in the vindaloo. It's also a region very well known for its fruit and vegetable chutneys.

Southern India

While many people associate fish curries with coconut-based sauces as being typical of southern India, this isn't strictly accurate. That's because the curries from this region tend to be of the drier kind and generally they're vegetarian too. But one southern Indian speciality that most of us will know about is the poppadum.

Some Indian specialities to look out for:

Dal Makhani: a classic Northern Indian vegetarian curry that combines lentils cooked in a creamy sauce of tomatoes, onions, mango powder, and garam masala.

Pani puri: a classic Mumbai street food, pani puri are flat breads that puff up impressively when fried and which are then filled with a mixture of chickpeas, potatoes, onions, chutney and spices.

Dosas: these are large, wafer-thin and crepe-like rice pancakes that are usually filled with vegetables, chutneys, or masala curries. Utthapams are similar but thicker with the filling spread on top like a pizza.

Rasgulla: Indian desserts tend to take sweetness to a whole new level, and rasgulla is no exception. It consists of semolina and cheese curd balls that have been boiled in a light sugar syrup.

13 results matching: India

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Taj Mahal, Agra
Save £200
4.7 stars(202 reviews)
2024SepOctNovDec
2025JanFebMarAprSep...
14 days from
£1,895 pp £1,695 pp
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Save £200
14 days from
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£1,695
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  • DestinationIndia
  • Starts / EndsLondon Heathrow
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportFlight, Rail, Coach
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Kerala & Exoctic Southern India
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2024OctNov
2025JanFebOctNovDec
16 days from
£2,495 pp £2,295 pp
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16 days from
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  • DestinationIndia
  • Starts / EndsLondon Heathrow
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportFlight, Rail
Map and accommodation
Tigers, the Taj Mahal and Mumbai
Flight Upgrade
4.7 stars(44 reviews)
2024SepOctNov
2025JanFebMarAprSep...
11 days from
£1,695 pp £1,495 pp
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Flight Upgrade
11 days from
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  • DestinationIndia
  • Starts / EndsLondon Heathrow
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportFlight, Rail
Map and accommodation
Darjeeling & the Last Himalayan Kingdom
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4.8 stars(25 reviews)
2024Oct
2025FebMarOctNov
16 days from
£5,095 pp £4,895 pp
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16 days from
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£4,895
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  • DestinationBhutan, India
  • Starts / EndsLondon Heathrow
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportFlight, Rail, Coach
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Grand Tour of India & Nepal
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4.3 stars(31 reviews)
2024OctNov
2025FebAprSepOctNov
18 days from
£3,695 pp £3,495 pp
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Save £200
18 days from
£3,695
£3,495
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  • DestinationIndia, Nepal
  • Starts / EndsLondon Heathrow
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportFlight, Rail, Coach
Map and accommodation
The Maharajas Express
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2024SepOct
16 days from
£9,995 pp £9,795 pp
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  • DestinationIndia
  • Starts / EndsLondon Heathrow
  • AccommodationRail, Hotel
  • TransportFlight, Rail
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11 days from
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Our customers love our India tours
India’s Golden Triangle, Tigers and Shimla
1/May
Heather Dickinson
5 stars
“A well organised, wonderful trip to India. Enchanting!
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Highlights of India, Mumbai and the Golden Triangle
28/Apr
A Richardson
5 stars
“We recently returned from the 10 day tour of the Golden Triangle, Ranthanbore and Mumbai. We've had the most amazing experience. It felt like a school trip at times, but our Tour Manager Christine was a retired Teacher so that was to be expected and we found it quite funny. It...
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Grand Tour of India, Nepal and the Himalayas
3/Apr
Pooniavadee Ungapen
5 stars
“we had a wonderful time . Just to remind the organiser the road to kathmandu was too hard and a lot of time wasted
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Darjeeling and the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan
28/Mar
Sue Bates
5 stars
“A holiday full of experiences in amazing places. History, culture, nature and fabulous landscapes. Something for everyone especially rail enthusiasts.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Do British citizens need a visa to travel to India?

Yes, British citizens require a visa to enter India. It is advisable to apply for a visa well in advance of your planned travel dates.

What type of visa do I need for tourism in India?

For tourism, you can apply for a tourist visa. Business purposes require a business visa. Ensure you apply for the correct type based on your travel purpose.

Which vaccinations do I need before traveling to India?

Check with your healthcare provider for the latest recommendations Typically, health authorities advise vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and routine vaccinations. Additionally, consult your doctor for any specific health advice based on your travel plans.

Is it safe to drink tap water in India?

It is advisable to drink bottled or filtered water to avoid waterborne diseases. Do not consume tap water unless you have properly boiled or treated it.

What currency should I carry, and are credit cards widely accepted?

The official currency is the Indian Rupee (INR). It's recommended to carry a mix of cash and credit/debit cards. While major cities accept cards, cash is often required in more remote areas.

What is the local time zone in India?

India Standard Time (IST) is UTC+5:30. Be sure to adjust your watch or devices accordingly upon arrival.

What is the voltage and plug type used in India?

The standard voltage is 230V, and the frequency is 50Hz. The plug type used is mostly Type D (three round pins). It's advisable to bring a suitable adapter for your electronic devices.

Is it customary to tip in India?

Tipping is common in India, especially in restaurants, hotels, and for services. While it's not mandatory, leaving a tip of around 10% is generally appreciated.

What are the emergency contact numbers in India?

In case of emergency, dial 112 for police, medical assistance, or fire services. For specific assistance related to British citizens, contact the British High Commission in India.

Can I use my mobile phone in India?

Check with your mobile service provider about international roaming plans. Alternatively, you can purchase a local SIM card in India for better connectivity.

What are some cultural norms and etiquette I should be aware of in India?

Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. It's customary to remove your shoes before entering someone's home.

When is the best time to travel to India?

The best time to visit India varies depending on the region and the kind of experience you're looking for. Winter months (Oct-Mar) are best for most of the country, with nice temperatures and no rain. To explore the Himalayas, go in summer (April to June) to avoid extreme cold.

Remember, the monsoon season (June to September) has lots of rain, which can affect travel, especially in some areas. To enhance your travel experience, it's important to research the specific climate of the areas you plan to visit.

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