Things to do in India

India demands to be taken on its own terms, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be coerced into being an unforgettable holiday experience.  Choose your own adventure: visit the bustling city of Mumbai and star as an extra in a Bollywood film; get teachings from the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala or beach bum it up in Goa.

If you haven’t got a lot of time you can get a taste for India via the Golden Triangle – no, that’s not a nickname for a samosa – rather, it’s the perfect introduction to India’s 3 most popular destinations: New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. You’ll tick off the Taj Mahal, the Red Fort, Jaipur’s pink-hued streets and Old Delhi’s charm.

Head to the Punjabi city of Amritsar and lay your eyes on the Golden Temple - so impressive its visitors per year rival that of the Taj Mahal.  Go south and explore the backwaters of Kerala via houseboat. An hour south of Chennai, you’ll find Mahabalipuram - the best beach on the east coast, which fosters a healthy backpacker scene and is a great place to take a load off and relax. While Hyderabad is home to ‘Cyberabad’, where the offices of Microsoft and Google have set up camp in India, the 400-year-old city juxtaposes old and new with its 13th-century Golconda Fort, which was once home to the famous Kohinoor Diamond. Coined the ‘Mountain of Light’, the gem was seized by the Brits in the 19th century and now resides on Queen Lizzie’s crown.

Head for the hills to Manali - fair warning: some tourists are tempted here by the famous Manali charas (hashish) and local police are happy to arrest people for possession. Enlightenment here might also come from a higher power- legend has it that Manali is the place where Noah landed the Ark and created human life 2.0. For more of our fave things to see and do in India, read on.

Taj Mahal

Considered one of the wonders of the world, no trip to India is complete without seeing the white marble architectural splendour of the Taj Mahal royal mausoleum in Agra.

Red Fort

Another of emperor Shah Jahan's commissioned masterpieces, the Red Fort in New Delhi harks back the days of Mughal imperial splendour with intricate detailing, opulent adornments and some curious exhibits.

Chandni Chowk

Prepare to get your haggle on at one of India's most bustling bazaars - Chandni Chowk in New Delhi. Here, you'll find a marketplace bursting at the seams with all manner of goods for an authentic Indian shopping experience.

Elephanta Caves

For impressive cave temples carved into rock, don't miss Elephanta Caves near Mumbai. The ancient stone sculptures on Elephanta Island tell the gory story of Lord Shiva and other Hindu mythological deities.

Ganges River

India's most holy river is the lifeblood of India and originates in the foothills of the majestic Himalayas. With immense religious significance, the cyle of life in India is concentrated around the holy waters of the Ganges.

Goa

India's answer to Ibiza, the western state of Goa is the country's boho party spot where lush natural beauty and ancient sites meet revellers from '60s hippies to laidback noughties creatives and 'it' girls.

Rajasthan

Dubbed India's 'desert rose', the western state of Rajasthan is notable for its incredible natural beauty, desert landscapes, vibrant festivals and celebrations, ancient forts and the vivid blue mansions of its capital, Jodhpur.