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Must-try adventures in India

Published May 6th, 2015

India is a chaotic assault on the senses and a neverending source of inspiration and wonder all at the same time. Be captivated by the country's charms as you immerse yourself in some of the amazing adventures and experiences India has to offer. Take the hard work out of your travels by jumping on a tour with those-in-the-know, where everything is done for you and you can kick back and get on with having fun. Here are our top picks for must-try adventures in India, plus save 15 percent on all Geckos Adventures tours in-store this month.

 

 

Southern style

South India has a distinctive style that sets it apart from the north. The curries taste different, the landscape is lush, and the beaches are to die for. On Geckos Adventures’s 16-day South India Stylin’ tour, you’ll see it all from the national parks to the tropical islands, and you’ll be able to get your hippie on at the idyllic beachside haven of Goa where the tour ends.

 

 

You’ll start off in Trivandrum, the capital of the state of Kerala and named by Mahatma Gandhi as the ‘evergreen city of India’, before hanging in Varkala for a couple of days and chilling on the beach while the fishermen haul their nets in. Next, it’s a Kerala backwaters adventure by rickshaw and pole boat where you’ll stay with local families and get the lowdown on their way of life.

 

Next up, the island life of Kochi beckons before the trip continues on to Madurai and Mysore via Periyar National Park. Finally, it’s a night in the beautiful ancient temple town of Hampi before heading to the heat and the high life of Goa where you can stay and play once the tour ends.

 

Spiritual quest

If you’ve ever wanted to experience one of the original hippie trails, the road from India to Kathmandu is for you. Don your tie-dye t-shirt and make a beeline for bustling New Delhi where Geckos' 15-day The Road to Kathmandu extravaganza whisks you away for some of the most eye-opening experiences of your life.

 

A rickshaw in the backstreets of New Delhi.

 

Head off on a train journey to the small village of  Tordi Garh, right off the beaten track, where you’ll mingle with the locals, visit the markets and play cricket with the kids. After visiting Jaipur, the next day it’s on to Agra and the mighty, mind-blowing Taj Mahal, before cruising on the sacred Ganges River in the spiritual heart of India, Varanasi.

 

A long drive through the next day takes you onwards to the Nepal border and on to Lumbini and Buddhist temples galore. Next up, it’s a jeep safari adventure in the jungle before heading to the lakeside mountain setting of Pokhara then hitting the ultimate prize of Kathmandu in all her glory the next day.

 

All of India

For a see-it-all, do-it-all tour of the top things to see and do in India, Geckos' The Subcontinent Special will rock your world. If you’ve got 21 days to spare, you’re in for the ride of your life, journeying from Kathmandu to New Delhi aboard auto-rickshaws, bicycle-rickshaws, boats, buses, sleeper trains and whitewater rafts!

 

Hawa Mahal a.k.a. Palace of Winds in Jaipur.

 

Highlights of this epic trip include a two-day trek in the Annapurna massif, following the Modi Kohla River to Ghandruk where you’ll hang with local host families and stay in camping lodges with pristine panoramic scenery. There’s also the jungle experience in Chitwan National Park where you may just spot rhinos, sloth bears and maybe even tigers.

 

Once you reach India, a dawn cruise up the Ganges will inspire as you witness the life and death rituals of this holiest (and most polluted!) of rivers, before heading on to the Taj Mahal in all its glory. Jaipur is the last stop on this trip with free time to explore the Old Bazaar and Palace of Winds, before heading to Delhi where the awe-inspiring tour ends and you can go your own way.

 

Amy Dalgleish

Wanderlust pommie, currently living the dream in sunny Byron Bay.