India is not for the faint of heart. It demands your full attention as it engulfs you in smells, colours, sights, spices and people. Temples, monkeys, samosas, traffic and cows are around every corner and, if you can embrace the chaos, you’ll be rewarded with unforgettable experiences. Here are 10 things that should be on everyone’s travel bucket list when they visit the enchanting land of the Maharajahs, India.
India Bucket List #1 : Marvel at the Full Moon at the Taj Mahal, Agra
Sure, everyone goes to the Taj Mahal when they travel to India. The majestic building is etched onto most people’s bucket list, but for something truly superb and memorable, aim to visit the Taj Mahal at night during a full moon.
The marble building truly glows in the light of the moon and is this eerie yet remarkable experience is certainly an unforgettable opportunity. Opening hours are from 8:30pm until just after midnight on nights with a full moon.
India Bucket List #2: Go on a Camel Safari, Bikaner
Camel safari / CC by 3.0 / tjollans
For a unique desert experience, embark on an overnight camel safari in Bikaner. On board a ‘camel train’ is a fun way to see the desert as you bop along atop the large, aloof animals. Set up camp, sit by the campfire and watch the sun set over desert dunes for a fabulous camping experience.
Tip: Riding a camel all day can leave you feeling a bit sore the next, so maybe book in an Ayurvedic massage.
India Bucket List #3: Take a Sunrise Boat Ride on the Ganges, Varanasi
Witness the Ganges comes to life as you cruise the river during sunrise. It’s a stark contrast from the loud traffic found in the main streets; the river is eerily silent as you float down, watching people cremate loved ones.
This can be a little bit confronting so be prepared and be respectful. It is a real honour to witness this celebration of life and death, so if you’re up for it, it can be a humbling experience to include on your travel bucket list.
India Bucket List #4: Watch a Bollywood Film at the Raj Mandir Cinema, Jaipur
This art deco-style cinema is one of the most famous in India and is located in Jaipur – the Pink City. It was created with the intention that the audience would feel like a royal guest at a palace, so put on a nice outfit, grab the popcorn and watch the latest Bollywood hit in this delightful cinema. For a real Indian experience, go to a movie session without subtitles.
See more here.
India Bucket List #5: Let Light Come Into Your World at the Diwali Festival, Nationwide
The festival of lights is the biggest festival in India when, every autumn, the whole country is adorned in lights as they celebrate ‘light overcoming darkness’.
The festivities continue over five days, so if you’re travelling around October/November it’s definitely worth checking out which days the festival falls on and enjoy the fireworks, food, festivities and FUN!
India Bucket List #6: Trip Out on Tea, Darjeeling
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway / CC by 3.0 / kyleallsopp
For all tea enthusiasts, a trip to the tea plantations in Darjeeling, Northern India, is unmissable. Match it with a trip on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and you’ve got a winning combination. What could be more relaxing than sipping on hot tea as you traverse Darjeeling in this train that is now a UNESCO World Heritage site?
The train clings to the edge of the mountain as you zigzag and wind your way through villages, along cliff edges and look out to the Himalayas. Make sure your camera battery is charged!
India Bucket List #7: Climb Savitri Temple in Pushkar, Rajasthan
CC by 3.0 / Andrew Miller
Put on your walking shoes and bring an ample water supply because Savitri Temple is no easy feat, with over 500 steps that get quite steep. It’s worth the hard climb though; the panoramic views across the holy city of Pushkar are spectacular and the temple at the top is a peaceful oasis in an otherwise chaotic city – if you don’t mind monkeys!
You’ll also feel grateful that you’re not one of the poor workers who have to climb it every day – with a carton of soft drinks strapped to their back to sell at the top. For an even more memorable trip, climb up before dawn and watch the sunrise. Magical!
India Bucket List #8: Cycle Tour, Goa
Goa is known for its beaches, easy-going vibes and plethora of bars and nightclubs. For something a little different, ditch the party animals and go sightseeing on a bicycle tour.
Discover the backwaters, village streets and beautiful mountain terrain as you cycle through Goa. A tour that includes a bit of exercise also means feeling less guilty when you eat too many samosas!
Cycling is a great way to see parts of the country that you can’t on a bus and should definitely be added to your bucket list.
India Bucket List #9: Embark on a Food Tour, Udaipur
The City Palace in Udaipur is a stunning example of grandeur and excess, built over a period of 400 years! Combine culture and cuisine with a food tour in Udaipur. Chow down on curry, roti bread, homemade chai (tea) and other Indian delicacies as you learn about Indian cooking and techniques, while also getting the chance to explore this royal city.
India Bucket List #10: Counteract the Chaos of India with Yoga, Nationwide
CC by 3.0 / Dennis Yang
There’s no better way to counteract the chaos of India with some reflective downward-facing dog. India is the birthplace of yoga so for some serious chill time, book yourself into a yoga retreat and let the worries of the world melt away as you bend, twist and meditate any stress away.
Whether you want to further your yoga journey and learn from the best teachers or simply engage in a relaxing retreat, there’s a yoga course in India that’s perfect for you.