India is called the sub-continent for good reason. For one reason, it’s huge: over a million square miles. And then there’s its incredible diversity of geography, climate, cultures, and languages. This makes travelling to India, especially for the first time, a real challenge. Where does one begin? A guided tour is probably going to be the best option. And when considering India tours, here’s a suggestion. Start with Delhi, modern India’s capital city.
India has been compared to a funnel: over the centuries many new peoples and cultures have poured in, and with time have mingled and joined together to form the modern nation. Nowhere in India is this fact more apparent than in Delhi, whose roots go back nearly three thousand years. Delhi figures in ancient epic. Emperors from India, central Asia, Afghanistan, and beyond left their mark. The British made the city one of the hubs of their colonial administration. Delhi teems with must-see monuments of its rich antiquity, while at the same time offering a breathtaking range of experiences, from bazaars and delicious street-food to art galleries and world-class music.
The tourist’s best introduction to the richness of Delhi and its culture is through one of several available vacation packages, including airfare and hotel. Once on the ground, select from a variety of tours that allow you to experience Delhi’s grand miscellany as a whole, then to focus in greater depth upon one principle aspect of the Delhi environment. Here’s a sample of what’s available.
From elegant designer showrooms to bazaar stalls packed with handmade crafts, shopping in Delhi offers so many possibilities that tour guides first ask their clients what they’d like to shop for, so that a special itinerary can be arranged. Textiles are huge in Delhi, both fabric and custom-made clothing; tailors can sew an outfit upon request. Jewelry and spices too are very popular.
The foodie traveler will have to decide what kind of Indian food he or she is going to sample when selecting a tour of Delhi’s cuisine. Street food? There are scores of new taste treats to sample while strolling city streets. Tour guides know the places with the tastiest food and established reputations, so that participants can enjoy new flavors without worry. Home cooking? There are tours that take travelers to middle-class Indian homes, to participate in cooking meals and to have the opportunity to meet “real” Indian people and learn something of the modern culture. There’s even a tour that introduces participants to the many varieties of Indian tea.
A tour of the National Museum of New Delhi contains breathtaking archaeological treasures, while the Nehru Memorial Museum celebrates the modern Indian state. But don’t limit yourself to these treasures. Check out tours that include the Craft Museum with its displays of textiles, pottery, and embroidery.
Delhi’s rich history is most dramatically displayed in its great monuments. One tour won’t be enough to see them all, of course, so look for India travel tour companies like Tour East Holidays that specialize in, for example, temples, monuments of the British raj, Delhi’s eight gates, and World Heritage Sites. Schedule in at least one day for a special trip to the Taj Mahal, located in the nearby city of Agra.