Taj Mahal

India Holidays

India is one of the most exciting and fascinating countries on Earth. From the mighty Himalayas of Ladakh bordering the north to the coastal backwaters and rolling tea estates of the tropical southern Kerala, an India holiday can feel like a visit to more than just one country. The colourful and historical cities of Rajasthan, for instance, contrast immensely with the abundance of wildlife you will discover on a tiger safari holiday.

It is impossible to see the country in its entirety on a single India holiday. Consider it a continent masquerading as a country when researching your holiday. With 28 states, all worthy of a visit, every tailor-made holiday to India requires intrinsic planning. Let us help you craft a personalised luxury holiday itinerary or recommend one of our small, expert-led group tours.

Explore the highlights of India

  • Stay in luxurious leading hotels such as Oberoi throughout Rajasthan.
  • Visit remote villages with their own, distinguishable cultural features and stay in small, boutique heritage hotels.
  • Benefit from well-considered, crafted sightseeing tours that avoid the crowds and give the best view point.


  • Spend time on board a private houseboat, cruising the backwaters of Kerala.
  • Visit the tea plantations of Munnar and experience spectacular scenery.
  • Relax on the white sandy beaches at Neeleshwar Hermitage and indulge in the art of Ayurveda.
  • Board the M.V. Mahabaahu and experience one of the Asia’s largest rivers, the Brahmaputra.
  • Discover remote towns and villages lining the banks of India’s sacred Ganges River, cruising between Kolkata and as far north as Varanasi.
  • From Kolkata, cruise the charming Hooghly River on the ABN Rajmahal.


Meet our India Specialists

Without a doubt a tailor-made holiday to India requires some planning and the best place to start is to call one of our extremely knowledgeable and experienced travel consultants. Joe and Kate have considerable experience of creating exciting, interesting and varied holidays to India without losing sight of the “must-see” places.

What to expect on your luxury India holiday

Forget the stereotypes. Go with an open mind. Don’t expect anything and every day will bring new experiences. Whether it is architecture, food or local customs, India is unpredictable. Go with the flow. Our expertise and contacts are there to reduce any delays in your India holiday and to help you negotiate Indian bureaucracy. We are there to ensure your holiday goes as smoothly as possible. Hotels cater to every level of requirement from the utterly fabulous to the slightly quirky palaces of Maharajas where old family retainers look after you in a wonderfully haphazard fashion. In addition, sophisticated African-style tented camps have sprung up near the game parks.

Some ideas for your India holiday

  • Ladakh — Travel to the last bastion of true Tibetan Buddhism — tracking the elusive snow leopard.
  • Visit the interior Western Ghats mountain range, famous for its coffee and paddy fields, and stroll around the temples and monuments of Hampi, India's most historical site. From macaques to munias, encounter an ark's worth of animals in Karnataka and venture off in search of black panthers, tigers and elephants in Nagarhole National Park.
  • For the first-time visitor to India, our Golden Triangle holidays allow you to see the very best of the country through the three well-known cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.
  • Walking in the Himalayas — see holy cities, rivers and mountains at a comfortable pace on well-maintained routes.

Advice from our India Holiday Experts

"India is less a country, or even a subcontinent, but more a world of its own. Soaring mountain peaks, vast deserts, mega cities bursting with colour and clamour, ancient civilizations, unique wildlife, fabulous food. Whatever you crave from your travels India will deliver in spades. And throw in the odd surprise or two. With some of the world’s best hotels to retreat to after a day’s explorations what is stopping you?"

Joe Parkes | Steppes Travel India Expert

India FAQs

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When is the best time to travel to India?
India is a huge country – it is fourteen times the size of the UK – and its weather is wide-ranging with considerable regional variations. The key feature of the subcontinent’s climate is the monsoon, which breaks on the Keralan coast at the end of May and then works its way northeast across the country. At this time rainfall can be very heavy, particularly over the higher regions facing the sea. Thus the best time to travel to India, or at least the majority of the country, is during the dry season from November and March when it is cooler. It is a great time to visit Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The best time to visit the tiger parks is from October to April. If you can bear the heat, then May is also an option when the vegetation is not as thick and it is also mating season. In the south – Kerala and Goa - the weather is comfortable from November through to January. In the Himalayas, the best time to go trekking is in August and September. However, we would recommend travelling earlier in the year, in March, if you want to try and see snow leopards.
Do I need a visa to visit India?
UK passport holders require a visa for India and you must obtain this visa before you travel to India. The easiest way to do this is to apply online – there is no need to involve a visa company or to go to the Indian Embassy in person. The application process takes four days and costs £52.50 for a single-entry tourist visa. The visas is valid for six months from its date of issue.
The web address is https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/index.html Please don’t hesitate to call our travel experts if you have any queries.
How safe is the food and drink?
One of the great fears about travelling to India is the quality of the food. Let’s put your mind to rest straight away and say the opposite: the food in India is delicious and indeed one of the highlights of a visit to India. Indian cuisine is heavily influenced by religion, cultural and ethnic groups – one of the joys of travel to India is the diversity of the cuisine. Also, it is important to note that not all the food is spicy.

Many of the diseases are waterborne, so do not drink the tap water. Drink filtered water as opposed to water out of plastic bottles – we do not condone the use of single-use plastic.

In terms of alcohol, beer, wines and spirits are all available although the quality is sometimes not what you might be used to.
What vaccinations do I need for India?

We recommend that you speak to your GP and visit the excellent travel-medicine website http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx

It strongly recommends you get vaccinations for typhoid, tetanus, poliomyelitis and hepatitis before travelling to and around India. The key for travel vaccinations is to start planning well in advance. Both diphtheria and tuberculosis require a three-month incubation period before the start of the trip. Start by consulting your GP (who will be able to advise if you are up-to-date with your polio and tetanus jabs); he or she may be able to provide the jabs, or direct you to a travel-medicine specialist.

What is the best way to get around?
India is a huge country and often travel distances are large. The best way to get around is via internal flights. There is an extensive network of flights which are both frequent and inexpensive. Moreover, they are reliable and good.

To experience the real India, take a train journey- no visit to India is complete without experiencing the bustle of an Indian railway station. We recommend express trains, which normally offer air-conditioned seats or first or second class sleeper cabins. All seats and berths are reserved for the ticket holder. The reservation list is displayed on the train itself, your name and reserved berth clearly shown. Berths are numbered in classes, so AC1 AC2 AC3 and sleeper class cars. There are toilets on the trains. Don’t expect pristine western standards but if travelling on an air-conditioned express train then the service is reasonable.  High speed express trains link cities efficiently, such as Delhi to Agra, Jaipur to Jodhpur. 
What clothing should I take?

When visiting any country, it is important to respect the dress code. Women should avert from wearing sleeveless and tight-fitting clothing and dress modestly, especially when visiting temples and religious monuments.

Short dresses and skirts should also be avoided, loose trousers and long skirts being more favourable and cooler in the heat. If travelling during the winter months or in the north of the country, we advise a jumper for the evenings and early mornings when it can be quite chilly, and of course comfortable footwear for days out and about.

Is there an etiquette to photographing people?

When photographing people in India, we always advise to ask the person you would like to photograph beforehand out of politeness. In most cases people are happy to have the picture taken, especially children who will readily pose for several! If photography is prohibited, this is usually clearly marked.

Are there lots of mosquitoes in the Keralan backwaters?
During the day mosquitoes are not too much of an issue but by night they can be more so. We tend to advise against staying overnight on the houseboats in the backwaters, instead recommending you cruise in the day when you are able to enjoy the wonderful scenery in peace!
Do I have to take my luggage with me on the train?

This would depend on the length of the journey and whether your car and driver are following the train or not. For many shorter journeys, the car would follow with luggage and you would be met the other side.

As a general rule of thumb, if you are travelling overnight by train or for more than around six hours, then you will have your luggage with you.

Where is the best place to see tigers?
India is home to more than 40 national parks. To help increase the odds of spotting a tiger, Steppes Travel can offer you a greater understanding of the local issues and differences between the parks, the best chance of being in the right place at the right time and advice on how to avoid the many pitfalls that create substandard safari experiences.
Is it safe to travel to India as a single woman?
It is largely safe for women to travel in India alone. There are measures we can put in place to ensure you are well looked after. Some city hotels offer women butlers, and women’s rooms on a dedicated floor. Private same sex drivers and guides can be requested for your peace of mind. Train journeys can be organised with an accompanying escort.


India - Exploring Gujarat's History, Textiles and Wildlife

expert led group tour

India - Exploring Gujarat's History, Textiles and Wildlife

Travel through the semi-arid region of Gujarat in India's north-west to experience the region's r...

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India - Hampi and the Deccan Plateau

expert led group tour

India - Hampi and the Deccan Plateau

The Deccan Plateau has seen several ancient and medieval dynasties flourish and many towns and ci...

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India Lions and Leopards of West India

wildlife group tour

India Lions and Leopards of West India

Join our journey from the thriving city of Mumbai to historical Jodhpur, exploring the colourful ...

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India On the trail of snow leopards

wildlife group tour

India On the trail of snow leopards

As one of the only animals that have eluded Sir David Attenborough, snow leopards are highly enda...

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India Tiger Conservation - New Scientist Group Tour

wildlife group tour

India Tiger Conservation - New Scientist Group Tour

Visit the tiger reserves of Kanha, Pench, and Satpura in search of the Bengal tiger, staying in a...

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India Track Snow Leopards in the Himalayas - New Scientist Group Tour

wildlife group tour

India Track Snow Leopards in the Himalayas - New Scientist Group Tour

Endangered, beautiful, and elusive, snow leopards are rarely seen in the wild. In an effort to pr...

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India Tribes of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh

expert led group tour

India Tribes of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland are India’s last frontiers and are home to a way of life that is f...

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India - Highlights of Central India

Highlights of Central India

This itinerary to Central India features some of the most memorable and varied aspects of the cou...

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India - Highlights of Kerala

Highlights of Kerala - Cochin, Munnar & Backwaters

Kerala competes with Rajasthan as India's most popular destination – and this 13-day itinerary su...

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India - The Golden Triangle including Tigers

India - The Golden Triangle with Tigers

This classic tour of India's Golden Triangle takes you to Delhi, Agra and Jaipur and al...

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India and Nepal Luxury Tiger Safari

Luxury Tiger Safari in Nepal and India

This 13 day luxury safari holiday combines the best of Nepal and Indian wildlife experiences with...

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India - A Journey through South India

South India Odyssey

This holiday itinerary offers you the most comprehensive, contrasting and experience-led journey ...

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India - World Heritage Sites of Central India

World Heritage Sites of Central India

This nine day holiday to Northern Karnataka highlights the finest example of rock cut architectur...

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India: ABN Charaidew (8 days/ 7 nights cruise) Wild Assam/ Brahmaputra

Brahmaputra River Cruise

This Brahmaputra River Cruise is a fascinating introduction to the highlights of this transbounda...

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India ABN Rajmahal (8 days/ 7 nights) City of Light Upstream with Delhi and Varanasi

Cruise the Ganges in Style

Integral to shaping India's history and revered by millions, the sacred Ganges River is the most ...

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India: Darjeeling and Sikkim Discovery

Darjeeling and Sikkim Discovery

Explore the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas on this scenic holiday. Starting in Kolkata, the f...

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India - The Highlights of Ladakh

Highlights of Ladakh

A visit to Ladakh will take you deep into Northern India, home to some of the most spectacular sc...

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India- Remote Rajasthan

Hilltop Forts and Palaces of Rural Rajasthan

This 14-day holiday idea is the perfect holiday for a return visitor to Rajasthan. Havi...

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India - The Tattooed Headhunters of Nagaland

India - The Headhunters of Nagaland

Tucked away in the extreme north-east of India lies the small state of Nagaland. On the bord...

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India - Dudhwa National Park

India - Dudhwa National Park

Billy Arjan Singh successfully hand-reared and reintroduced zoo-born tigers and leopards into the...

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India: Honeymoon/ Romantic luxury high end Rajsthan

India - Romantic Rajasthan

If finding the perfect balance between culture and indulgence is important on holiday then this i...

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India - Cycling in the Tiger Corridor

India Cycling in the Tiger Corridor

Experience an Indian wildlife holiday from a different perspective. Bike through the buffer ...

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India Tiger Safari -  Kanha and Bandhavgarh

India Tiger Safari - Kanha and Bandhavgarh

Spend seven days on safari between two of the most famous parks in Central India – including...

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India - Nagaland Hornbill Festival / TUTC  or Hotel Vivior Kohima (£1995)

Indian Festivals - Hornbill in Nagaland

Kohima Camp, is pitched at the foothill of the gigantic Japfu Mountain, and remains here during 1...

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India:Taj Palaces - Summer Royal Retreats

Indian Summers - Taj Palaces of Rajasthan

This nine day holiday offers the opportunity to experience the palatial comfort of the Taj Palace...

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India -  Luxury Rajasthan with Oberoi Vilas

Luxury Rajasthan with Oberoi Vilas

This 12 day holiday follows the classic route through Rajasthan, visiting the stand out historic ...

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Nepal - Walk on the Wild Side

Nepal - Walk on the Wild Side

This itinerary has been designed to experience the wild side of Nepal. In Kathmandu, there will b...

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India: Royal Rajasthan In the Footsteps of Lord Mountbatten

Royal Rajasthan - Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur

Experience the story behind the end of an empire and birth of two nations that changed the world....

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India - Tiger Safari in Tadoba, Pench and Kanha Natiional Parks

Tiger Safari in Tadoba, Pench and Kanha

The Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is arguably one of India's most exciting and best protected tige...

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India - Jaipur Literature Festival ( FIT with Royal)

VIP Invite to Jaipur Literature Festival- India

This nine-day holiday has been created by Steppes Travel to bring you closer to the action with e...

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India: Western Himalayas- Punjab and the Hill Stations

Western Himalayas - Amritsar, Pragpur and Shimla

The 12-day, culturally varied holiday of North West India begins in Delhi before spending time in...

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India - A Family Friendly Holiday to South India

A Family Friendly Holiday to South India

This family friendly journey to South India is brimming with activities to satisfy even the most ...

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India with Oman - 8 nights Golden Triangle with 3 night Chedi

Golden Triangle with beach extension in Oman

This 13 day holiday combines the best of both worlds. A perfect introduction to the wonders of In...

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India - Kaafila Camping  (4N) and Stok Palace (2 )  10 days including 2 N Delhi

Nomadic Explorations - Camping in Remote Ladakh

Experience a nomadic journey in mystical Ladakh, in a mobile camp beyond the ordinary - in a land...

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India - The Ultimate Tiger Safari

The Ultimate Tiger Safari in Central India

This holiday suggestion is perfect for anyone with a passion for Indian wildlife. Experience 11 g...

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India - Walking in the Himalayas

India - Walking in the Himalayas

The Village Walks was conceptualised to facilitate an authentic ‘underfoot’ experience and p...

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Flamingoes, Dasada, Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat, India

NEW luxury camping experience

From November 2019 one of the most beautiful and remote parts of India can be experienced through high-end mobile camps. Kaafila Camps are opening up the esoteric and unfrequented region of Kutch in the far northwestern state of Gujarat, offering the Indophile and the adventurer something beyond the last hotel. Individuals can either book onto a fixed departure date or you can pick your own dates for a small private group.

The Great Rann of Kutch is a vast expanse of unexplored wilderness that comprises of a number of fascinating habitats. The saltpans and islands in the midst of this desert are home to incredible biodiversity with many species that are unique to this region. As well as the wilderness, Kutch is also home to a unique set of cultures and traditions that have evolved over many years in this landscape. The weaving and handicraft traditions are like none other in the world, with each village known for their own particular style of handcrafted articles. The forts at Lakhpat and the havelis at Tera offer an insight into the rich past of this landscape thanks to the presence of stable rulers and flourishing trade routes with neighbouring lands. Probably the most exciting niche lies in the northeast of the desert, among the low scrub-covered hills of Khadir Bet. Here lies the 5000-year-old ruins of Dholavira, part of the Harappan cluster of cities that belonged to the erstwhile Indus valley civilization. The excavated site is known for various things ranging from their state of the art water filtration and harvesting system, the structure in the society, a flourishing trade with their neighbours and most of all, the first known evidence of the written language that is still to be solved by expert’s world over.

Overall, the journey through Kutch is more of an overland safari of wildlife, culture and history, all of which are unique to this tidal desert in the western extreme of India.

If you would like to receive an itinerary showcasing this incredible journey, please contact us on 01285 601564.

Maharaja Express, Delhi, India

Travels With Trevor

Join Trevor McDonald from the comfort of your armchair as he travels through India by luxury Maharaja Express train.

Maharaja’s Express is one of the greatest train journeys in the world. The train travels through the length and breadth of Rajasthan taking in the country's' rich heritage. Trevor McDonald travels as a guest on the eight-day classical rail journey which we can recreate for you and your friends. Catch up on the ITV Hub which airs in June.  

Block Printing, Ahmedabad, India

Be an Artisan for the Day

After the hustle and bustle of palace and forts, take a quiet day out to visit local workshops, home to master craftsman of Jaipur. Try your hand at a traditional Rajasthani art – these courses are 100% hands on!  

Return home with honed skills and a deeper understanding of age-old craftsmanship. Choose from a copious amount of art forms including block printing, embroidery, stitch work, photography and more. This is an empowering project and supports responsible tourism. Speak to our travel experts for further information.
Camel Safari,Jaisalmer, India

New Flights Launched in Rajasthan

Never before has the remote cities of Jaisalmer and Varanasi been so easily connected to the Golden Triangle circuit of Rajasthan. Spicejet has launched daily flights linking Jaisalmer with Delhi and Jaipur, and Varanasi with Jaipur. Why not add an additional three nights exploring either or both of these incredible destinations.

Learn about the Tigers of Tadoba

Be one of the First - Dudhwa National Park

Ministry of Crab, Colombo

Ministry of Crab Opens in Mumbai

Colombo’s famed Ministry of Crab, is arguably one of the most anticipated openings in Mumbai, aside from Soho House.
Co-owned by chef Dharshan Munidasa and cricketers Kumara Sangakara and Mahela Jayawardene, Ministry of Crab has featured on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list and is the island nation’s most popular dining spot. Opened in June 2018, you can expect to feast on all of Ministry of Crab’s signature dishes and bestsellers including the black pepper crab and the chilli crab.

Client Reviews

Langur monkeys, India, JK
'' Kate Hitchen was excellent.
Thanks to her knowledge and responsiveness the trip exceeded my expectations! ''

Amanda Morgan

Holi Powder, India
'' Excellent as always. 
There really is no substitute for a travel expert with recent personal knowledge of the destination. ''

Silke Bernau

Indian Elephant, India
'' Kate took time for face to face contact. 
She tailored the trip to our particular interests. We had an excellent driver and knowledgeable and engaging guides at all times. An excellent experience from first to last. ''

Graham Powell

Flowers and Coconuts, India
"Trip was booked at very late notice and it was great that Steppes were able to be so accommodating.
Local representatives in Leh were fantastic. Standard of everything was very high. The experience that we received in Leh was amazing."

Henry Tufnell

Rajasthani Woman, India
"We had several awkward requests and these were all dealt with extremely professionally. 
Steppes tailored to our specific needs and desires with Kate's knowledge and expertise on hand to steer us in the right direction. Our private guide and driver made a special holiday exceptional."

Sonia Bowen

Ganesha, India
"Everything we asked for was arranged and useful suggestions were made which enhanced our own ideas.
The car and driver were very reliable and we felt safe and at ease despite the traffic! Representatives and guides were prompt and reasonably well informed. It was a very professionally organised trip."

Trevor Clitheroe

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Holiday Ideas in India

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