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India travel guide

Landing in India for the first time, you're bound to get a culture shock. With wildly contrasting landscapes, fiery cuisine and blaring cities, India is a thrill to the senses and a travel experience like no other. Its pulse-pounding streets are exhilarating, fascinating and overwhelming all at once. From bustling railway journeys and raucous rickshaw rides, to uncovering awe-inspiring monuments and encountering the endless scents of spices and incense, India is the perfect place for a real Asian adventure.
blue speech bubbles icon Languages
Official languages: 
Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, 
Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, 
Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, 
Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, 
Marathi, Nepali, Odia, 
Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, 
Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu
blue stacked coins icon Currency
Name: Indian Rupee
Code: INR
Symbol: ‎₹‎
blue clock icon Time Zone
India Standard Time (UTC +5:30)

Top places to visit

Group of local women adorned in colorful saris facing backward with some carrying children in Mumbai


The bustling city of Mumbai has a colorful charm, with its ramshackled bazaars - Crawford Market being one of the favorites - mix of the high-powered sector amidst the slums, and the remnants of the British Raj. All this adds to the eclectic characteristics of Mumbai.
Colorful shoes at an Indian market


Delhi a city of old and new, with tombs, temples and palaces amongst modern suburbs and shiny high rises. Navigate your way through the hustle and bustle of Delhi's bazaars and busy city streets, to uncover a city of contrasts and great experiences.
A man standing  in front of the Taj Mahal


Come to Agra for the world-famous Taj Mahal, but stay to check out the remnants of the Mughal empire - an impressive fort, tombs and mausoleums. 
Hawa Mahal Palace in Jaipur


Head to the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur for beautiful palaces, colorful streets and what feels like a magical place. Jaipur is also home to the grand Amber Fort, which sits in the hills, genuinely looking like a castle that belongs in a fairytale. 
Gautama Buddha Statue at Ravangla Buddhist Park in Sikkim, India

The Himalayas

The Himalayas isn't just about hardcore trekking - as amazing as the trails are, there's a lot of culture and life to be found in the remote villages and towns along the way. If you want to go north, you can visit Ladakh, which is isolated and feels like another world. Visit Manali and Rishikesh to soak up the beautiful surroundings, and head east to Darjeeling for a great cup of tea.
Varanasi city landscape beside the Ganges River

Varanasi and The Ganges

For a true spiritual experience, head to Varanasi, India's holiest city. Full of soul, exotic scents and intimate rituals on the ghats (the steps down to the Ganges) where Pilgrims come to wash away their sins. Not only a spiritual place, it's colorful, chaotic, and a great place to watch the sunrise from a boat. Varanasi offers an unforgettable experience, where you can witness life and even death.

Goa and Kerala

If you're less about the chaotic city life, and just want to experience India's beach life, then Goa could be the answer. Once a Portuguese outpost then a hippie-hangout, Goa is the perfect place for a mixture of relaxation and exploration - from its shores to its old colonial city. If you're looking for further serenity then visit Kerala, further south for tropical laid-back vibes, Arabian coastline, and beautiful backwaters. The perfect place to chill out after a few days in the city.

tours & rail adventures

Red Fort against the backdrop of a bright blue sky in New Delhi

The Golden Triangle | 8 days

Witness the diversity and colorful nature of the northern cities on this incredible journey through India, starting and finishing in Delhi. Wander the colonial monuments and labyrinth streets of Old Delhi, check out the magnificent Taj Mahal, awe at Jaipur’s architecture and visit rural villages to learn more about real rural life - all within 8 days.
Side view of Qutub Minar in Delhi

Uncover India - Delhi to Goa | 15 days

The colors, the tastes, the architecture – experience the very best India has to offer. Snake your way through mysterious temples, magical palaces, shimmering lakes and some incredible cuisine. Check out the big cities of Delhi and Mumbai and soak up the amazing vistas of Rajasthan, including a trip to the Taj Mahal. Finish up in the party capital of Goa and soak up some sun.
The hilly surrounding of Amber Fort and Maota Lake in Rajasthan

West Coast India & Rajasthan by Rail | 12 days

Have you ever wondered what it's like to travel like a local in India? Well hop on a train to explore the chilled West Coast and exhilarating Rajasthan. After you experience the Taj Mahal, visit the colorful streets of Jaipur and explore stunning Udaipur. Plus, relax on Goa's golden beaches and indulge in fresh seafood right from the coast.

Traveling in India: the FAQ's

When is the best time to visit India?

India is vast and there are varying weather patterns - summers tend to get very hot, and is best avoided. Whereas from October to March you'll experience the warmth of winter, as the Himalayas stop the cold winds. This is a much more bearable time to visit, as July to September is monsoon season.

What's the population of India?

India is the second largest country when it comes to population size - in 2016 there were 1.324 billion people in India. You'll definitely notice the marked difference between the US and India in terms of population as soon as you arrive! Mumbai has the largest population in India, followed by Kolkata, Delhi and then Chennai.

Do I need a visa to visit India?

Yes, you'll need a tourist visa to visit India. You must apply for an electronic travel authorization at least 4 days before arrival, otherwise a tourist visa will not be available on arrival. Find out more about visas, entry requirements and other important information at the U.S. Department of State. Costs vary depending on the amount of time required. *Visa and entry requirements are subject to change at any time. Please always check the current status with your applicable embassy prior to travel.

Need a little more inspiration? Check out the STA Travel blog!

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