When NRIs go back to the homeland, we spend more time synchronising schedules to accommodate all the lunch, dinner and chai-and-nasto invites than planning a typical holiday itinerary. In fact, most of us who go to India, much as we adore it, rarely describe it as even going ‘on holiday’...
It seems as though going to India falls into a special genre of family or diaspora tourism. Of course this is wonderful, but if you all you know of India is the interior of 25 different houses in Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore, it might be time to whet your appetite with some of the different holidays on offer.
India’s tiger population is dwindling and as a result, tiger conservation breaks are increasingly popular and companies like Responsible Travel offer ethically sound holidays to the national parks in central India’s Madhya Pradesh, aka the Tiger State. The itinerary includes an evening in a tree hideout, expert guided tours and elephant-back safaris if there’s been a tiger sighting. Apart from tigers, the national parks are also home to rare birds, jungle cats and sloth bears.
It’s also al to easy to forget when you’re rushing about lunching and shopping that India is home to that most sacred of rivers, the Ganges. Responsibele Travel’s Slowly down the Ganges tour is a chance to slow-travel down the river and visit bustling village communities, as well as explore the cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur and travel through the Rajasthani desert on camelback...
Home from home
If you’re from Punjab for example, going south to Tamil Nadu is almost like visiting another country. It might be too leftfield for some, but a homestay is an increasingly popular way to see the real India and even NRIs can learn a thing or two! Mahindra Homestays offer holidays staying in private homes (maximum 8 rooms) run by the owner. It’s a more personal experience where you get a genuine insight into home life and the bonus of home-cooked food.
Being at one...
Meditative yoga retreats have long been a favourite of travellers to India with Goa and Kerala atracting the majority, but the SwaSwara retreat in the state of Karnataka offers a whole new experience. Consisting of 24 self-contained villas across 26 acres on Karnataka’s coastline, it is full of activities. With the artist in residence, you can release your creative energies by playing with colours, mud and clay. Alternatively, you can book Ayurveda treatments, indulge in a laughter yoga session or tuck into fresh seafood and sip Indian wines. No meat or hard liquor but otherwise, it’s a relatively unrestrictive experience.
The above is just a (really) tiny taster of the sort of holidays which make India one of the world’s most alluring destinations and we’ve not even skimmed the surface. So next time you go, add on an extra week and go exploring that beautiful homeland of ours.