Summer is fast approaching and as the weather gets warmer, the urge for an adventure gets stronger. Be it a family holiday, a romantic getaway or a solo travel experience, a trip to India is exactly what you need during the summer.
A tropical destination, most of India is warm and humid between the months of April and June, at which point the monsoon rains begin and then it’s mostly wet and still pretty warm.
But don’t write this colourful country off just yet, for culturally diverse as it is, India is also geographically diverse.
Mountains and skiing? Check.
Forests and wildlife? Check.
Beaches and Spas? Check.
Deserts and adventure? Check.
While being in the desert during the summer would be like a scene from Indiana Jones (and not in a good way), there are several other life changing (in a good way) summertime travel experiences that more than make up for missing out on the camels in the desert regions.
Nature, Body Rituals and Yoga
Refresh, reboot and tap into your inner self with a visit to a fabulous Spa Retreat. Plan a visit to Kerala and make the most of itâ€™s age-old practice of Ayurveda. Massages, spa treatments and relaxation galore!
While in Kerala, the tea plantations in Munnar are a sight to behold. Here, acres upon acres of terraced hills are covered in fragrant tea shrubs.
Kerala is also known for its spice plantations and guided tours of these can be quite educational and flavorful.
On the cultural front, Kerala kicks things up a notch in the summertime with its famous Snake Boat Races. Kathakali dance performance and Kalaripayatu displays mustn’t be missed.
The lesser known region of Murarikulam gives you just the right dose of gorgeous beaches and love in the form of friendly locals and exceptional service. All in all, this place is going to leave you feeling new and invigorated.
Another less frequented spot in Kerala is the Wayanad district where the food is akin to paradise! The locals here are friendly and ever-smiling, and they welcome their visitors from all around the world with incredible hospitality. For this reason, homestay accommodations has become a popular choice with many international visitors.
If one’s idea of spiritual enlightenment includes meditating in the Himalayas, then Rishikesh is the place to be. Host to the International Yoga Festival, it comes as no surprise that this little hamlet in the Himalayan foothills calls itself the “Yoga Capital of the World”. With ancient temples, gorgeous terrain and fabulous weather, Rishikesh will make you want to forget all your worldly worries and just be.
In fact, the Beatles spent several days studying Transcendental Meditation at an Ashram in Rishikesh!! Need we say more?
Rishikesh also boasts some of the best white water rafting in South Asia, just in case you get tired of ‘staying still’.
Tibet in India
In 1959 when the Tibetan Buddhist population was persecuted, the Dalai Lama along with his people fled to India. The Indian Government provided refuge to the Tibetan people and it is here that the Tibetan Government in Exile was formed. Today, Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj (a.k.a Little Lhasa) are home to the Dalai Lama and several thousand Tibetans. While the Tibetan government is not recognized as a sovereign entity, it does serve the purpose of rehabilitating and taking care of Tibetan refugees. The Dalai Lama usually holds public teachings every summer that attract visitors from around the world.
Dharamshala India Free Tibet
Like most small mountain towns, the locals at Dharamshala are extremely friendly. And the diverse population of visitors and expats makes this region a fun place to be. Dalhousie which is a short drive away was a summer destination during the Colonial British Era and continues to be a top summer destination even today. The weather in this region is perfect during the summer months. Not freezing but not too hot either.
Border Rituals, Heavenly Cuisine and the Energy of Punjab
Punjab. The energy, the colours, the sounds of this region are undeniable. And summer is a good time to visit.
Amritsar is home to the world famous Golden Temple. An important place of worship for Sikhs, this beautiful temple is open to all. A massive pond is the first thing you see as you enter the gates and right in the middle of the water is the gorgeous Gurudwara in Gold. Langar is the meal prepared and served by community kitchens in Gurudwaras. Not only are these meals free, they are also healthy and incredibly delicious. The community kitchen here was recently declared the largest organic community kitchen in the world. Hundreds of volunteers organically grow and cook the langar meals 365 days of the year. The Guru Ka Langar at the Golden Temple feeds an average of 100,000 people daily.
The historically significant Jallianwala Baug is right next door to the Golden Temple and is definitely worth a walk-through.
Many people across the world wonder about the India-Pakistan Rivalry. An Indo-Pak Cricket Match is usually the best way to understand the love-hate relationship between these two countries. An even better way to experience this unique energy is to travel to India and head straight to the Wagah Border.
This spot on the border between India and Pakistan is where every evening, hundreds gather on either side of the gates to watch the elaborate Beating Retreat Ceremony. Everyday, right before dusk, visitors can watch the entire spectacle from comfortable bleachers while guards on either
While in Punjab, make sure you take in a Bhangra Performance or two along with a heavy dose of its phenomenal cuisine. Punjab is, after all, the home of Tandoori Chicken, Naan and Lassi.
Incredible India, Incredible Food
No matter what part of India you’re in, the food is unforgettable. Spices, vegetables, breads, meats; the cuisine is as diverse as its people and regions. To truly make a visit to India complete, it is imperative to have a hands-on experience with its cuisines. At the same time, in order to avoid a bout of the infamous Delhi-Belly (a very bad stomach bug), it is best to let your travel specialist help you pick the correct food spots. Even better, get your travel advisor to set up a â€œCooking with the Locals, experience for you. This way you can ensure that the food is safe and hygienic. Whether you are with family, a partner or solo, this is an experience you do not want to miss. Indians are generally friendly people and they feeding their guests and love boasting about their food. So pick any spot in the country and make sure you set aside time to experience the cuisine with a local family.
A wise man once said, if you haven’t tasted an Indian Mango, you haven’t experienced bliss.
Okay, perhaps nobody said that, but it is true. The Indian Alphonso Mango is nothing short of experiencing heaven on earth. These mangoes have a unique sweet-tangy flavour that just cannot be explained. They can only be experienced. Good news is, mangoes are in season in the summer. Even better news is, during these few months of warm weather, Indians celebrate the fruit in a number of forms. There is the whole mango that you must eat by hand and literally suck the pulp out of, like it’s a fruit popsicle! Then, there is Ras (mango pulp) which accompanies a rich meal of savoury delicacies, and of course the simple mango chunks that accompany most meals in the summer. Even the raw, sour green mango is given respect in the form of sweet and spicy pickles. Be prepared to run into fruit carts selling raw mango with powdered red chilli, a delicacy in its own right. The Indian Alphonso mango is only available during the summer months and in order to enjoy this gastronomic wonder, a trip to India in the summer is a must.
While the list of reasons to visit India is endless, summertime travel to this country has its merits. Apart from the unique experiences, there are practical advantages. Flight tickets are more affordable, hotels have excellent deals and it is a good time to avoid the high season tourist crowds.