Admire the views of the 'Blue City' from Jodhpur's Mehrangarh Fort, one of the most underrated and commanding forts in North India.5/44
Join in the with fun of Holi. The festival normally takes place at the end of March each year and is celebrated with colour and excitement all over India.6/44
One of our favourite Buddhist statues of all time, this golden masterpiece adorns the 15th-century Tikse Monastery, one of Ladakh's biggest and most imposing monasteries.7/44
One of the world's most romantic hotels, the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur offers serene views over Lake Pichola.8/44
Nostalgic tents right out of a 1920s colonial hunting camp, a sleek little swimming pool, ‘Tigertini’ cocktails served at sunset, oil lamps that hang from branches to light up the earthen paths and pitch-perfect service… and all of this in the middle of the lush Ranthambore forest crawling with tigers, sloth bears, sambar deers. Welcome to Sher Bagh!9/44
Get up close and personal with Ranthambore National Park's many Bengal tigers. As well as tigers, Ranthambore is home to hundreds of other animal and bird species.10/44
The epitome of ‘glamping’, Aman-i-Khas is the chicest and most luxurious tented camp in Asia, secluded within the tiger lands of India's Ranthambore National Park.11/44
After a hard day of tiger trekking in Ranthambore National Park, relax by the fire at Aman-i-Khas with a cocktail or two.12/44
Enter the ancient fort of Amber outside Jaipur through a majestic sandstone gateway.13/44
Take a dip in your own private pool while staying in one of Amanbagh's Pool Pavilions, which are, we think, some of the sexiest private villas in Asia.14/44
Overlook paradise, or the closest thing to it on earth, with one of Amanbagh's private dining terrace experiences.15/44
Be served on like a Maharaja at Amanbagh's open-air restaurant as local musicians fill the air with atmospheric Indian folk songs.16/44
The Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, a floating palace on Lake Pichola, is one of Rajasthan's most luxurious hotels.17/44
Indulge all afternoon on the Taj Lake Palace's very own spa boat. Enjoy signature spa treatments or soak in the hot tub as you enjoy the view of Udaipur's City Palace.18/44
Take an al fresco breakfast around the Lily Pond at the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur.19/44
Get away from it all and luxuriate in an infinity pool with a view at Shimla's Wildflower Hall.20/44
North India has a selection of superb boutique hotels. One of our favourite new openings has to be Lakshman Sagar in Pali, Rajasthan - a candy-coloured jewel in the desert.21/44
Admire the view of the world's finest monument to love, the Taj Mahal. The best photos of the Taj Mahal are often taken from across the banks of the River Jumna.22/44
The Manvar Desert Camp and Resort in Shergarh, situated amongst the silent dunes of Rajasthan's Thar Desert.23/44
Take Afternoon Tea with a view at Glenburn Tea Estate in Darjeeling.24/44
For a once in a lifetime experience, dine by candlelight in the grounds of Jodhpur's Umaid Bhawan Palace.25/44
Snuggle down amongst nature at the Tree House Hideaway, an exclusive jungle camp set in 21 acres of jungle adjacent to Bandhavgarh National Park. It has five bedrooms built on stilts overlooking the jungle, designed in a rustic style using local wood and finished with traditional craftsmanship.26/44
Dine at Sheesh Mahal, the Leela Palace's fine-dining restaurant with killer views of Udaipur and Lake Pichola.28/44
A hotel so remote that the only way to get there is by foot, Shakti 360 Leti in the Himalayas will suit those with a sense of adventure and a love of stunning panoramic views.29/44
Samode Palace is home to one of Rajasthan's finest rooftop pools. Take a dip, sunbathe under the Indian sun, or enjoy champagne and canapes as the sun goes down.30/44
Take tea in your opulent surroundings while at Samode Palace. A short drive from Jaipur, Samode is the site of a small village with a fairy-tale palace.31/44
Admire the ancient intricate carvings of the white marble Jain temples at Ranakpur.32/44
Swim in the historic swimming pool at Rambagh Palace. Gayatri Devi, the last Maharani of Jaipur, swam lengths in this pool every morning.33/44
While in Jaipur stay in style at the unforgettable Rambagh Palace. A majestic retreat that was once home to the Maharaja of Jaipur, Rambagh is one of the finest hotels in the world.34/44
Peer out over your pool at the Oberoi Udaivilas to admire scenic views of the tranquil Lake Pichola and the magical city of Udaipur beyond.35/44
Enjoy an atmospheric candle-lit traditional Rajasthani music performance at the Leela Palace Udaipur.36/44
Feel like a modern Maharani at the glamorous and opulent Leela Palace, a firm Ampersand favourite.37/44
Visit Varanasi, one of the world's holiest cities located on the River Ganges. Love it or hate it, you certainly won't forget it.38/44
Be blown away by the dramatic landscapes of Ladakh with its snow-capped mountains, deep blue skies and crystal clear lakes.39/44
Camp beside the remote and hauntingly beautiful Pang Gong Lake in Ladakh. Although now high up in the Himalayas, Pang Gong is actually the site of a pre-historic ocean.40/44
Explore the forts, dunes and camels of Jaisalmer, a city at the heart of Rajasthan's vast Thar Desert.41/44
Spend time with a princess in her regal surroundings at Deogarh Mahal in Rajasthan.42/44
Go in search of the elegant Bengal Tiger at Rajasthan's Ranthambore National Park, an area of incredible natural beauty.43/44
Banjaar Tola is a gorgeous Taj Safari's camp with just 18 lightweight tented suites spread over two elegant camps - a wonderfully unique destination for wildlife and luxury enthusiasts.44/44
North India: Best time to go
Sharing the borders with Pakistan to the northwest, the Himalayan mountain range of China, Nepal and Bhutan in the north, and Bangladesh and Myanmar in the east, North India’s weather can be extremely varied from region to region, with the monsoon season being the most influential aspect of the subcontinent climate. As it breaks at the end of May or early June from the southern Kerala coast, the monsoon works its way north covering the entire country over a two-month period. The climate largely shapes the best time to visit India, but world-renowned festivals also play a large role in deciding when to travel.
In the summer months (July - August) monsoon season is at its peak in North India. Temperatures soar to 40°C or more in May and early June. In central Madhya Pradesh, downpours are regular and prolonged with bursts of hot sunshine and high humidity. The Golden Triangle (Delhi, Jaipur and Agra), and other northern cities such as Varanasi and Lucknow, experience a range of temperatures during the summertime, but the hot monsoons are still very much present. During these months flooding can occur in the jungle regions of the northwest and the low-lying delta lands of Bengal, and in the Himalayan foothills, landslides are common when entire valleys can be cut off for weeks.
By September the monsoon has largely receded from the north and this time of year is a beautiful time to visit the state of Rajasthan when the desert state is awash with fresh greens after the showers. The main advantages of travelling to North India during low season (April - September) are fewer crowds at the key attractions, quieter hotels, favourable prices and last-minute planning is always possible.
The best time to visit most of the country is during the cool, dry season (October - March), when the weather is pleasant and stable, and it’s a perfect time for those who want to enjoy the festivals of North India - Diwali, held in November is one of India’s most popular festivals, and visitors come from around the world to witness the festival of lights, worshipping and offering prayers to Goddess Lakshmi.
The winter months (December - January) see warm days and cooler nights at an average of 10-15°C with most of the subcontinent enjoying clear, crisps skies. North India’s highest altitude areas drop to freezing with chances of fog and snow in the Himalayan foothills and plains. Temperatures then begin to climb steadily from February and as spring gathers pace, the subcontinent starts to heat up again. By late March temperatures shoot up to 33°C.
N.B. All information given here is to the best of our knowledge, however, changes do occur, sometimes at short notice. Ampersand cannot be held liable for such happenings. Of course, if you have any tips that you feel would benefit other travellers, please pass them onto us and we will add them.
There are direct flights from UK to Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Direct flight times are between 8 - 10 hours. India has an excellent network of domestic flights and combining the north and south is easy.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate visa(s) for your trip.
The easiest way is to apply online (www.indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html) up to 4 months before your arrival in India. A recent square passport style photograph against a white background will need to be uploaded with your visa application – this should be no bigger than 1MB and saved in a PDF or JPEG format. You will also need a clear image of the picture page of your passport, which should be no bigger than 300KB and can only be in a PDF format – both of these can be done with a good smart phone. The visa fee is US$ 75 per passenger and should be paid right away. The application will not be processed until payment has been made.
If you would like to use a visa service to process your visa on your behalf, we recommend CIBT Visas. They have expert knowledge in visa requirements, and are dedicated to ensuring that obtaining your visas is as efficient and hassle-free as possible.
CIBT provide various levels of visa service, including detailed information about which visas and documentation you and your party require, clear and user-friendly application forms, and a full concierge service to manage your application from start to finish. There is a team of experts on hand to offer advice, and liaise with embassies on your behalf.
Ampersand can personally endorse the services CIBT provides, and our partnership secures a 20% discount on all CIBT services fees for our clients. We would highly recommend speaking to a specialist at CIBT to determine which service would best suit your needs.
You can begin the process of finding out which visas you require and how to apply by following this link. This will log you in to the Ampersand CIBT account, securing your dedicated discount. For more information, please contact the CIBT visa team on 020 7593 6100 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or discuss with your Ampersand consultant.
It is essential to visit your GP as soon as possible to check if you need any vaccinations prior to travel. Risk for vaccine preventable diseases can change at any time. MASTA (Medical Advisory Services for Travellers Abroad) can supply a quick and easy online Travel Health Brief. This includes easy to understand vaccination advice for single or multi-country trips. Their website is www.masta-travel-health.com
London - Delhi: 8 hours 35 minutes
London - Mumbai (Bombay): 9 hours 30 minutes
London - Calcutta: There are no direct flights from London to Calcutta. The best route would be to fly with Emirates via Dubai. With a short connection, the flying time is usually 13 hours 15 minutes.
We highly recommend you reconfirm your onward and return international flights at least 72 hours prior to departure.
- Leslie Siben, India
- Anonymous, India
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Mr David Wallace, North India