Let’s talk about Incredible India

If you have been keeping an eye on the English cricket tour around India for the last few weeks you will no doubt have been struck by the diversity of the various test venues, even if the cricket scores themselves haven’t always been what we might have liked. The four matches we have had, and the one to come in Dharamsala, showcase what an amazing varied country it is and what a wonderful place it is to visit – whether you are a cricket follower or not. While a couple of the venues, Vizag (Visakhapatnam) and Ranchi, are not likely to feature on any visitor itineraries (except for cricket) the other three are definitely well worth a visit.

 

The series started out in Hyderabad a huge metropolis in the centre-south of the country, the 4th largest city in India overall and capital of Telengana state. It was an outpost of the Mughal Empire and the city was built on a series of hills around artificial lakes. The city’s symbol is the Charminar, a 4-sided archway in the centre of the old city, and amongst its most famous sights is the immense Golconda built out black basalt rock just outside the city. Known as the City of Pearls it is also well know for its delicious royal Biriyani and nowadays as an IT hub. As a base for exploring that part of India, the Deccan, we tend to link it with the wonderful atmospheric site of Hampi before heading over the Western Ghats into Goa and the tropical west coast.  On a cricketing note England got the test series off to a good start winning by 28 runs.

 

 

The 3rd test was in Rajkot, in Saurashtra in Gujarat – the most westerly state. A one-time home of Gandhi, it is a lively city and well worth a stop on a tour of Gujarat. The state has a lot of offer from the temple cities of Jamnagar and Somnath, the vibrant colours and tribal crafts from the walled city of Bhuj and unique wildlife. Here you can see the last remaining wild Asiatic Lions in the Gir Forest and on the flat plains of the Rann of Kutch the wild Asses and flamingo flocks.  You should not miss out on the ubiquitous Gujarat Thali, a vegetarian delicacy throughout the state. At Rajkot England were soundly beaten in the 3rd test by 434 runs!

 

 

The 5th test is due to be played on the 7th March 2024 in Dharamsala in the foothills of the Himalayas. Having quickly establishing itself as one of the world’s most iconic cricket grounds, this colourful stadium is backed by soaring snowy peaks rising 1000s of metres above the town. Just above the town is the hill station of McLeod Ganj, the home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibet Government in Exile. The Kangra Valley, in which the town lies, is a very beautiful location and can be visited as part of a wider exploration of Himachal Pradesh. Highlights include heading up the Kulu Valley into the high Himalayas towards Lahual and then on to Ladakh, both stunning, dry Tibetan-like regions at  high altitudes.

 

 

For many people the beauty of India is its incredible diversity, there is so much to see, so many cultures and such different parts to explore. All three suggestions above are likely to be on people’s wish-list behind the famous Golden Triangle, Rajasthan and the southern state of Kerala. We could go on with India travel ideas: Calcutta & Darjeeling, a cruise on the Brahmaputra River and the tiger National Parks of central India (see the Royal Bengal Tiger) to name a few. There are plenty of group tours on offer to explore the country as well as the option to visit on a private tailor-made holiday designed exactly as you wish. In this latter case for many areas a car and driver are the best way to explore the country. It is a year round destination, there is always a part of the country at its best in any given month. As well as a wonderful array of accommodation there is the superb food and as the home of yoga and ayurveda it has wonderful wellness offerings. Last but not least the western coast states of Goa and Kerala offer superb beach options.

 

 

We are specialists in travel to India and have visited the country on many occasions. Speak to us about planning your holiday to Incredible India!

 

 

 

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