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India travel guide

About India

As beautiful as it is bamboozling, India is an endlessly fascinating country that challenges and surprises even the most seasoned traveller.

Stretched between the golden beaches of the Indian Ocean and the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, India dazzles with an incredible tapestry of natural and man-made wonders. Home to some of the world’s most iconic monuments; its astounding temples, mystical monasteries, frenetic cities, pristine national parks, lavish palaces and mesmerising markets will capture and inspire your imagination.

Visiting India is an exciting assault on the senses. Sights, sounds, smells and sensations are all experienced at maximum intensity. It can feel intimidating on day one, but eventually, the noise and chaos become an ordinary part of everyday life. The sensory stimulation becomes strangely addictive. Presided over by an extraordinary array of gods and deities, approximately one-sixth of the planet's population can be found here, living in anything from high-rise apartments and inner-city shantytowns, to simple huts in remote villages. India is one of the world's great melting pots, where an incredible diversity of cultures, religions and ethnicities live in unexpected harmony.

An explorers paradise, you could spend a lifetime discovering the relics left behind from ancient empires and trekking its dramatic landscapes. From its tiger-filled jungles to the frozen Himalayan deserts, India’s veritable bounty of breath-taking scenery is sure to leave you awe-struck. On the first trip, almost everyone finds time for the so-called ‘Golden Triangle’; zipping from the colonial capital, Delhi, to the Taj Mahal at Agra, then on to Jaipur, the colourful capital of Rajasthan. With more time to spare, you can discover 36 UNESCO-listed sights ranging from creaking mountain railways and ancient fortresses to mangrove forests and temples overflowing with multi-armed deities.

Don’t expect to absorb all India has to offer in one visit; the country is best appreciated like a buffet table, with repeat visits to sample the next tantalising platter. And with India’s legendary cuisine, rest assured that on every trip, you will feast like a Maharaja.

Key facts

Area:

3,287,263 sq km (1,269,219 sq miles).

Population:

1,339,180.13 (UN estimate 2017).

Population density:

450 per sq km.

Capital:

New Delhi.

Government:

Federal republic.

Head of state:

President Ram Nath Kovind since 2017.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi since 2014.

Travel Advice

COVID-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice

As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.

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