India; a country of sensory overload and enormous travel opportunities. Every region offers something new to explore. Discover magnificent ancient monuments, beautiful palaces and abundant wildlife whilst travelling through rolling tea plantations to deserted palm fringed beaches. If it’s your first visit to India then you’ll probably want to include a visit to the Taj Mahal which is magnificent beyond words. But India has so much more to experience beyond the obvious palaces, temples and monuments. We have been travelling to India for twelve years, are totally addicted to its endearing vibrancy and still fascinated by new discoveries.
Teyyam Festival Makeup, Kerala
Golden Temple Amritsar
Taj Mahal, Agra
Tiger at Ranthambore, Rajasthan
Gateway to India – Mumbai
Just Crusing, Keralan Backwaters
Ladies picking cotton, Kabini River, Karnataka
Elephant, Kabini River, Karnataka
Gampati Icon, Mumbai
Lake Vembanad at sunset, Keralan backwaters
Fatehpur Sikri – Agra
Mysore Palace, Karnataka
200 BC Cave Temple painting – Ajanta, Maharashtra
Sunset on the Ganges, Varanasi
Rickshaw and India Gate, New Delhi
Leopard, Kabini River
Fishing in the Keralan backwaters
Why Book with No News No Shoes?
A holiday to India with No News No Shoes will take you beyond the tourist attractions and give you a taste of the local culture; this is where you will find the real India. Meet fascinating local tribes, enjoy traditional village walks and festivals, visit the local school, go shopping in the market for local produce and then learn to cook authentic dishes. All of this whilst travelling in style, staying at our handpicked selection of boutique and luxury hotels. India has some of the best hotels in the world including off the beaten track historic haveli mansions bursting with character, luxury tented camps and the opulent Oberoi Amarvilas overlooking the Taj Mahal. We also recommend including some time at a Homestay during your holiday where you will be able to sample local life first hand. We have some great options for you to select from.
All our holidays are fully customised to your needs; anything is possible. Our extensive personal experience will help guide you on the best places to visit and stay throughout India. Private chauffeur driven car, local assistance at every point during your trip and a dedicated travel consultant ensure that arrangements are seamless and high quality. We’re sure you’ll be pleased with our prices too.
Two Centre Holidays
For the perfect two-centre trip, why not combine India with the Maldives? Paradise islands in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives are easily reached from India. In addition to white sand beaches and luxurious accommodation, the easily accessible coral reefs encircling most resorts provide an amazing underwater safari. Diving is also among the best in the world. We have stayed at over 50 resorts in the Maldives so are expertly placed to find your perfect paradise.
Click on place name to open full details of what to see, places to stay and sample itinerary.
Delhi, the capital of India is an interesting mix of the old and new. Old Delhi is typical ‘full-on’ chaotic India bursting with interest and character. This is best experienced by taking a rickshaw ride through the narrow alleys and exploring the bazars and spice markets. We offer a guided street food tour in Old Delhi so that you can safely sample the wonders of Indian street food. New Delhi is where you will find the classic Lutyens colonial bungalows, wide avenues, Government Buildings, India Gate monument and the commercial hub of Connaught Place.
Delhi’s other main sites of interest are; Qutub Minar & Iron Pillar, Humayun’s Tomb, Lakshminarayan temple, the Red Fort, and our personal favourite, the Gurdwara Bangla Sahib (Sikh temple) – be sure to visit the communal kitchens which are fascinating. Agra, can be reached easily from Delhi either by train or by car in just over 3 hours. The highlight is of course, the magnificent Taj Mahal, best seen either at sunrise or sunset during the changing light. There aren’t many places in the world that surpass your expectations; the Taj Mahal is one of them. We also suggest including a visit to Agra Fort whose formidable exterior gives way to an intricate interior palace, and the deserted ancient Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri. All three places in Agra are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Rajasthan shows India at its most colourful and exotic best. All the things that come to mind when you think of India can be found in Rajasthan – palaces, forts, desert, camels, elephants, tigers and snake charmers. This is India encapsulated in all of its magnificence.
Western Rajasthan is dominated by the Thar Desert which was once ruled by three great kingdoms: Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Bikaner. The eastern plains contain the state capital, Jaipur, and the Ranthambore National Park, famous for its tigers. In the hilly wooded south are the wonderful palaces, lakes and forts of Udaipur and the spectacular Jain temples at Ranakpur. Venture off the beaten path in Rajasthan and you’ll find ancient, sleepy villages, wonderful countryside and some exquisite places to stay.
There is so much more to explore in Northern India including:
Amritsar: Situated on the north-west edge of Punjab (the land of five rivers), Amritsar is most famous for the Golden Temple. This is the Sikh community’s holiest shrine and the temple complex itself is actually a city within a city. The Golden Temple is India’s most visited landmark, attracting thousands of pilgrims and visitors every day. The temple itself is stunningly beautiful and there is certainly a spiritual aura around the place. Head to the vast communal kitchens to see the mountains of food being prepared by volunteers to feed the thousands of people who come to the temple for a free meal, irrespective of religion, caste or personal wealth.
Khajuraho: Khajuraho really impressed us and we suggest including a two night stay in your itinerary. The town is famous for its exquisitely carved and embellished temples and sculptures, which are a thousand years old. The temple complex has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site and is simply stunning. Life, in every form and mood, has been captured here in stone, testifying to the craftsman’s artistry and the extraordinary breadth of vision of the Chandela Rajputs. Of the 85 original temples, 22 still survive, constituting one of the world’s greatest artistic wonders.
Varanasi: And now for something completely different. Take a deep breath, unpack your sense of adventure and commit to immersing yourself into the chaotic, other worldly experience of ancient Varanasi. It’s a full-on assault on the senses but there’s nothing else quite like it and definitely not to be missed. Varanasi is the heart of Hinduism and one of the oldest living cities in the world. A boat trip on the holy Ganges to witness the religious aarti ceremony is an experience that will stay with you for a long time.
Lucknow: much under-rated Muslim city famous for its turbulent history with the British, its magnificent Imambaras (ceremonial halls) and Awadhi cuisine. As featured in the Rick Stein TV programme, we will take you to Idris Biryani which was so good I had it both nights I was in Lucknow. Take our evening culinary walk with Tornos to experience the full range of melt in the mouth kebabs that Lucknow is also famous for.
The heart of India geographically and certainly the centre of wildlife in India. The capital Bhopal is sadly best remembered for the tragic toxic gas and chemical leak in 1984. But todays reality is a pleasant city of lakes, museums and a couple of really fabulous places to stay. There are four major National Parks in Madhya Pradesh; Satpura, Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Pench. They are all different, in terms of size and landscape and offer good chances of sighting tiger, leopard, sloth bear and many other animals. There are some really superb lodges around these parks and we have visited most of them in order to guide you in planning your ideal safari trip.
We have a bit of a soft spot for this region of contrasts. Nowhere more so than Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra, home to the world’s most expensive home, Bollywood flamboyance and Dharavi, the largest slum in Asia. Our tours in Mumbai will show you not only the iconic tourist spots such as the Gateway of India and Victoria Station, but also take you through the fascinating community of Dharavi with our friends from Reality Tours & Travel to show you the successful businesses that have emerged there and also the thriving community spirit.
Karnataka, in south India, offers a wonderful combination of beautiful scenery, impressive wildlife parks, idyllic beaches and interesting history. Often overlooked in favour of more well known places such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu, Karnataka possesses an air of calm authenticity – at least for the time being. Varied enough to spend an entire holiday exploring and relaxing, or pick some of the highlights and combine with maybe the hill station of Ooty and the rain forest and beaches of northern Kerala. With our vast experience of organising tailor made holidays to south India, we will be able to craft your perfect itinerary.
Kerala is India’s southern most state and offers an extraordinary range of experiences within just a few hours drive of each other. Cruise the idyllic ‘backwaters’ on a converted rice barge, visit spice and tea plantations, explore the historical fort town of Cochin, experience the rich, diverse culture and cuisine, go trekking in the national parks or rejuvenate with an Ayurvedic massage treatment. It is one of the more prosperous and educated regions, thus providing a gentle introduction for first timers to India.
Tamil Nadu, with its distinctive ancient Dravidian culture, is a fascinating part of south India. The state draws both tourists and pilgrims alike to its towering, intricately built temples. Beaches and hill stations are popular destinations as well. Due to its culture, Tamil Nadu is a particularly hassle free destination to visit, especially for women.
Calcutta, now renamed Kolkata, was the capital of India during the British Raj. We love the fact that it still retains many of the colonial architecture and features of this period, although for how much longer is debatable. We think it is the least changed major city in India and for that reason has a unique captivating soul. One of the best ways to experience this is on a walking tour with our good friend Manjit of Calcutta Photo Tours who will bring this fascinating city to life whilst helping to improve your photography skills along the way.
Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh, is one of India’s most popular hill stations and is often referred to as the “Queen of the Hills”. The town flourished during the reign of the British Empire. The British started flocking there in the 1820s when it was a nondescript village, and by 1864 it was declared to be their official summer capital. The Government of India stayed there for much of the year, only shifting to Kolkata (Calcutta) and later Delhi during the cold winter months. Hence, Shimla has an interesting history and distinct atmosphere of grandeur about it, with many well preserved historical buildings.
Below are a number of sample itineraries with guideline costs. Please remember, all our tours are private and can be fully tailor-made to your exact requirements.
Click on itinerary title to open full details of the tour.
Golden Triangle Tour (5 nights)
The classic India short tour to see the incredible Taj Mahal at Agra, the capital city of Delhi with its contrasting Old & New areas, and the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur best known for its imposing Amber or Amer Fort, and more recently, the home to some famous British retirees at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel .
Northern India Cultural Tour (10 nights)
This tour begins in Delhi where you will be able to experience the contrasts of Old & New Delhi before heading to Agra and the wonderful Taj Mahal. Next, you’ll visit Khajuraho and its impressive temple complex with intricate & erotic carvings. Next stop is Varanasi, one of the oldest living cities in the world and the heart of the Hindu religion – there really is nothing else quite like it. Finally, spend a few days exploring Lucknow with its Muslim architecture and fabulous Awadhi cuisine.
North India Culinary Tour (10 nights)
India is well known for its cuisine and this tour will give you an experience of some of the very best in Northern India. You’ll learn about Mughlai cuisine whilst in Delhi as well as sampling some of the famous street food. In Jaipur you’ll have the opportunity for an interactive cooking session with members of the Royal Family and in Lucknow you will be introduced to the fabulous Awadhi cuisine, including an evening with a Nawab. A visit to the Taj Mahal is also included where you will have dinner at a local family home.
Hidden Jewels Of Rajasthan Tour (12 nights)
This tour starts in Delhi where you will have the opportunity to visit a project helping the children of rag pickers. Continue to Agra to see the Taj Mahal and then make your way through Rajasthan visiting the most important cities of Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur. There is plenty of time for guided sightseeing and you’ll find each location has something new to offer. The real highlight of this tour is staying at some fabulous, hidden gem boutique hotels in rural Rajasthan; one is part fairy-tale castle, part boutique resort and the other is a stunning Fort in the middle of the desert turned into a fabulously stylish hotel.
Rajasthan off the Beaten Track Tour (12 nights)
For those who have previously visited the main cities of Rajasthan and want to delve deeper behind the scenes, this one is for you. Venture off the beaten path in Rajasthan and you’ll find wonderful undiscovered forts, ancient towns overflowing with character and rural villages where life seems to have changed little for centuries. We’ve also found some amazing places to stay whilst you wander off-piste; a converted ancient fort, a family castle complete with polo pitch, a magnificent country estate manor house, a super luxury tented camp built on top of a dam and a lakeside heritage palace.
Rajasthan Responsible Travel Tour (13 nights)
Whilst we think all of our tours are responsible, this one has a direct impact on helping those in need in India. We’ve teamed up with our friends at Reality Tours & Travel in Mumbai to offer this tour which starts in Mumbai, works its way through Rajasthan and stops in Agra to see the Taj Mahal before ending in Delhi. Reality Gives, the sister company of Reality Tours & Travel, does a tremendous job in their mission to provide young people from underprivileged communities in India with high quality education and experiences to help them maximize their potential. 80% of all the profits from this tour will go towards their projects. Expect accommodation on this tour to be of a more basic standard than our regular tours.
Madhya Pradesh Wildlife Tour (12 nights)
Madhya Pradesh is the heart of India geographically and the heart of India’s wildlife. This tour covers the three major National Parks of Satpura, Kanha and Bandhavgarh, which has the highest density of tigers in India. The parks all differ in terms of landscape and wildlife so you can expect varied safari experiences. We’ve selected some gorgeous lodges for you to stay in where you will feel comfortable and well looked after by the friendly hosts and staff. The tour starts in Bhopal which is an interesting place to spend a few days before venturing into the wild.
Maharashtra Tour (14 nights)
Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra is an experience not to be missed. It’s a city of extreme contrasts; the most expensive house in the world and the largest slum in Asia sit side by side. We’ll ensure you see not only the tourist sites, but also discover the captivating soul of the city which is where the real magic lies. Head up to Nashik to visit this pilgrimage city and experience the many wines that are produced in this area whilst staying at a wine resort. Continue to Aurangabad from where you’ll visit the magnificent ancient cave temples at Ellora & Ajanta. Next stop is Tadoba National Park for some wildlife safaris before returning back to Mumbai via a short stay at a stunning treehouse resort located high above the expansive forest.
Goa (7 nights)
There’s definitely more to Goa than all night raves and beach shacks. We toured Goa from top to bottom and found an appealing Portuguese culture, deserted beaches, inland spice and paddy plantations, a distinctive cuisine, and some fabulous places to stay. Here’s our pick of the bunch. Add Goa as an extension to one of our other tours or just go to relax and enjoy this other side of Goa.
A Taste of Karnataka Tour (13 nights)
Karnataka is a diverse state with a lot to offer. This tour will give you a taste of the various highlights. Starting from Bangalore, you’ll explore the extensive, ancient ruins at Hampi, stay at a stunning property set amidst a coffee plantation and spend a few days in Mysore visiting the beautiful palace, the colourful market and the huge hillside Nandi bull. Continue to Kabini and Nagarhole National Park where you will be able to enjoy both land and water safaris – this park is best known for its herds of elephants, although we were lucky enough to also see a leopard. Finally, spend some time relaxing at the beach – we suggest the undiscovered, unspoilt coastline of northern Kerala.
Comprehensive Kerala Tour (15 nights)
Kerala, in the south of India, is often referred to as ‘God’s Own Country’. It’s not hard to see why. This is a region of natural beauty that is quite unique within India. From rainforest to deserted beaches, Kerala has it all and this tour will give you a feel for the full range of experiences on offer. Starting in the north of Kerala, stay in the rainforest, in a treehouse if you are adventurous, before a spot of relaxation at one of the unspoilt northern beaches. Experience an Indian train ride to Cochin, drive through the Western Ghat mountains to the tea growing area of Munnar and spice plantations at Thekkady. Visit Periyar National Park, stay with a local family in a homestay and finally end your trip with a cruise on your very own Houseboat through the idyllic backwaters. Perfect.
Tamil Nadu Tour (13 nights)
Together with Tamil Nadu’s distinctive Dravidian culture, on this tour you will experience the most important and impressive temple in south India, the Meenakshi Temple at Madurai. Other highlights include, Kanyakumari; the southernmost tip of India, Chettinad; famous for its elaborate old mansions and local cuisine, Pondicherry; an old French colonial town that still retains an element of French character, Mahabalipuram; ancient port town known for its stone carvings and Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, formerly called Madras.
West Bengal Tour (12 nights)
West Bengal is a truly fascinating state with an authenticity that is perhaps lacking now in some other parts of India. Calcutta (renamed Kolkata), is a good example of this. Once the capital of the British Raj, Kolkata still clings on to its colonial past with its magnificent buildings, street trams, hand pulled rickshaws and melting pot of cultures. We’ll arrange for Manjit, a local photographer, to share some of his passion for his city with you during a walking tour. Next, take a cruise on the Sundarbans, a protected area of dense mangrove forest, the largest of its kind in the world. You’ll meet some of the local villagers too. Finally, head north to Darjeeling where you’ll find rolling tea gardens, spectacular Himalayan views and one of the best hotels in India.
Himalayan Heritage Tour (10 nights)
First stop on this tour is Amritsar in the Punjab where you will visit the exquisite Golden Temple and learn about Sikhism. Also attend the Wagah Border closing ceremony, a bizarre procedure which occurs daily when the border with Pakistan is closed. Next, head north to Dharamshala, known for its large Tibetan community and home to the exiled Dalai Lama. Enjoy a brief stay in a rural medieval hamlet before arriving at Shimla, once a popular hill station retreat for the British during the summer months. We’ll organise a heritage walk for you to see the major historic sights and suggest you stay at the famous Oberoi Cecil which is where the Oberoi brand started. Finally, take the train to Delhi where you will have the opportunity for sightseeing both on and off the tourist trail.
India Health & Wellbeing (6/7 nights)
India is well known for its spiritual and healing facilities; Ayurveda originates from south India and yoga/meditation are widely practised. There are some superb places to take a well earned rest and rejuvenation, we can guide you as to which is best suited to your personal preferences and objectives. Having sampled many of these establishments throughout India, this is our pick of the best.