Formerly known as Bombay, this is India’s most dynamic and cosmopolitan city and India’s financial centre and its busiest port. Mumbai is also home to the world’s biggest cinema industry, Bollywood. Stay at the iconic Taj Mahal Palace hotel, situated by the Gateway of India and enjoy time in this amazing city – film studios, food walks, the dabbawallahs (lunchtime tiffin collectors) and much more.
Goa is India’s smallest state and is graced with beautiful palm-fringed beaches, each with their own distinct character, and the Arabian Sea. This tropical destination has a rich history – evidence of the 400 years of Portuguese rule is still visible in dress, language, religion and cuisine. Explore the small, picturesque villages, colonial mansions and pretty white-washed churches. Drive by lush paddy fields and coconut plantations, and visit busy open-air markets and bazaars. You will find fantastic cuisine – including lots of fresh fish and seafood – and friendly, easy-going people here.
The northern beaches are generally more developed than those in South Goa. Amongst these are Calangute beach and its extension Baga which have numerous bars, resorts and beach parties. Further south Bogmalo is an ideal family beach with watersports facilities, and Colva has one of Goa’s longest uninterrupted stretches of sand, a busy market square and a number of bars and seafood restaurants. Many beaches have watersports including sailing, windsurfing, water-skiing, parasailing, canoeing, scuba diving and boat trips.
Goa also conceals secluded beaches and small sleepy villages, perfect for honeymooners too.
The state of Gujarat in western India contains fascinating sites, superb Jain, Hindu and Islamic architecture. Traditional artisans weave, embroider, dye and print some of India’s finest textiles here, and wildlife sanctuaries include leopard, wild cat, hyena and jackal, and the Asiatic lion at Gir National Park.
Mahatma Gandhi was born and lived in Gujarat and it is possible to visit his birthplace in Porbandar, and the Sabarmati Ashram, which was his home from 1917-1930.
The thriving, commercial city of Ahmedabad enjoys a vibrant cultural life and there are many festivals throughout the year; the annual kite festival in January is a highlight. There is more to be seen in the countryside, including the barren and arid desert region of Kutch. This is home to several semi-nomadic herders of camels and sheep, including the Rabari. These communities are skilled in a variety of crafts including unique and richly embroidered textiles that are world-renowned. Gujarat is one of the best textile destinations in India.