About this guide

Despite its size, India is also a country where travel — and travellers — are affecting people and places. Take the famous Taj Mahal. This monument to love sees up to 70,000 visitors a day, leading to over-crowding, queues and even damage to the building itself. Or look at the beaches of Goa, which have seen a huge increase in tourism in recent decades. This has led to a boom in resort construction along its riverfronts and beaches, causing soil erosion and the breakdown of agricultural land. Even holy sites, such as the pilgrimage city of Varanasi, are experiencing a rise in pollution that is partly attributable to tourism.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t visit these places. We are saying that there is a route less travelled, an alternative experience less known and a way of seeing places that is less harmful (hint: view the Taj Mahal from the Mehtab Bagh gardens early in the morning instead of inside the complex).

This anthology doesn’t claim to cover everywhere you should see in India. Instead, we’ve taken some of the most popular places to visit and asked insiders for their perspective on what to see. So, yes, visit the Taj Mahal on a Golden Triangle route. But make sure to also visit the ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri, once capital of the Mughal Empire, and a strange blend of Islamic, Hindu and Christian architecture. If you’re planning on visiting Kerala, make sure to experience some of its traditional folk dances — including an all-night Theyyam performance that culminates at dawn, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous.

The list of adventures in India is huge. You can trek in the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, search for tigers deep in the jungle, head out to watch a desert sunset on camelback or get lost in aeons-old temples — many of which are still used for worship today.

It’s time to explore a little deeper.

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