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CRAFT YOUR JOURNEY

Craft Your Journey

India is a place where landscapes change fast, and realities faster, a place that can be overwhelming for a traveller seeking to find their way. Tell us who you are, your passions, your likes and dislikes, your inspirations, and we will chisel a journey for you to fit your deepest dreams.

As we like to say in this land of multiple realities, there is an India for everyone. Help us find yours.

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WHERE 1/4

India spans the breadth of human experience. It is a country of nations, a reality of myths. Wherever you choose to go, you will not be disappointed.

CHOOSE THE REGION(S) YOU WISH TO TRAVEL TO
North India

DELHI, RAJASTHAN, JAMMU AND KASHMIR, UTTAR PRADESH, PUNJAB, HIMACHAL PRADESH, UTTARAKHAND, HARYANA Transient sand dunes.
A soft piece of carefully
block-printed cotton.

Opulent Mughal architecture.
A Sufi qalaam; its spirit, lost and found
in the spaces between Punjabi and Urdu.

Entire landscapes showered in colour.
Spiced nibbles of slow-roasted meat.
The touch of a sensuous shawl in a shikara.

The northern states overwhelm your senses with
the richness of their stimuli, layered one over the other.

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South India

KERALA, TAMIL NADU, KARNATAKA, ANDHRA PRADESH, TELENGANA, LAKSHADWEEP, ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLANDS Marvels of Dravidian temple architecture
set against backwaters and brackish lagoons.
The myriad variations of sambar.

A unique dialect of Urdu.
Tamil Sangam’s age-old poetic nectar.
The whiff of a spice market.

Stories painted on cloth; poetry in silk.
Glistening beans of homegrown coffee.
Coral reefs meet untouched white sand.

The southern states pamper your senses,
rewarding those with an appreciation for the subtle.

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East India

WEST BENGAL, SIKKIM, ASSAM, ORISSA, MEGHALAYA, NAGALAND, MIZORAM, ARUNACHAL PRADESH, MANIPUR, TRIPURA, BIHAR, CHHATTISGARH, JHARKHAND A valley surrounded
by snow-capped peaks.
Cotton saris sway to Tagore.

Ululations echo through
the birthplace of the Buddha.
Offerings of shondesh.

Amongst the wet wilderness of the Sundarban delta,
towering chariots of stone stand in tribute.
A savoury gravy of ground meat is served with rice.

The eastern states nourish your senses,
each experience hides within it, the quiet depths of history.

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West India

GUJARAT, MAHARASHTRA, GOA, MADHYA PRADESH A diverse mountain ecosystem
stands next to a sun-baked beach.
Myths etched in stone.

Traditions of song and dance
immortalised through film.
Rivers of cotton, tied and dyed.

Vegetables shallow-fried with spices,
yogurt tempered with saffron, cardamom and nuts.
A moonlit night on an endless salt flat.

The western states satiate your senses,
acting as gateways into this ancient land.

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  • North India
  • South India
  • East India
  • West India

 

WHAT 2/4

Bring the musician in you to a school of living traditions, where children sing ancient hymns; wonder at monuments that tell stories of lives lived before the written word came into being; unwind in an ashram in the middle of a forest; treat your taste buds to recipes of the royal emperors of the past.

CHOOSE THE THEME(S) FOR YOUR EXPERIENCE
Arts
Contemporary Arts, Fine Arts, Performing Arts
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Art reflects and transforms the society it permeates. Reflecting values, preserving traditions and moulding identities, the swift spirit pirouettes and lands ever so gently on a cloth canvas of culture. In the land of diversity that is India, you will encounter this spirit as you chase the stories of tradition of its people. For the artfully inclined, India hides a legion of treasures under her silk sleeve.

India is a land of Performing Arts.

Explore Classical Music with stalwarts of carnatic music while they prepare for their next performance; meet with students learning kathakali, an ancient storytelling dance rooted in the divine; learn the fifty-five mudras of bharatanatyam; swing by Goa’s jazz ballrooms; take a Bollywood dance workshop; watch history as it unfurls in a kathak performance; join temple dancers as they worship the gods; discover the India that produced Natya Shastra, the Sanskrit text on performing arts.

India is a land of Music.

Visit the schools where children sing a dying language; experience a recital of ancient poetry; the musical traditions of India carry the weight of history; listen to a local church choir from Colonial India; digital mixing of sounds from indigenous instruments; attend a soul connect concert to explore an element of the divine; partake in a piece of a carnatic music festival; let your body be moved by the earthy rustic beats of a parai; melt into the melody of a Sikh shabad; watch Indian doves as they flutter at the sound of a Muslim azaan.

India is a land of Fine Arts.

Learn Khushnavisi – the sublime art of Urdu calligraphy; experience schools of fine art nurtured by ageless tradition.

India is a land of Paintings.

Meet the miniature painting artists; listen to paintings that are sung by local bards; let history narrate an episode with 30,000-year-old cave paintings; watch indigenous tattoo artists perform rituals. Meet artists who only work with Lord Krishna’s image; marvel at Tanjore paintings embellished with gold.

India is a land of Sculptures.

Watch the subtle craftsmanship of pietra dura, inlay work of coloured stones and marbles; stories of gods carved into stones; gopurams with their stunning stuccos; epics etched and sculpted into caves at Ellora and Ajanta caves; gods and maidens chiselled in dance forms, caves inscribed with the brahmi scripts, the mother of Tamil and Sanskrit.

India is a land of Theatre.

Partake in the palpable fervour of the audience at a big city play; explore the many Ramleela grounds which tell takes of the epics during festivals; cheer on actors as they sing and perform street plays; listen to spoken word poetry with stories from contemporary India; pay a visit to the royal opera house; tread interpretations from modern artists.

India is a land of Literature.

Visit the home and haunts of Rabindranath Tagore at Shantiniketan; read the works of great Indian poets; realise a melancholic honesty about life in India in the works of Mirza Ghalib; forage through archives of ancient texts at an archaeological centre; meet with writers who transport you to alternate realities; attend various poetry festivals across the country.

India is a land of Contemporary Art.

Attend Kochi-Muziris Biennale, a festival of art close to the beaches; walk through impressive installations by artists of contemporary India at Mumbai’s Kala Ghoda Festival; visit various art galleries to meet artists and discuss the evolution of Indian art forms; photograph the colours and textures of the most scenic locales.

India is a land of Cinema.

Visit the Mumbai Film Festival in the city of dreams; watch dancers and sets come alive for the camera at a filming studio; experience the pomp around the shooting of a movie; visit the oldest theatres in town which bring back memories; appreciate exhibitions that glorify the golden era of the Indian film industry.

India is a land of Street Art.

Explore the street art in India’s metropolitan centres; find walls painted with wedding invites in rural India.

Cuisine
Beverages, Desserts, Feasts, Spices & condiments, Staples
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Through food, the gods whisper to the soul. Abundant in variety and bursting with local tradition, the weary travellers discover tastes and delicacies, fruits and spices, from community kitchens that serve monks and pilgrims, to humble homes breakfasts that sustain the city commuter, and to royal thirty-six course meals that have nourished the souls of kings and warriors. Explore the wildly divergent tastes of India.

India is a land of Feasts.

Feast on saintly vegetarian cuisine at a temple in Udupi; Sample a mutton galouti kebab, a delicacy designed for a toothless king; Indulge in feasts that celebrate wedding vows that differ from region to region, community to community, family to family; taste the feasts that are served on occasion of festivals; gorge on delicacies of seasonal harvests; relish a platter that is prepared in the house of gods; partake a morsel that mourns a funeral; be amazed by a 36 course Wazwan feast from a north Indian paradise; the delicacies during snake-boat festivals feasts from the south of India; experience the sophisticated spread of a dastarkhwaan; watch the delightful clay ovens baking breads; cook in the community kitchens of a gurudwara which serves meals to everyone.

India is a land of Staples.

Discover distinct styles of cooking and characteristic tastes within a region; visit an Indian home and share a meal with the family; Relish all varieties of wheat and millets in the north and south; find a catch of the day from the seas and fresh water river; visit an open farmland and watch the farmers as they till the land; feed chickens and goats in a poultry farm; experience the historic romance of a mustard field; live on a plantation that grows spices; let a farmer give you a tour of his coconut grove; watch the crisp blue sky that covers the orchards in the daytime.

India is a land of Spices.

Follow the fragile fragrance of saffron through the valley at dusk; discover the various colours of tropical chilli; explore the ancient techniques of Ayurveda that use spices to cure diseases of the mind and body; uncover spices as culinary precincts; take a walk through a spice market; discover the art of using Indian herbs; let coriander spruce up the simplest of recipes, while curry leaves lend base notes to perfumed cuisines of the south; take back recipes that have no written records; be mesmerised by south india’s gunpowder, an explosion of flavours; visit a pickles and jams factory that bottles recipes of fruit and herbs.

India is a land of Pickle.

Discover how the tangy pickle became a necessity in the tropical climate; savour pickles of the sea as prawns and pomfrets; a symbol of mother’s recipe for love, uncover the many generations of mothers and grandmothers who continue to preserve their recipes at home; let an expert explain the process of pickle making; experience pickle as a mouth-watering side-dish for spirits and local brews; experience unlikely recipes of lotus stems, roots, kernels, berries and leaves of various plants.

India is a land of Snacks and Accompaniments.

Discover the eastern tradition of customising tastes; watch an expert follow the ancient tradition of folding delightful flavours in between betel leaves of a paan; treat yourself to a mouthful of sour and spicy water in the flour crust of a golgappa; eat puffed rice, an Indian version of popcorn held in a paper cone; savour locally-made deep fried chips of banana and tapioca; taste a concoction of boiled Indian grams garnished with coconut shavings and a dash of lime.

India is a land of Desserts.

Pluck one from the ghee-based ladoos that are placed in a heap of careful geometric progression; taste chhapan bhog, the fifty-six desserts made to honour the gods in temples; sample temple prasads that are indigenous to geographies and communities; satisfy a sugar craving with delicacies that are synonymous with festivals; sample types of emperor’s candy doused and dusted with sugar syrup.

India is a land of Beverages.

Take a walk through a tea plantation and pluck the precious two leaves and a bud with professional tea pickers; watch the birds as you follow a coffee trail; visit the temple of a coffee god; take a sip of the Kashmiri kahwa with herbs and saffron; conclude the quest for original Indian chai, made at home by a local; cool down with a sweet and milky thandai; let your body be rejuvenated by a glassful of lassi; let a mouthful of sherbet refresh your soul; experiences distinct styles of drinking filter coffee and cutting chai; Watch a human pyramid reach out to a pot of buttermilk, the favourite of a god.

History & Architecture
Classical Period, Colonial Period, Contemporary Spaces, Medieval Period, Modern Period
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The earliest memories of a civilisation are carved in stone. In India, caves and rocks are home to divine etchings that have carried stories through the centuries. Stones take geometric precision in the Mughal masterpieces, and caves are carved into temples and stepwells in planned cities of the past. Indian architecture is a curious story, narrated in unison by its natives and the outsiders who made it home.

India is a land of Classical Architecture.

Tread the ancient trails of the Indus valley; Let the ruins of Nalanda narrate stories of splendour of the Magadha empire; Observe the many figurines on the Gopurams of South India; Be mesmerised by a herculean chariot of stone at Konark, tribute to the sun; Indulge in the explicit, yet exquisite sculptures of Khajuraho; Visit the Jain cave carvings and Buddhist temples that tell stories of mythology; discover the ancient science of space and form through Vaastu.

India is a land of Medieval Architecture.

Explore an astonishingly pink facade; Walk into a fortress with wall streaked with shades of electric blue; Touch the red sandstone, tempered by time; Distinguish Mughal pillars and columns, decorated with stone inlays, and surrounded by gardens with a system of canals; lounge in verandas lined with arches; visit monuments crowned with domes, and governed by rules of geometry and symmetry; visit the ruins of palaces and temples at Hampi; be amazed by a rock perched on a slope famously called the butterball; visit the marvel in marble which tells a tragic tale of eternal love, the Taj Mahal.

India is a land of Colonial Architecture.

Immerse yourself in the architectural style of Dutch buildings in the South; the French and Portuguese styles on the western coast; and English Architecture at urban metropolises; visit churches, bureaucratic and public buildings, railway stations, mansions and bungalows; take a walk through history in summer homes, vacations homes, race and golf courses, club houses from the colonial past; marvel at the party mansions of India that belonged to the spice merchants.

India is a land of Contemporary Architecture.

Discover the works of contemporary architects like Louis Kahn, Le Corbusier’s, BV Doshi and more

Crafts & Design
Contemporary Design Workshops, Handicrafts, Jewellery, Textiles
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All art began with handicrafts. The simple wisdom of raw materials defined what could be crafted. The culture of a people travels through their crafts. Be it as objects of commercial exchange, as inspirations that give birth to local adaptations, and even as myths across faraway lands. The craft of a place embodies a tradition that is intrinsic to identity.

India is a land of Textiles.

Participate in the process of tie-and-dye as practiced by three generations of bandhani craftswomen; witness natural dyes extracted from vegetables and flowers; explore techniques of hand block printing; watch a silk sari being handwoven; experience Indian handicrafts at museums; visit cotton and indigo plantations and watch crops as they are harvested; explore the process of spinning silk; get your hands on a khadi spinning wheel; feel the softness of a pashmina shawl; explore the techniques of embroidery and embellishments indigenous to various regions.

India is a land of Handicrafts.

Visit a dhurrie workshop; meet with carpet weavers of the hills; explore crafts of bamboo by meeting artisans of basket weaving; explore the paper stencil design in an Indian market; touch the cool clay on a potter’s wheel; learn the techniques of boatmaking; see a veena being made; watch the process of making handcrafted toys and dancing dolls; explore various crafts of brass and silver.

India is a land of Jewellery.

Meet with the goldsmith who makes the heaviest earrings of gold; watch a bride as she adorns traditional jewellery at her wedding; explore the various styles of wearing jewellery of jasmine and rose flowers; discover the significance of the black beads of mangalsutra; visit a museum of gems with an expert; consult an astrologer who can assign you lucky stones; explore the tradition of surmedaani; meet with perfume manufacturers, or makers of ittr in old city quarters; discover motifs and styles suited to ornaments of gold, silver, terracotta, bones, lac, glass, precious stones and more.

India is a land of Contemporary Design.

Explore boutiques that craft distinct styles for clothes, furniture and graphics; take a walk with an expert to explore designs of public transport; meet with designers who create movie posters; talk to a designer at fashion shows and art galleries; uncover the different motifs and techniques that are used for crafting chic interiors.

Religion & Community
Community, Festivals & Events, Worship
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India takes a new form of culture every few miles. In this land of diversity, macro and micro traditions differ not only from region to region, but family to family and even individual to individual. From the way people dress to what and how they eat, from how they like to begin their day and where it takes them, is a journey through their Indian life, and a trove of treasures for the storyteller.

India is a land of Worship.

Experience the worship of elements in traditional ways; learn ancient fire chants for purity; wash ritualistically as described by the epics with holy water for ablution of sins; make offerings to the gods in the form of fruits and milk; bathe idols of gods with milk, oil and flower petals; feed the deities on special occasions and festivals; perform a puja for the god of wind; meet with a priest to understand the cycle of reincarnation; worship the holy river during an evening procession; immerse clay idols of elephant-headed god in the sea following celebration; discover the trance of a sufi qawwali at the tomb of a saint.

India is a land of the Gods.

Enter the sanctorum of ancient Hindu temples; meet with priests to understand the rituals that from the prayer ceremony; take a walk along the ghats of holy rivers; meditate at the riverbank with an Indian sadhu; discover the importance of trees, flora and fauna for different communities; discover monuments and sites of birth of gods; explore Indian churches and those from its colonial past; visit mosques and tombs to observe prayers and rituals of worship; attend a wedding ceremony in a sikh gurudwara; meet with monks who have meditated in faraway monasteries; explore stupas that document the ancient past; walk into caves which whisper stories from the epics; visit a bahai temple to find inner peace; explore Indian synagogues and partake in rituals.

India is a land ofRituals.

Eat at the mosque during the holy month; explore how rituals change like phases of the moon; smear sacred ash from the holy fire on your forehead; chant with the monks at the foothills of the Himalayas; kiss and cover the grave of saints and pious people; explore how tradition is the tether that keeps Indians rooted to their values; Offer carefully picked flowers, milk, coconut, oils, fruit, and honey to local deities.

India is a land of Pilgrimage.

Observe forty days that follow ritualistic daily rhythms; experience a month of fasting to empathise with the ones who go hungry; experience 40 days of lent; travel along a river or climb to a hilltop, or swim by the sea in pursuit of the gods; participate in processions of singing, dancing, chanting, community eating and washing as you travel to the land of the divine.

India is a land ofSacred Texts.

Uncover the stories of war and righteousness from Indian epics; Imbibe the ancient knowledge of the Vedas; explore the four books of knowledge, mantras and hymns, rituals and ancient medicines; Interpret philosophical concepts and ideas about life with an expert on religion; learn the chants that are recited during various prayer ceremonies; meet with saints and god men during religious ceremonies; discover the teachings of Guru Granth Sahib - The holy book of the Sikhs; explore the idea of divine justice; recite Buddhist prayer chants; learn more about Buddhist scrolls, hymns and poems.

India is a land of Festivals.

Participate in ceremonies around birth; Witness rituals of ear piercing, shaving, feeding, coming of age, marriage and death; welcome the goddess of light and abundance during housewarming; explore the last rites, and recurring rituals of mourning; celebrate festivals of harvest throughout the country; worship the goddess of wealth during the festival of light; play with colours and flowers in a temples to celebrate the onset of spring; explore the Indian tradition of celebrating Christmas and eid; sing and dance for nine days to please the gods and goddesses; watch entire cities come alive with light; descend to the streets to celebrate the god of new beginnings; participate in week-long wedding rituals, for a country of a billion people, there’s always a reason to celebrate.

India is a land ofCustoms and Traditions.

Understand the importance of new beginnings for Indians; learn to tie a Maharashtrian sari, a jodhpuri dhoti, a Rajasthani turban; explore the various uses of cow dung; participate in opium ceremonies; learn why Indians touch the feet; explore bell ringing and rituals of ululating in celebration; chant to the fire during a havan; experience the pleasure of walking barefoot and eating with yours hand; participate in customary bathing with a scrub of flour, fruit and herbs; explore the myriad uses of sandalwood; learn the uses of lemon, chilli, demonic masks, and mango leaves for spiritual well-being; watch women as they marry snakes, dogs and trees; watch devotees as they walk on fire.

India is a land of Markets.

Explore a vegetable market run entirely by women; watch the fishermen sell their catch at the break of dawn; experiences a variety of fragrances in the flower markets; explore fairs in the desert for camels and cattle; let an expert guide you into the spice streets; walk along the ancient markets that lead up to a temple temple; experience community places from the medieval period to the colonial era; walk into a market to understand the life cycle of a city; let your senses be flooded with local culture.

India is a land ofIndigenous Sports.

Know more about the regimen of Indian wrestlers who practise traditional wrestling; play a game of hopscotch the Indian way; explore the techniques of Kalaripattu, an ancient form of martial arts, watch a game of kabaddi, a sport from ancient India; discover the indigenous gilli danda, a sport that uses a stick instead of a bat; visit festivals that celebrate community games; meet with professionals who participate in cock-fighting and pigeon-flying.

Nature & Wellness
Ayurveda & Healing, The Outdoors, Wildlife, Yoga & Meditation
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A tropical paradise with landforms that range from the mighty Himalayas to the deep waters of the Indian ocean; the backwaters of Kerala, in the fine grain of sandalwood, the stately tread of a flock of Greater Flamingos, the regal blue skies of Ladakh; life thrives in India’s vast variety of ecosystems.

India is a land of Yoga and Meditation.

Practise yoga in Himalayas; find your balance at the banks of a holy river that flows through the cities of Rishikesh and Haridwar; experience authentic yoga techniques by enlightened gurus; feel your chakras as they align during traditional meditation; experience opening of the third eye, as you let your body guide you into ethereal planes of existence; In the Indian way, yoga strengthens the body, like meditation strengthens the mind.

India is a land of Ayurveda and Healing.

Follow the quest for the mythological Sanjivani booti, the elixir of life; indulge in pranic healing with an expert; discover healing through gems at a health centre; understand the balancing of elements, the principle that Ayurveda follows; learn the recipes for grandma’s cures; explore street medicine for diseases and health conditions; learn how to grow medicinal plants in your kitchen garden.

India is a land ofNature and Wildlife.

Follow a trail of the Bengal Tiger that roams wild and free; indulge in birdwatching in a natural park or plantation; follow the journey of the creatures that migrate to India for their yearly vacation; photograph the royal mane of a lion-tailed macaque; feed the elephants in a wildlife sanctuary; visit a nature resort that specialises in treks and adventure sports.

India is a land of the Outdoors.

Sway to the rhythm of a houseboat on Kerala’s canals; lounge on a clear sand beach at sunset; discover the secrets of southern states through their backwaters; follow the surreal cloudscapes of Ladakh; explore the remote villages of Uttarakhand; dive off the pristine shores of the Andaman islands; hike up to Rizong Gompa in Ladakh to meditate atop a mountain; explore the India that exists beyond urban cityscapes.

India is a land ofFarming.

Milk a cow at an isolated farm; go apple picking under the open sky in Kashmir’s orchards; fish on a floating restaurant; walk through the mustard fields and tea estates; pick coffee beans on a plantation; learn the technique of rubber making at a plantation in kerala; follow the trail left behind by farmers in coconut groves and sugarcane fields; explore techniques of irrigation in wheat and rice fields; experience horse riding at a village.

WHO 3/4

Tell us who you are, and we will dream up a journey as unique as you.

How do you like to travel?
What is your daily rhythm?
What landscapes do you feel most at home in?

Have you travelled to India before?

HOW 4/4

Tell us how you want to travel, and we will turn it into a hand-drawn itinerary.

What would be the ideal pace of your journey?
Year
How long would you want to travel ?
How much would you like to spend? (Excluding Airfare)
What type of accommodation would you prefer?
Where did you hear about us?
How involved do you want to be in the process of curating your journey?