Far from iPads, Androids and internet, consider spending some real quality times with your family. Add to it some fabulous cultural experiences, out of the box exotic experiences and real adventure; being surrounded by crowd more often than not, delectable culinary experiences and sometimes may be Delhi belly but above all some of the most defining and adventurous experiences that might change your life so much so that you go home a changed person. This is what family holidays in India is all about; adventure, incredulity, acceptance of chaotic beauty, new awareness and overall…raw awesomeness.
|Wildlife safari is one of the things to do when you are on a family holiday in India Photo courtesy
Family holidays in India will get you out of your comfort zones. It may overwhelm you in the beginning but at the close it is a live changing cultural experience that could be experienced best when you are traveling with your family.From some elefantastic moments in Rajasthan, tête-à-tête moments spent with family over intoxicating aroma of tea where it originates, spending time in wilderness and in luxury if you can afford it, sailing enchanted lands amidst gentle lapping of backwaters or just interacting with the villagers down south or up north, there are plenty of activities that would make India a perfect place for family holidays on this planet.
Here we have compiled for you a select few experience to help you concoct a perfect family holiday in India…Read on!
Have a cuppa in a Tea Estate in Darjeeling
|Glenburn Tea Estate, Darjeeling
The tea capital of India and an erstwhile sweetheart of British Raj, Darjeeling is one of the most renowned hill resorts in India. So loved it was by British – offering refuge from sweltering heat of the plains and awe inspiring views of Himalayas along with just the right locale for growing tea – that it became one of the most prominent administrative cities of the Raj. They build the Darjeeling Mountain Railways here, popularly referred to as the ‘toy train’ and also some of the best tea plantations that India can now boast of and in between they also built some idyllic bungalows nestled in the most serene recesses of sprawling tea plantations.
The best of the lot is the Glenburn Tea Estate
. A restored planter’s bungalow, this luxury tea resort in India offers a tranquil stay amidst the 1,600 acres working tea estate and awe inspiring view of Himalayas. What’s on offer here is day hikes, savory culinary experiences, birding tours and even crossing the hanging bridge to Sikkim. Add to it lamplit dinners under canopy of stars, conversation in the warmth of bonfire, trout fishing and what not. There’s a load of activities to relish some great time with family over here. But above all, when you come here for a family holiday, make it an unforgettable one with tea tour. Learn how tea is made and sip an aromatic hot cuppa. It will be a memorable one we guarantee.
Bonus tip: If you are traveling to Darjeeling with kids don’t miss the Mountain Zoo which will definitely delight your kid.
Do the Rhododendron Trek in Sikkim
Himalayas is not just about some of the greatest treks like the Everest or the Annapurna. There’s this spiritually and mentally aspect of being footloose in Himalayas. It is joy not just for those looking to challenge themselves and push the limits for also for those who want to slow down, relax and spend some quality time with family and their friends. If you are looking for a quiet family holiday in India, North East India – still uncorrupted from woes of modern tourism – is the place to be. What makes North East India a laid back yet enlightening destination for family holidays in India is that here one could discover panoply of tribal cultures, climates, landscapes and peoples.
When in Sikkim, there are plenty to do and even when you do nothing you’d feel that you have done all that you came to do. Such is the magic of this place. Activities here include enlightening visits to monasteries and institution such as Namgyal Institute of Tibetology; a great way to know and understand the local culture.
Then there are an array of treks – both the short ones and the longer ones that could take you to Bhutan, the land of thunder dragon – that one could choose from. But when you are on a family vacation, it is here in Sikkim that you could undertake an array of mild hikes. With home to over 5,000 species of flowering plants that include several species of orchids and rhododendron, hiking in Sikkim is an experience to treasure with family and take back unforgettable memories to relive.
Ravangla – Khechupelri and Hilley/Soreng- Barsey- Dentam-Pemayangtse are two easy day hikes that would let you cherish some quality family time together surrounded by enchanting forests and Himalayan landscape and in between you’d also cross villages offering a glimpse of local life and culture.
Rendezvous with Tigers in Bandhavgarh
|Tree House Hideaway in Bandhavgarh
Wildlife Safaris in India offer some fantastic opportunity to have adventure with family. Kids love wild animals and even adults do. In India there’s abundance of wildlife that includes some endangered species like the Great Single-horned Rhinoceros found in Kaziranga and Manas National Park and the Royal Bengal Tigers found in – among others – Bandhavgarh National Park.
Why we recommend Bandhavgarh National Park for family adventure in India is the fact that it has the highest density of tiger population in India in terms of area. What it means is that – as the popular saying goes – you are really out of luck if you haven’t spotted a tiger during your wildlife safari in Bandhavgarh National Park.
Yet another reason Bandhavgarh is a great place for family vacation in India is that you get an opportunity to stay in the tree house. The Tree House Hideaway Resort, located just in the outskirts of this tiger reserve is a great place to stay close to nature and the wild. There are good probability that you could spot some birds and animals – especially early morning – when you are looking out of your accommodation located high above the ground.
Bathe an Elephant in Jaipur
|Elefantastic is just the perfect place to enjoy holidays in India with family and kids
If you are a traveler from overseas, I bet your kid would just love to be with elephant – I have assumed that you already do. Yes! Kids just love elephants. And at Elefantastic you and your family get the best opportunity to get up, close and personal with the much loved jumbos of India.
At this elephant care farm, you not only get the opportunities to ride an elephant or go on an elephant safari, but you could also feed, wash and water the elephant. But perhaps the most satisfying and fun experience is to learn about elephant decoration and actually paint an elephant.
Bonus tips: If you are traveling to Jaipur with kids, we’d definitely recommend a visit to Chokhi Dhani, an ethnic village resort where you could see Rajasthan in a microcosm. Activities such as camel ride, haunted house and puppet show along with folk dance performances would definitely delight your kid.
Dive in the Deep Blue Sea in Andaman
|Go snorkeling in Andaman if you are traveling there with kid
Don’t kids just love water or for that matter adventure above or below it. If you are travelling to India with kids, one of the best places to head to is the pristine islands of Andaman and Nicobar which are thankfully still uncorrupted by the rampant tourism and cacophony of tourists and crowds.
Sparsely populated and located far away from the main India inland, Andaman & Nicobar are as much about adventure as they are about culture and nature. There are pristine sun-kissed beaches dotted with palm mangroves, some easy hikes to hills, abundance of coral and wildlife under sea and then there is the snorkeling with the renowned Rajan, the sole surviving snorkeling elephant on the Havelock Island.
One of the recommended activities for family adventure in Andaman is to go Scuba Diving to see the abundance of fishes and coral life under water. Visit to marine museum, Cellular Jail, Anthropological museum are other must haves in your list of things to do in Andaman with family and kids.
Visit the Taj Mahal in Agra
|Taj Mahal is one of the most iconic structures in the world and a must visit if you are traveling to India
How can we not recommend a visit to Taj Mahal in Agra when you are traveling in India with family. The most iconic structure of India and declared both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World, Taj Mahal is one place that must be visited once in a lifetime.
Due to its global appeal, you would find it crowded indeed, but therein lie the chaotic beauty of the Taj Mahal.
This monument considered to be the ultimate and undying symbol of love was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. It took 22 years, 22,000 workers and 9,000 elephants to finish this modern marvel. According to a popular folklore, it is said that Shah Jahan was so besotted and envious after the construction of this creation that he ordered the hands of the all workers be cut so that Taj Mahal could not be replicated in future. But that’s just a story.
The best time to visit Taj Mahal when you are traveling with family and looking to avoid the chaos is to reach early. Take a tonga ride (carriage pulled by horses) for a morning visit to glimpse the sparkling white marble monument standing in its eternal glory. Sunset views are equally catchy but crowded. Do know this: This monument is closed on Fridays for tourists.
Ride a Toy Train in Delhi
|Enjoy a ride in the toy train in National Rail Museum in Delhi if you are travelling with kids Source
National Rail Museum has an interesting collection of over 100 real size displays of Indian Railways. There are static as well as working models and the most fascinating experiences especially for kids is that one could ride aboard the joy train and a mono rail inside the museum. Historical photographs, antique furniture, signaling equipment and railway related literature are some of the most informative articles inside the museum.
However the star attraction inside the National Rail Museum includes 2 original rail saloons. One is the elegant yet luxurious personal car of the Prince of Wales built in 1875 and the other is the equally plush personal carriage used by Maharaja of Mysore built in 1989.
Traveling in Delhi with kids; make sure that you check out the Time Out guide for Delhi to know about the upcoming events for kids in Delhi. You may also like to take your kid to the Delhi Zoological Park near Purana Quila. Adventure Island is another fun place to visit with kids in Delhi or even with teenagers.
Spend Night on a Houseboat in Kerala
What Taj Mahal is to India is what houseboat is to Kerala. It is said that you haven’t visited Kerala if you haven’t spent a night in the globally renowned Kerala Houseboats, locally referred to as the ‘Ketuvallams’. Traditionally used as the rice barges to carry across the grains through the labyrinthine of canals and lagoons that are collectively known as Kerala Backwaters, these ‘kettuvallams’ are now transformed into houseboats and ferry tourists across destinations in Kerala along with offering deluxe to luxury category night stays.
The reason why we recommend spending time with family on a houseboat in Kerala is that it once again lets you slow down and offer you a peek into the agrarian lifestyle of rural Kerala, the community as well as the culture from a close quarter. And did you know that your kid could literally steer the houseboat across the palm-fringed backwaters – of course assisted by the pilot :-).
Travelling on a houseboat across Kerala Backwaters gets thumbs up from us because when you are aboard it with your family as it wades along in the morning you catch sight of distant temple and hear reverberating bells and chants of a Hindu priest followed by never before sights like people bathing along the banks, buffalos wading through the water, kids going school, fishermen hauling their catch and Kerala in a microcosm.
Ride a Camel in Jaisalmer
Camel ride could be a fun and adventure activity, in fact many consider camel rides amidst the undulating sand dunes of Rajasthan to be one of the most amazing and enchanting activities to undertake while holidaying in the land of the valiant Rajput warrior princes.
The vast stretches of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan offer mystical experiences of camel safari which are enjoyed by both families as well as couples. Then there are some places where you could camp or just sleep under the starlit sky.
Camel safari in the desert of Rajasthan offer ideal refuge from the hustle bustle and mayhems of the touristy cities of Rajasthan which includes Jaisalmer. And the wonder of it all is that it is not as tough or scary as it appears and could also be enjoyed by kids.
Brush with Spirituality & Nature at Dharamsala
One minute you could be amidst the chaotic McLeodganj and Bhangsunag which are thronged by the tourists round the year and in another second you could be walking the tranquil roads near Dharamkot. Dharamsala is as much about adventure and fun as it is about spirituality and reclaiming the harmony of body, mind and soul.
There are plenty of activities to indulge in when you are in Dharamsala on a family holiday. From the popular Bhagsunag Falls to the Dalai Lama Temple and from the scenic trails of Naddi Village to the moderate hike to Triund, Dharamsala provides numerous activities to offer serene moments as well as adventure and fun with family.
Fly the fox in Jodhpur
Kids love adventures…don’t they? What better than letting them have a go at the flying fox in Jodhpur? Jodhpur is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. The allure of Jodhpur lies in its resplendent fortresses and spectacular palaces along with several historical monuments and temples.
But when it comes to family holidays in Rajasthan, Jodhpur becomes a hot favorite and the top reson for that is the flying fox zip wire. The reson flying fox across zip wire is one of the most popular family adventure in Jodhpur is that not only does it offers the bird eye view of the city, but the thrills and chills of flying.
You could actually do the batman here flying over one of the 6 zip lines that hang across the ramparts and walls of the mighty Mehrangarh Fort. Well we are saying feel like batman because this fort was actually used as the location of Batman movie the Dark Night Rises.
However you need to weigh less than 115 kilograms and your children must be aged above 10 to have the thrill of flying over the royal city of Jodhpur.
Do Elephant Safari in Jim Corbett
An elephant safari in national parks in India is as close one could come to nature and wild. Jim Corbett National Park, which also holds the honor of the first eastablished national park in Asia is probably the best place for elephant safaris in India.
What makes it so popular with families is that they could ride together and enjoy the beautiful vista of Himalayan terai and there is very high probability of spotting the tigers diring one of these safaris in the park. Even if not for the sighting of the big cats, elephant safari is one of the things to do with family as it takes you deep into the nature and provides ops to get close to the abundant wildlife inside Corbett National Park.
Conquer the Rapids near Rishikesh
Nothing gets more adventurous than tackling the rapids of the Holy Ganges near Rishikesh and Shivpuri if you are out holidaying with family in India. Rishikesh is renowned world over as the yoga capital. Such is the allure of the place that even Beatles couldn’t resist the call of Rishikesh.
There are not much to do when you are here in Rishikesh but then there’s plenty of things that you could actually do to have fun time with family during your trip to Rishikesh. White water rafting, kayaking and bungee jumping are among the top things to do in Rishikesh never mind you are traveling with family kids or friends.
There are challenging rapids ranging from grade II to IV that could offer you the time of your life and moments to take back and cherish for the rest of your lives. If you are traveling with kids, canoeing and kayaking are two adventure activities that may delight them.
Fly in the Sky at Goa Beaches
If you are traveling to India with family or kids, Goa is one place that should be on your itinerary. Goa is so unlike India when it comes to ambience but the disparity ends there. Goa also happens to be the most popular beach resort in India thronged year round with visitors from India as well as foreign countries. In fact, Goa is one of those destinations where you will find more foreign visitors than Indians. The charm is colonial at best thanks to the Portuguese influence on the local culture and custom. In fact it was said about Goa that you need not visit Portugal if you have visited Goa.
When you are out for family holidays in Goa, there are plenty of activities to keep you on your toes. On the other hand you might decide to do nothing and spoil yourself in the laid back ‘sussegado’ at the sun kissed beaches of Goa. But if you are traveling with kids, you would like to have some thrilling time at the beaches of Goa that include surf boarding, para sailing and other water sports.
For cultural experiences, try South Goa which houses some of the fantastic relics of Portuguese cononial era. These include the churches and cathedrals of Goa which are now inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Then there is the Menezes Braganza Pereira House which carries with itself is 350 years old legacy of colonial era. And it is free to visit and remains open to all from 9 AM to 5 PM on any day of the week.
Try skiing in Gulmarg or Auli
Kids love snow and so do we. Although not one of the best skiing destinations in the world, India is home to 2 world class skiing destinations which are internationally renowned. Gulmarg in Jammu & Kashmir and Auli in Uttarakhand are the best when it comes to skiing in India. Kids as well as aduly enjoy skiing down the vast expanse of snow from the month of December till March.
There are plenty of slopes at both Auli and Gulmarg where beginners could try their luck at skiingNursery slopes as well as skiing lessons are available at both these skiing destinations in India. But if you consider yourself an advanced skier, the options available to you are countless. In fact you could also try the more adventurous and thrilling heli-skiing.
The reason why recommend skiing as one of the best ideas for family holidays in India is that at both these destinations you could avail the facility of porters. You will be more relaxed and less concerned when you know that your kids could sledge down the slopes to their hearts content and that there’s someone else on hand to pull them back up again!
Explore the Eco Park and do Camping in Dhanaulti
Camping it is said is a state of mind. With kids and family, it is not just about staying outdoors far from the internet, din of the city and televisions; it is also about spontaneity, about new perspective and getting up close and personal. Connection with nature and enjoying time together has a way to strengthen the familial ties, to feel more relaxed and ultimately more happy and healthy.
Dhanaulti, when combined with nearby Kanatal and Chamba – is one of the best places to achieve this communion when it comes to family holiday in India. What’s more; you could always go the extra mile and do the kayaking or white water rafting and even bungee jumping to get that adrenaline rush in Rishikesh.
There is just the soothing embrace of nature, fewer people, more trees and eco parks and easy day hikes. And then when you sit across the campfire, sometimes gazing up to see the bright canopy of starlit sky, exchanging the takeaways of the day’s activity, it is the closest you could come to being family.
So what would you choose for family holidays in India? Did we miss any? Do let us know 🙂
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