Vrindavan, on the Yamuna river, is an important pilgrimage centre. Over 500,000 Hindu worshippers come to Vrindavan each year. They come to bathe in the atmosphere of the place and dance to the rhythm of the dark-faced Lord Krishna. It is said he spent part of his childhood here.

Barsana is a peaceful small town and an important pilgrimage centre for Hindus. It seems still to resonate with the divine love between Radha and Lord Krishna. The “temple of the beloved”, built like a Rajput palace, stands majestically on Bhanugarh hill. Absolutely not to be missed if you visit Mathura and Vrindavan.

Tattooing and camel races, moustache contests, moonlight concerts among the dunes: for three days in January-February Jaisalmer, golden city of the desert, becomes a colourful showcase of Rajasthan folk culture exuding good humour and a friendly atmosphere.

They say that Brahma the creator god once declared, “I had to create the world several times but Varanasi is different. It was created by Shiva in person”. Varanasi, Benares, Kashi, city of light, is a town to be lived in and felt rather than visited. The city of Shiva speaks to the soul.

Palani temple is one of the most important temples to the Hindu god Muruga or Kartik, being the third of his Six Holy Abodes (aarupadai veedu). Like most Muruga temples it stands on a hilltop, 100km southeast of Coimbatore and it is buzzling with pilgrims dressed in yellow and green exclaiming ‘Haro Hara’ and dancing …

The Rajasthan International Folk Festival or RIFF is held yearly in Jodhpur, at Sharad Purnima (the brightest full moon of the year, usually in October), and lasts four days. It draws considerable crowds of world music fans, both Indian and foreign.

Udaipur, city of lakes, an oasis in the arid wastes of Rajasthan, a sweet dream where majestic palaces are reflected in sparkling water. Yes, Udaipur is certainly one of India’s most romantic towns.

Breakfast in India is usually savoury and spicy. It’s a full meal and often versatile, some dishes being suitable for any time of day. Here is a selection of the most popular indian breakfasts.

Each February, the World Sacred Spirit Festival brings together eminent musicians from all over the world to explore the sacred through different forms of art from music and chant to dance and poetry. A festival of Sufi-inspired devotional music set in the magical and prestigious sites of Ahhichatragarh in Nagaur and Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur.

Although few foreign tourists come here, this peaceful village on the banks of the River Pampa is an important place of pilgrimage for Hindus and is famous for its Krishna temple and the “snake-boat” race held every year during the Onam festival. Aranmula also has another unique claim to fame: sacred mirrors called kannadi are …

Mount Girnar is an undisputed must-see while you’re in Gujarat. Climbing the 9999 steps to its summit leaves an imperishable memory. The atmosphere is serene and friendly and the views are breathtaking.

Patan is a fortified town dating from the 8th century CE. It was the capital of Gujarat until 1411, when the sultan Ahmed Shah moved his capital to Ahmedabad. It now owes its fame to its magnificent Rani-Ki-Vav stepwell, a Unesco World Heritage site, built under the Solanki period. It is also renowned for making …

Indian food without herbs and spices is unimaginable. They are at the heart of every dish. They have been used since ancient times and are mentioned in Hinduism’s oldest sacred scriptures, the Vedas. Most of the numerous spices used in India are grown on the subcontinent. Some are “hot”, others add a delicate flavour to …

Dussehra marks the end of one of the biggest Hindu festivals called ‘Navaratri’. This festival lasts for nine nights and ten days. Its purpose is to celebrate the Universal Mother, or Shakti: the primordial force. The tenth day is commonly called Vijayadashami, the day of victory of light over darkness. Vijayadashami is also called Dusserha or Dasara in …

To Hindus, the Sapta Puris are the seven holiest cities in India. Sapta means ‘seven’ and puri means ‘town’. These seven holy cities are also called the Sapta Moksha Puris, the ‘seven cities of liberation’ or the Sapta Tirtha, ‘seven places of pilgrimage’.

Chitrakote Falls, 50km from Jagdalpur in Bastar district, are in a horseshoe-shaped gorge on the Indravati river, and affluent of the Narmada. At 30m high they are India’s biggest falls and have been called “India’s Niagara”. 

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