Five reasons to visit India

Holy cow

Nothing moves quite as slowly as a cow in India, particularly one holding up traffic in a busy Old Delhi bazaar. With their carefree indifference these ‘sacred’ cows pretty much have the run of the place, safe in the knowledge that most Hindus worship the ground they walk on. It’s a wonderful moment the first time you see one of these gentle animals part a crowded sidewalk or amble in front of your auto-rickshaw, untethered and unhurried.

Fireworks and festivals

Few countries embrace religious holidays with the verve and sheer joy as India. Whether it’s the festival of light Diwali or Holi’s festival of colour, the whole country unites with a collective smile on its face. Gifts are given, new outfits get a first outing, and families and friends feast on sweet treats. Incense fills the air and fireworks explode across the night sky, while lanterns glow from every tree and street corner. Magical and unforgettable, there’s no better time to visit.

United colours of India

One of the best reasons for visiting India is the colour. From the vibrant multi-coloured saris of women waiting in line to the electric hues of a tika stall and pastel-shaded walls of Jaipur and Jaisalmer, it’s a country that has colour woven through it. A sunset striking the sandstone of Delhi’s Red Fort, the rainbow-coloured icons of Madurai’s Meenakshi Amman Temple, the tropical greens along Kerala’s backwaters. A colour palette like no other.

007 in Udaipur

When Roger Moore slipped back into his tuxedo in the 1980s to star in the James Bond film Octopussy, he found himself filming in the Rajasthan city of Udaipur. To the delight of the locals key scenes were shot at a number of locations, not least the elegant Taj Lake Palace. A claim to fame proudly honoured since then with nightly screenings at cafés throughout this charming desert city.

A spot of tiffin

Reminders of the British Raj are everywhere in India. In the 19th century when the British custom of afternoon tea was supplanted by the local Indian practice of taking a light meal, it came to be called tiffin. Today thousands of Indians from office workers to schoolchildren receive their homemade tiffin via a remarkable colour-coded system of lunch pails, delivered on time direct from home by a nimble Nehru-capped tiffin-wallah.