India is suited only to experienced travelers and people prepared to tolerate a degree of discomfort. That being said, those who become addicted to its cultural riches tend to return time after time. India possesses epic landscapes, extraordinary architecture and a varied and distinctive cuisine. There are now world-class hotels, and air service is increasingly efficient and reliable. In the northwest, the monuments of Rajasthan are well-known, but South India contains most of the great and ancient Hindu temples of the country in cities such as Madurai, Thanjavur (Tanjore) and Kanchipuram.
The northern plains are hot and dry for much of the year, with temperatures soaring in April and May. The south enjoys a gentler subtropical climate. Everywhere, the dominant weather event is the monsoon, which brings heavy rain from June-September. The best time to travel is October-February, with November perhaps the most agreeable month of all.
To phone hotels and restaurants in India, dial 011 (international access) + 91 (India code) + city code and local numbers in listings.
9½ hours ahead of New York (EST). (Time listed is for DST in the West. Difference is one hour more November to mid-March.)
New Delhi, Tel. 11-2419-8000. Consulates: Kolkata, Tel. 33-3984-2400; Mumbai, Tel. 22-2672-4000; Hyderabad, Tel. 40-4033-8300; Chennai, Tel. 44-2857-4000.
Indian rupee (INR). Fluctuating rate valued at INR66.76 = US$1.00 as of October 2016. Note: One of our suggested hotels quotes rates in euros (€); €1.00 = US$1.11 as of October 2016.