5 Reasons to Visit India in 2018

From the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas in the North, to the sun-soaked beaches of the South, there are many reasons to visit India. When I think about my first visit to India in 2016, I can still smell the drool-inducing aromas of the exotic street food, I can hear the constant beeping of horns and lively chatter of bustling crowds, and I can almost feel the hairs standing up on the back of my neck as I stood inside various temples and fortresses, picturing the history that lay within their walls. Most of all, however, I remember how curious the whole experience made me, eager to discover more about rituals and traditions, and how the locals seemed just as interested in me at times, asking me to stop for selfies in the streets and marvelling at my blonde hair.

It’s been just over a year since I visited India for the first time, and I’m already itching to go back and explore more of the country. If you’re thinking of going, be sure to order your India visa here before you book your flights or hotels. There are lots of great reasons to visit India, but after catching up with Incredible India and India’s Ministry of Tourism at this year’s World Travel Market to talk about the changing face of India’s tourism strategy, I’m convinced 2018 is the ultimate year to visit India.

Here are the top reasons to visit India in 2018:

1) Find yourself through spiritual tourism

It’s no secret that India is one of the most spiritually rich and diverse countries in the whole world. The highlight of my trip to India was visiting Varanasi; widely regarded as the spiritual capital of India, one of the seven holiest sites in Hinduism and Jainism, and believed by many to be the birthplace of Buddhism. Hindus believe that if they die in Varanasi and their body is cremated on the banks of the River Ganges, they will achieve instant ‘moksha’ (release) from the cycle of rebirth.

Attending the evening Ganga Aarti ceremony on the banks of the River Ganges was the most moving experience of my life. I stood among hundreds, if not thousands, of people and the River Ganges was filled with boats carrying more observers. We watched a group of priests perform a dedication to Lord Shiva, River Ganga, Surya (Sun), Agni (Fire) and the entire universe featuring flickering flames, ringing bells and saecred hymns.

The Ganga Aarti ceremony in Varanasi - one of the many reasons to visit India in 2018

Ganga Aarti ceremony, Varanasi

In 2018, Incredible India is seeing to developing wellness tourism outside of the main spiritual centres of Varanasi, Pune and Ajmer by focusing on new destinations off the beaten path, including monasteries in Lahaul Spiti, Araku and Ananthagiri villages, Gorakhpur (the hometown of Yogi Adityanath) and Ayodhya, birthplace of Rama and the location of the Babri Masjid mosque. In my humble opinion, spiritual tourism is one of the best reasons to visit India in 2018 and these destinations will be top of my bucket list on my next visit to India.

2) Increased focus on North-Eastern states

As part of the new tourism strategy, Incredible India 2.0, India’s Ministry of Tourism is seeking to develop and promote the North-Eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, Sikkim and Nagaland.

These regions represent a side to India that you may not have imagined before, with lush green landscapes, blue mountains, glistening rivers and untouched natural beauty. Expect hill stations, wildlife, pilgrimages, cruises, adventure sports and more.

So, if you’ve always fancied visiting India but you’ve been put off by the thought of having to queue up to visit famous tourist attractions like the Taj Mahal or Amber Fort, or the thought of getting lost among the crowds in Delhi, consider visiting India’s lesser known North-Eastern states in 2018.

North Sikkim - one of the reasons to visit India in 2018

North Sikkim – Credit: Incredible India

3) Year of Adventure

This leads us on nicely to one of the other top reasons to visit India in 2018. Incredible India and the Ministry of Tourism have dubbed 2018 the ‘Year of Adventure Travel’ in a bid to drive tourism to India all year-round and encourage repeat visits, as many states are perfect for adventure travel throughout all seasons.

In preparation for the Year of Adventure Travel, the Ministry has enforced safety standards and guidelines for adventure travel across India, and has worked closely with the adventure travel industry to create an appealing range of programmes throughout the year.

Go paragliding above the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh, trekking in Kerala, surfing in Odisha, scuba diving in Goa or mountaineering in Sikkim, just to highlight a few possibilities.

Dhankar Monastry, Himachal Pradesh - a top reason to visit India in 2018

Dhankar Monastry, Himachal Pradesh – Credit: Incredible India

4) It’s safer and easier than ever to visit India

With the e-tourist Visa (e-TV)  programme now extended to cover 162 countries, it’s become easier than ever to travel to India.

Furthermore, with the safety and security of both domestic and international tourists in mind, the Ministry of Tourism has introduced a 24-hour toll-free tourist hotline in 12 international languages, including major European languages. The helpline can be reached on 1800-111-363 or on short code 1363 if dialling from within India.

Drinking chai in a tuk tuk in India

5) India is becoming cleaner

Many people are put off travelling to India because the country has somewhat of a reputation for being dirty and polluted. Admittedly, when I went to India I often found that if I blew my nose in the evening, the tissue would often be black because of the amount of pollution I’d inhaled throughout the day. To limit the pollution, heavy goods vehicles weren’t even allowed to travel on the roads during day time hours.

This is why I’m delighted to hear about the Clean India campaign, otherwise known as the Swachh Bharat Mission. Launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modri back in 2014, this campaign gained momentum in 2017 and efforts are expected to be ramped up even further this year as, the campaign deadline of 2 October 2019 approaches. So, if you visit India in 2018, you can expect to see it looking a lot cleaner than it would’ve done in the past.

A staff member sweeping the floor at Amber Fort, Jaipur

A lady sweeping the floor at Amber Fort, Jaipur

For further reasons to visit India in 2018, take a look at the Incredible India website.

5 amazing reasons to visit India in 2018
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28 Comments

  1. January 4, 2018 / 6:07 pm

    I have friends who visit India every year, trying to make their way around and the one thing that stands out is how colourful everything is x

    • January 5, 2018 / 8:20 pm

      It is such a vibrant country! I went to a wedding while I was there, and the outfits were gorgeous.

  2. January 4, 2018 / 6:32 pm

    India isn’t a place I’ve really thought of visiting. Definitely sounds like a place that is getting more popular to visit. I love the sound of the mountains and natural beauty.

    • January 5, 2018 / 8:18 pm

      India definitely isn’t for everyone. It can be hot and humid, but most of all, the culture can be overwhelming, and there is lots of poverty (although also lots of wealth).

  3. January 5, 2018 / 10:50 am

    India is on my bucket list of places to visit, not sure it’ll be this year, but one day! x

    • January 5, 2018 / 1:13 pm

      I definitely recommend going when you are able to. Allow at least two weeks, more if possible!

  4. January 5, 2018 / 12:21 pm

    I would love to visit India. I think a lot of people have been inspired by The Real Marigold Hotel. My husband has been there and says it’s really beautiful despite the poverty you’ll inevitably witness.

    • January 5, 2018 / 8:17 pm

      I agree with him there. I saw some really lavish buildings and some very beautiful costumes and jewellery, etc, but the poverty was also to the extreme and it was heart-wrenching at times.

  5. January 7, 2018 / 3:12 pm

    I have heard and read a lot about of India. And i think India is a great country. India is definitely one of my 2018 bucket list.

    • January 9, 2018 / 2:06 pm

      It is a mind blowing country! So colourful and such a contrast to a Western culture. It was great to experience it.

  6. Nazma
    January 7, 2018 / 5:56 pm

    India is on my bucket list . I think it is definitely one of the countries which has so much to see and visit

    • January 9, 2018 / 2:04 pm

      Definitely, there are so many beautiful temples to see, and some really majestic structures throughout the whole country really. The food scene was a big highlight for me, but as I was only there for two weeks, I tried to limit the amount of street food I ate because I didn’t want to risk getting ill while I was there.

  7. January 7, 2018 / 6:39 pm

    India has been my #1 travel destination for ages now so would love to go there. If not this year, then one day!!

    • January 9, 2018 / 2:03 pm

      I had wanted to go for ages, but as my friend was getting married over there, it was the push I needed to actually go. I totally recommend it!

  8. January 7, 2018 / 7:05 pm

    I would so love to go to India! I think we might make the trip when the kids are a bit older x

    • January 8, 2018 / 12:30 pm

      I think you’ll have a good time, but I agree you should wait until your kids are older. I’m sure if you stayed in a lovely hotel you’d still have a great time there, but I wouldn’t take kids personally.

  9. thenafranssen
    January 7, 2018 / 10:28 pm

    If I can get there, I’m going. Love this so much, and would love to be able to experience the amazing culture and food there, too!

    • January 9, 2018 / 2:02 pm

      I hope you can get there 🙂 it’s a great country, fascinating to explore.

  10. January 17, 2018 / 12:14 pm

    I have friends who go to India often and are always talking about it. I had never considered visiting there before but you’ve convinced me that it is somewhere I should definitely consider.

    • January 17, 2018 / 1:13 pm

      A lot of people have doubts about it, but I had a good time. I experienced highs and lows, but that’s what made my trip what it was 🙂 I definitely recommend booking tours in advance though.

  11. gingeybiteseats
    January 17, 2018 / 3:22 pm

    So many people I know are visiting India at the moment, it really feels like the place to experience right now!

    • January 17, 2018 / 10:46 pm

      I know what you mean; it definitely seems to have grown in popularity over the past year or so and it feels like it’s becoming a more attractive place to visit.

  12. quitelocal
    January 18, 2018 / 3:09 pm

    Northern India is in my bucket list. The culture, diversity and amazing colors. Is there a particular link for the ‘Year of India’?

    • January 19, 2018 / 11:31 am

      I love the look of northern India too. I didn’t get time to go there when I went to India in 2016, but I’d love to go back and explore more. You might be able to find some more info on the Incredible India website 🙂

  13. thestyletune
    January 18, 2018 / 6:23 pm

    I am an Indian and i am super happy to read this post. Gorakhpur is my hometown actually. India is incredible its diversity and dynamism swells my heart and being indian is my biggest gift! A Must visit and A must experience!!!

    • January 19, 2018 / 11:30 am

      Aww that’s good to hear! Whereabouts is Gorakhpur?

  14. pip_says
    March 10, 2018 / 6:21 pm

    I really Love this post, I have never visited India but I really want to go now. Any tips for a first time visit? xx

    • March 10, 2018 / 7:42 pm

      I enjoyed travelling solo in India but I think you’d definitely get more out of it if you went with Luke or with one of your friends – at times it was really overwhelming being on my own in such a different culture!

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