Gadi Sagar Lake in Jaisalmer (Dreamstime)
List Words : Wanderlust team | 23 December

7 exotic Indian adventures you'll want to book now

From the snow-capped Himalaya to the stunning blue waters of the Andaman Sea, a world of adventure awaits you in India. Grab your slice of the action now

1: Search for elusive snow leopards

A snow leopard. In the snow. (Dreamstime)

A snow leopard. In the snow. (Dreamstime)

Your quest, should you accept it, is to track the elusive snow leopard, one of the world’s rarest creatures and star of David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II. In winter, they descend from the high Himalaya in search of food, offering you the rare chance to see them, and to experience this part of India, when it is largely cut off from the rest of the world.

As well as the chance to see the rare and elusive snow leopard, you’ll spend a day at a monastic festival and experience life in isolated Himalayan Buddhist communities. 

Who: Exodus

When: Departures in Feb

How long: 14 days

How much: £1,839 (excl flights)

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2: Dive the unspoilt waters of the Andaman islands

Diving in the Andaman Sea (Dive Worldwide)

Diving in the Andaman Sea (Dive Worldwide)

Get onboard for a special adventure that very few divers have experienced: a unique liveaboard trip around the Andaman Islands, visiting some of the most pristine dive sites in the world, each abundant with marine life.

There are two variations of the trip. From December to February, your home on the sea will explore the stunning dive sites of the Southern Islands and Ritchie's Archipelago. From March to April, it’s the sites off Barren and Narcondam islands that are on the agenda. 

Both guarantee a dive experience quite unlike any other.

Who: Dive Worldwide

When: Departures Mar-Apr

How long: 12 days

How much: £4,145 (incl flights)

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3: Trek to the source of the Ganges

Saints at the source (Dreamstime)

Saints at the source (Dreamstime)

A classic Indian trek into the heart of the Garhwal Himalaya, past the spectacular peaks of Shivling and the Bhagirathi, to the glacial source of India’s mother river: the Ganges.

Along the way, you will experience the solemn rituals in the temples of Gangotri and linger in Rishikesh, where thousands of lamps are set afloat on the river as part of the ancient Aarti ceremony.

It is the Himalayan landscape that will stay with you, however: awesome, majestic and timeless.

Who: KE Adventure Travel

When: Departures May & Oct

How long: 13 days

How much: £1,295 (excl flights)

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4: All aboard the ultimate Indian rail adventure

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (Dreamstime)

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (Dreamstime)

Fast track your way into Indian life with this extraordinary six-week rail journey around the country. Departing from Delhi, your first stop is Agra and the legendary Taj Mahal. From there, it’s southwest by rail to Rajasthan, Mumbai and Goa.

After recharging your batteries in Goa, India’s verdant south awaits, including Karnataka and Kochi, and there's time to unwind (again) on board a house boat in the backwaters of Kerala. Then, you'll travel north again, riding the famous toy trains of Darjeeling.

India looks very different through a train’s window – you'll experience it all.

Who: G Adventures

When: Departures Feb-May & Sep-Oct

How long: 46 days

How much: £2,287 (excl flights)

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5: Spot hornbills and rhinos

Exotic headdress on display at Hornbill Festival (Dreamstime)

Exotic headdress on display at Hornbill Festival (Dreamstime)

This is your chance to explore the remote far northeast of India. See elephants and rhino in Kaziranga National Park, spend a couple of nights in a heritage tea planter's bungalow in Jorhat and stay with local tribes in Nagaland.

The highlight of the trip is undoubtedly the famous Hornbill festival, a unique gathering of tribes organized to showcase the rich heritage of Nagaland. The festival is a riot of colour and sound, and a tribute to the hornbill, a bird admired by the Naga people for its qualities of alertness and grandeur.

Who: Travel Local

When: Flexible dates Nov-Dec

How long: 10 days

How much: £1,240 (excl flights)

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6: Cycle to the roof of the world

Nearly there (Exodus)

Nearly there (Exodus)

One of the world’s great cycle journeys, this epic adventure through Ladakh will take you through verdant forests and flower-filled valleys to barren lunar landscapes, as you ride toward Leh, a tiny pocket of Tibetan culture high in the Indian Himalaya.

You’ll ride by towering peaks, hanging glaciers and temples perched on high spurs, as you weave across the Indian Himalaya, experiencing rich Ladakhi culture and the beauty of a genuinely untouched land. Running the trip in this direction entails more climbing overall, but offers the best opportunity to fully acclimatise to the high altitude and cycle the whole route.

Who: Exodus

When: Departures Jun-Aug

How long: 17 days

How much: £1,829 (excl flights)

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7: Tiger, tiger, burning bright

Tiger. Up close.(Dreamstime)

Tiger portrait (Dreamstime)

Go in search of India’s tigers and leopards in style. Staying in two of India’s finest safari lodges, Banjaar Tola and Mahua Kothi, you’ll venture into Kanha and Bandhavgarh National Parks with expert guides in search of these magnificent big cats.

Other creatures abound here, too. Kanha National Park is home to sloth bears, spotted deer, chital, wild pig, black buck and the endangered ant-eating pangolin. There’s an incredible array of birds too, with over 200 species recorded. Tick them off and compare notes in your elegant tented suite or while sipping G&Ts beside the beautifully situated outdoor pool.

Who: Wexas Travel

When: Flexible dates year round

How long: 10 days

How much: £4,205 (incl flights)

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Main image: Gadi Sagar Lake in Jaisalmer (Dreamstime)