Travelling in India with kids is a once in a lifetime experience, as India is full of stories for kids. With Taj Mahal, tiger safaris, backwater houseboats, close interaction with elephants, Himalaya skiing and camel rides in the desert, they will feel as if in a fairy-tale world or a movie set.
1. Visit the Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is really a must for anyone to India with family. Located on the south bank of the Yamuna river in Agra, this ivory-white marble mausoleum was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan from 1632 and entirely completed in 1653, in memory of his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is said the construction project of the Taj Mahal took over 1,000 elephants and 22,000 artisans. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, and declared as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World in 2007. The Taj Mahal is a symbol of India’s rich history and the best example of Mughal architecture.
Visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise or sunset is also recommended to see how the marble changes colors with the sunlight and beat the crowds.
Note: The Taj Mahal is closed to visitors every Friday when it is open for prayers.
Taking a family photo in front of the Taj Mahal will be a lifetime memory. Photo credit: Markus Dressel.
2. Meet an Elephant
Elephants have long been revered in India and can be found in many places in India. But if you want an up-close-and-personal elephant experience, you can visit the Elefantastic in an elephant village near Amber Fort, Jaipur, which elephants are well-treated and kept untethered. Listed as one of top 10 things to do in Jaipur by TripAdvisor, Elefantastic provides wonderful chance to interact with elephant closely. First, you will learn the basics of elephant language spoken by the mahout, which will be very helpful to communicate with the elephants during time with them. You can feed and water elephants and thus learn their favorite foods and eating habits, try traditional elephant body painting with non-toxic natural colors, and then bath them. Kids will like it.
Elephant painting is really an interesting activity. Photo credit: Linda Oldfield.
Note: Make sure you bring an extra pair of clothing to change because you'll be drenched in water when bathing the elephants.
3. Search for Tigers
India is home to 70 percent of tigers in the world, and have 50 tiger reserves. One of the best places to spot tigers, especially Bengal tigers in their natural jungle habitat is the Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan in northern India, 140 km southeast of Jaipur. The park is also home to a wide variety of fauna, including Indian leopard, nilgai, wild boar, sambar, sloth bear, rhesus macaque, mugger crocodile and chital. A morning or afternoon safari rides (usually lasts for about 3 hours) in the park can take you to search for the tigers and other animals. If you are lucky enough, you will see the tigers ambling or basking under the sun.
Encounter monkeys during a safari ride.
The park itself is very beautiful, dotted with marshes, lakes and ancient temples. Climb up the Ranthambhore Fort which stands 700 feet above the surrounding plain and was built in the 10th century, you can have a wonderful bird's eye view of the park and its surroundings.
Note: The Best season for visiting Ranthambhore National Park is from November to March, while the best times for tiger spotting are in November and May. The park is closed during monsoon season (July - September).
4. Ride a Camel in the Thar Desert
Riding through the rippling and arid Thar Desert (Great around Jaisalmer in northern Rajasthan on camel back is really one of the most enchanting experiences in India. You can go on a quick camel safari and return the same day. You can also choose to go deeper into the desert for at least an overnight to camp out under the stars. It's a wonderful way to witness rural desert life and a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the cities. Camel riding, sunset watching, star gazing, and sunrise catching will be a lifetime memory with your family.
Note: The best time for camel safari in the Thar Desert is during the cooler dry months, from September to March.
Useful items recommended to bring with you include sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, wet wipes, toilet paper, flashlight, water bottle, and plenty of warm clothing.
Ride through the desert on camel backs. Photo credit: Linda Oldfield.
5. Sleep on a Backwater Houseboat
Once awarded "the Best Family Destination in India", Kerala in South India is a fantastic place to travel with kids. Waving palms, lush green vegetation and wide sandy beaches make it a tropical paradise. It is the most literate state in India, and famous for Ayurveda, Kathakali and other art forms. One of the highlights of Kerala is "backwaters", a tranquil and scenic palm-lined network of lagoons, lakes, rivers and canals that extending from one end of Kerala to the other, and run parallel to the Arabian Sea.
The best and most relaxing way to tour Kerala is on a traditional Kerala-style houseboat. Cruise along the waterways, pass villages, temples, wading buffalos, people washing clothes or bathing, fishermen fishing with unique tools and skills, you can have a better understanding of the rural life and have a quintessential Kerala experience. Stay overnight on the "floating hotel", you will have more fun with kids.
Relax yourself on a traditional backwater houseboat.
6. Ski the Himalayas
Many people think of India as a hot country, where skiing would only be possible on an indoor artificial ski slope. However, in the Himalayas in Kashmir, the northernmost region of India, there is a huge quantity of snow. The Gulmarg Ski Resort in the foot of Himalayas is the most popular Indian ski resort for international skiers and snowboarders, and has gained a reputation as one of Asia’s top ski resorts for waist-deep powder snow and near-empty ski runs.
The area is covered with a thick layer of snow during winter months, when you can do a lot of things with kids. Skiing, snowboarding, sledging and building snowman are most favorite things.
7. Discover the "Land of Colors"
In a country that celebrates color like no other, Rajasthan takes the spectrum to extremes, and home to colorful cities and magical palaces, which will surely fascinate kids young and old. Jaipur, the romantic capital of Rajasthan, is known as the "Pink City" because of the color of the stone exclusively used to constructing all buildings. Established in the year 1727, the city is famous for its vagarious palaces, fantastic forts and dusty pink buildings.
Tour the Pink City with family. Photo credit: Markus Dressel.
Jodhpur is the "Blue City" as most houses in the old city are shades of blue, and also called the "Sun City" as sun shines almost every day of the year. The forts and palaces, temples and havelis, culture and tradition, spices and fabrics, a booming handicrafts industry, all make it worth a visit.
To the south of Rajasthan is Udaipur, the "City of Lakes", famous for its floating palaces, lakeside forts, mountain castles and romantic backdrops. It was the setting of many movies, including the 13th James Bond film, Octopussy.
There are lots of interesting things to do with kids in this colorful country. Just let us know your idea, we are more than happy to tailor-make an India tour for your family. We are always reachable at .