The Maharajas’ Express, one of the world’s most luxurious trains, owned and operated by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), has recently been honored with the 2016 Seven Star Luxury Hospitality and Lifestyle Awards at Marbella in Spain.

As part of the award, Maharajas’ Express was presented the “Signum Virtutis“, the seal of Excellence, from the Seven Star Luxury Hospitality and Lifestyle Awards. The honor was conferred at an impressive function held at the Villa Padierna Hotel in Marbella in Spain. It is one of the highest honors received in the sector of hospitality and tourism.

Maharajas’ Express becomes the two-time winner of ‘Seven Star Luxury Award’

About the Award

The Seven Star Luxury Hospitality and Lifestyle Award in the ‘Seven Star Experience Sector’ for Maharajas’ Express was received by IRCTC Chairman and Managing Director Dr. A. K. Manocha. The SIGNUM VIRTUTIS is the highest, most exclusive award for the pinnacle in Luxury Hospitality & Lifestyle. The train has bagged the award consecutively for the second time.

The Maharajas’ Express was chosen to be honored chosen from the nominees like Rocky Mountaineer, Rovos Rail,  the Royal Rajasthan on Wheels and other seven star experiences in the world. The award came owing to high scores in several aspects like the menus, the cabin experience, the excursions and the events organized for guests.

Other Awards

The Maharajas' Express has various other awards and accolades to its name. It has been voted ‘The World's Leading Luxury Train’ four times in a row at The World Travel Awards in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. It has been the first runner up in the Specialist Train Operators Category at Conde Nast Travelers Reader Choice Travel Award in 2011. It also has the recognition of Best Luxury Train at CNBC Travel Awards 2010.

About Maharajas Express

The Maharajas’ Express is India’s leading luxury train. The tourist train is owned and operated by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). It is one of the most expensive luxury trains in the World. It runs on 5 rail journey circuits with choices of 8 Days/ 7 Nights and 4 Days/ 3 Nights itineraries. The destinations covered include Agra, Jaipur, Ranthambore, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Balasinor, Ajanta, Gwalior, Khajuraho, Varanasi and Lucknow. The train operates only between the months of October and April.

Maharajas Express - Luxury Train Travel India

The Maharajas’ Express luxury train has the best of modern amenities to offer. Guests are treated to a plethora of comforts and memorable experiences. The train comprises 23 carriages which include accommodation, dining, bar, lounge, souvenir shop, generator, and store cars. The train is also equipped with a water filtration plant.

Accommodation is available in 14 guest carriages with total passenger capacity of 88. There are 43 individual cabins divided into 20 Deluxe Cabins, 18 Junior Suites, 4 Suites and a Presidential Suite offering 5-star equivalent accommodation. 

Additionally, there are four Suites available, having large separate sitting and sleeping areas. The Maharajas’ express Presidential suite is of its kind in the world for commercial use. It is built on an entire rail carriage, integrating a separate sitting-cum-dining room, a master bedroom and bathroom with shower and bathtub, a twin bedroom and bathroom with shower. 

LCD televisions, Wi-Fi internet facility, eco-friendly toilets, direct dial phones, DVD player, internet, individual climate control, electronic safes, etc. are available in each guest cabin. The coaches are even appointed with a personal butler (Khidmatgar) to entertain the guests all hours of the day.

The train has two dining cars designed for full five-star dining service. Each of them have a seating capacity of 42 guests at a time. The restaurants are named Rang Mahal and Mayur Mahal. Mayur Mahal has peacock feather theme in its décor. The train has a state- of- the- art kitchen car designed to provide a range of gastronomies. Restaurant menus include traditional Indian cuisines along with Continental, Chinese and International cuisines. 

Maharajas Express Restaurant

The Rajah Club, bar carriage offers wines, liqueurs, spirits and beers along with snacks and starters. The lounge cum bar called the Safari bar is equipped with a multi-lingual library and board games. 

Maharajas Express lounge bar

The Maharajas’ Express truly recreates the splendor of the era of India’s Maharajas. Their luxury travels are certainly experienced during the train travels. The luxury train is definitely deserving its title of ‘Seven Star Experience’.

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Rajasthan, the land of Rajput warrior princes is dotted with numerous forts, palaces and havelis. The kingship was abolished soon after India gained independence. Maintaining these properties got rather very expensive and untenable for the royalty. To sustain themselves and maintain these expensive properties, many a maharajas and nobles have converted these into heritage hotel or boutique experiences.

These boutique luxury hotels are specifically meant to cater to the exclusive clientele from the West looking for off the beaten path experiences and cultural interactions to discover the essence of Rajputana and royal Rajasthan.

Here we have listed 5 boutique luxury hotels in Rajasthan. Most of these are only talked about only in elite circles. There elegance and opulence passed mostly by word of mouth. These luxury heritage hotels in Rajasthan are the havelis, forts, hunting lodges and palaces of the erstwhile maharajas and their powerful noblemen.

Stay in these boutique luxury hotels not only offer a sybaritic stay in painstakingly restored interiors to offer a glimpse into the opulent era of the Rajput princes. It include an array of insider experiences and cultural interactions to offer a glimpse into the village life and culture of the royal Rajasthan.

Rohet Garh, Near Jodhpur

Rohet Garh: Boutique Luxury Hotels in Rajasthan
Rohet Garh is one of the finest boutique luxury hotels in Rajasthan
Meticulously restores Rohetgarh is an award winning boutique luxury hotel in Rajasthan. The entire hotel is the redesigned old property – a 375 year old home of the Rathores - without adding any new edifice to maintain the original charm. Accommodation is available in two categories: Super Deluxe Rooms and Suites. Wi-Fi is free in the property and handicapped facility is also available. Elegantly done frescoes, traditional furnishings and modern amenities make the rooms very authentic and appealing.

Besides the well-appointed accommodation and interiors, there are several trademark Rohet Experiences to offer the guests a peek into the rural life and local culture of the area. Village safari, equestrian program, culinary workshops and royal picnics offer a glimpse into the local culture to name a few.

Recommended: Jeep Safari to Bishnoi Village and the dinner with folk music performance.

Also Read:

Ranvas, Nagaur

Ranvas, Naguar: Boutique Heritage Hotels in Rajasthan
Tucked within the 12th century Ahhichatragarh Fort in Nagaur, Ranvas is a collection of carefully restored 18th century havelis meant for the queens of Jodhpur. There are a total of 10 elegant and opulently furnished havelis replete with state of the art facilities and private courtyards. The common central courtyard is a walk down the history lane reminiscent of the idiosyncrasy as well as the refined taste of the erstwhile royalty. There are fountains, ponds, pomegranate trees and yes peacocks too and a pool so tempting that you rather won’t like to venture out.

Recommended: Romantic alfresco dinners in the courtyard or terraces and high tea in the sand dunes in Thar Desert

Chhatra Sagar, Nimaj

Chhatra Sgara Nimaj: Glamping in Rajasthan
Chhatra Sgar Nimaj is considered one of the finest places for glamping in India
In the late 19th century, Thakur Chhatra Singh a powerful noble of Nimaj build a dam to create a reservoir for irrigation of his sprawling farmlands. Later he also hosted a safari here and tents were pitched on the dam overlooking the reservoir. In the 20th century, the reservoir was named Chhatra Sagar in the lord’s memory and the sporting parties continued to visit Chhatra Sagar for the picturesque view and bird sightings amidst the desert hinterland. Today Chhatrasagar Nimaj is a collection of hand stiched luxury camps pitched every year to entertain intrepid travelers looking to go offbeat in Rajasthan. Modern construction are remarkably absent and the serenity and peace is unlike any you confront in most of India.

Recommended: Alfresco dinner under the canopy of millions of stars and over 200 species of birds in the lake

Also Read:

Rawla Narlai near Ranakpur

Rawla Narlai: Boutique Luxury Hotels in Rajasthan
Rawla Narlai
A carefully restored 17th century hunting lodge of the maharajas of Jodhpur, Rawla Narlai is a quaint yet spectacular boutique heritage hotel in Rajasthan. The original character of the property is retained in the restored buildings whereas as a new wing is also constructed to recreate the charm of a bygone era and to suite the taste of the modern travelers. The furnishings including draperies are vintage and hand stitched with traditional block printing. One of the highlights of the stay at Rawla Narlai is an array of insider experiences which include tea by the lake, horse riding, countryside safaris, village walks, leopard sightings and cave temple visits.

Recommended: Lamp lit dinner inside a 16th century baori (stepwell) where you are carried on a bullock cart where you are entertained by folk song performance by a local jogi.

The Serai, Near Jaisalmer 

The Serai: Glamping in India
The Serai
Comprising of 21 elegant and luxurious tented suites, The Serai by Sujan Luxury is set amidst the peaceful sand dunes in the Thar Desert. The pure white lavish tents are set upon sandstone and each come equipped with modern amenities which one could expect in a upscale luxury hotel. An infinity pool with lounge is one of the highlights of the Serai. Leopard sighting safaris and village walk are some of the cultural experiences a discerning traveler should give a try. Sundowner cocktail and dinner amidst the sand dunes makes for an unparalleled romantic experience in India. Camel safaris and guided excursions to Jaisalmer fort is available on request.

Recommended: Hear the Manganiyar folk musicians play songs and music for you in their own village

Mihirgarh, Near Jodhpur

Yet another property of the owners of Rohetgarh, this opulent boutique hotel in Rajasthan is like a castle of gold amidst the desert straight out of the tales of the Arabian Nights. This hotel has been named the Most Extraordinary Hotel by Lonely Planet and has been voted Best Boutique Hotel in the World in 2013. Mihirgarh (The castle of the sun) is a tastefully crafted hotel that appeals to the discerning traveler with its majestic design, legendary hospitality and distinct cultural experiences & a peek into the rural life. Whereas the ground floor suites come equipped with personal courtyard and plunge pool, the suites on the first floor also come equipped with open air Jacuzzi and private terraces. The Lonely Planet writer aptly described this boutique hotel in Jodhpur as “a shrine to the artistic and architectural traditions of Rajasthan in general and Jodhpur in particular.”

Bhainsrorgarh, near Kota


Nestled on the banks of the placid Chambal River near Kota, Bhainsrorgarh has been voted Best Heritage Hotel in India by Tatler Travel Guide twice. Bhainsrorgarh was granted as a fiefdom to Rawats in 1781 by then maharana of Mewar Jagat Singh II. Built by Rawat Lal Singh, Bhainsrorgarh features onsite restaurant that serves signature recipes, free Wi Fi and free parking. Some of the cultural experiences during a stay at Bhainsrorgarh include visit to Badoli Temple complex, Hinglajgarh Fort and Mukundara Hill National Park. For connoisseurs of food, cooking sessions are also arranged at this heritage property on extra charges.

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The Golden Chariot, one of leading luxury trains in India, is offering special package for Dasara at 30,000 INR per person. This Dasara, avail the golden chance to travel on Karnataka’s Golden Chariot, south India’s only luxury train.

The Golden Chariot Train

The Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC), which operates the train in alliance with Indian Railways, has announced a Dasara special tour package. The option is valid from October 1 to 10. At the price of 30,000 INR per person enjoy a luxury train ride for two nights and one day. Participate in the festive celebrations of Dasara in Mysore.

The Golden Chariot is a luxury tourist train that travels through the important tourist spots in the Indian states of Karnataka, Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as Pondicherry, depending on the selected itinerary. The 19 coaches, has 44 luxury cabins, which can accommodate 88 travelers. The train has coaches dedicated as restaurant, a lounge bar, a gymnasium and a spa.

KSTDC Managing Director Kumar Pushkar stated, “We are running the Golden Chariot tours exclusively for Dasara at a special price so that tourists experience the train and its luxury. Also for the first time, the bookings are available online and we are already getting enquiries,”

The Dasara tour will start on October 1 from Yeshwantpur Railway Station, Bengaluru, and will run every alternate day from Bengaluru. The journeys are available on October 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9.

Special Itinerary

The Golden Chariot tour starts with you arrival at Hotel Taj West End, Bengaluru. After high tea, the guests will be taken to the Golden Chariot in Yeshwantpur. After a traditional welcome, enjoy the comfort of the luxury train as the train moves towards Mysuru

On arrival next morning, guests will be taken to Srirangapatna, where they will go on a heritage tour. The day outing include a visit to Dariya Daulat, Tipu’s Mausoleum and drive through the fort.

Later, in Mysuru, guests will visit Jaganmohan Palace Art Gallery and Lalith Mahal Palace, where they will have lunch, followed by a visit to Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion (Folklore Museum) and Mysore University Centenary Clock Tower. The KSTDC has tied-up with Mysore Royal Walks so that guests explore the heritage city by walk.

Witness and participated in the Dasara cultural programmers in front of the lightened Mysuru palace, where they will be eligible to the gold pass privilege. After this programme, they will be taken back to the Golden Chariot for a dinner onboard and travel back to Bengaluru. Visit our website and drop a query for for information.
Enhancing the glory of our brilliant athletes, Sakshi Malik and PV Sindhu, who brought laurels to the country in the form of medals at the Rio Olympics, IRCTC has extended an offer to them for a complimentary ride in India’s premiere luxury train, Maharajas’ Express. 
IRCTC Glorifies Rio Winners by offering a free ride in Maharajas’ Express
The same offer was also forward to Tripura’s gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who, after putting up a brilliant show, missed the medal only by a little margin.

This amazing proposal was put forward by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) in the form of Tweets.

Congratulations to @Pvsindhu1 @DipaKarmakar for superb performances. #IRCTC extends a trip in famed Maharajas' Exp (sic)," IRCTC said in a Tweet.

Congratulations to @SakshiMalik for making India proud. @IRCTC_Ltd extends a trip in the famed Maharajas' Express (sic)," added another tweet from IRCTC.

Commenting upon the offer, IRCTC Chairman and Managing Director AK Manocha said, “We feel proud to honor wrestler Sakshi Malik and ace shuttler P V Sindhu who have brought glory to the country through their medal-winning performances at the Rio Olympics”

Adding further, he said, “We feel equally honored to felicitate Dipa Karmakar, who became the first Indian to reach the finals of an Olympics gymnastics event”.

The Railways had earlier announced a reward of Rs. 60 lacs for Sakshi Malik, who is working as a senior clerk with Northern Railways. On the other hand, PV Sindhu too, has a connection with Railways as her father works with the sector and her mother is a former employee with the Railways.

The Maharaja’s Express is one of most luxurious trains of the world, offering the scope of a royal and extravagant ride through India’s top historical and cultural tourist destinations. Presenting the very depths of the soul of India, the Maharajas’ Express extends 5 fascinating journeys crisscrossing the most spectacular locations of the country with packages starting as low as USD 2,910 per person. 

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The ‘Best of the Best’ Luxury Travel Awards marked the 28th Annual Virtuoso Travel Week Conference. Forbes’ International luxury travel network Virtuoso announced the winners. The winners have been decided after a survey of 390-plus travel agencies and more than 11,400 elite travel advisors. The winners in categories, range from best achievement in design to the best family experience. The nominees are among the world’s finest and the winner tops the list.

World's Top Luxury Travel Experts Select the Best Hotels for 2016


The Award Nominees for BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN DESIGN were:
  • The Langham, Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  • Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • The Temple House, Chengdu, China
  • Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech, Marrakech, Morocco
The Winner:
Faena Hotel Miami Beach, Florida, U.S.
The deserving winner, Feana Hotel Miami Beach is a vision. The iconic hotel, is known for its stunning Art Deco appeal and old-world grandeur. The oceanfront hotel features designs that transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. Enter into a world where the design speaks of the finest of luxuries.


The Award Nominees for BEST CULINARY EXPERIENCE were:
  • Michel Guérard – Les Prés d’Eugénie-Michel Guérard, Eugénie-les-Bains, France
  • The Colony Grill Room – The Beaumont, London, UK
  • IGNIV – Grand Hotel Quellenhof & Spa Suites, Bad Ragaz, Switzerland
  • Shang Place – Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
The Winner: 
The Farmhouse Restaurant – Farmhouse Inn, California, U.S.
Boasting of the Michelin starred restaurant, Farmhouse Inn, California is the awarded for its culinary experience. The spectacular menu filled with organic, farm-to-table country cuisine paired with an extensive wine program tantalizes you taste buds. Try the crafty cocktails, a specialty here.


The Award Nominees for BEST FAMILY PROGRAM were:
  • Hotel Le K2, Courchevel, France
  • Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort Fiji, Savusavu, Fiji
  • St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
  • The Peninsula Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, San Miguel de Allende, Mex
Set at blessed environs, the hotel offers the best experiences for a family holiday. The hotel meets the diverse needs of a family. The lady of the house can enjoy shopping, the man- a game of golf and the children- art and the elders - theater or art. The city tour entertains all, as the pleasures are not limited for any age.


The Award Nominees for BEST SPA were:
  • Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Bali, Indonesia
  • Six Senses Laamu Hotel, Laamu Atoll, Maldives
  • The Mayflower Grace, Connecticut, U.S.
  • La Réserve Genève, Geneva, Switzerland
The Winner:

Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como, Italy
The spa at Grand Hotel Tremezzo, T Spa is a wonderful combination of harmony, care and impeccable services. The spa offers stunning views of Lake Como and has pleasing treatment that use herbs. With more than 100 years of history, this hotel offers unparalleled hospitality through its well-appointed rooms and innumerable gastronomical delights.


  • Saffire Freycinet, Coles Bay, Australia
  • Carmel Valley Ranch, California, U.S.
  • Schloss Elmau, Elmau, Germany
  • Estancia La Bamba de Areco, San Antonio De Areco, Argentina

Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil

Waking up to the sound of a gushing Iguassu fall, one of the best experiences this hotel has to offer to its guests. The property lies just adjacent to the waterfalls and offer a breathtaking view. The hotel has all the all the world-class comforts such as indoor and outdoor activities, fine-dining venues and luxurious rooms.


  • Cavallo Point – The Lodge at Golden Gate, California, U.S.
  • Blancaneaux Lodge, Central Farm, Belize
  • UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa, Trancoso, Brazil
  • Tswalu Kalahari, Tswalu Kalahari, South Africa
The Winner:

andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
andbeyond is a unique travel enterprise executing personalized luxury safaris in 15 African countries as well as organizing bespoke tours in Bhutan, Nepal, India, Chile and Argentina. Established in 1991, the company also operates 35 fantastic lodges and camps in Africa and India and is aimed at providing exceptional luxury along with responsible and sustainable travel experience to guests.


The Award Nominees for BEST ONE TO WATCH were
  • Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogotà, Bogotà, Colombia
  • D Hotel Maris, Marmaris, Turkey
  • Park Hyatt St. Kitts, St. Kitts, Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Il Sereno, Lake Como, Italy
The Winner: 
Hotel Eden Rome, Dorchester Collection, Rome, Italy
Hotel Eden in Rome is a part of the Dorchester Collection which are one of the world’s leading luxury hotels in Europe and USA. The hotel is bedecked with excellent amenities and the services are top of the line in the category for a unique residence and luxury experience for the guests in the fabulous city of Rome.


The Award Nominees for BEST HOTELIER were
  • Nikheel Advani – Grace Bay Club, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos
  • Deborah Yager Fleming – Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach, Florida, U.S.
  • Roberto Payer – Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Philip Barnes – Fairmont Pacific Rim, Vancouver, Canada
The Winner: 
José Silva – Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, Paris, France

Jose Silva is the Regional Vice President and General Manager of the Four Seasons Hotel George V. Born in Azores in Portugal, Silva acquired his education in Canada. Thereafter he entered the service industry with his forays with different hotels. This award recognizes Silva’s undying passion for designing the future of hotel as well as looking for innovative experiences for the guests of Four Seasons.


The Award Nominees for HOTEL OF THE YEAR were:
  • Burj Al Arab, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Amanpulo, Pamalican Island, Philippines
  • Mandarin Oriental, Milan, Milan, Italy
  • Ritz Paris, Paris, France
Borgo Egnazia, Savelletri Di Fasano, Italy

Worthy of the title, Borgo Egnazia, Savelletri Di Fasano, Italy has several allures such as remarkable ambiance, orgasmic food, finest of alcohol, warm and trained people, and a divine spa. Panoramic setting, luxurious and spacious accommodations and world-class service offers unforgettable experiences. During your next visit to Italy, do not fail to make a booking here.
What comes into your mind when you hear words like clear blue sky, azure verdant sea waters, serene ambiance and coconut palms swirling in the cool breeze? Visualize yourself as soaking-in the sun, digging your feet in the sand and drinking your favorite spirit or exploring the colorful underwater world. You can do this and much more by visiting some of the most beautiful islands in India. These islands never fail to impress their visitors, while offering a rejuvenating vacation.

Visit to an island means different things to different people. While for some, it is just lazing around reading an interesting book, but others it can be beach parties and water adventures. For even other people, an island visit would mean just admiring the tranquility and the stunning scenery. Here are some of the most beautiful islands in India that are a must-visit:

Island of Divar — Close to the Goan Coast

Island of Divar — Close to the Goan Coast

Enclosed by marshy waters, located onto a beautiful little riverine settlement, Divar Island lies just across the Mandovi River near Panjim. Boasting of rustic countryside feel, the island has a lively culture just like the other parts of Goa. A number of scenes of Bollywood blockbuster ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ were shot here. This seaside destination is a refreshing break.

Attractions: Portuguese structures, the Church of Our Lady of Compassion, European Houses, Piedade village, and Shree Ganesh Sateri Temple.

Activities: Leisure activities, Sightseeing

Accessibility: 10 -min ferry ride in Old Goa from Viceroy’s Arch (between 07:00 AM to 08:00 PM), and a ferry Naroa village in the Bicholim subdivision, connecting to the northern side of the island.

Best time to visit: November – February

Diu Island — Amalgam of Gujarati and Portuguese Culture

Diu Island — Amalgam of Gujarati and Portuguese Culture

Still clinging to its Portuguese charm, Diu Island boasts of heavenly beauty that charms travelers from all across the globe. Chakratirth Beach, Jallandhar Beach, Nagoa Beach and Ghogla beach are some of the superb island of this exotic island. Nowhere else will you get a chance to savor sumptuous tropical seafood delicacies with a hint of Gujarati flavors. And yes, you can enjoy a glass of your favorite spirit as alcohol is legal here.

Attractions: St Paul’s Church, Diu Fort, Naida caves, Shell Museum, Fortim-do-Mar and Gangeshwar Temple

Activities: Beach visit, Sunset viewing, and sightseeing by renting a bike or scooter

Accessibility: Accessible by air (airport) and road

Majuli Island - Largest freshwater Island in the World

Majuli Island - Largest freshwater Island in the World

Arguably the largest freshwater island in the world, Majoli or Majuli Island lies in Brahmaputra River. It is also known as the cultural capital of the Assamese civilization from the 16th century. Unlike other islands of India, visitors find ochre and moss on its coast instead of sand. Relishing northeastern delicacies is a must. Rent a bike/cycle to explore this island, which is home to colorful birds.

Attractions: Mishing, Kamalabari and Garamur Village, and 22 Satras

Activities: Viewing Sunset and Sunrise. Enjoy mask making and meshing. Birdwatching.

Accessibility: Ferry ride from Jorhat, which is connected to the Guwahati airport. There are two boats- 10:00 AM and 03:00 PM

Best time to visit: October – December

St Mary’s Islands — The Basalt Marvel

St Mary’s Islands — The Basalt Marvel

Also known as Thonsepar and Coconut Island, St Mary’s island is a collection of 4 tiny islands off the coast of Malpe in Udupi, Karnataka. One of the distinct features of these islands is the basaltic rock formations that are in hexagon shape and look quite unique. The clean blue waters at the beach are going to charm you. It is believed that Vasco da Gama landed on these islands during his expedition to Calicut.

Attractions: Basaltic rock formations at the beach and the Coconut gardens (Carry packed food during your visit to this island)

Activities: Beach visit, Sightseeing, Shell Collection and Bird Watching

Accessibility: A 20-min boat ride from Malpe

Best time to visit: December – January

Lakshadweep Islands — Honeymooners Paradise

Lakshadweep Islands — Honeymooners Paradise
A collection of 36 coral islands with white sand and palm trees, Lakshadweep is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations of Indian, which is 300 km off the coast of Kerala. Boasting of unmatched natural beauty, these smallest islands in India, have unspoilt beaches and blue waters.

Attractions: Agatti Island, Minicoy Island, Bangaram Island and Kavaratti Island Marine Aquarium.

Activities: Scuba Diving in Kalpeni Island, Canoeing at Minicoy Island and snorkeling at Kavaratti, Kite surfing at Kadmat.

Accessibility: Connected to India through sea and air (Agatti Island Airport)

Best time to visit: October – May

Little Andaman Island — Home of rare marine turtles

Little Andaman Island — Home of rare marine turtles

An offbeat destination in Andaman Island, Little Andaman Island is an ideal place for you if you do not like being in a crowd. One of the most beautiful islands in India, it has mesmerizing beaches with clean sands and turquoise waters. One can also spot the rare marine turtles. The island lies 120 km southwards of Port Blair. Enjoy tranquil beaches, sumptuous food and drinks, and accommodation at pocket-friendly rates. This island has evergreen rainforest and has a rich biodiversity.

Attractions: Hut bay, Waterfall, Butler Bay beach and colorful Coral reefs.

Activities: Elephant calves training, Elephant Safari, Boating through the creeks and Surfing.

Accessibility: Go on-board a ship from Port Blair, which will take you to this place in a day’s time.

Barren Island — A secluded paradise in the Andaman Islands

Barren Island — A secluded paradise in the Andaman Islands

Owning the only confirmed active volcano in South Asia, Barren Island is the most easterly island in the Andaman chain. As there are no accommodation options here, you can book an accommodation in Port Blair. Landing on the shores is prohibited so you can travel around the island in a vessel and indulge in sightseeing as well as water sports. It truly is one of the most mesmerizing islands.

Attractions: Barren Island Volcano, and Colorful Marine Life.

Activities: Scuba diving and Boat Tour.

Accessibility: You can go on-board ships that cruise from Port Blair on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The other option is to take a seaplane from Port Blair but at least 7 passengers are required for it.

Best time to visit: February – May

Great Nicobar Island — the largest island of the Nicobar Islands

Great Nicobar Island — the largest island of the Nicobar Islands
The largest island in India, Great Nicobar Island has crystal clear sea waters so that you can enjoy a dip here. The exotic flora and fauna is a treat for the eyes of the on-looker. This place is perfect for both, honeymooning as well as a family vacation. This island is home to Shompen tribe, which is one of the oldest tribes of the world.

Attractions: Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve, Campbell Bay for wildlife photography, and Indira Point.

Activities: Wildlife Viewing, Sightseeing, and Water Sports.

Accessibility: Helicopters and boats are available from Port Blair.

Best time to visit: February – June

Grand Island — Go snorkeling and diving

Grand Island — Go snorkeling and diving

One of the places for snorkeling and diving near Goa, Grand Island is an amazing place with super clean pristine beaches and heavenly natural beauty. The beaches are clean and have clean waters. Please take note that the Indian Navy uses this island as their base for training exercises. You must check about the same before planning a visit. Savor special barbecue lunch and unlimited drinks.

Attractions: Shelter Cove dive, Dolphin points, Uma Guma Reef, Suzy’s Wreck dive, Bounty Bay Dive, and Spice plantation.

Activities: Bait fishing, snorkeling, dolphin-viewing, plantation visit and scuba diving.

Accessibility: Hop into a ferry from Goa to arrive at the island. The time taken is 20-40 minutes, as per the point of departure of the ferry.

Netrani Island - A beautiful coral island

Netrani Island - A beautiful coral island
Also known as Pigeon Island, Netrani is a beautiful coral island that is placed off the coast of Karnataka. This beautiful coral island is quite popular amid professional scuba divers. Though the island is not populated but it is called home by a decent number of wild goats and pigeons. This island is easily accessible from Karnataka, Mumbai, and Goa.

Attractions: Exotic species of wild goat and pigeons, water sports; Varieties of fishes, shrimps, eels and coral; and Murudeshwar temple.

Activities: Diving, Snorkeling, and Wildlife viewing.

Accessibility:  An hour’s boat ride from Murudeshwara Beach at around 08.30 AM