Colourful, in-your-face and fascinating from the moment you set foot off the plane, India is a country that is addictive and overwhelming in equal measure. And as last minute holidays go, we think it should feature at the top of any intrepid traveller’s list. Taking Nobel Prize-winning Indian poet Tagore’s route is a fantastic way to see the country. Renowned for bringing cultural understanding between India and the West, he is considered to be one of the top creative artists of modern South Asia.
Begin your tour of Tagore’s India in the place of his birth where they still celebrate his life today. Kolkata is like a friendlier version of the other big cities in this cheek-blasting country. Associated with extreme poverty in the past, while the problem hasn’t disappeared, there’s so much more to this city that mustn’t be overlooked. The vibrant cultural capital of Bengal has given birth to poets, philosophers and film directors in its time, and is now home to a well-heeled gentry.
Speak to a range of tour operators to check out their last minute holidays and make sure you’re getting the best deal on flights. They can also advise you on the best options for getting from A to B. Travelling by road and rail is generally cheaper than flying, particularly when you take the exchange rate from rupees into consideration. However, for the sake of saving time it’s probably best to spend the money on flights for some legs of your trip. Kolkata to Guwahati, Guwahati to Imphal, and Imphal to Agartala are journeys best made by plane. Stick to the bus and train to take tours in and around these major hubs.
You don’t need to fork out on expensive accommodation to get a nice place to stay in India. If you’re relatively easy-going and seeing the country is more important than living it up in luxury, you can pick up hotel rooms relatively cheaply by searching on some of the well-known travel websites.
Tagore’s ideals are explained at Patha Bhavana in Shantiniketan. His school there centred on the premise that learning in a natural environment is more enjoyable and fruitful. It has associations with some of the world’s most prolific teachers, including Indira Gandhi and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen.
In Guwahati, discover the spiritual energy of Shakti at Kamakhaya Temple. Kaziranga National Park is home to an array of fascinating wild animals, including hog deer, wild buffalo, elephants and tigers. When you reach Dhaka, take a tour to the world’s largest mangrove forest, the Sundarban. From the Don Bosco Museum of Ethnology in Lagan to the Mawsmai Caves, bristling with stalactites and stalagmites, a trip through Tagore’s India lets you experience all that is great about this mind-blowing country.