India is a huge country no matter the metric you’re measuring with, and its diverse population, sprawling size, gigantic cities, and range of climates and ecosystems means there’s something for every traveler. It also means that there’s a wealth of luxury experiences in India on offer, including everything from sumptuous meals and lavish suites at palace hotels to one-of-a-kind shopping expeditions and lovely natural retreats. No matter the aim of your vacation, let our list of 50 luxury experiences in India be the makings of your next trip abroad.

1) Private Dinner at the Mehrangarh Fort

The golden-hued Mehrangarh Fort is the jewel of Jodhpur. Enjoy one of the city’s best views of the historic landmark during a private dinner with the Director of the Mehrangarh Museum. After dining on the ramparts, the evening concludes with a private walking tour (and generous pours of Champagne).

You can find this beautiful fort featured in the Essence of Rajasthan itinerary.

Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur at night


Go for a private, nighttime dinner at the Mehrangarh Fort © iannomadav/iStock/Thinkstock

2) Hot Air Ballooning over the Pushkar Camel Fair

Every November, thousands of visitors, livestock in tow, flood into the beautiful Rajasthani city of Pushkar. For the best views of the vibrant festivities, which include races and camel beauty contests, take to the skies in a custom hot air balloon for the ultimate luxury experience of the festival with out the crowds.

Watching Hot air Balloons


Hot air balloons provide the best perspective on the Pushkar Camel Fair © rajrajiv/iStock/Thinkstock

3) Private Bollywood Film Screening

Going to the movies in India isn’t quite the same as it is back home. As most films screened are multi-hour Bollywood epics, visitors can expect intervals, food delivered straight to their seat, and comfy accommodations. For a personal experience, rent out a cinema for a private screening.



For the ultimate in Bollywood viewing, opt for a private screening © Kyoungil Jeon/iStock/Thinkstock

4) Visit Delhi with Celebrated Author William Dalrymple

Award-winning writer William Dalrymple has spent the last 30 years in India, where he’s penned masterworks like City of Djinns. A resident of Delhi, he provides visitors to the colorful metropolis with incredible, personal tours into the city’s heart.

An incredible city, on our website you can find intineraries from family tours to experiences into the very heart of India.



William Dalrymple takes visitors through the heart of Delhi © Dell Inc

5) Private Polo Matches

Whether you plan on traveling to Delhi or Jaipur, register for a private polo session to test your athleticism and blow off some steam. Those after a truly luxury experience can even sign up for elephant polo.

Elephant Polo, The first


Private elephant polo is one luxurious must-do © alberto cosi/iStock/Thinkstock

6) Meet a Bollywood Star

Mumbai is to Bollywood as Los Angeles is to Hollywood, and visitors to this bustling Indian megalopolis may be lucky enough to meet a Bollywood star in person. In addition to star-studded film premiers and industry parties, a number of swanky restaurants and bars in town are known to be frequented by A-listers.

If feeling like a visit to the red carpet of Mumbai you can view our itinerary for exploring the heart of the area.



Stars like Aishwarya Rai flock to Mumbai © Crystal Lifi

7) Private Snake Boat Race in Kerala

In the Kuttanad region of Kerala, villages have long held traditional snake boat races, where snake-shaped canoes attempt to best each other. The most prominent race, the Nehru Trophy contest, takes place every August.

You can view the other delights Kerala has to offer in our Malabar Days itinerary.



Kerala’s snake boat races exemplify the unique local culture © Jerry John

8) Take Over Taj Nadesar Palace

In Varanasi, the glamorous Taj Nadesar Palace has been a favorite among visiting royals and celebrities since the 19th century. Guests can revel in the palace’s opulence during a private lunch and conversation with scholars from the Jnana Pravaha, a local center for cultural studies.



The Taj Nadesar Palace is a favorite of royals and celebrities © Taj Hotels

9) A Day Trip and Private Excursion to Indian Wine Country

Nashik in Western India is being hailed as India’s Napa Valley, and it’s true that the area has become known for its high-quality wines. Those looking for a luxury tasting can travel amongst the vineyards in a private plane before finishing with a personal tour and dinner at the acclaimed Sula Vineyards.

You can further read about the famous Sula vineyards in our interview with Rajeev Samant, the man who first launched the company.



Nasik is known as India’s Napa Valley © Sula Vineyards

10) Private Vegetarian Dinner on the Varanasi Ghats

On the Varanasi Ghats, the Peshwa Haveli hosts a spectacular ‘Relive Banaras’ dining experience. The nearby temple is illuminated by lights and diyas, and guests dine in splendour amongst the flickering flames and Brahmin hymns. After the vegetarian dinner, visitors receive tea and coffee and watch a traditional Indian dance performance.

The Ghats In Varanasi


The scenic Varansi Ghats are the perfect location for a private dinner © Dirk Ott/iStock/Thinkstock

11) Take Over the JAWAI Leopard Camp

Wild India is home to a number of incredible species, including majestic leopards. Those staying in the JAWAI Leopard Camp, in gorgeous rural Rajasthan, can take over the camp for an exclusive experience. Local safari treks complete the experience.



Spot local wildlife while staying at the JAWAI Leopard Camp © JAWAI Leopard Camp

12) A Sunset Yacht Tour of Gateway of India

One of Mumbai’s most iconic attractions, the gorgeous Gateway of India is a vestige of the colonial period. Habitually heaving with crowds, the monument is best seen on a private, sunset yacht tour, when it’s illuminated for evening viewers. A private dinner completes the occasion.

Illuminated Gateway of India


The Gateway of India is best appreciated by yacht tour © PisitBurana/iStock/Thinkstock

13) Dinner at Moti Dungri in Jaipur

Dedicated to Ganesha, the Moti Dungri Fort is one of the oldest and most beautiful in Jaipur. For a rare opportunity to venture beyond the outer limits of the building (the inhabited fort is rarely open to the public), visitors can attend a dinner held within its walls.

Apparently, it's only open one day every year! But it reminded me a lot of Edinburgh Castle.


The Moti Dungri Fort opens rarely for private dinners © Kenneth Lu

14) Take Over a Haveli During the World Sufi Spirit Festival

For an experience full of music, dance, and mysticism, the utterly unique World Sufi Spirit Festival is an unforgettable experience. To spend the festival in true luxury, book out a whole haveli at the luxurious Ranvas Hotel in Nagaur.



The World Sufi Spirit Festival is a mix of performance, spirituality, and music © World Sufi Spirit Festival

15) Private Dining Experience at the Oberoi Amarvilas

Located in the shadow of the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Oberoi Amarvilas promises a truly memorable meal for those seeking a luxury experience. Set just 600 meters away the Taj, the hotel lets guests observe its moonlight glow while enjoying dinner and exclusive butler services.

You can find a visit to the Taj Mahal at dawn planned in our itinerary of the Essential India.



Luxurious private dining at the Oberoi Amarvilas © Oberoi Hotels

16) A Visit to the Abandoned City of Mandu

In the depths of Madhya Pradesh, the abandoned city of Mandu offers an array of stunning ruins, from palaces and mosques to tombs and other incredible vestiges of the past. Explore the Rupmati Pavilion, one of the area’s most impressive monuments, and take in the wild and unspoiled nature of the region.



The abandoned city of Mandu offers incredible ruins © Varun Shiv Kapur

17) A 14-Day Stay at Kalari Kovilakom Ayurvedic Retreat

Find true, spiritual relaxation during a restorative two week-stay at the Kalari Kovilakom retreat in the jungles of Kerala. Far away from India’s urban bustle, the retreat’s comfortable suites, home-cooked food and truly refreshing treatments will leave you feeling brand new.



Kalari Kovilakom specializes in relaxation © Kalari Kovilakom

18) Private Cooking Classes at the Oberoi Rajvilas

The fort-like Oberoi Rajvilas, an elegant complex of imposing architecture, lush gardens, and luxurious villas located just outside Jaipur, is ranked amongst the best resorts in the world. One of its special offerings is a private cookery course in the hotel restaurant, which schools guests in the art of fragrant, spice-laden Indian cuisine.



Guests can learn to cook Indian fare at the Oberoi Rajvilas © Oberoi Hotels

19) A Stay at the Sajjan Niwas Suite at The Lake Palace

A shimmering mirage in the middle of Lake Pichola in Udaipur, the Taj Lake Palace is one of the finest places to stay in all of India. The crown jewel of the hotel, which is set in what was once a royal pleasure palace, is the Sajjan Niwas Suite. Built by a Maharana in 1884, the suite’s terrace opens directly onto the lake.



The Sajjan Niwas Suite is the crown jewel of the Taj Lake Palace © Taj Hotels

20) A Romantic Private Dinner at Chhatra Sagar Damfamily tours

A man-made dam in Rajasthan, Chhatra Sagar is a verdant oasis in the dry Rajasthani desert. The property now hosts a luxury camp for travelers, and waterside, private dining is a wonderful way to take in the magical scenery.



Chhatra Sagar is a verdant oasis in Rajasthan © Chhatra Sagar

21) Trips on the Private Greaves Plane

Available exclusively for guests, the private Greaves plane is the best way for the busy traveler to see the best of India. Whether you’re after a trip to the majestic Himalayas in the north or want to venture down to the jungles of the south, you can see it all in ease and comfort.



The Greaves Plane makes traveling across the subcontinent easy

22) A Stay at Amanbagh Resort

Set amongst eucalyptus and palm trees, guests can find new levels of relaxation at the Amanbagh Resort in Rajasthan. The complex, comprised of lavish haveli-style suites, a crystalline pool, and tropical flora, also offers a spa and hosted nature excursions.

Amanbagh - Swimming Pool


The Amanbagh Resort offers haveli-style suites © Aman Resorts

23) A Fashion-Focused Long Weekend in Mumbai

Given that it’s home to India’s glittering film industry, it’s no surprise that Mumbai is also the country’s fashion capital. The style-conscious traveler should devote a long weekend to exploring its offerings with personal shoppers in tow. Hotel tailors can adjust any new purchases to fit you like a glove.

Indian Shoes


Mumbai is India’s fashion capital © bharath744/iStock/Thinkstock

24) Take Over a Sukoon Houseboat on Dal Lake

The Dal Lake in Srinagar, Kashmir, is often described as paradise on Earth. Lap up the incomparable surroundings from a Sukoon Houseboat afloat on the banks of the lake. Guests also have access to locally cooked meals and a gondola for aquatic excursions.



The Dal Lake in Kashmir has been likened to paradise © Sukoon

25) A Trip on the SUJAN Private Train Carriage

SUJAN operates several luxury camps in the wilds of the north Indian countryside. Now, guests can ensure that every step of their journey is appropriately luxurious with Sujan’s new private train carriages. Affixed to regular trains, visitors will travel in style to and from their hotel of choice.



The SUJAN private train carriage allows for a completely luxurious journey © Hugo Burn

26) The Jiva Spa Boat on Lake Pichola

In Udaipur’s glittering Lake Pichola, Taj’s Jiva Spa Boat offsets the tranquillity of its surroundings with a range of treatments designed to pamper. A number of offerings are available, including deep tissue massages and a soak in the outdoor bath. Gourmet dinners complete the experience.



The Jiva Spa Boat is set in Udaipur’s Lake Pichola © Taj Hotels

27) Astrology Readings on the Lawns of the Taj Rambagh Palace

Travellers with a mystical side will want to stay at the opulent Taj Rambagh Palace when visiting Jaipur. Among the elegant suites and high-end amenities, the hotel also employs an astrologer and palm-reader. Sessions are conducted on the lawns of the lavish property.



At the Taj Rambagh Palace, astrology readings are conducted on the lawns © Taj Hotels

28) The Kanchenjunga Suite at the Glenburn Tea Estate

High in the Himalayas, the Glenburn Tea Estate is located on a remote tea plantation. Looking out on the verdant rows and the snowy peaks beyond, the Kanchenjunga Suite’s wall-to-wall windows provide breathtaking views.



The Glenburn Tea Estate is located high in the Himalayas © Glenburn Tea Estate

29) Shakti Sikkim

Ranked among Lonely Planet’s top destinations for 2014, Sikkim is a remote Buddhist state in India’s northeastern Himalayas. The cultural destination offers visitors an incredible glimpse into the ascetic lifestyle and unbeatable geography, and Shakti provides seamless touring opportunities.

In a fantastic location, Shakti featured in our article of luxurious trekking vacations.



The remote Sikkim offers a tranquil, Buddhist existence © Shakti

30) CGH Earth House Boat

Threading the backwaters of Kerala, CGH Earth’s House Boats provide passage into the remote heart of this southern Indian state. Along the Spice Coast, visitors can take in the stretches of teak, coconut, and cardamom trees and soak up the relaxed atmosphere of the region.

The CGH Earth House Boat was also featured in our article about luxury boats in Kerala.



CGH Earth’s Houseboats explore the Keralan Backwaters © CGH Earth

31) Carnoustie Ayurveda & Wellness Resort

Both eco-friendly and healing, the Carnoustie Ayurveda and Wellness Resort in Kerala has 20 villas and a fully equipped spa on-site. Guests flock to Carnoustie to meet the celebrated Dr. Ali, who hosts retreats here from time to time.

luxurious trekking vacations


The Carnoustie Ayurveda and Wellness Resort is healing and eco-friendly © Carnoustie Resorts

32) The Ultimate Travelling Camp in Nagaland

The first truly mobile luxury camp in India, the Ultimate Travelling Camp’s Kohima Camp in Nagaland brings guests to the hard-to-access, gorgeous northeastern part of the country. Home of the indigenous Naga people, the region’s Himalayan landscape is stunning, and UTC ensures that a high level of comfort is maintained across its facilities.

Because of its variable location this incredible experience made it into our most luxurious treks in the Himalayas.



The Ultimate Travelling Camp brings glamping to new heights © The Ultimate Travelling Camp

33) See the Taj Mahal by Moonlight

The Taj Mahal closes most evenings at sunset, but during the full moon it stays open later for nighttime viewing. The lunar glow, reflected on the white marble mausoleum, makes for one of the most memorable experiences that any traveler to India could have.

Taj Mahal


The Taj Mahal is magical when lit by moonlight © Sze Fei Wong/iStock/Thinkstock

34) Stay Onboard the Maharajas Express

India’s network of railways reflects an iconic part of the country’s heritage. The best way to travel along them in style, though, is on board the Maharajas Express. With private suites, bar and dining cars serving gourmet meals, and even an on-board boutique, there are few better ways to travel.



The Maharajas Express is a perfectly luxurious train experience © Maharajas Express

35) A Private Excursion to Somsagar Lake

Those planning to stay at the Amanbagh Resort (see number 22) in Rajasthan would do well to set aside time in their schedules to go on a private excursion to Somsagar Lake. Built in 1598, the lake is accessible through a natural marble ravine. All walks culminate with meditation and breakfast next to its waters.

Amanbagh - Pool Pavilion Exterior


Guests can leave from the Amanbagh Resort to attend a private excursion to Somsagar Lake © Aman Resorts

36) From Bangalore to the Maldives

Visitors to Bangalore can soak up the city’s style and bustle – side trips to the beautiful Mysore and Nagarhole National Park are also recommended – before finishing off their vaction with a retreat to the Maldives. Regarded as having some of the world’s best beaches, the Maldives are also uniquely accessible from Bangalore, as British Airways flies directly between the two.

Cafe on the beach


Guests can take a direct flight from Bangalore to the Maldives © Tatiana Popova/iStock/Thinkstock

37) A Weeklong Stay at the Banjaar Tola Camp

Those eager to spot some of India’s rare wildlife should schedule a stay at the Banjaar Tola Camp. Located within the jungles of Kanha National Park, the luxury camp is set in the midst of a tiger preserve. Spotting the big cats in their native habitat, while not guaranteed, is more likely here than virtually anywhere else in India.



The Banjaar Tola Camp is located within a tiger preserve © Banjaar Tola Camp

38) Take Over the Villa Aashyana Lakhanpal

Going on a vacation to Goa? The Villa Aashyana Lakhanpal offers travelers a tranquil getaway with luxurious facilities, garden dining, and pristine surroundings. Located on the lovely Candolim beach, it provides a rare chance to fully unwind.



The Villa Aashyana Lakhanpal is located near to Candolim Beach © Villa Aashyana Lakhanpal

39) Stay at Elsewhere

Ranked among the country’s top beach retreats, Elsewhere offers an escape into nature. Accessible from Goa, the property is located right on the turquoise waters of the Arabian Sea. Visitors can go on fishing breaks; bird-watching expeditions; swim with otters; watch turtles hatch, and otherwise fully immerse themselves in nature.



Elsewhere is ranked among the country’s top beach retreats © Elsewhere

40) Take Over Balsamand Lake Palace

A incredible Rajasthani palace that’s located off the main tourist trail, the Bal Samand Lake Palace offers up a rich array of sights for visitors. Its immaculately groomed grounds, lush garden, and views over the lake all transport guests back to a bygone era of royal grandeur.



The Bal Samand Lake Palace evokes bygone glamour © Bal Samand Lake Palace

41) Go to the Jodhpur RIFF Music Festival

Timed to coincide every year with the brightest full moon, known as the Sharad Purnima, the Jodhpur RIFF Festival is held at the Mehrangarh Fort. Showcasing musicians from around the world, the moonlit festival focuses on classical and heritage music.



Jodhpur RIFF is an incredible festival of music © Kavi Bhansali/Jodhpur RIFF

42) Dine at the Terrace Restaurant at the Raas Hotel

The newly opened Raas Hotel is changing the landscape of boutique accommodations in Jodhpur. Featuring sleek, contemporary design, the hotel’s crown jewel is its glittering terrace, which spotlights the illuminated Mehrangarh Fort. The terrace also features an open-air restaurant, one of the finest in Rajasthan.



The Raas Hotel’s terrace offers one of Jodhpur’s best views © Raas Hotel

43) Stay in the Kashmiri Himalayas at the Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa

In the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas, Gulmarg in Kashmir receives heavy snowfall every year. That makes the newly opened Khyber Himalayan Resort perfect for skiers and other winter sports fans. Even if you plan on taking it easy, the amenities – including a luxurious spa, elegant dining, and floor-to-ceiling windows with mountain views – are enviable.



The Khyber Himalayan Resort is perfect for winter sport lovers © Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa, Gulmarg

44) Explore the Orchid Gardens of the Himalayas

For lovers of orchids, India is a kind of earthly paradise: home to hundreds of rare species, the Eastern and Western Himalayas are a veritable garden of these coveted blossoms. From species like the Three Flowered Egret Orchid to the Foxtail Orchid, these colorful varieties are a big draw in the area.

Illuminated Orchid


Hundreds of orchid species can be found in the Himalayas © Lee Torrens/Hemera/Thinkstock

45) Enjoy the Beach in Kerala at the Neeleshwar Hermitage

India has no shortage of gorgeous, sandy stretches for those after a beach vacation, and the Neeleshwar Hermitage, a luxury resort in Northern Kerala, is perfectly located for coastal relaxation. The nearby beaches, which look out to the Arabian Sea, are among India’s best.

old fishing boats on beach in india


Kerala’s beaches offer perfect relaxation © Mik122/iStock/Thinkstock

46) Peruse the India Art Fair

One of the most high-profile art fairs in southeast Asia, the India Art Fair brings together close to 100 luxury galleries representing over 1,000 artists. For viewers and collectors, the event offers the opportunity to connect with the subcontinent’s thriving contemporary art scene.



The India Art Fair is a must-visit for both casual viewers and collectors © André J Fanthome

47) Visit the Dance Village of Nrityagram

For those staying at the Oberoi in Bangalore, the hotel provides the rare chance to connect with one of the region’s most stunning cultural offerings: traditional Odissi dance. Those visiting the Dance Village of Nrityagram will enjoy a special performance and tour of the facilities.



The Dance Village of Nrityagram showcases traditional Odissi dance © Iqbal Saggu

48) Arrive into Varanasi from the Assam Bengal Cruise

A hotel and a mode of transport, Assam Bengal Navigation Cruises take guests on a languorous journey along India’s meandering rivers, with sightseeing opportunities aplenty. From Calcutta to Varanasi, the route winds its way through some of the country’s finest landscapes.



Assam Bengal Navigation Cruises provide a relaxing mode of transport © Assam Bengal Navigation

49) See the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland

Held every December, the striking and vibrant Hornbill Festival is a unique celebration. Featuring members of the Naga tribes of the region, the festival offers an incredible opportunity to experience the culture of Nagaland via a series of dance, sport, and other performances.



The Hornbill Festival is a striking celebration of Naga culture © Walter Callens

50) Eat at the Chef’s Table at Indian Accent at the Manor

Within New Delhi’s Manor Hotel, Indian Accent offers accomplished, gourmet cooking that blends Eastern and Western culinary influences. For a truly lavish meal, guests can dine at the Chef’s Table, where they’ll indulge in eight courses, wine pairing with each, and the chance to liaise directly with the Executive Chef or Chef de Cuisine.



Indian Accent at the Manor is one of India’s finest restaurants © Indian Accent


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