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The Jaipur Elephant Festival 2020
Jaipur, the Pink City is renowned for being an extraordinary destination and draws tourists from all around the world. It is packed with incredible attractions, but even more so during the Holi festival. This year brings an extra delight, as the Elephant Festival returns.
The Elephant Festival of Jaipur is a historic festival that is beloved and celebrated most colourfully. It marks the end of winter and generally celebrated on the eve of Holi, which falls in the month of Phagun the month of March or April.
Elephants are incredibly significant for the people of Rajasthan. They served the Royal families by bolstering their armies, and have great religious significance too. In Hindu mythology, the elephant is the divine steed of Lord Indra, and Ganesha is said to have the head of an elephant.
The festival begins with the Elephant Parade, as lavishly decorated elephants, camels, horses, musicians and dancers form a procession. The Mahouts, the elephant keepers adorn royal attire and silver jewellery to depict the royal culture of Rajasthan.
One of the most exciting parts of the Jaipur Elephant Festival has to be the match of Elephant Polo, with riders dressed in traditional saffron and red turbans, perched on elephants, as the teams try to score goals with long sticks and a plastic football.
The most spectacular sight must be the Elephant Beauty Contest, as all the female elephants taking part are decorated from tusk to tail, with colourful patterns painted all over their bodies. They flaunt themselves down a catwalk, all hoping to win the ’Best Decorated Elephant’ prize.
The Jaipur Elephant festival is one of the events which portray a glimpse of Rajasthani culture to the world. During the festival, the royalty and regality of Jaipur come alive; it’s something unique and peculiar that draws tourists from all over the world.
Make sure you get your India tourist visa in ample time before your trip, by visiting us today.
US PM To Make First Trip To India
American President Donald Trump will need to remember his India e-visa soon , as he is set to embark on his first trip to the country later this month.
The White House revealed that Trump will visit the southern Asian nation on February 24th and 25th, together with his wife, US First Lady Melania Trump.
A statement revealed the trip is intended to strengthen a strategic partnership between the USA and India, as well as “highlight the strong and enduring bonds between the American and Indian people”.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs echoed these sentiments, with the Diplomat revealing the relationship between the two countries is “based on trust, shared values, mutual respect and understanding, and marked warmth and friendship”.
While the President has not visited India since he took office in 2017, it is thought that his partnership with Prime Minister Narenda Modi, who has been in power since 2014, has grown from strength to strength.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs added that progress had been made in trade, counter-terrorism, defence, energy, and co-ordination on regional and global issues since Modi became leader.
Trump will visit New Dehli and Ahmedabad, with his trip expected to culminate in a trade agreement between Indian and America.
The US wants greater access to the Indian market to import its agricultural goods and medical devices. There could also be discussions regarding defence sales while the President is in the country.
If you’ve got your India tourist visa and are getting ready for a trip to this beautiful country next month, it’s worth considering which bits of India are the best ones to visit in February where you can escape some of the crowds of other tourists.
Even if your itinerary includes famous sights like the Taj Mahal (and why wouldn’t it?!) you can still make time to visit a few out-of-the-way spots to see what India has to offer beyond its famous landmarks.
Republic World recently picked out some of the best places to visit in February if you are looking to get away from the crowds.
Among the suggestions is Thekkady, an area in Kerala where you can explore lush green forests and peaceful backwaters. There’s lots of wildlife here so it’s a great choice for nature enthusiasts.
Gulmarg, meanwhile, is another recommendation. In February, this mountain location has snow, which means you can try your hand at winter sports like skiing and ice skating. There are plenty of attractions in the area too, which are worth seeing whatever time of year you go. They include Alpathar Lake and Maharani Temple.
India’s beach hotspot of Goa is also a good place to visit in February, because you’ll find fewer crowds than if you travel here around the time of the winter carnival. It’s a great choice if you want to chill out and recharge for a few days during your trip.
If you only have three days to spend in Goa, Mangalorean recommends spending one day chilling at the beach, your second day sightseeing in North Goa, where some of its most spectacular churches are found, and the final day shopping in spots like Ajuna’s flea market.
Could India Be Top Choice For Holidaymakers In January?
January is apparently the most popular month of the year to book a holiday, and travellers hoping to escape the cold, wintry weather in the UK could be tempted to head as far afield as India.
Indeed, Indian tourist visas could be immensely popular this month, as 6.4 million people across the country prepare to book their annual trip over the next few weeks.
This is according to Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Insurance, which revealed that of the three-quarters of Brits who will head abroad in 2020, 40 per cent would opt for an overseas beach holiday, while 28 per cent would prefer a city break, MoneyNet revealed.
Jason King, customer director at Sainsbury’s Bank, said: "Booking a holiday at the start of the year will certainly help chase away those January blues."
The research also found that UK adults will typically spend £757 on each holiday they go on this year, with international seaside breaks coming in at a higher £1,039 on average.
However, the most expensive type of holiday Brits plan to take over the next 12 months are cruises, which will set travellers back £1,650 in 2020.
Those considering embarking on an adventurous holiday might be tempted to head to India. Book a trip during this winter season, which lasts from October to February, as weather conditions are more manageable.
What’s more, the beaches in the southern part of the country, such as Goa, are still warm and pleasant to visit, without the intense heat and humidity of the summer months. It is best to avoid the monsoon season, which kicks off in May, particularly if you want to get close to India’s exotic nature, as many of the national parks are closed during this period.
It is said that weather in India can fall in to three different seasons - summer, winter, and monsoon. The coolest months are from October to February, summer can be considered to fall between March until May, and from then the monsoon season, starting from the south-western regions, and sweeping through the country. To make the best of the preferable winter 2020 season, you may need an urgent Indian tourist visa.
For most tourists, especially from cooler northern European areas, the winter season is probably the best time to go. The weather is cooler and drier, and warmer in the south of the country with its comfortable coastal beaches. The conditions are much better for those wanting to experience the life-affirming, brightly coloured, chaotic wonder of India.
From March onwards, the temperature rises incredibly, and is more suited to trips to the north of the country, the higher altitudes of the Himalayas, and the soaring hill-stations of Shimla and Darjeeling. The views of the leafy tea plantations set against a backdrop of the snow capped Himalayas will stay with you always.
May brings regular downpours with the monsoon season, mixed with hot, sunny spells, meaning it is exceptionally hot and humid. Flooding is expected in low lying areas at the height of the season, and most national parks are closed during this time.
Make use of our fast track Indian visa service, and our online e-visa service to ensure you experience the best of India in 2020.
Top Spots To Visit In India In December
If you’re planning an Indian getaway in December, make sure you’re going to visit some of the places that are at their best at this time of the year. India has some incredibly diverse attractions, so if you plan your break properly you really can see the best the country has to offer.
Times of India recently highlighted some of the top places to visit next month. So, once you’ve got your India e visa, you can start planning your escape.
At the top of the list is Rann of Kutch. This is one of the largest salt deserts in the world and the reason December is the perfect time to visit is because temperatures are much more pleasant at this time of the year than in the height of summer.
The other reason to visit in December is because you’ll be able to witness the festivities of Rann Utsav, a festival that runs this year from 1 December to 20 February 2020. It’s the perfect opportunity to experience the culture of the local communities.
Another place to put on your list for a holiday to India in December is Diu. This is an island with some incredibly beautiful and secluded beaches. Much like Goa, it was once colonised by the Portuguese and they left their stamp on the island, so you can expect delicious Portuguese delicacies on the menu here.
Other recommendations from Times of India include Meghalaya, which is a great place for hiking, and Kumbhalgarh, which is home to a stunning fortress. If you can time your visit to coincide with 1 to 3 December, you’ll also be able to witness the annual Kumbhalgarh Festival.
Prince Charles To Visit India
Prince Charles already has a number of overseas trips lined up for the coming months, and now one more has been added to his schedule.
The royal will be visiting India for just two days on 13 and 14 November this year. During his whistle-stop stay, the heir to the throne will spend his time in New Delhi, where he will be attending events that focus on sustainable markets, climate change and social finance.
He will also be taking part in engagements to “celebrate British-Indian connections”, Clarence House revealed.
This will be his tenth visit to the Asian nation, which he last visited in 2017, when he spent time in the country as part of his longer tour in the region with his wife Camila. In addition to visiting India, the couple also travelled to Brunei, Singapore and Malaysia during that official tour.
While Prince Charles doesn’t need to worry about applying for his India e visa, if you’re planning to follow in his footsteps and visit this vibrant nation make sure that you organise your visa well before you travel.
If you do travel to Delhi, you’ll find that there is a lot to see and do. According to Lonely Planet, the top sight in the city is the Red Fort. This particular monument is situated on Old Delhi, dating back to the 17th century.
One of the most striking features of this fort is its 18m-high walls that surround the entire complex. It took ten years to construct and was founded by Emperor Shah Jahan.
Other places recommended by the travel guide are the Qutab Minar, the bazaars of Old Delhi and Humayun’s Tomb.
Once you've arranged your India tourist visa, you can begin with the fun part of organising your trip and planning where in this varied country you'll visit.
While it's great to see the main sights, there is plenty more to discover away from the likes of the Taj Mahal. Financial Express recently offered some suggestions of places to go that are a little off the beaten tourist trail but that still have plenty to offer.
Bharatpur in Rajasthan is just one example. This historic city is just a four-hour drive from New Delhi and has plenty of things to explore. Its main attractions are Bharatpur Palace, which dates from the time of the Jat kingdom, and Keoladeo Ghana National Park.
Another place recommended by the news provider is Chettinad in Tamil Nadu. This city is known for its palatial mansions, as well as being an excellent place to pick up antiques.
Or you could head to Jambughoda in Gujarat, which is a designated wildlife sanctuary. Leopards, hyenas and a variety of birds are among the creatures you may find here.
If wildlife is your passion, you may be interested to learn that tiger numbers in India have risen in recent years, with almost 3,000 of these iconic big cats now living in the wild in the nation.
Nagarhole National Park and Ranthambore National Park were recently named as the top tiger spotting destinations in the country by Good Housekeeping. Both national parks are also home to a variety of other creatures, making them well worth a visit during your holiday.
Why Now Is The Time To Go Tiger Spotting In India
India has always been one of the best places in the world to visit if you want to have the opportunity to see tigers in their natural habitat.
These stunning big cats once inhabited much of Asia, but their numbers have steadily fallen due to the destruction of their habitat and poaching. However, there is some good news for tigers, in India at least - their numbers are climbing.
Good Housekeeping recently named India as one of the top places to visit next year, and among the main reasons is because of the boost to its tiger numbers.
There are almost 3,000 wild tigers in India now, which is an impressive climb from the 2,226 recorded just four years ago. According to the news provider, the best places to go if you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of these elusive creatures is Ranthambore National Park or Nagarhole National Park.
Ranthambore National Park is one of the best places in the world for tiger encounters, but the big cats are far from the only thing worth seeing here. As well as a plethora of other wildlife, this protected area also boasts interesting ancient ruins and stunning scenery.
In Nagarhole National Park, meanwhile, you have the backdrop of the Western Ghats Mountains. As well as Bengal tigers, you could spot Indian leopards and hyenas, Asian elephants or langur monkeys.
If you’re planning a trip to search for tigers, make sure you organise your India e visa in plenty of time.
Unusual Experiences To Try In India
There are some experiences that are synonymous with India, like seeing the Taj Mahal or experiencing the vibrancy and chaos of Delhi’s streets. But there are others that you might not expect to find in this fascinating nation.
CNN Travel recently highlighted some unexpected adventures you can have if you jet off to India after arranging your India e visa.
At the top of the list is a walking safari in one of the country’s tiger reserves. You will spend several days hiking in the jungle, camping in among the trees at night, on the search for these endangered big cats in the Satpura Tiger Reserve.
India is home to all manner of fascinating landscapes and, if you time your visit right, you could explore one of the world’s largest salt deserts. When the monsoon season ends in October, water evaporates from the salt marsh in the Rann of Kutch, leaving behind a vast salt desert.
This barren environment is quite a sight to behold and one that’s not frequented by many international tourists.
You can have a truly unique experience if you travel to Kanyakumari. This coastal town on the southern edge of India is where the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea all meet. What’s unique about it is that you can watch the sun rise and set from the same place.
According to Trip Savvy , there’s a lot more to see in the coastal town, including the Vivekananda Rock Memorial and taking a dip at Treveni Sangam. This is the point at which the three oceans meet and the water is believed to be powerful and sacred.
In supersession of all earlier advisories issued on this subject the following visa restrictions are issued for implementation.
All existing visas issued to nationals of any country except those issued to Diplomats, Officials, UN/International organizations, Employment, Project visas stand suspended till April 15, 2020. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on March 13, 2020 at the port of departure of any foreigner for onward journey to India.
Visas of all foreigners already in India remain valid. They may contact the nearest FRRO/FRO through e- FRRO module for extension/conversion of their visa or grant of any consular service if they choose to do so.
Visa free travel facility granted to OCI card holders shall be kept in abeyance till April 15, 2020. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on March 13, 2020 at the port of departure of any foreigner for onward journey to India.
Any foreign national who intends to travel to India for compelling reasons may contact the nearest Indian Mission for fresh visa.
All incoming travelers, including Indian nationals arriving from any destination and having visited China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany on or after February 15, 2020 shall be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on March 13, 2020 at the port of departure of such travelers.
International traffic through land borders will be restricted to designated Immigration Checkposts with robust medical screening facilities. These will be notified separately by Ministry of Home Affairs.
In addition to the above visa restrictions the following travel advisory is hereby issued in accordance with instructions of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare:
Indian nationals presently abroad are advised to avoid non-essential travel. They are hereby informed that they can be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days on their arrival in India.
All Indian nationals are strongly advised to avoid all non-essential travel abroad. On their return they can be subjected to quarantine for a minimum period of 14 days.