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The Complete Guide to Cycling India

By Kamalpreet Singh

Understanding India


India is a country in South Asia situated between the latitudes 8°4' to 37°6' north and and the longitudes 68°7' to 97°25' east.

Spread across 3.287 million square kms, India is the 7th largest country in the world measured by land area, and the world’s most populous country.

Given its large expanse, India is one of the most geographically diverse countries in the world, making cycling in India a unique experience.

It is bounded by the Himalayas — the highest mountain range on earth — to the north. Nestled within the Indian Himalayas are several charming hill stations set amidst alpine forests and temperate meadows. The union territory of Ladakh, an extension of the Tibetan plateau, is a popular cycling destination in the Indian Himalayas. Uttarakhand, home to the Corbett National Park which houses a significant population of tigers and elephants, is also a popular cycling destination in the Himalayas.

To the south, India is bounded by the Indian Ocean. At 7,000 kms long, India has the 18th longest coastline in the world that harbors several beautiful sandy beaches. This part of India grows some of the finest tea and coffee in the world. Kerala and Goa are the main cycling destinations in this region.

India’s western border is an arid desert, represented most notably by the desert state of Rajasthan famous for its medieval castles and colorful well-preserved rural culture.

Eastern India, on the other hand, is covered with tropical rainforests and mountains. The wettest place on earth, Mawsynram (sometimes Cherrapunji) is located in the northeastern state of Meghalaya in India. It receives 11,871 mm of rainfall annually.

Flora and Fauna

India is among the 17 megadiverse countries in the world, and is ranked the 8th most biologically diverse country in the world.

Three of the world’s 36 biodiversity hotspots are located in India.

India is the last remaining refuge of the Asiatic lion, and has the largest surviving population of tigers left in the world. Most of these tigers are in the Indian states of Rajasthan and Karnataka.

With the re-introduction of the Cheetah to the wild, India is once again home to the 5 big cats — the lion, the tiger, the leopard, the cheetah, and the snow leopard.

India also has the second largest population of rhinos in the world after South Africa, with some 4,000 rhinos living in its forests. The Indian rhino is also called the one-horned rhino, and is distinct from its African counterpart. Nearly the entire Indian rhino population is concentrated in the northeast, with the Kaziranga National Park in Assam being home to the largest concentration of one-horned rhinos in the world.

With more than 32,000 individuals, India has the 5th largest population of elephants in the world. The Indian elephant is a distinct subspecies, being smaller than its African counterpart. Elephants are an important cultural symbol in India, and are revered in several of its religious traditions. Most of India’s elephant population is concentrated in the southern states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.

India also has one of the largest populations of camels, though this population is now steadily in decline. Camels were formerly an important pack animal in India, but the arrival of motor vehicles and the construction of roads across much of the country has led to a drastic reduction in their numbers. Most of India’s camel population is now confined to the desert state of Rajasthan where cyclists can still see nomads grazing large herds of camels.

The peacock is the national bird of India and can be commonly spotted in parks and open fields. The colorful kingfisher is another bird cyclists can easily spot when cycling in India.

India also has the world’s largest population of water buffaloes, both wild and domestic. The wild water buffalo is mostly concentrated in the northeastern state of Assam, which is home to 3,100 of the 3,400 wild water buffalos in the world, or over 91% of the global population.

The domestic water buffalo, on the other hand, is a more common sight. In fact, over 56% of the world’s entire water buffalo population is concentrated in India where it is an important source of milk. When cycling in India, water buffaloes wallowing in ponds are one of the most common sights tourists will see.

With over 7.6% of the world’s mammal population and 6% of its bird population, India is, in fact, a wildlife lover’s paradise. Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book was set in India of the late 19th century, and was, in part, inspired by true events of a feral human being raised by a pack of wolves in northern India.

Although deforestation and urbanization have impacted its forest cover, India still has over 72 million hectares or 24.62% of its area under forest cover, making it the 9th most forested country in the world.

Several of our bike tours such as Exotic India Bike Tours, Princely Rajasthan Bike Tour, Coast to Coast Luxury Bike Tour, Wild South Luxury Bike Tour, Arunachal and Assam Bike Tour, and Pristine Uttarakhand Bike Tour include visits to some of India’s best national parks where you get a chance to encounter tigers, rhinos, and elephants in the wild.

When cycling in India, it is not uncommon to chance upon wild animals such as foxes, jackals, deer, antelopes, mongoose, elephants, porcupines, pythons, Indian bison and wild boars.


Most of India falls into two climatic zones — tropical and subtropical.

The Tropic of Cancer at 23°26 N passes through the geographical middle of India and divides the country into roughly two equal halves, with the regions south of this latitude having a tropical climate and the regions north of it having a subtropical climate.

The only exceptions are the Himalayan regions such as Uttarakhand and Ladakh that have temperate or alpine climates.

South India

Most of South India has a tropical wet climate which experiences two distinct seasons — wet and dry. The dry season typically lasts from October to March. The average temperature during this time is around 20 - 22.5 °C ( 68 - 72.5 °F).

North and Northeast India (Excluding the Himalayas)

This part of India experiences four distinct seasons — a hot and dry summer, a rainy monsoon season, a pleasant autumn/spring and a cool winter.

Average temperatures in January range from 14 to 25 °C (57 to 77 °F), and average temperatures in April range from 25 to 35 °C (77 to 95 °F).


With an output of $3.73 trillion in 2023, India is the 5th largest economy in the world measured by GDP. Despite this, however, its GDP per capita is among the lowest in the world at $2,612.

Although it is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, India is still a low-income country.

With 1.4 billion inhabitants, India is both the world’s most populous country and the world’s largest democracy. Agriculture contributes 18% to the country, but employs nearly 45% of its workforce.

India is the world’s largest producer of milk, butter, millets, sugar, and pulses. Milk consumed in India is sourced from buffaloes, cows, and goats and India is the largest producer of all three kinds. .

Some other important commodities of which India is the largest producer in the world include:

  • Bananas
  • Mangoes
  • Lime/Lemon
  • Papayas
  • Onions
  • Ginger
  • Spices including cardamom, nutmeg, mace, and coriander
  • Turmeric
  • Silk
  • Jute

India is also the second largest producer of wheat, rice, cotton, potatoes, sugarcane, oranges, tomatoes, peanuts, and tobacco in the world.

Tea and coffee are also produced in large quantities in India. India is the second largest producer of tea and the eighth largest producer of coffee in the world.

When cycling in India, you’ll encounter tea plantations in southern and northeastern India. Several of our south India and northeast India bike tours such as the Kerala Escapade Bike Tour, the Arunachal and Assam Bike Tour, and the Splendid Sikkim Bike Tour include stays at tea estates, many of them dating back to the colonial period.

India is also the second largest producer of aromatic sandalwood in the world. When cycling in India, you will most likely encounter sandalwood trees in the south Indian state of Karnataka. Karnataka also produces most of India’s silk,

India is also the second largest producer of cashew nuts in the world, with the south Indian state of Goa being the hub of Indian cashew production. If you’re doing any of our Goa bike tours, such as the Bangalore to Goa Bike tour, make sure to sample some of the local cashew produce, which is commonly available in most local markets. The locals also make a liquor known as cashew feni. Goan cashew feni has been accorded the prestigious Geographical Indication (GI) status by the World Trade Organization (WTO). If you have a taste for liquor, we recommend trying out Goan cashew feni when cycling in Goa.

Another important crop grown in this region is turmeric, of which India is both the largest producer, consumer, and exporter. If you’re doing our Bombay to Goa Bike Tour, you will likely ride past areas where turmeric and black pepper are grown. India is the third-largest producer of black pepper in the world, and Indians use both turmeric and black pepper liberally in their cuisine.

India is the fifth largest producer of rubber in the world, and rubber plantations are a common site in the southern state of Kerala.

India is the fourth largest producer of marble in the world, accounting for 8% of the global production. Most of India’s marble comes from the desert state of Rajasthan. The famous Taj Mahal in Agra was built using Marble from Rajasthan too. You’ll see plenty of marble quarries and cottage industries engaged in making marble products when cycling from Jaipur to Agra.

India is the world’s 6th largest manufacturer and represents 2.5% of the world’s total manufacturing output. The services sector is India’s fastest growing sector and accounts for nearly 50% of its GDP. India is a global leader in information technology (IT), with the south Indian city of Bangalore being a global IT hub.


Explore our amazing bike tours in India now!

Why Go Cycling India?

1. The Taj Mahal and Other Architectural Marvels

Built in 1632, the Taj Mahal is considered one of the 7 wonders of the modern world. However, it is just one of the many architectural marvels of India. India is also home to 42 UNESCO World Heritage Sites as of January 2024, with several more in the pipeline. This is the sixth largest number in the world after Italy, China, France, Germany, and Spain.

2. The Food

Indian food is consistently rated among the best in the world. India is home to some of the most expensive and exotic spices and herbs on earth that have titillated mankind’s taste buds since antiquity and have shaped global history. These include cardamoms, cloves, nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, turmeric, and coriander, all of which Indians use liberally in their cuisine to make it rich and flavorful.

Afterall, it was the search for Indian spices that led Columbus to discover America, and for the various European East India companies to colonize Asia.

India is also the second largest producer of tea in the world, and everywhere you go, you will be welcomed by the ubiquitous Masala Chai. Premium varieties of tea found in India include Darjeeling tea and Assam tea.

3. The Culture

As of 2021, 65% of India's population still lived in villages, making India one of the least urbanized countries. Only a handful of African countries such as Ethiopia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe have a greater percentage of their population living in villages.

With over 45% of its population employed in agriculture and allied activities including fishing, India is also a predominantly agrarian country.

In most parts of India, village life continues undisturbed the way it has for thousands of years. When cycling in India, you can still see shepherds herding their sheep, water buffalos wallowing in village ponds, caravans of camels traversing the desert sands much as they have been doing for centuries.

At the same time, India is also home to opulent palaces of erstwhile Maharajas, magnificent castles, spectacular temples, and bustling bazaars filled with beautiful crafts.

4. Wildlife

India is among the top 10 most biodiverse countries in the world. It is also the last remaining refuge of some of the most critically endangered megafauna on earth including the Asiatic lion, the Bengal tiger, the Indian elephant, and the one-horned rhino.

There’s a good reason Rudyard Kipling chose India as the setting for his classic The Jungle Book. In fact, the word jungle itself is India’s gift to the English language, being derived from the Sanskrit/Hindi word for forest.

With 24.62% of its vast landmass still covered by forests, India offers plenty of opportunities for wildlife lovers to spot some of the rarest flora and fauna on earth.

5. Diverse Landscapes

Pretty much every region of India we run tours in is the size of a large European country. This means that each of our India bike tours packs a ton of diversity when it comes to terrain and landscapes for cycling. Snow-clad hills, tropical rainforests, alpine woods, temperate meadows, golden beaches, sandy deserts, India has every landscape and geography that is found on earth. There is never a dull moment when you’re cycling in India with us.


Dive into our curated India cycling adventures today!

Which Are the Best Places for Cycling in India?

Given India’s size and diversity, the cyclist is spoilt for choices when it comes to cycling in India. Here’s a quick primer to the best regions for cycling in India:

North India

Rajasthan is the best region for cycling in north India. Rajasthan is a large state, about the size of Germany, and thus offers a wide variety of terrains including hills, plains, meadows, and deserts so that no two days feel alike. Rajasthan also has the best preserved culture and Indian traditions, complete with colorful traditional costumes, handicrafts, and folk culture. This includes some of the oldest and best preserved forts and palaces in India, several of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Everyday life in rural Rajasthan still continues the way it did centuries ago, so that a Rajasthan bike tour feels like stepping into a time machine and traveling to an era long gone by.

Rajasthan is also home to several national parks with sizable populations of tigers, leopards and other endangered animals.

The main cities in Rajasthan are Udaipur, Jodhpur, and Jaipur, and most Rajasthan cycling tours include these three in the itinerary. Udaipur is a charming city of lakes nestled among forested hills that was founded in the 16th century. Its palaces have been the setting for numerous celebrity weddings and Hollywood films, including the James Bond flick, Ocotpussy.

Agra, home of the famous Taj Mahal, is located close to Rajasthan. Delhi, the capital of India, and itself a major tourist destination on account of its historical monuments and bustling bazaars, is also located nearby. Jaipur, Agra, and Delhi taken together are referred to as the Golden Triangle of north India.

However, the good cycling routes in this region extend only until Bharatpur and Sariska, which is also where Rajasthan ends. While Sariska is a wildlife sanctuary and a tiger reserve, Bharatpur is a bird sanctuary and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We do not recommend cycling beyond Bharatpur towards Agra.

South India

Southern India is a triangular peninsula which juts out into the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. Where Rajasthan is arid, south India is tropical and lush.

The best cycling in south India happens in the states of Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. Most of southern India is either coastal, mountainous, or elevated tableland.

The coastal regions of south India are home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, such as those in Goa and Karnataka. Kerala also has beautiful backwaters, akin to bayous in the southeastern United States. These backwaters are essentially a series of picturesque lakes, canals, and lagoons that run parallel to the coast of the Arabian Sea. A houseboat stay experience on Kerala’s backwaters is highly recommended to all tourists.

The highlands of south India are covered with lush green tea and coffee plantations and dense forests. They’re also home to several charming hill stations dating back to the colonial period, such as Ooty.

Aficionados of colonial-era architecture will especially appreciate Pondicherry, a former French colony that still retains much of its colonial charm, and Goa, a former Portuguese colony with several beautiful churches dating back to the Portuguese era.

The Western Ghats region of south India, covering the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Goa is a biodiversity hotspot with several national parks, offering visitors the chance to encounter wildlife including tigers and elephants while on a bike tour. This is a strip of mountains reaching up to 2,695 m (8,841) that run parallel to the Arabian Sea. The high altitude combined with very high precipitation common to tropical and coastal areas gives this region its unique ecology, which is similar to that found in the highland areas of South America such as Colombia and Peru.

South Indian architecture, especially its temples are renowned the world over for their colorful design. Several temples in South India date back to the 6th and 7th centuries AD. South India is also a hub of handicrafts, and is especially known for its ornate textiles. Silk sarees from Tamil Nadu are especially valued among Indians, while Sandalwood from Karnataka is highly prized the world over.

South Indian cuisine is very different from the north, and incorporates a wider range of spices and ingredients that grow in the tropical south. Rice is the staple in the south, as opposed to wheat in the north. Seafood is also an important part of south Indian cuisine.

When cycling in south India, visitors are spoilt for choice. This is why we have over 12 tours in south India, and still feel we’ve barely scratched the surface of this beautiful region.

Northeast India

Northeast India is the least urbanized and the least populated region of India, thus making it an off-beat cycling destination. Most of the Indian northeast is hilly and covered with dense forests. Until recently, a lack of quality infrastructure prevented the growth of tourism in the region. However, over the last few years, roads, connectivity, and hotels have all improved significantly, making the northeast a welcoming destination for tourists.

The main cycling attractions in the northeast are Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Meghalaya. Sikkim is a mountainous Buddhist province that is sandwiched between Nepal to the west and Bhutan to the west. It offers gorgeous views of snow-clad Himalayan peaks including the Kanchenjunga, the third-highest mountain in the world.

Assam is famous for its Assam tea, and as the home to the Kaziranga national park which has the largest population of the endangered one-horned rhinoceros in the world. Arunachal Pradesh borders Assam, and is India’s easternmost state, sharing international borders with China and Myanmar.

Meghalaya is yet another unspoiled destination which offers spectacular views of hills, valleys and rainforests. It is also home to Mawsynram/Cherrapunji, the wettest place on earth. Because of its misty mountains and crystal clear lakes, it is known as the Scotland of the East.


The Himalayas are the highest mountain range on earth, and about 30% of the Himalayan range falls in India. One of the best places for a cycle tour in the Himalayas is Ladakh. It is a spectacularly barren plateau located some 3,500m (12,000 ft) above the sea level that has retained much of its pristine beauty due to its remoteness and its harsh climate. However, Ladakh comes alive in the summer and offers spectacular views to cyclists. Due to its altitude, a cycling tour in Ladakh is recommended only for advanced cyclists.

Uttarakhand is another state nestled in the Himalayas which rewards the persevering cyclist with gorgeous views and beautiful rides. It is home to several colonial era hill stations such as Nainital, Mussoorie, Binsar, and Ranikhet. It is also an excellent destination for wildlife lovers. The Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand offers excellent tiger sightings, besides being the northernmost habitat of the Indian elephant.

When is the Best Time to Cycle India?

Given India’s vast geographical spread, the best time for cycling India depends on where you’re headed.

Rajasthan and South India

Fall to spring (October to March) is the best time to visit Rajasthan and South India. The temperature varies between 5°C to 25°C (41°F to 77°F), depending on the specific month and the altitude of the place you’re in.

The same applies to all other places in the north Indian plains including Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Mumbai etc.

Northeast India

The best time to cycle northeast India is fall (September-November) & spring (March-May). Winters can get cold with snow in some of the higher-altitude destinations, while summer and monsoon months see heavy rainfall.


The best time to cycle Ladakh is June to August. Days are warm and sunny with little to no precipitation, although night time temperatures can drop close to freezing point.

Due to its high altitude, Ladakh remains out of bounds for tourists for the rest of the year owing to its inclement weather.

The best time for cycling in Uttarakhand is spring (March to May) and fall (September to November). The temperature during this time varies between 5°C to 25°C (41°F to 77°F) with mostly clear skies, making it ideal for cycling.

Enjoying Indian Cuisine

India is a land blessed with nature’s bounty, and Indian cuisine is known for its richness and abundant flavors. When you’re cycling in India, trying out Indian cuisine is certainly one of the highlights. Here are some must-have dishes to try when cycling in India:

1. Aloo Poori: Aloo Poori is a dish that has two components — spicy potatoes flavored with green chillies, onions, tomatoes and turmeric either mashed or in a gravy, and a light fluffy fried bread made from semolina with a slight crunch to it. Together, they make a legendary combination that is the envy of bacon and cheese. This Indian dish is a staple breakfast item across large parts of the country.

2. Dal Makhani and Naan: Dal Makhani is a slow-cooked, spicy, and aromatic whole black lentil soup prepared with dollops of butter. A whole plethora of spices go into its making, and the best chefs never reveal their secrets. However, when made at home, it is most commonly prepared using onion, garlic, ginger, coriander, black cardamom, and cloves. While you can savor Dal Makhani with just about any kind of rice or bread, we’d suggest you try it with a garlic naan, and you’ll be licking your fingers.

3. Masala Dosa: Masala Dosa is a large, wafer thing, crispy rice pancake that comes stuffed with mildly-spiced potatoes and is eaten with a bunch of sauces that include a sweet-and-spicy coconut chutney and a hot soup of lentils and assorted vegetables known as sambhar. This dish is a staple food item in south India.

4. Chicken Tikka Masala: Perhaps India’s most famous culinary export to the west, chicken tikka masala consists of pieces of chicken marinated in yogurt and cooked with cream, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, pepper, and chillies. While it is likely that you may have had this dish elsewhere, in India, you finally get to taste the real thing.

5. Biryani: Biryani is a dish made from aromatic rice cooked with meat — either chicken or mutton — and spices including cardamom, cloves, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, and coriander. Some variants add even more rich ingredients such as cashews, raisins, and saffron. The rice is cooked slowly in ghee to add even more richness and flavor.

Needless to say, everywhere you go in India, you will be welcomed by the ubiquitous masala chai. Chai goes well with Indian snacks such as samosa — pastry filled with spiced mashed potatoes.

To avoid the infamous Delhi Belly, we advise staying clear of uncooked food till your stomach has adapted to India. Always drink packaged water or water that you know has come from a good filtration system. When buying packaged water, make sure that it is genuine, and not a cheap imitation of a popular brand. Common packaged water brands in India include Bisleri, Aquafina, Kinley, Dasani, Evian, Kingfisher, and Himalayan. Rail Neer brand is also served in Indian Railways.

India Visa Requirements

India requires citizens of all countries except Nepal and Bhutan to possess a valid visa upon entry. The type of visa applicable for tourists is the Indian Tourist Visa.

E-visas are available to citizens of most countries including the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the EU.

Visitors can apply for an e-visa by visiting the official website of the Government of India.

Visitors can also apply for a regular/paper visa by visiting the Indian embassy/consulate in their country of residence. However, even the paper visa requires visitors to fill out the application form online. They can then take a printout of the filled-in application form and submit it at the nearest Indian embassy/consulate. Visitors can apply for a regular/paper visa by visiting the official website of the Government of India.

The Indian mission takes a minimum of three working days to process a visa application.

India offers a tourist visa-on-arrival to citizens of Japan, UAE, and South Korea. Nationals of all other countries must apply for a visa prior to their arrival in India.

List of documents required for an Indian visa:

  1. Original passport valid for a minimum of 6 months and having at least 3 blank pages.

  2. A photocopy of the data page of the passport.

  3. Two passport size photographs

  4. An Indian Government visa application form duly filled in and signed by the applicant. The signature should match the applicant’s signature in their passport. The application form for Regular/Paper visa can be found on the official website www.indianvisaonline.gov.in

Additional documentation may be required for applicants who were born in India and have later acquired the citizenship of another country. Such applicants may refer to this page for further information.

Handy Info


India’s official currency is the Indian Rupee (INR). As of March 2024, 1 USD = 82.92 INR.

Most Indian shops and establishments will only accept the rupee, so it is advisable to carry some local currency with you for emergencies. There are currency exchanges in almost all major Indian cities. The tourist areas, in particular, will have plenty of currency exchanges, and the black and yellow Western Union signboard is a ubiquitous sight in most tourist areas in India.

You can, however, use major currencies such as the Dollar (American, Australian, and Canadian), Euro, and the British Pound to tip service staff at hotels and restaurants, and guides and drivers on tour.

Credit cards are also accepted at most commercial establishments in major cities and tourist hubs, barring small shops and mom-and-pop stores selling daily need items. For the latter, its best to keep some local currency in hand.

If you’re foreign currency whose value exceeds USD 5,000 upon your arrival in India, it will need to be declared to the Indian customs authorities at the airport in a Currency Declaration Form.


India has 34 international airports, with the ones at Delhi and Mumbai being the most used ones by international travelers. In addition, there are 108 domestic airports and most major tourist destinations are connected by air.

Air travel is especially convenient for traveling longer distances.

Train is also a popular and economical mode of traveling between cities in India. Buses are also available. When booking trains and buses, it is advisable to go for air conditioned coaches due to the climate, and also because these tend to be better maintained than the non-air conditioned ones.

For relatively shorter distances that involve up to 5-6 hours of driving, visitors can also book taxi cabs.

Rental cars are available at metro cities, but we would not recommend these for first time visitors given the traffic and road conditions in India, which take some getting used to.

For commuting within cities, tuk-tuks are a great option and are available in all cities. Uber is available in major Indian cities, though you might need a local SIM card to access it. Air-conditioned taxi cabs are available in all cities and tourist destinations, and your hotel can easily arrange one for you.

A few large Indian cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore have also unveiled a metro rail system for intra-city travel. While this is fast, safe, and economical, it can get a bit crowded as it is the preferred mode of commuting for the working classes.


With over 456 languages spoken by its 1.4 billion people, India is the 4th most linguistically diverse country in the world after Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and Nigeria.

Hindi is, by far, the most widely spoken and understood language in the country, with over 40% of the population speaking some variant or dialect of Hindi. However, Hindi is neither spoken nor understood in southern India, and in most parts of northeast India.

At the same time, English is widely understood by a large number of Indians in major cities and in the tourist areas, even though many may not speak the language very well. Most signboards in the country are in English, along with one of the local languages.

Culture and Religion

India is one of the oldest civilizations on earth, and is the birthplace of at least 4 major religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, besides several smaller tribal and animalistic religions.

As such, it is a very culturally diverse country, and each part of India has its own unique culture.

India is a secular country and the state guarantees freedom of religion to all. Hinduism is the largest religion in India and is followed by nearly 80% of the population.

Islam is the second-most popular religion, followed by around 14% of the population. In fact, India has the second largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia. Christianity and Sikhism are followed by 2% and 1.8% of the population respectively, while Buddhists, Jains, and followers of tribal religions make up the rest.

India is also home to a small but influential population of Zoroastrians or Parsis comprising some 50,000 individuals. This is the largest population of Zoroastrians anywhere in the world, and makes up almost 50% of the world's Zoroastrian population.

Religion makes up an important part of the everyday lives of most Indians. Visitors are advised to be sensitive to peoples’ religious beliefs. This involves dressing appropriately when visiting religious places. If you’re unsure, always consult your tour guide on how to dress when you’re visiting a religious place.

Because of their association with religion, certain food items may be considered taboo in certain parts of India.

For instance, beef, especially cow meat is not consumed by Hindus in north India, and is generally not available for consumption in that part. It may be available in south India though, where Hindus have different dietary preferences.

Similarly, pork is considered taboo for Muslims, and is not available for consumption in Muslim-owned eateries.

Among Sikhs, the consumption of tobacco and its derivatives is prohibited, and smoking anywhere near a Sikh religious place is prohibited.

Alcohol may be prohibited in certain areas and on certain special occasions. for instance, the sale of liquor is prohibited in the state of Gujarat. The sale is liquor is also prohibited in certain cities of religious importance such as Haridwar and Rishikesh. The sale of liquor is also prohibited on national holidays such as Independence Day (August 15th), Republic Day (January 26th), and other religious festivities.

Visitors should also avoid photographing military or police installations.

Certain animals such as cows, monkeys, and peacocks are associated with religious beliefs, and for this reason, are allowed to roam unharmed. People also tend to feed stray dogs in cities and villages. So expect to see plenty of cows, monkeys, peacocks, and dogs everywhere you go.

India is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, so expect to see a lot of people in most places. Indian cities, especially, tend to be crowded and noisy. Indians also tend to honk the horns of their vehicles for various reasons. Sometimes, it may even be just to say hello to passersby. However, with time, almost all visitors to India realize that there is an order within the chaos of India.

On the whole, India is an open and friendly country that welcomes millions of tourists every year. Indians are warm, welcoming, and friendly people who love chatting up foreigners and exchanging stories.

Appliances and Devices

Power supply in India is at 220V and 50 Hz. This is also the voltage used in most other parts of the world, except the US, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Japan, where 200-127 V is used. Travelers from these countries might need to use a voltage converter if their device does not support these voltages.

Power plugs and sockets in India are of three types:

  1. 2-pin Type C
  2. 3-pin Type D
  3. 3-pin Type M

If your device does not plug into these sockets, you might need to use a travel adapter.

Mobile Coverage

India has good mobile coverage in most parts except in remote and hilly areas. As of March 2024, 5G services are being rolled out in India, whereas 4G is widely available.

International travelers can use their mobile phones in India for calling and accessing data as long as they have global roaming activated.

If you intend to stay for long, it would be good to buy a local SIM card. These are available in most convenience stores, phone stores, and airports. Vodafone, Airtel, and Reliance JIo are the most popular mobile network providers in India.

Time Zone

India follows the Indian Standard Time (IST) which is 5:30 hours ahead of GMT (GMT + 5:30). There is only one time zone in India.

What You May Find

Cows, monkeys, water buffaloes, camels, elephants, beautiful temples and mosques, and lots of masala chai.

Through the Notes

Read: Fiction - Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie, Autobiography - Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts Travelogs - Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, Holy Cow! An Indian Adventure by Sarah MacDonald

Listen: Songs of Anoushka Shankar, a grammy-award winning artiste, qawwalis of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Watch: The Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire, A Passage to India

Eat: Chhole Bhature, a dish of deep fried leavened sourdough bread served with a spicy chickpea curry

Drink: Masala Chai, Cashew Feni, Mahansar liquor from Rajasthan

Learn: Yoga, pottery

Embrace An India Cycling Adventure

India is a country of unmatched diversity and beauty, and cycling in India is perhaps the most immersive way to experience this amazing country, for it allows you to soak in its various sights and sounds at your own pace. From the snow-clad Himalayas to the tranquil deserts of Rajasthan to sandy beaches in Goa, India has a multitude of exciting experiences to offer to the willing traveler.

Art of Bicycle Trips, a pioneer in crafting curated cycling holidays for over a decade, offers expertly guided cycling tours in India. Experience the pinnacle of comfort and safety with handpicked hotels, local cultural encounters, seasoned tour leaders, and a dedicated support vehicle.


Get started with your cycling adventure now!

Explore our Rajasthan bike tours