The first rule you must remember when bringing children to India is to prepare wisely, anticipate issues of safety and comfort, research your itinerary—and then, refrain from over-thinking building up expectations. India is amazing and different from anything you have probably experienced. If you have children these very differences that India what it is can capture a child’s imagination and prove to be an enriching family experience.
There are many choices as to what you can do in India with the entire family. There are beaches, wildlife sanctuaries, hill, deserts, and the list goes on and on. Here we’ve narrowed down the list to three great options for your family’s India travel itinerary.
The Beaches of Goa
There is more to India than the Ganges. If you want to enjoy a beautiful beach, there are many in Goa, including some of the finest in the world. The sand is soft and white, and the water is cerulean. You can para-sail, wind surf, or ski. You can also try scuba diving and snorkeling in waters known for their unique underwater life. One of the safest beaches for children to swim in Goa is Bogmalo beach. If you opt for an even more relaxing journey try the Calangute and Baga beaches, both of which are in Goa. These were among the first hippie resorts but have developed a good deal and are now part of a thriving resort.
Shopping in Goa is as common an activity as vegetating by the seaside. There are many petite shops with clothes and handicraft selections. The hippie beaches are among the more popular shopping areas.
The thing to keep in mind when traveling with your family in India is that Goa is a place to relax and, for many tourists, is a place to get away from the reality that is India. Traveling as a family can be stressful so a stop in an exotic yet relaxing place like Goa might be just the ticket. But if you prefer to stick to exploring the non-westernized side of India, you may want to steer clear of such a place as Goa.
Wildlife Parks and Sanctuaries
If you and your family prefer animals to beaches, there is a wide selection of wildlife sanctuary parks in India. The Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary is quite interesting and worth a visit. Located in the district of Alwar in Rajasthan, you can have a good selection of interesting things for the family to enjoy here. Aside from the animals, there are temples and forts to explore. This is a great place to let your children’s’ imaginations run wild. The sights and activities here will certainly spark their interest.
Sariska National Park, lined by the Aravali hills with valleys and slopes, was once the hunting grounds of the royal family of Alwar. Some of the most endangered and untamed wildlife species can be found here. Striped tigers and spotted leopards, wild dogs, the laughing hyenas, and jackals, among others. You will also find newts and salamanders and toads, owls and peafowls. These are the kinds of things your children read about in fairy tales and exotic stories like the Jungle Book. It’s a great idea to let them experience the real thing first hand.
Tourists will be awed by the ruins of Shiva temples, some dating back to the 6th century. There is also a medieval fort which is rich in Mughal architecture. Besides that, there are many adventure explorations you can choose for your family here including Jeep Safaris and a tour of the ancient monuments and temples. This park can be reached by air, train or bus but air travel is generally the best option when traveling with children.
A Hill to Wander
If you would like to journey to one of India’s beautiful hills, the Jammu and Kashmir hills of India are quite interesting. Kashmir of course is where cashmere sweaters originated from. Kashmir is a popular tourist destination. Nature lovers will be awed by the beauty of the hills, mountains, rivers, lakes, waterfalls and meadows.
Capturing its mysteries are temples, mosques and monasteries. Kashmir has quite a varied culture which is largely Muslim with some Hindus and Buddhists. The Maharaja, the old kings of India, once lived in this beautiful area. One worthwhile destination is Srinagar, an ancient city with lakes dotted by exotic boat houses.
Jammu is a winter capital, known for its Mata Vaishno Devi shrine. There is also the Raghunath temple, the largest in North India, and the Sheesh Mahal, once the home of Dogra kings which has now been transformed into a museum. Some 32 kms away is Akhnoor, a town containing the ruins of the Indus Valley Civilization. Photographers and painters love to congregate here. And then there is Leh Ladakh, a Buddhist attraction on the snowy Himalayan border.
Jammu Kashmir is not considered to be the safest place in India but its beauty is worth seeing. It is not suggested to travel here with small children. And if you do decided to visit this beautiful place, going as part of a guided tour will be the best and safest option.
If you plan your trip carefully and keep in mind the safety of your family, there are many wonderful things to do and to see in India. The memories you bring back will be priceless and will leave a great impact on your children.
Meet the Author:
Lyndsey is an avid world traveler and linguist currently residing in Kolkata, India.