Culture and History

South Asia ranks among the most culturally rich and sophisticated regions of the world. Since ancient times, performing arts – whether music, dance or ritual theatre – have played a central role in religious life, as well as that of the royal courts and local villages. Many forms are fast disappearing. But an extraordinary wealth of arts survive throughout India, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. 

Moreover, staying in the luxury hotels featured on TransIndus tours, you’ll have no difficulty finding them. Evening culture shows are very much a regular feature of the five-star scene. Even in city centre places, it’s not unusual for sitar players and their tabla accompanists from the local music college to be recruited to serenade diners, or for sumptuously attired Bharatiya Natyam dancers to provide refined after-dinner entertainment.

In Rajasthan, cultural recitals are often staged against a backdrop of flamboyant Rajput domes and pavilions in the palace or haveli courtyard – the perfect setting for the swirling, sparkling dances of Kalmelia dancers, or the haunting desert songs of the Manganiyar gypsies. In Lucknow, you might see Kathak dances such as those that tantalized the sybaritic Kings of Avadh. In Kerala, it could be elaborately costumed Kathakali or graceful Mohiniyattam dance, with performers decked in brocaded silk and gold tend. 

Opportunities to see such riches in their authentic contexts – in local temples, shrines and stately homes – may be rarer, but are always worth seeking out.


Monuments


South Asia’s long and complex history has left in its wake an astonishing legacy of historic monuments. Wherever you travel in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal or Bhutan, you’ll you astonished by their sheer scale and sophistication, and by the fact that so many remain very much in use, serving precisely the same function for which they were constructed many centuries ago. 

Innumerable historic monuments elsewhere in South Asia, on the other hand, languish in states of decay that’s inconceivable for travellers from countries where such treasures are more highly valued. For want of funds and government will, archeological sites such as Hampi or Mandu in India are literally crumbling into the dust, along with countless domed tombs, hilltop forts, temples and step wells. 

TransIndus tours showcase the pick of South Asia’s historic monuments, both large and small, from the most famous (such as the Taj Mahal and Delhi’s Red Fort) to more obscure gems (such as the ruined pre-colonial cities north of Kolkata, or the fabulous lost city of Champaner in Gujarat).

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Bhutan Escape with Amankora

11 day tour from £4685

Since it opened in 2004, this chain of five luxury lodges has set new standards in Himalayan hospitality.

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Indian Summers

12 day tour from £1995

Explore India’s Golden Triangle, and then travel to the summer capital of the British Raj, Shimla – setting for the TV series "Indian Summers".

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Mekong Explorer

19 day tour from £2890

Starting in northern Thailand for two nights, discover the Golden Triangle region, where Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet.

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Colonial Malaysia

14 day tour from £2450

With colonial powers having such an affect on the history of the country, this tour will provide an insight into colonial life and how it is now fused with modern day Malaysia.

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Winter Wonders

10 day tour from £2089

This diverse winter tour combines China's most treasured and iconic monuments in Beijing and Xian with Harbin's unique and increasingly grand Ice Festival.

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Eastern Bhutan

16 day tour from £3695

Explore rural Eastern Bhutan on this enlightening tour that takes you well off the beaten track to the remote towns of Mongar and Trashigang as well as the scenic valleys and villages of Bumthang a

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Mountain Kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan

16 day tour from £3665

Take an exciting journey through towns and cities rich in Buddhist tradition and culture on this interesting tour of the mountain kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan.

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Bhutan Highlights

12 day tour from £2975

Discover the magic and mystery of Bhutan on this short tour, covering the rich sights of Paro and Thimphu and taking in the amazing fortified monastic dzong at Punakha.

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North India and Nepal

17 day tour from £3145

Combining the vibrant culture of these neighbouring countries, this tour features some of the most visited sights of the Indian subcontinent.

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Treasures of Nepal

12 day tour from £2365

Explore the stunning palaces and the Buddhist pagodas and stupas of the Kathmandu Valley on this short introductory tour of Nepal.

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