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.


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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Great Cities of the Silk Road

12 day tour from £2695

If you’ve been seduced by an image of a magnificent tiled mosque, tomb or madrasa framed by patchworks of flat rooftops or endless desert, chances are it’ll feature on this tour of Uzbekistan’s cul

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Sacred Trails

15 day tour from £4465

The Kumano Kodo, on the Kii Peninsula, is Japan’s most traditional pilgrimage trail.

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Iconic Landscapes of China

17 day tour from £5195

Antique scroll paintings spring to life on this 17-day tour, which blends together the crème de la crème of the country’s distinctive landscapes.

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China's Ancient Heartland

15 day tour from £2895

Trace the evolution of Chinese religious culture from the rock-cut caves of the Wei Dynasty (mid-5th century AD) to the warrior monks of Shaolin’s Kung Fu temple on this two-week tour of China.

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China Grand Tour

20 day tour from £3985

Three weeks is the minimum amount of time required to complete a tour of China’s Big Five sights (Beijing’s ‘Forbidden City’, the Great Wall, Terracotta Army outside Xian, Panda Breeding Centre in

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Rajasthan Rendezvous

14 day tour from £2450

Experience the splendour of India’s Golden Triangle – including the Taj Mahal, ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur and Udaipur, location of the recent Best Marigold Hotel movies – on this carefully crafted 14-da

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Textile Tour of North India

12 day tour from £2275

Textiles are among the most vibrant expressions of a nation’s cultural heritage, and nowhere is this more true than India.

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Java and Bali Overland

15 day tour from £2495

Starting at the Indonesian capital, this 2 week-trip covers a wide cross-section of Java’s extraordinary sights, from volcanoes to coffee plantations where life has altered little since the time of

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Myanmar Discovery

22 day tour from £4895

As well as the country’s main sights, this trip features visits to some very off-the-beaten-path locations, seldom visited by foreigners.

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Myanmar Explorer

18 day tour from £3735

This varied itinerary covers Myanmar’s classic sights, and includes a few side trips to lesser known, rural destinations, market towns and ethnic minority villages.

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