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India Season on the BBC

| Words by Ellena Johnstone |

The BBC is showing a series of programs on one of the most culturally diverse places in the world, India

From the sweeping majesty of the north’s temples and palaces, to the riotously colourful villages, vivid green tea plantations and exotic coastline of the south, India has captured the imagination of travellers for centuries.

It is of little surprise then that the BBC has chosen to celebrate the subcontinent with India Season – a series of programmes inspired by this diverse nation. Covering all things Indian – from Bollywood cinema, to wildlife, to its expanding modern cities – India Season promises to enlighten and inspire. Here are our top picks and suggested small group tours for those inspired by the programmes:

Kolkata with Sue Perkins

There is no city quite like colourful, beautiful and wild Kolkata. Formerly known as Calcutta, this lively metropolis is the cultural and commercial heart of East India with a rich and intricate colonial history. In this programme, presenter Sue Perkins immerses herself in the lives of the ordinary Indians who call the city home, revealing a portrait of contemporary Kolkata as it emerges from its recent colonial past. You can watch it here.

Kolata TaxiA taxi on the busy streets of Kolkata

See it for yourself

Our Ganges Discovery Voyage departs from Kolkata and cruises through peaceful villages and stunning scenery, before continuing overland to Jaipur. There is plenty of time to explore the colourful city, and visit key sites such as Mother Theresa’s house, now a permanent exhibition celebrating her life and work, and the Victoria Memorial Museum containing the largest collection of British-colonial artefacts in India.

India: Nature’s Wonderland

World-famous for its rich wildlife and stunning natural landscapes, India is home to some of the most iconic wildlife species on earth, such as the elusive Bengal Tiger. In this programme, wildlife expert Liz Bonnin, actress Freida Pinto and mountaineer Jon Gupta reveal India's natural wonders. You can watch the series here.

A tiger in Ranthambore National ParkA tiger relaxes amongst the dry grassland of Ranthambore National Park

See it for yourself

Our Highlights of Rajasthan small group tour offers the chance to spot rare Bengal Tigers in the world-famous Ranthambore National Park.

World’s Busiest Railway 2015

The railways first came to India is 1853, and today the Indian rail network is one of the most extensive in the world, criss-crossing this vast subcontinent and even taking passengers across the border to Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. From the Chhatrapati Shivaji station in Mumbai, Dan Snow, Anita Rani, Robert Llewellyn provide a fascinating insight into the world’s busiest railway. You can watch the series here.

View from toy train in MunnarThe toy train in Munnar passes through spectacular passes and ample tea plantations

See it for yourself

Take a charming ride on the famous Nilgiri Queen ‘toy train’ to Ooty, high in the hills of Southern India, on our 14 Day Spice of the South small group tour. Or why not take our 17 Day Iconic India tour for the chance to journey by rail between Orchha and Agra and experience India’s railways for yourself.

Browse our complete collection of small group tours to India, or see our private touring options

The whole BBC India Season can be viewed here.