Wired Up: Travel India

The biggest advantage that travel guidebooks have over the Internet these days is that they're portable. However, if you're on-line and need to know what's what, the Web wins hands down. Take India for example, perhaps the most exotic of all destinations.

INDIAN SUMMER

www.indiagov.org/tourism/ menu1.htm

If you think India's websites are going to be rickety and amateurish, you're in for a bit of a shock. This is the part of the Indian government's official website devoted to tourists and travellers. It's professionally produced, slick, colourful and easy to navigate. As anybody who has visited India in the last few years knows, the train system on the whole tends to be a deeply efficient operation. If this site is anything to go by, the country's approach to the Internet is similarly effective with all the basic information you need to plan a trip. The only thing that can jar slightly is the rather over-colourful prose in some of the regional sites (which you can access via this one) but in general it's the perfect departure point of for an on-line voyage of discovery.

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LONELY PLANET

www.lonelyplanet.com/dest/ ind/ind.htm

This is a comprehensive and user-friendly guide, and one of the first generations of truly professional on-line travel guides. The Lonely Planet guide to India is amazingly in-depth and don't be put off by references on the site's title page about how basic the amenities can be on the subcontinent. The guide contains everything from a history of the country to an index of the numerous festivals and events the country hosts at different times of the year. The advantage of on-line travel guides - and one which this site uses to the full - is the ability to take you to other links. Especially useful is the guide to the country's various regions as well as a brief guide to some of the more off-the-beaten- track destinations and activities.

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THE BEST OF THE REST www.wtgonline.com/data/ ind/ind.asp HHH

A less comprehensive travel guide than some, but it contains plenty of useful information about visas, public holidays and so on.

www.india-travel.com HH

You might find this handy once you've made up your mind to head to the subcontinent. The site, run by an Indian travel company, has plenty of information about getting around.

www.123india.com/travel_and_tourism HH

A useful search engine which deals just with India. Excellent for digging out information about more obscure or out-of-the way places.

www.inetindia.com/travel/ state/index.html HHH

This is the index of the country's various regional tourist sites which vary in quality but can provide the adventurous traveller with some useful odds and ends.

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