India is an incredibly diverse nation, so if you're planning to spend all or part of your gap year here, you'll find there is a huge choice of things to see and do. To get a little inspiration for your trip, read our guide to the top once in a lifetime opportunities for travellers in India.
Discover life outside the cities
India's big cities - particularly Delhi, the capital - are probably already on your list of top places to see. Indeed, perhaps they are the only parts of India you are currently planning on visiting. However, it pays to be a little more adventurous during your gap year, and exploring some of India's exciting landscapes outside of the urban throngs should also feature highly on your to-do list.
When it comes to places to go, there's certainly no shortage of options to choose from. A particularly popular and exciting destination is the Kerala backwaters, where you can explore landscapes of rice paddies, lagoons and lakes by rice barge. To experience a wholly different landscape, the Thar Desert is an amazing option.
You can choose a different kind of excursions here - such as camel trekking - and get just about as far away from the hectic city streets as you can imagine. While you're exploring, you won't come across any settlement larger than a mud hut village. Plus, you can choose to spend a night camping under the stars, if you're keen to extend your desert experience.
See tigers and lions
Another amazing activity to include on your itinerary is spotting some of the country's majestic big cats. If you head up to southern Saurasthra in Gujarat, you can have an incredibly rare experience - seeing Asiatic lions roaming in the wild in Sasan Gir National Park. In fact, this is now the only place to view these creatures roaming free, so it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
If it's tigers you're interested in, however, visit Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan - the only place in the state where you can spot them in the wild. What's more, the scenery here is fantastic - especially if you see the 10th-century Ranthambore Fort, which is at the centre of the reserve.
Visit world-famous landmarks
No holiday to India would be complete without seeing some of the country's world-famous buildings, the most iconic of which is, undoubtedly, the Taj Mahal. Travelling to Agra to see this stunning mausoleum should definitely be part of your gap year schedule - and you cannot fail to be impressed by its beautiful design and symmetry. It dates back to the 16th century, when Mughul emperor Shah Jahan ordered its construction in memory of Mumtaz Mahal, his wife.
Have a spiritual experience
India is famous for being a spiritual country, so while you're exploring it is worth trying to experience a little of this. Among your options is paying a visit to the holy River Ganges and, if you head to Rishikesh in Uttarakhand, you can listen to worshippers singing and chanting to the river in praise.
Getting a taste of India's traditional medicine, the Ayurvedic philosophy, is another option worth considering. This teaches that your body is a temple and aims to heal people in both body and mind. Ayurvedic experiences range from simple massages - which you can have in a lot of hotels and establishments such as Ashtaang in Delhi - to extended stays in retreats dedicated to it. The choice is yours!