(8 because 5 is not enough and any more would be giving too much away!). Not in any particular order.
Mumbai – because have you seen a city work and play (not to mention build, drive and grow) at such a breakneck pace? You don’t see Mumbai, like you see Delhi (ie sightseeing), you just throw yourself in and get swept along by it.
‘in between’ Rajasthan – as in between the main / well known tourist places such as Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur. The highlight here is the accommodation – small family run palaces, forts and Maharaja’s hunting lodges. See www.shahpurabagh.com and www.rohetgarh.com and www.rawlanarlai.com for a sample – but so many more out there (and of course we know the best of them!)
Gujarat – a microcosm of India’s diversity: Hindus, Muslims, Jains and Buddhists; modern cities and ancient historical sites; rich and poor; nomadic tribes, farmers and herders, craftsman, royalty. And yet virtually unknown to the outside world.
Rural Tamil Nadu – this is not one for the sightseeing types. A down to earth experience of a modest people and their land awaits those who take the time to explore this region. Dotted with incredible temples, large and small.
Northern Kerala – the beaches are pristine, the food is fabulous, the lifestyle laid back. This is wonderful spot but wont always be so relaxed due to the large resorts which are coming up in the area.
Dharamsala – a melting pot of people, culture and spirit, thanks largely to the Tibetans – including the Dalai Lama – that make this hill station their home in exile.
Hampi – the juxtaposition of the stark, granite landscape with bright green banana plantations, with the ruins of a once mighty city strewn throughout for sheer otherworldliness.
Uttarakhand – in the foothills of the Himalaya lies one of the unknown gems of north India. Lush forest and agricultural land is dotted with small villages and temples, birds and animals abound, and the people welcome you into their homes to stay.