by Akshay Chugh
As a travel destination, India remains in the news stories for all the wrong and all the right reasons. While some of your friends who have visited India, would swear by the experience and how it has changed and inspired them, some others would caution you against the nightmarish heat, the rampant poverty, the hygiene and security concerns and call the whole incredible India experience a sham!",\
5. Food – India is home to a wide variety of cuisine and like language, the food here differs every few 100 kms you go. Street food here is dirt cheap and absolutely delicious but beware of the ‘delhi belly’ and only stick to places which look hygienic and are recommended by others/ online.
So, which is the real India? The land of mystics and sadhus where you could awaken your spiritual self or the land of opportunities as the 3rd largest economy of the world or the polluted third-world country the news stories are happy to portray it as? It is all of this and it’s so much more. There is something for everyone in India. Read on below to find what the India experience has on offer for you:
1. Let’s talk money –
Ques: Is India cheap or expensive?
Ans: Yes J
India has been consistently ranked as one of the cheapest travel destinations in the world. If you are a backpacker you manage your stay under $30 a day! That does not mean there are no luxuries to be had. Fancy living like a Maharaja? Stay in one of the palaces of Rajasthan or board the palace on wheels, there is no end to the luxuries you can indulge in. There is something here to suit everyone’s wallet.
2. The place –
Are you fascinated by the salt pans of Bolivia? Do the snow-covered mountains of Europe tempt you? Or would you like to visit the Sahara one day? Perhaps take a trip to Turkey to see the beautiful specimens of Islamic architecture? Or visit Indonesia to see the islands and the reefs?
Or maybe you could visit India and see all of these and more!
Source: indianexpress.com, Google search
From the valleys of Kashmir and the cold desert of Ladakh to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Indian ocean, onwards to the barren lands of Thar and the salt pans of Gujarat in the west to the Sunderban mangroves of the east, the Indian subcontinent is blessed with a wide variety of habitats. You could be doing everything from a desert safari to trekking and adventure sports, all in a single country and not to forget – The Taj Mahal – one of 7 wonders of the world is here and isn’t it about time you crossed that one off your list?
3. The people –
The people in India are some of the warmest and most tolerant people you would meet. There are a billion stories of people’s lives you could explore here. There are so many lifestyles you could come across – the nomadic tribes, the agrarian rural folk, the sadhus & the sanyasis and the uber modern millennials of the metros to name a few. Indians believe in the code of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ (the guest is the equivalent of God and hence treat the visitors in the country extremely well!
Source: indiatoday.intoday.in Source: indiamarks.com
4. The journey – The Indian railways is 163-year-old and ferries 25 million people every day. It is so entrenched in the lives of Indians that it would be no exaggeration to call it a living, breathing entity itself. It will offer you some of the most breathtaking visuals during your travels. India is also home to the highest motorable road in the world.
Festivals – If you are looking to have fun then look no further. Whether it is the festival of colors (Holi) or the festival of lights (Diwali), each month of the year brings an occasion for celebration. For more details read our blog on 5 Indian Festivals You Should Never Miss
7. Spirituality & Yoga – If you are looking to improve your inner or outer self, India is the ideal destination for you. Whether you are looking to explore the tenets of the thousands of years old religion of Hinduism or learn meditation and Buddhism or to strengthen your body and improve your health through Yoga, there is a wide array of spiritual and yoga retreats and ashrams to provide you the much needed me-time away from the stress of your daily lives.
India offers so much that it is impossible to even scratch the surface of it all in one article (or even one book). It is a country of ambiguities and contradictions where all your travel plans may get tossed out in the wind and you might still enjoy every minute of it. It is an experience which (at the risk of sounding dangerously clichéd) you must experience.