Photo credit: sandeepachetan.com Konkan Railway train ride in Maharashtra via photopin (license)
India has been described as an incredible country and truly lives up to its reputation. From the lofty peaks of the Himalayas in the north to its southernmost tip Indira Point in the Andaman Sea, it is a spectacular landscape steeped in thousands of years of history and culture.
Each and every state is panoramic and a riot of culture, customs, traditions and culinary fares that make it one of the most diverse and culturally rich countries on the planet. From its fabled palaces to sun-kissed beaches, tea plantations to historic monuments, India has so much to see that one cannot see all of it on multiple trips to the country.
It is a semi-conservative country where you will find the modern and traditional existing side by side. While it’s younger generations especially, the millennials are modern and follow the latest in fashion and trends, the older generations are sticklers to customs and traditions. From websites where one can meet Indian singles online to arranged marriages, there is a great deal of contrast in Indian society.
Just a few of the reasons why India is such a compelling place to visit are:
India offers value for money: There is a misconception that India is mainly a backpacker destination with average quality hotels and not so great customer service. This is definitely not the case! Whether you are a luxury traveler or a backpacker the country offers a variety of accommodation to suit people of all budgets.
There are iconic luxury hotels that include royal palaces to stay that offer the finest in luxury, comfort and customer service. For those on a budget, there are plenty of budget hotels, guesthouses, inns and even homestays. In short, India offers value for money to those who travel in the country.
Incredible hospitality: India is one of the friendliest countries for western travelers. With a large part of the population speaking English communicating is not a problem (though the accents may be a bit of challenge to understand).
A common statement in the country – “Athithi Devo Bhava” that roughly translates as “A guest is God”, sums up Indian hospitality. Indians consider it an honor to have a guest visit their home. As a result, they go out of their way to make visitors feel comfortable and at home. Whether you stay in a 5-star hotel or in a homestay you are assured of the best in hospitality at all times.
Amazing history & architecture: India has a long and illustrious history that dates back to thousands of years. Over the millennia the Greeks, The Persians, The Dutch, The French and the British have left their indelible imprint on Indian society, history, and architecture. There is an incredible variety of historical monuments, palaces, forts and other landmarks to be found across the length and breadth of the land. From one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal in Agra, to the royal palaces of Rajasthan there is plenty of stunning historical and architectural wonders found in India. It varies from one state to another and is one of the most exciting reasons to visit India.
Plenty of shopping: From some of the best designer brands and goods at the shops in metropolitan cities to shopping in the street markets for handicrafts, textiles, and knickknacks there is a diverse array of shopping experiences in India.
Every region and state has its own local arts and crafts, including textiles so there is plenty of variety to choose from. One way to shop smartly in India is to be able to haggle over the prices. It is similar to shopping in the souks of the Middle East, where you have to possess the knack of bargaining to get the best deal.
Whatever rate the shopkeeper tells you, start with half the rate and then move upwards. Eventually, if you are a convincing and persistent haggler you will get it at a decent price.
Experience the spirituality: India has for long been the center of spirituality which governs the life and society of most of the country. There are ashrams with gurus who offer meditation and other spiritual means by which to connect to the universe.
Spirituality is the foundation stone, the bedrock upon which Indian culture, customs, religions and society is based. Unlike the west where spirituality has seen a rapid decline over the past few decades, spirituality is thriving in India.
From cows to trees all are worshiped in the country. Coming to India gives you a fresh perspective to life it broadens your outlook and awakens the dormant spirituality that resides within one’s inner being.
India is one of the most enchanting destinations to visit. Whether you are a solo traveler or plan your travel with family or friends, you can be sure that India will leave an indelible imprint on you and all who visit this great land.