India is said to be the largest democracy in the world. It also has the second largest population that commonly speak more than 30 languages in 35+ states and territories.
No, this isn’t a Geography lesson on India. This is more about why your next trip should be to India –
- Diversity – Yes, we Indians just cant get over this. Imagine one single country having 122 major languages and 1599 other languages. It would certainly take you a lifetime to experience fully the diversity this country can offer. Unity inspite of Diversity!
- Beauty – From the bitterly cold mountain peaks in the north to the dry, golden desert in Rajasthan to the serene beaches of Kerala, India has all the beauty that nature has to offer.
Waterfalls at Goa, Rainforests of North-East, Islands of Andamans – the country has a distinctly varied landscape offering breathtaking views all through the year.
- Religion and Festivals – More than 6 major and minor religions are practiced in India. Some of the world’s most popular religions, namely, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism originated here. Each religion has its own list of festivals that are celebrated with much fanfare and fervour. It is said that there are more festivals in India, than the days in a year!
Some of these like Diwali or Christmas may find followers across multiple religions and some like Ugadi or Pongal are more specific to a particular region.
- Culture and Rituals – The diversity and variety in religion, languages, region, landscape brings with it a diversity in culture, customs and rituals and each of these influencers comes with its own set of rituals and customs. It is quite fascinating to explore and experience the rituals and customs that are practiced across the country not just religion wise but also region wise.
Dance forms, wedding rituals, traditions are various indicators of the cultural diversity that India has prevalent. Dances like Kathak from Jaipur or Lucknow or Kathakali from Kerala are not just elaborate dance forms but also a visual treat because of its colourful costumes and detailed gestures. Despite the similarity in name, the two dance forms are very different.
Weddings in India also vary based on religion and region. A Hindu wedding in Delhi would be quite different from one in Chennai.
- Art and Architecture – The Art and Architecture of the country provides an elaborate learning graph and offers an insight into world’s history and politics, telling stories from every region of the world and time in history. Monuments like Taj Mahal and Qutab Minar are replete with stories from the Mughal era, while Ajanta caves are perceived as “a finest example of Buddhist religious art”.
The Victoria Memorial at Kolkatta is an example of British influence while Pondicherry exhibits French presence. Any discussion about Indian architecture would be incomplete without mention of Mohenjo Daro (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Harappa – cities of Indus Valley, known to be one of the oldest civilizations in the world. These monuments and buildings offer not only a reflection of the architecture but also an insight into India’s history and development over the ages.
- Food – The food is as diverse as the festivals, dressing or culture of India. Indian cuisine varies from region to region, reflecting the local produce, cultural diversity and geographical variation of the country. Experience the variations in cuisines, cooking styles, and use of utensils and ingredients across the country as you travel from north to south or east to west.
Common ingredients like Milk or wheat used in various different ways would not just amaze but leave you in awe of the culinary variation.
- Yoga – Experience the true forms of Yoga, in its place of origin.
- Bollywood – Now, with its own entry in the Oxford dictionary , the world has already sat up and taken notice of the 800+ films that are churned out in an year. A lot of the dances in Hindi films, especially during 70s or earlier are also an extension of traditional Indian dance forms and music. A trip to India is a must if only to experience the grandeur and magic of Indian cinema.
There is so much India as to offer. The above list does no justice to its diversity and offerings.
And that’s why the term “Incredible India” is not just apt but justified and certainly deserves a place on your Travel Bucket List.