I have travelled to India many times and I love the people and the experience. It is said India is experienced as much by the senses as well as the eye. There is no doubt that it is one of the most colourful and dynamic destinations in the world where one should expect the unexpected. You will find much variety on India tours be it the geography, the culture or the people themselves just so wonderful.
You might think you’re familiar with India from all the exposure it gets in the media, whether travel advertisements, movies, or books selling the nation as the ideal land to visit in order to get in touch with your spirituality, and taste the true flavour of life. Fact is, no matter how many pictures of the Taj Mahal you’ve seen, or how much you’ve read about India online or in bestselling paperbacks, an India vacation is the real deal.
Everyone has mental images about the country; just type “India vacation” into Google and your clients are met with pictures of the Taj Mahal, pristine sunsets, people riding elephants, and women dressed in elaborate and colourful saris. They will see all these things in India, but the experience of travelling the country, meeting its incredible people, and immersing in its long and storied history is about more than superficial sights. India is a deep-dive destination, where one could spend a whole life and still not uncover every secret wonder it has to offer.
If you have been mulling over heading to India but are daunted by the crowds or overwhelmed by the idea of experiencing its breathless rush of culture firsthand, don’t be. It’s always a good time to head to India and experience this cultural juggernaut for yourself. The food is simply incredible no matter where you go.
There are a lot of good reasons to visit India, but Indian food has to be at or near the top of the list. India is home to one of the best cuisines in the world, so you don’t have to worry about the food lacking flavour when you visit. As well, there’s no such thing as homogenous food on an India vacation, which means that no matter where you head to in the country, they’ll discover excellent dishes bursting with flavour.
It’s hard to make overarching statements about Indian food, but generally speaking, food in the north consists of thick curries and cream while food in the south is spicier and relies heavily on seafood and coconuts. However, each region has its focuses and specialities. Most Indian food in other parts of the world is actually North Indian cuisine, relying on dishes from Rajasthan and Punjab, with influences from Persian and Mughlai cuisine. These dishes usually consist of curries with mildly spicy sauces with cream and are served with naan. Meats and breads are often cooked in a tandoor oven, giving it a fiery, crisp texture. Examples of popular northern dishes are roti, chana masala, and rogan josh.
In South India, rice replaces naan as the staple served with most dishes. In regions like Kerala, food relies heavily on coconut milk and the meat served almost always derives from the sea. This emphasis on seafood also continues in Goa, the formerly-Portuguese colony on the coast, although they’ll also find beef and other European-inspired dishes sneaking onto the menu here. (Unlike most Indians, people in Goa are mainly Catholic, making beef a viable food option.)
Although you will have to be smart about what food to eat on an India vacation – for instance, avoid food stalls that look sketchy and don’t overdo it with spice if you are not used to eating spicy food. Every day on your journey will be full of incredible flavours to cherish.
Everyone is familiar with the Taj Mahal. It’s maybe the most famous building in the world. Seeing this magnificent mausoleum in the northern city of Agra is reason alone to head to India. However, the Taj Mahal is a far cry from being India’s only world-class landmark.
In the famous Golden Triangle, between Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra, a traveller will find more monuments than many countries can boast. The capital, Delhi, is home to the Red Fort, the former home of the Mughal emperors who ruled India prior to English colonization. It also has Humayun’s Tomb, where many of those emperors are buried in opulent mausoleums, India Gate, a towering structure dedicated to all the soldiers who died in World War I, and Qutub Minar, which stands 74 metres tall and is the second largest minaret in the country. Within New Delhi, your client will find Swaminarayan Akshardham, a massive temple complex with landscaped gardens and intricate stone edifices dedicated to various Hindu gods.
In Jaipur, the Amber Fort, a massive fortification known for its intricate Hindu designs, as well as Hawa Mahal, or the Palace of Winds, with its incredibly-elaborate front wall full of intricate latticework. Outside Agra, there is Fatehpur Sikri, the hallowed ghost town that was meant to be a lavish highlight of the Mughal Empire but was promptly abandoned, making it one of the largest ghost cities in the world and an exceptional example of Mughal architecture.
Of course, there are also plenty of landmarks outside the Golden Triangle. In the holy city of Varanasi, there is the Kashi Vishwanath or the Golden Temple, a stunning golden temple that is considered the holiest of sites dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva. In the disputed states of Jammu and Kashmir in the far north, they’ll find rustic Karsha Gompa, a Buddhist monastery with structures dating back to the 10th century. You may want to travel to the city of Amritsar in Punjab and visit Sri Harmandir Sahib, which is the most significant pilgrimage site in all of Sikhism. And in Madhya Pradesh explore one of the most popular archaeological sites in the country, the Khajuraho Temples, which feature intricate sculptures dedicated to Shiva. In Mylapore, there’s a similar temple, Kapaleeshwarar Temple, which dazzles with the incredible coloured statues built into its façade.
As you can see, there are plenty of landmarks to see on an India vacation.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that India is a world unto itself. As such, you might be overwhelmed when you first arrive. It’s key, then, that you don’t panic. Yes, India is perhaps king when it comes to culture shock however there's is so much to discover about this culture.
Let’s start with the obvious – the busy, chaotic streets that give Type-A personalities the heebie-jeebies. A seasoned traveler will be overwhelmed by the traffic jams and crowded streets of Indian metropolises like Delhi and Mumbai, but there’s also something undeniably fascinating about a culture where rickshaws, motorbikes, cars, and strolling pedestrians all share the space in chaotic harmony and it seems to work. You may also think you are downtown New York City or Toronto is busy during peak traffic hour, but North America has nothing on India when it comes to bold city atmosphere.
One can also see traditional Indian culture in everything from the architecture to song and dance you may have the opportunity to attend an Indian wedding, jump at the opportunity, as you will bear witness to one of the most lavish and colourful parties imaginable. The Hindu festival of Diwali, which is celebrated every autumn, is one of the country’s main holidays and a great time to get in touch with the deep wells of tradition in Indian culture. As well, the Holi Festival, which takes place every spring, is a great way to engage with a long, joyful tradition that unites the country.
Modern Indian culture even has a lot to boast. A practice like yoga draws on ancient Indian techniques for mindfulness and bodily cultivation and has become popular the world over. Nowadays, India also plays a large role on the world stage as the world’s largest democracy and home to the world’s largest film industry "Bollywood." Many people say that the future belongs to India, so if you want to experience a country with a long tradition that is only set to expand its prominence in the future, head on an India vacation.
India is a country that never ceases to amaze me. The culture is simply too vast and varied to provide any dull moments. That’s why a trip to India is such a rich experience.
India is a great nation with a wealth of treasures to experience. Don’t be daunted by the vastness of its culture. Chat to one of our Asia Experts who can help you explore it and see for yourself why an India vacation is always a good idea.
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