Mystifying and magnanimous – a subcontinent of color, spice, and contradiction. Yes, India is an amalgamation of all and more. From the frozen summits of the Himalayas to the tropical greens of Kerala, from ancient traditions and artistic heritage to magnificent landscapes and culinary creations, its expansive borders encompasses diverse landscapes, culture, and people. It ignites curiosity, tickles the senses and warms the soul.
From the period unknown, she has tinkled various colonists and conquerors with her richest empires and opulence. Set foot on any Indian city and you are sure to rub shoulders with world’s great faiths, encounter temple rituals performed since the time of Egyptian Pharaohs, onion-domed mosques erected centuries before the Taj Mahal, and echoes of the British Raj on almost every city. India is a nation famous for unfathomable diversity which attracts travelers from different spectrum of the world.
India’s dramatic terrain is breathtaking; towering icy peaks of the northern mountain, sun-washed beaches of the southern coast, abundant natural beauties, elegant temples rising majestically out of flat deserts and crumbling fortresses still standing proud. The outdoor freaks can scout for big jungle cats on wildlife safaris, paddle in the shimmering waters of beautiful beaches, take adrenaline-pumping treks high in the Himalaya, or simply inhale pine-scented air on a meditative forest walk. A tour of India will never be complete without a houseboat ride on the backwaters of Kerala and its fiery cuisine and where else in the world would you come across the ‘Living Root Bridges’ as you would do while trekking the rainforests of Meghalaya. The white salt-plains of the Great Rann of Kutch run as far as your eyes can see and sparkle during the full-moon nights.
For seekers of spiritual, India is a land offering no less with its multitude of sacred sites and rituals are a testament to the country’s long, vibrant, and sometimes tumultuous, religious history. And then there are festivals! India hosts some of the world’s most divine devotional celebrations – from formidable city parades celebrating auspicious events on the religious calendar to simple village harvest fairs that pay homage to a locally worshipped deity.
But for all its jarring juxtapositions, intractable paradoxes and frustrations, India remains an utterly complex yet a compelling destination. Intricate and worn, its distinctive sheen – the string of life in its over-crowded bazaars, the ubiquitous filmi music, the pungent melange of diesel fumes, cooking spices, dust and dung smoke – casts a spell that few forget from the moment they step off a plane. Love it or loathe it – and most travelers oscillate between the two – to embrace India’s unpredictability is to embrace its soul.