Destination Guide: India

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Taj Mahal at sunrise

 

Whether it’s temples, forts, caves, tigers or beaches, India has it all and more.

Located in Asia, tucked away between the calm Arabian Sea and more raucous Bay of Bengal and bounded on the North by the mighty Himalayas, India is a land of contrasts, spirituality and tradition.

India is an ancient civilization that has been in existence for thousands of years. After a succession of Aryans, the Moguls and finally the British, India got its independence in the year 1947. India sprawls over 1.2 million square miles and has a population of more 1 billion people.

Rajasthan is the state of forts you can see Jodhpur, Jaipur, Jaiselmer and Udaipur for their ancient palaces that echo with bravery, honour and sacrifice.landscape goa

Goa is a world-famous beach attraction and has beautiful sandy retreats with accommodations to suit every budget. For a more private beach experience, you can plan a trip to Kerala down south for its peaceful sea side, massage centres and ancient dance forms.

For a taste of the spiritual, head to the calm and rejuvenating meditation retreats in Rishikesh and Haridwar. India also boasts numerous health spas where you can refresh your mind and body with yoga, massages and meditation sessions.

Agra houses the magnificent Taj Mahal, built by Emperor Shah Jahaan as a symbol of love. If you really wish to see the Taj Mahal in its full glory, you should ideally see it by moonlight. There is also the Ajanta and Ellora Caves (famous for erotic carvings) in Maharashtra accessible from Mumbai.

In New Delhi (which is the capital of India), you can see the Red Fort and the colourful local markets at Janpath. You can get good deals on shawls, dresses and antique carved furniture in the local markets. Do remember to bargain though!

Temple of Lord Shiva Somnath in Somnath, GujaratFamous temples include Konarak in the East (Orissa), Somnath Temple in the West (Gujarat) and Thanjavur Temple (in the south).

There are several popular Indian foods including ‘Tandoori’ food that is baked in a hot kiln. You must try Tandoori chicken, mutton pilao (rice) and stuffed Indian breads also called ‘Parathas’. Request the chef to keep the spice levels low as Indian food is innately spicy!

Important Indian festivals include Dussehra where they burn huge effigies of demons and Holi, where people splash colour and water on each other.

India is recommended for the single traveller, couples as well as older adults, with the best months for travel being from November to February.

 

 

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