India is mythical, magical, and probably the craziest and the most colourful place you will ever visit. From the lively weddings, to the awe-inspiring countryside, to the dense smog of Delhi, there really is no country quite like India. If you’re thinking, “I want to go somewhere totally different,” India will not disappoint.
So why else should you travel to India?
India has such a large, diverse, and unique culture that each state, town, and village has its own dialect, accent, customs, and even languages. It is rumoured that India has between 200 to 400 different languages! Twenty-five languages related to Hindi (predominantly spoken in the north) and English (spoken across the country) are recognised as official languages. Furthermore, not only is India linguistically diverse, but it is also religiously diverse. India is a secular state, meaning that it seems that every global religion has a presence within the country. Although Hinduism is the predominant religion, Buddhism, Sikhism, Christianity, Jainism, and Islam are heavily practised. Surprisingly, India houses one of the world’s largest Muslim populations.
The Most Spiritual Country in the World
India is probably the most spiritual country in the world. With holy sites in abundance, dazzling temples, the awe-inspiring Taj Mahal, and the Dharamshala (where the Dalai Lama resides), India’s spiritually will engulf you. Quite literally, as soon as your foot touches the tarmac, India’s spiritual presence will be all around you. There is no country quite like India.
Prepare yourself for this when you travel to India. India’s spirituality stares at you everywhere you go! If you land in a major hub like Delhi, Mumbai, or Kolkata I recommend taking a few days to chill out, settle down, and just absorb India.
India is the most colourful country in the world. Colour is not just a fashion statement. Colour has a far more powerful effect on the entire environment. When you travel to India you will tell that colour in India is symbolism and celebration. Most famously, this celebration of colour can be seen at the Holi Festival, aptly described as the “festival of colours.” The Holi Festival is an ancient Hindu festival where people young and old, people of different castes, and even people of different faiths join hand in hand to throw coloured water at each other. Those lucky enough to witness the Holi Festival and take part in it receive an unforgettable experience. It is one I hope to take part in!
Fashion and Other Bargains
Bright colours in fashion will be apparent at every street corner. The sarees are something to behold. They are so beautiful, so colourful, and so varied! You can walk down any market and see the sarees and the materials offered. You will be dazzled. Note that you can get high-quality but cheap Cashmere in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Clothing as a whole is cheap across India. Even as cheap as it already is, you can find some real bargains if you look in the right places. Many of our high-street retail stores source their products from India. Often, you can buy non-branded goods from the same factory the high-street chains are buying them from, all for a fraction of the price! Just be aware of any scams while looking for the best bargains.
Moreover, colour even appears in the city’s architecture. The city of Jaipur was painted pink and became known as the ‘pink city’ after a visit from Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales in 1876. Pink is the colour of hospitality. Hence, why the town was painted pink! Jodhpur, also known as the ‘blue city,’ is painted blue. This keeps the houses and buildings cool during the all-year sun and heat. How amazing is that!?
India has some of the most jaw-dropping scenery I have ever seen without a doubt. Travelling around the Himalayas was probably the best experience of my life. I was able to visit lush forests in the rural mountains, where I took beautiful hikes. I would personally recommend the gorgeous hiking trails in the state of Himachal Pradesh (Kasol and Manali). Here, you can see marijuana grown right on the mountainside! The total isolation and the pure ruggedness of Kaza makes the journey all the more worth it. To get there, I had to traverse a 16-hour journey through a bumpy “road,” which was just a dirt track with big boulders on the side. We had to travel at 10 kph (6 mph) to keep the car in control.
Majestic Scenery and Country
Like everything in this majestic country, India has a huge variety of scenery. Equally as majestic as the mountains of the Himalayas was the city of Varanasi. The city, simply by residing on the banks of the famous river Ganges, is incredible enough. However, Varanasi, I would say, is the most incredible city across the globe. The burning ghats are a constant 24/7 crematorium, and are undoubtedly something to behold. I know this is not for everyone, but for me, it was something truly different and incredible to take in. If you would like to see a culture that is totally different, then this is the place. There is no other place like it.
Moreover, food in India is just as diverse as the country is. The food alone is worthy enough to travel to India. Every state, town, and village has their own recipe, their local delicacies, and local twists to favourite dishes. From the famous Lassi shop in Jaipur to the illegal beef in Kashmir, India is full of surprises! This leads me to an important point about food in India. If you are reading this from the meat-eating west, then this could be a shock, as it certainly was an adjustment for me! Expect to eat a lot of vegetarian food – actually, expect to turn vegetarian! Many states in India are either vegetarian or it can be incredibly hard to buy meat at restaurants.
Indian Cooking Is All About Spices
But of course, one of the foundations of Indian cooking is spices! Spices, spices, spices. The many spices are one of the things India is most famous for and you won’t be able to leave without eating at least some. But do not fear! Surprisingly, not all the food is spicy. Again, it all depends on the state, region, and place. Additionally, many food vendors and restaurants tailor to foreign taste buds. I noticed a difference in taste pretty immediately. I realized the food was dumbed down. If you’re like me and like your heat, ask for ‘Indian hot’ and you won’t be disappointed!
Colourful. Diverse. Spiritual. Friendly and warm. As mentioned previously, each state has its own language, culture, and food. That same diversity is reflected in the people as well. You are able to notice the difference in people’s appearances from the Indu-Nepali border to the state of Rajasthan to the southern states. India is a uniquely diverse country.
Even though India is so diverse, its people are friendly no matter where you are. Because the people are so friendly, someone might even invite you to an Indian wedding. If you do get an invite, accept! It is an unforgettable experience. One of my best ever!
Indians are warm, kind, helpful and very much intrigued in foreigners and who you are. They are forever asking questions about your life, career, background, as well as why you are in India. Quite a lot of these questions come from Tuk Tuk drivers! Sometimes it may feel like a bit of an interrogation! All in good jest, though.
As a foreigner in India, many people will ask for your picture. Social media is massive in India. So get ready for selfies!
Travel to India to Enjoy the Food, People, and Culture
India is simply magical. It’s a must-see country that offers something for everyone. There are plenty of incredible things to see, like historical sites, architecture, or beautiful landscapes. People everywhere are always willing to lend you a helping hand, even though their cultures differ so much from one another. Everywhere you go, there are vibrant colors, food, and people. Everything about travel to India is breathtaking and I could not recommend visiting enough.