India, officially the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world.
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India, officially the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world.
This is where you get to feel the pulse of Delhi. As you make your way through narrow streets filled with people, you start wonder how people can live in such a chaotic place. But soon enough, you fall in love with the chaos and the liveliness of the place. While in Old Delhi and Chandni Chowk area, do not miss a visit to Paranthe Wali Gali, lip smacking Mutton Burra at Karim’s, traditional Indian sweets and a visit to Jama Masjid. A rickshaw ride completes the experience. You will be left thrilled by the way rickshaw puller makes his way through the crowd.
This one is for the adventure enthusiasts. If you love biking, a bike trip to Ladakh is ultimate fun. You start from Manali and make your way through the stunning Rohtang Pass, beautiful Lahaul and Spiti Valley, and cross several high mountain passes before entering Ladakh. While in Ladakh, one should go on a bike trip to Khardung La Pass, the highest motorable pass in the world. You can take this biking trip to Ladakh only between June to December, as Rohtang Pass remains closed for six months, starting from December.
Forget the Olympics. Punjab plays host to something much more exciting, and rustic, every year. Kila Raipur, a small village in Ludhiana, comes alive between February and March each year, as it plays host to a sports festival- Punjabi style. Hundreds of people throng to this fair, some to watch while others to participate. It is pure fun to watch men fight it out in a game of mud wrestling; to watch a bullock cart race; tractor pulling and so much more. The festival sees as many as 40-50 events spread over 3 days. And it is not just the locals who participate in these games. You could even spot some Punjabi teams from Canada fighting it out.
When listing the things one must do in India, you can’t leave Taj Mahal out. Built in the 17th century, this white marble monument attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world. It is the epitome of love as the world knows it. While a visit to Taj Mahal at any time of the day is exciting, consider visiting it during night, preferably on a full moon night. The charges are a little higher for night visits, but it is worth the experience.
There is nothing like have a gastronomical delight while on the road. While you are on the highway, especially the Delhi-Chandigarh one, don’t forget to have a meal in one of the many Punjabi dhabas, which usually operate 24/7. Murthal, near Sonepat, on NH1 is the hotspot for Punjabi dhabas, Gulshan Dhaba being the most famous of the lot. Just indulge in great lip-smacking food.
Do you believe in fairies and Wonderland? If you don’t, the Valley of Flowers will make you believe in them. The National Park and a World Heritage Site is located in the state of Uttarakhand, nestled amidst the majestic treks in Himalayas. The myriad colored flowers are an ethereal experience, complemented by mist covered peaks. Nanda Devi National Park lies to the east of Valley of Flowers. The region is home to endangered species as well, such as snow leopard and Asiatic Black Bear.
A rendezvous with the wild side of nature is always an exciting experience. Corbett National Park can definitely give a thrilling rendezvous with the wilderness of India. It is one of the oldest national parks of the country, and certainly one of the most popular. Embark on a wildlife safari here, either in a jeep or on an elephant. Wildlife safari packages range from short 3 day tours to extensive 11 day tours. You can spot several wild animals here including tigers, leopards, and so much more.
Forget the changing of guard routine in London. The Wagah border ceremony is much more interesting. As the sun goes down, the retreat ceremony at this India-Pakistan border begins. Bugles are sounded from both the sides, which could easily blow the air out of your lungs if you try it; guards from both the sides stomp their feet as hard as possible, trying to get one-up over each other. It is as exciting as watching the last ball of a India-Pakistan cricket match.
While you visit the Wagah Border, don’t forget to visit the Golden Temple- an architectural marvel and a religious epicenter of the country. The monument witnessed some troubled times during the Blue Star operation, but nothing has taken away the spirituality of the place. The architecture of this monument has influences of Hindu, Muslim and European cultures. A dip in the lake here is rejuvenating, while the langar served here is lip smacking.
Talking of spirituality, you just cannot leave the beautiful Varanasi out. While here, consider taking a walk from Dashashwamedh Ghat to Assi Ghat. The Dashashwamedh Ghat remains crowded most times of the day. But that shouldn’t deter your spirit. In fact, watching the religious ceremony which happens every evening at 7 is a must have experience. As you walk from Dashashwamedh to Assi, you come across several small ghats, where people are seen revering the Ganges, and some saying their final goodbyes to their departed loved ones.
Watching traditional Ramlilas is always a great experience. Seeing hardly trained actors dorn the role of revered figures in Hindu Mythology for about 20 days is entertainment of the rustic kind. Taking this experience to a whole new level is the Ramlila at Ramnagar, Varanasi. The crowds here could be anywhere between 1,000 and 10,000, which include Sadhus too in their traditional attire. It is like watching a Broadway show live.
The name of the place may mislead you. It is not much a bar, but an army camp where you can grab a few snacks and drinks while you are on a Ladakh biking trip. The so called bar lies at the base to the steep ascent of BarchalaLa Pass. It is a nice pit-stop where you can chat with the army men or just admire the beauty of surrounding you.
You might have stayed in the best luxury hotels in the world, but nothing can beat the experience of staying in a Shikara in Dal Lake. There are houseboats in the Dal Lake which date back to the 18th century. They have intricate wood carvings and royal interiors, with all the services you can expect from the best hotels in the world. The beauty of the Dal Lake which surrounds you is a mesmerizing experience.
Located on the banks of River Ganges, nestled amidst the majestic Himalayas is Parmath Niketan in Rishikesh. There is something about this place which beckons you to contemplate nature and be at peace with yourself. Even if spirituality is the last thing on your mind, try an early morning yoga session here. You will love the experience.
This is where Gautama Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment. Pay a visit to Mahabodhi Temple, which is regarded as one of the most important Buddhist temples. Revel at the spirituality of the place or just chat with the local Buddhist monks which reside at the place. Either way, it is a different kind of experience you get here.
Holi is a festival which is a special experience in India. While most places in India celebrate the festival for only a day, if you love the color of festivals, Vrindavan is the place to be. Holi is celebrated for a week here, amidst crowds thronging the various temples dedicated to Lord Krishna here. While you can experience the usual Holi festival with colors here, consider playing the Lath Maar holi when in Vrindavan; or one with flowers.
Khajuraho is the place which gave India the name “The Land of Kamasutra.” The erotic rock carvings of the temples here are an architectural delight as well as a symbol of love and passion. Come with your special someone to Khajuraho or just explore the place alone- it is filled with mysticism and a side to India which has got lost in the modern transitions of today’s times.
Delhi is not the only place in India famous for its gastronomical delights. For a tryst with the royal cuisine of India, head to Lucknow and savor the various delicacies of the region. Sample the biryani of the region and the various kebabs. Talking of the kebabs, don’t miss out on Tunde ke Kebab. A part of the Awadhi Cuisine, the kebabs are made of succulent minced meat, seasoned with over 160 spices. Tunde ke Kebab has a legacy of over a century.
If you love exploring history, a visit to the town of Orchha is a must. The town is located in the Bundelkhand district in Madhya Pradesh, on the banks of the Betwa River. There is a old fort here, and a temple to explore as well. It may not be a quintessential touristy experience, but nevertheless, a memorable one.
Trekking in Ladakh is a must have experience. There are easy treks and some of the more difficult ones to be had. However, if you have the desired level of fitness, consider taking the Chadar Trek when in Ladakh. The trek can be taken in the months of January and February, and you get to trek over the frozen Zanskar River. There are beautiful valleys and some remote villages to be crossed on the way too. An ethereal experience is what describes it best.
Sangam is a site of religious as well as national importance. This is the place where three important rivers of India meet viz. the Yamuna, the Ganges and the Saraswati. It is at Sangam that the Kumbh Mela is held every 12 years; and it is here that ashes of several important figures have been immersed, including that of Mahatma Gandhi. A dip in Sangam is said to wah away all your sins. But even if you don’t believe in all that spiritual talk, a dip in Sangam would definitely refresh your mind, body and soul.
Millions of people throng to the Ganges and River Godavari to pay their homage during the Kumbh Mela. It happens every twelve years in four cities namely- Allahabad, Nashik, Ujjain and Haridwar. An Ardh Kumbh Mela happens every six years in Haridwar and Allahabad. While you visit this spiritual conglomeration of people, make sure you have your belongings and your family tightly wound to you.
Call it a pilgrimage or an exciting trek in the Himalayan region, either way, it is an exciting experience. The Kedarnath Temple is located near the Mandakini River, and attracts thousands of pilgrims every year. You have take an arduous 14 km trek starting from Gaurikund to reach the temple. The Kedarnath temple is opened to the public in the month of April till the time around Dusshehra.
If you are looking for exciting road trips in India, don’t miss a drive on the Zuluk loops. Located in the Eastern Sikkim region, Zuluk Loops are exactly that- meandering roads amidst the winding hills. Take in the scenery which surrounds you and experience the wind in your face as you make your way through the hills. Zuluk has been one of tourist favouritedestinsation in Sikkim grabbing thousands of wanderer every year. Experience the above mentioned adventure on your next Sikkim tour.
If you thought Ladakh is just a desolate land inhabited by monks who spend their time meditating, you were wrong. Come summers, and the place comes alive with the Hemis Festival. Hemis Monastery is one of the oldest and the most beautiful monasteries of Ladakh. In summers, it plays host to a 2 day festival, which sees traditional dances, and beautiful paintings being drawn by the villagers. The sound of drums, cymbals and trumpets which echo off the Himalayas is a treat for the ears.
Tea estates in Darjeeling are a treat for the eyes, as well as for your taste buds. There are numerous tea estates in the north-eastern part of the India, some spread over hundreds of acres of land. Your India experience is not complete without a tea tour in Darjeeling. Make your way through vast expanses of tea leaves, watch tea pluckers in action and sample some exotic varieties of tea as well.
Dusshera- the festival which celebrates the triumph of good over evil- is celebrated with a lot of fervor all over the country. But none can match the celebrations in Mysore. This famous hill station of Karnataka was once home to royal kingdoms. Come Dusshera and you can see the beautiful palaces of the region decorated even more beautifully. The fervor at the time of the festival is unparalleled.
Located at a height of about 10,000 feet in the Tawang town of Arunachal Pradesh is Tawang Monastery- the largest in India and one of the largest in the world. The architecture of the monastery leaves you awestruck, and so does the spirituality that surrounds this place. Majestic views in the background complete the experience.For an amazing holiday, you need to go to an amazing destination, experiences found nowhere else on earth, on your tour to Arunachal Pradesh.
More than 90% of people in India do not know about this natural wonder that exists in the rainforests of Cherapunji. Cherapunji is one of the wettest places on earth and is ideal for the growth of rubber trees. The local tribes of the region grow rubber trees and use the roots of these trees as bridges to cross the many rivers that flow through the region. Walking on these bridges, which are a gift from nature, is an absolutely awesome experience. What’s even more awesome is the way the roots of these trees are manipulated to grow in the right direction.
The north-eastern part of India is home to plenty of wildlife species. Kaziranga National park in Assam is no different. The national park is home to the endangered one-horned rhinoceros, apart from other wildlife species such as tigers, elephants, swamp deer etc. This World Heritage Site can give you the goose-bumps- the kind that you will love.
Talking of having fun in the desert, you can’t leave camel safari out of the picture. Jaisalmer is one of the best places to go on a camel safari in Rajasthan. There are camel safari’s available for different durations, and longer the duration, the better the experience. For the ultimate experience though, consider taking a night camel safari. Watching the beautiful sunset, while riding a camel takes you back to the days of Alif Laila.
Most of us have read about them in our books, but few of us have actually explored them. If you haven’t explored the Ajanta Ellora Caves in Maharashtra, make sure you do that at some point in your life. The caves are said to millions of years old. They have rock carvings and some beautiful architecture in the form of shrines, which are said to date back to 8th century AD. While Ajanta Caves are a network of 29 caves, the Ellora caves are a network of 34 caves. Together, they make for a mystical experience indeed.
Located in Mumbai Harbor, close to the city of Mumbai are Elephanta Caves. They are a network of caves with rock sculptures and engravings which date back to thousands of years ago. There are caves with Hindu engravings as well as those with Buddhist engravings and sculptures. Take an expedition to Elephanta Caves and explore enchanting history of the land. You will be amazed something like this exists so close to the concrete jungle of Mumbai.
Pushkar in Rajasthan plays host to a splendid camel fair every year in the month of October or November, starting from Kartik Poornima. The event attracts lakhs of tourists- some interested in trading camels, while others just enjoying the spectacle, and to cater them, Pushkar has a plethora of royal resorts . Camels are decorated in colorful attire for selling, and there are local Rajasthani delicacies to be had at the fair. If you want a different experience of India- this is it.
We all loved playing with sand and then taking down our beautiful structures when we were young, didn’t we? Replay that childhood adventure on a much larger scale with dune bashing in Rajasthan. It is exactly what the name implies- you get on board an off-roader and take to exploring the sand dunes of the desert state of Rajasthan. Travelling through vast expanses of barren lands seems like an ethereal Rajasthani experience at first.
Palace on Wheels is exactly what the name implies. It is considered as one of the top ten most luxurious train journeys in the world. The train has 14 air conditioned, ornate rooms; two restaurants serving the best of delicacies; a fantastic bar; and the most personalized of services. You have to make your booking for this fascinating train journey well in advance.
Rajasthan is about all things royal. So how could a game of polo be far behind? But there is something more different in store here than the usual horse polo; it is elephant polo. Get atop an elephant and try to take the ball to the goal. You have guides to help you out. It does not matter who wins or loses. It is a great experience to be a part of.
Kerala experiences a festival of a different kind, every year in the months of August and September. Scores of people throng to the backwaters of Kerala to watch men battle it out in exciting snake boat races. Watching them paddling in unison is a great example of how teamwork is necessary to succeed.
Located in Karnataka is the historical Hampi village, home to the erstwhile Vijayanagar empire. You get to walk amidst the ruins of the empire in this village, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are fascinating temples, some waterfalls and enchanting history to be explored here. It is a haven for those interested in stories of kings and queens.
Houseboats in Dal Lake, Srinagar are a mesmerizing experience. The ones in Kerala are not too far behind either. While a house boat in Kerala may lack in luxurious decor, it more than makes up for it with the serenity that surrounds it. Staying amidst dense foliage, with the most personalized service is exactly the kind of break you need from the stressed routines of today.
Located in Konark, Orissa, is the Sun Temple, which dates back to the 13th century. The temple is dedicated to Lord Surya, or the Sun, and is an architectural marvel. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the many wonders of the world. Take a trip to this marvellous piece of architecture which will leave you awestruck.
One of the most important landmarks in Madurai, which is also known as the temple city, is the Meenakshi Temple. The temple is thronged by thousands of tourists everyday. The temple dates back to 1623 CE and is an architectural masterpiece, with an estimated number of 33,000 sculptures. If you can brave the crowds, consider visiting it during the months of April and May, at the time of the Tirukalyanam Festival.
Riding the Gondola cable car is one of the exciting and fun things to do in Kashmir for people of all ages. Tourists prefer to travel via cable car to enjoy the best views of the snowcapped mountains. Taking a Gondola ride is one of the best things to do in Kashmir in May because during this month, the summers are coming to an end and the view is really great.
Pony is a common mode of transport in the valleys of Kashmir. Taking a short pony ride in the beautiful valleys is another interesting thing to do in Kashmir. Pony rides in Pahalgam, Sonamarg, Yusmarg, and Gulmarg are very popular. Pony rides are more common in places where transport cannot be motorized. Taking a pony ride is a great way to enjoy the real lifestyle of Jammu and Kashmir.