Bustling with people, colors and the brightest tones of civilization, India is one of the most vibrant places on Earth. The origin of almost all the human languages spoken today, India is an ancient civilization where some of the most basic foundations of the modern world were laid. It is a land where literate people inhabited model cities when pyramids were still to be built in Egypt. Later, during the dramatic age that came to pass more than two thousand years ago, India produced some of its most valuable gifts to the mankind. It is the land where ‘zero’ was invented, an achievement without which no meaningful mathematical and eventually scientific discoveries could have been possible. It was around this period that the first surgery was carried out in India. During the same period India introduced to the world Economics, a basis for today’s booming commercial growth.
Yet, today, India is a land of struggle and adversities with a silver lining of hope and solutions. Its fusion of geographical, political and social elements separates it from rest of the Asian countries and makes it an existing marvel in the form the largest working democracy. It is a nation that has lived the entire cycle of life, witnessed the ups and downs that every civilization faces, and is now on the verge of taking another flight like a phoenix.
Life in India is hassled, as one would notice right away. Coming from a quiet European suburban, or even from the crowds of Tokyo or New York, you might be taken aback by India’s chaotic exterior. It is one noisy place infested with gaudy colors and people everywhere, and a land of stark contrasts. The very first site one generally witnesses while landing in India is that of a widespread slum in Mumbai, the biggest in Asia, separated only by a wall from the huge and ultramodern International Airport. Outside, when you run a gaze over a road you see hundreds of people striving to survive, the ones least bothered by the clutter and disarray around them. However, as you slowly start getting acquainted with the place and learn to look beneath this boisterous surface, you discover a calm and soothing undercurrent originating from the ancient philosophy. Hardship of an average Indian is usually followed by the sweet success at the end of the day, wherein lies the source of happiness. It is a frenzied yet beautifully textured land with an irresistible charm that is hard to find anywhere else on the planet.
India is a rare nation that has seen every color of cultural evolution. The story of India starts from its golden past, when it was the richest country on the Earth, and moves through the middle centuries when it saw several invaders driving it to the hardships of a broken nation fighting on all fronts with an array of troubles. Over the past few decades, India has again taken a long leap, soaring up every chart that denotes growth. However, the story does not end with this bright present of today that promises India to be a superpower in coming decades. It is still being written.
India is the ethnological epitome of the world. It is a fertile land where strong cultural roots were developed millenniums ago, strong enough to hold through many a political and religious storm. The present culture of India is a marvelous blend of numerous cultures of its own – an uncommon product. It is special, diverse and unparalleled. The vast and multicolored history of India is a testimony to the fact that it has evolved gracefully, growing beyond Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity or Islam. It is humane and tolerant. People from different parts of India speak different languages, wear different attires, eat different food but live happily under a single roof.
Owing to the great geographical and cultural diversity of India, Indian food is a great treasure of recipes passed on over centuries, branching off into the new ones as they came down generation to generation. Food in India, mostly vegetarian, is a social and cultural identity. Every state has its own significant food-line. Most of the Indian cuisines are flavored strongly with magical spices, whose recipes are dated 2500 years ago. The taste of a single food item varies from city to city. And this trend follows in every state of the nation. A large variety of snacks, appetizers, dishes and desserts defines each one of the 29 states and 7 union territories.
Due to its vast expanse of history, a unique way of life and the immeasurable wealth of cultural heritage and geographical range, India has today become one of the most highly visited tourist destinations in the world. It has an incomparable aura that can never be forgotten or foreseen. But there is more than this.
All over India, a newcomer sighs in disbelief to see people from every walk of life living in harmony, love being multiplied and distances vanishing into oblivion. But it is more than what meets the eye; it is beauty beyond measures yet adversity beyond anticipation. Rising above all odds is the country’s cultural unity, its subtlety and warm hospitality. Bump into an Indian festival and you earn an unforgettable memory for your diary. Attending Hindu festivals like Durga Puja or Diwali can be delightful. Being an agricultural country the arrival of monsoon is also celebrated like a festival, after a lot of prayers and frog marriages finally please the rain God.
India has a diverse landscape of rivers, mountains, deserts, fields and forests. The Great Himalayas are an attraction for mountain climbing. Kanchenjunga and Nandadevi are the highest mountain peaks in India while Mount Everest lies in proximity. Along the northwestern boundary stretches Thar Desert, lying mostly in the state of Rajasthan. Camel rides and beautiful sunsets here can be enchanting. The rain forests in the south, alpine pastures in the north and evergreen forests in the Northeast ideally compliment trekking and wildlife safaris. Migratory birds like Siberian cranes, rosy pelicans and great flamingos fly to India and make some of the beautiful lakes here their homes for the season. They are a spectacle to bird watchers from all over the world.
India is blessed with over sixty big rivers that complete the circle of India’s geographical sanctity. Every river is considered to be a goddess according to the Hindus. She gives life to people and generously accepts their ashes after death, thus granting them salvation. The Ganges is the national river followed by other famous rivers Yamuna, Krishna, Kaveri, Godavari and Indus, the river from where the Indian civilization flourished. Kumbh Mela - a mass Hindu pilgrimage that takes place every twelve years on the banks of Ganges, makes quite a spectacle, when hundreds of thousands of pilgrims march into the river at once to take the holy dip at the first ray of light.
South India is an exquisite territory. It is almost entirely composed of a peninsular Deccan plateau. There are over eleven exotic beaches in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka whereas Goa alone has thirteen beaches to boast of. Beach activities like sunbathing and swimming along with water sports like parasailing, water skiing and wind surfing are hard to resist.
India offers everything that a demanding tourist expects. It’s a trekkers’ paradise, a quencher for those who have a thirst for historical monuments and artifacts. Animal and bird lovers can have a stay in one of India’s many wildlife sanctuaries or national parks and highlight their visits. When in India it is not just about sightseeing, it is also a big deal about entertainment. Contradicting expectations of a classical cultural dance in custom built halls, breath taking performances are given outside temples and shrines, in ruins, in forts or backstreet gardens.
Coming to India is more about looking beyond the obvious and experiencing the unexpected. It is a country that helps you explore human life from unseen dimensions, where sorrow and joy live in the same hut. It can make you lose your patience in a traffic jam caused by a stray cow or have a glimpse of eternal peace inside a temple. But most of all it will make you want to come back!