Travel India | A Journey Worth Making
"अतिथि देवो भव"
"The Guest is God"
Derived from Hindu scriptures, the quote above symbolises the true culture and essence of India.
Every trip to India leads to a vivid experience full of treasures and incredible memories, created by not only the scenic terrain, historical monuments harbouring expressive detailed carvings and aromatic food and spices of the Asian country, but also the exuberant culture present in every geographical boundary of the country.
In the Northern region of the country, Himachal Pradesh is a must visit state. Primarily characterised by cool temperatures and surrounded by scenic mountains, valleys and eternal rivers from Dharamsala to Manali, the state also pays homage to many adventure sports such as river rafting, mountain climbing, trekking etc. According to Tourism Of India, heading to the high altitude regions of Rohtang Pass and Solang valley in Manali is one of the best ways to enjoy skiing. Manali is also a popular honeymoon destination with a vast selection of top rated hotels. Dharamsala on the other hand, exudes strong history and culture and is even home to the famous Buddhist temple of Namgyal Monastery, sometimes referred to as "Dalai Lama's Temple." More tourist attractions in Dharamsala inlude: The Tibet Museum, Dal Lake, Tsuglagkhang complex, which is just a two minute walk from the Monastery and Shanti Stupa of McLeod Ganj among others.
Travel to the North West of India to experience the warm hospitality and culture of Sikhism in the state of Punjab (the state of five rivers). The eco tourist friendly state brims in agriculture. In 2019, the state hosted up to 47 million local tourists and over 1 million foreign visitors according to Statista. Punjab is home to the sacred Golden Temple (also known as "Harmandir Sahib"), located in the city of Amritsar, and depicts the true essence of spirituality, equality and culture of the religion. Other popular cities in the state include Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Chandigarh, Patiala, Bhatinda, Kapurthala (earlier referred to as the "Paris of Punjab") and Pathankot which serves as the meeting point of Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. While in Punjab, relish authentic punjabi cuisine, indulge in the famous "lassi," a native yogurt based drink, take in views of the scenic landscapes and temples, lose yourself to the upbeat folk music of punjab and electrifying bhangra dances.
Whilst exploring north India, a trip to Rajasthan is essential. The pink capital city, Jaipur, offers much more than royal affluences, the city boasts an array of famous temples and forts including Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, Amer Fort, Jantar Mantar among others. Additionally, the city of Udaipur, popularly known as "the city of lakes" and frequently referred to as one of the most romantic places in India, thrives upon its quaint scenic water based landscapes, culture and palaces.
Know any antiquarians looking for historically rich expeditions? then Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in central India should be at the top of your list! Dominated by temples displaying breath taking architectural affluences bearing rich, detailed sculptures, such as the famous Khajuraho temples which brim with erotic carvings symbolising love, life and worship. Madhya Pradesh also has a variety of National Parks and must see forts such as Gwalior and Orrcha.
Chhattisgarh is home to a vast amount of mesmerising waterfalls such as the mini Niagara Falls of India, Chitrakot falls situated in Bastar area of the state, other must see tourist attractions include Tirathgarh Falls and the Kailash and Kotumsar Cave (second largest cave in the world). Both central states could easily be dubbed a "Photographers' Haven" primarily because of the picturesque geographical terrains.
First time travellers to India, must plan a trip to the Southern region, which is popular for its culture, delicacies, long stretch of beaches, hill stations and backwaters. Kerala's beautiful backwaters include a 900km intertwined network of rivers home to tropical flora. Tourists can enjoy the backwater amidst rented houseboats, which range from basic to ultra-luxurious. The Western Ghats, a range of mountains that stretch over 1,600 km, also located in Tamil Nadu and Ooty provide pleasant fresh air, vast flora and fauna and cool mountain tops even in hot weather conditions. For coffee lovers, South India offers a special coffee, popularly known as “Kaapi” made by mixing boiled and frothed milk with coffee obtained through percolation brewing of fine ground coffee in a traditional Indian coffee filter. Enjoy a native "Kaapi" brew and take in the majestic views of South India.
The North-Eastern region of India, comprises of the following states: Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh. The region has a reputation of being one of the wettest in the country, with a wide range of flora and fauna, including tea plantations and rich culture and heritage. Tibetan style Buddhist Gompas in Sikkim, Loktak Lake (the only "floating lake", in the world) in Manipur, Meghalaya's culture and large city (Shillong) with events and recreational activities for tourists, Assam's tea plantations, forests and rivers of Arunachal Pradesh, temples in Tripura and Heritage Villages in Nagaland, North East India has lots to offer to tourists and locals.
India is easily accessible and interconnected with a convenient network of railways, roadways and airways. Travelling from abroad? your best way around India is to book a direct flight to one of the metropolitan cities such as Delhi, Mumbai or Bengaluru and travel via train or rent a car in order to reach other destinations.
My aim was to give you a glimpse of what a journey to India entails. Are you planning to visit India? or have you travelled to India in the past? what are your top recommendations? Let me know in the comments below.
About the Author
Shivansh Ahuja is a Computer Science Engineer and an alumnus of the Nottingham University Business School (2019). He has delegated, chaired and organised over 70 public speaking and debating conferences. He loves to travel, network and listen to music.