This is a country travellers fantasize about – exotic, oriental, ancient India. It is also modern, booming, chaotic India. Between the two lies a wealth of delights – the charm of a golden civilisation still alive and kicking after centuries and to be glimpsed as you turn the corner of a palace or a fort; as you hear the sweetness of the flute in the misty northern hills and the deep rhythm of the sitar at a mesmerizing performance; as you drive past the captivating sound of temple bells that ring out loud amidst the noise of a daily ritual prayer; as you wander into monuments adorned with precious stones – unguarded, still splendid; as you lie deeply relaxed drifting to music, massaged by the strong yet gentle touch of ayurveda healers.
The wonder that is India never stops overwhelming your senses. It is not a country for the frail and the timid. Unpredictable, noisy, spiritual, peaceful, argumentative, complex, intelligent, emotional – a country that has seen and absorbed many invading and colonising cultures and has grown to a chaotic, vocal, economically booming and fiercely independent democracy that embraces both the poor beggar on the street and the ostentatious luxury brand in the mall. Commercialisation jostles with creativity and an ancient heritage and teachings already include and accept ultra-modern changes and a fast-paced evolution of ideas and inventions.
India has on offer the magnificence of a varied landscape that spreads itself out from the mystical Himalayas to the warm serenity of the backwaters of Kerala, from the deep mysterious Sunderbans to the brilliant colours swirling around the deserts of Kutch. Travel here takes you from country-sized bustling cities to forgotten mud-hut villages around rich monuments in locations where empires once existed.
A trip to India is what travel stories are made of. It’s not just the places and the sightseeing that travellers relish, but also the festivals, the art and craft, the people, the cuisines, and of course, the shopping. And we haven’t even talked about the warmth, hospitality and friendliness yet.
Read a little about this large sub-continent: the travel stops in the North, East, West and South of this indescribable country. And you could link into some useful travel information on the following pages.