With its sumptuous mixture of customs, religious beliefs, festivals, landscapes and architecture, your memories of India will blaze bright long after you’ve left its shores.
India’s landscapes are as beautifully diverse as its cultural traditions. You are able to scout for large jungle creatures on picturesque wildlife safaris, paddle in the glistening waters of coastal retreats, take blood-pumping treks high in the mountains, or simply inhale pine-scented air on a meditative forest walk. Among these natural treasures is a wealth of architectural gems, from tranquil temples climbing out of pancake-flat plains to crumbling temples peering over diving ravines.
A go-with-the-flow attitude will keep your sanity intact when traversing the twisted canvas that’s India. With its capacity to inspire, exasperate, thrill and confound all at the same time, be ready for unexpected surprises. This can be hard, particularly for first-time people: despite India’s miracles, the poverty is facing , the bureaucracy can be frustrating and the crush of humanity may turn the simplest task to a frazzling epic. Even veteran travelers find their nerves frayed at a certain point. But love it or loathe it and most traffic see-saw between the two — to adopt India’s unpredictability is to embrace its soul.
Spices lie in the heart of Indian cooking, using the crackle of cumin seeds in hot oil a comfortable sound in most kitchens.
Spirituality is the ubiquitous ribbon in India’s richly varied tapestry, weaving all the way from the snowy mountains of the north to the tropical shores of the deep south. Hinduism and Islam have the most followers, while Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism are also widely practiced. The array of sacred sites and rituals cover testament to the nation’s long and colorful history. And then there are its festivals! India has an abundance of devotional parties — from rugged city parades heralding auspicious religious occasions, to easy village crop fairs which pay homage to a locally worshiped deity.