6 Reasons to Travel India

This article is by no means telling you what to do while in India but more of a guide of what I got up to while I was there. I travelled around the country of colour for 3 months so I like to think I have a good feel of what is hot and what is not, however I still haven't even scratched the surface of what India has to offer. After all, it is a beautifully massive country, currently with a population of one billion it is the most populous after China and is geographically the 7th Largest in the world. Here are just 6 reasons to visit India... this is my first article, go easy on me.
1. It's a beautiful melting pot of culture
With the history of being British colonial, being surrounded by Pakistan, China and Nepal. It has a massive mix of languages, with more English speakers than England, along with Hindi, Gujarati and Urdu to name but a few.This all coupled with the interesting and wonderful religions there, ranging from Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. This is reflective in it's wide array of food, allowing you to almost recognise each state by it's known dish. Tradition is everything and Indians are very proud of it. They are largely hospitable, you will meet some very kind, caring people amongst the mass of angry ones. We had a family give up their beds for us on an overnight train, if you thought it was crowded in your local supermarket... wait until you get on one of those bad boys.
2. The Wonderful Spectrum of Food
While we're talking food... India has a wide variety of dishes that will tantalise your taste buds. Wonderful colours, aromas & flavours that dance about the markets & food stalls, this can range anything from 65-200 rupees (a few cents to $3) for a meal. That said if you want to pay the extra and have a sit down meal at a white table cloth restaurant, you can for not much extra at around 300-800 rupees (up to $10). Lentils, rice and bread are all staples of the diet, these along with the wonderful herbs and spices make great dishes. The traditional village cooked curries are my favourites! Don't be afraid to try something different.
3. The 7000 Wonders of India
The Taj Mahal, The Red Fort, Qutb Minar, India Gate, Agra Fort, Jama Masjid, Humayun's Tomb, The Gateway of India, Hawa Mahal, Jaipu City Palace, Harmandir Sahib, Amer Fort, Janta Mantar, Akshardham and The Elephanta Caves. The list really does go on. This country is littered with historic sites, and UNESCO protected heritage sites. Both old and new there are tons to see and do. From museums to temples you will never have an excuse to be bored. Like a lot of countries, there are different entry prices for visitors than to residents. Fees can range from $5 up to around $15 for the Taj Mahal. Some are inclusive of tax and some are free altogether.
Aside from just the history there are plenty of activities to do. Ranging through cycling, paragliding, hot air ballooning, rafting and everything in between. Be sure to do your research before you book, safety is key.
Here have this: 101 activities in India
4. Festivals & Celebrations
I guess it's the sheer amount of people and crowding that make celebrations in India so awe-inspiring. The vibe and happiness of the people just grabbed me by the stomach.
Holi - Festival of Colours
Since it's spring I'll start with Holi or Phagwah. This is a huge spring festival. It's in celebration of Lord Vishnu's devotee Prahlad slaying the demoness Holika. It is celebrated by throwing of coloured powders and paint. We were coloured from morning till dusk.
Diwali - Festival of Lights
Observed by many different religions throughout India, this amazing festival of light cannot be missed. It can last up to five days and everywhere is decorated with oil lamps, brightly coloured decorations and bowls of water with flowers floating. The gift of sweets to close family and friends is customary. I recommend finding a host family for a true experience or http://www.couchsurfing.org At night the vibe changes with electric lights and fireworks.
Ganesh Chaturthi
A religious festival for Hindus, this is not to be missed. Celebrated mainly in the South and West of India. It is the celebration of Lord Ganesh's birthday. Held around mid-August to mid-September it has an awe-staggeringly build-up of 10 days! Full of prayer, homage and meditation. The 11th day sees a an effigy of Ganesh carried into rivers and lakes.
Maha Kumb Mela
It's said to be the largest peaceful gathering in the world at 100million attendees across the relatively short 55 days. However, make no mistake about it, this is not for the feint hearted. Pilgrims go there to take a holy dip in the Ganges and Yamuna rivers. You have to plan it though, as the event only happens every 12 years.
5. Wildlife
There are plenty of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India. When I travel I often spend days committed to researching animal welfare and allocation of funds before I donate/pay towards any organisation that keeps them. Once you're over that enjoying the animals and birds of India can be amazingly holistically and photographically rewarding.
6. Geography
With its vast desserts, wetlands and mountain ranges (The Himalaya of course) travelling around India will ensure you see a forever changing landscape. Along with the landscape you may see a continuous change of climate, experiencing varying extremes of weather. In addition to having its own islands, the Andaman and the Nicobar islands; India is also bordered by Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, China and Pakistan, with Sri Lanka and the Maldives a little further afield. This makes India an ideal destination for the continuing traveller.
So in all, India is a vast great country, it's un-tame, spiritual and shrouded in crazy.
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