7 Wonderful Things to Do On Your Visit to India
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With more than 4,500 years of cultural history, the South-Asian republic of India is one of the most diverse lands you will ever visit. Famous for its various contributions to the world culture, science, astronomy, architecture and it’s never ending list of attractions, India is a haven for a wandering tourist. You must have already heard of the most famous attractions like the Taj Mahal and the ancient ruins of some of the oldest civilizations in the world. But as most expert tourists suggest, India has a lot more to discover than simply visiting the popular attractions. If this is not your first trip in the country and you want to know the most ‘Indian’ activities, here’s a list that you should consider.
#1. Try The Diverse Indian Cuisine
If curries and gravies are your thing, then you will have a blast when it comes to food in India. The diversity in Indian food is mainly because of the various cultural and religious beliefs and also the diverse range of climatic conditions and soil types that can be found in India. Before the Indian independence in 1947, India was a home to several ancient empires and kingdoms which turned the land into a melting pot and introduced newer cuisines, food crops and spices.
North-Indian cuisine is known for its rich and hot vegetarian and non- vegetarian curries which are often flavoured with several spices and are served with the Indian flatbread or Roti. The South-Indian cuisine on the other hand focuses more on dishes made with rice and coconut and the various indigenous spices that are native to southern India. Dal Bati, Chhola Bhatura, Mutton Rogan Josh, Idli-Sambar, Dosa, Butter Chicken, Lal-Maas and a huge variety of side dishes are a must try on your great Indian visit. Each state you visit has a highly distinctive cuisine to offer making India a haven for the foodies.
#2. Visit The Hill Forts of Rajasthan
Kumbhalgarh fort Image credit Romain Pontida, CC BY-SA 2.0
The western Indian state of Rajasthan was formerly known by the British as the princely state of Rajputana, as it was one of the major strongholds of the Hindu royal kings known as Rajputs. Rajasthan is basically built around the scorching sands of the Thar Desert and is famous for its distinctive culture that is a result of more than 100 years of rule under the various Rajput kingdoms. The hill forts of Rajasthan are listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Nowhere in northern India will you be able to find any better specimens of the medieval Hindu architecture than the hill forts of Rajasthan. Most of these forts were built as the residing places for ruling families and were mostly set atop a hillock that provides a panoramic view of the surroundings along with better protection against invaders. Visit local tour companies in the area for a seamless Rajasthan Tour Packages and arrangements. Amber Fort, Mehrangarh Fort, Kumbhalgarh fort, Chittorgarh Fort, Jaisalmer Fort, Gagron Fort etc. are some of the best built hill forts that provide a great insight on the culture and grandeur of the former rulers of the state.
#3. Immerse Yourself in Spirituality
We’re sure that every time you hear about India, it reminds you of a man dressed in saffron colored clothing. Well, India is indeed known for its rich Hindu culture and has attracted tourists from all over the world. It is often said that there are more temples in India than all the other major attractions combined. This stands exemplary of the highly spiritual Indian culture and also provides a great deal of attractions for the tourists to visit. Almost every city in India has a famous temple that is known for its marvellous architecture or was mentioned in the ancient Hindu scriptures.
Ever since the arrival of the Beatles in Rishikesh, India has become famous for its various religious and spiritual centres. Most of these centres for spiritual healing and guidance are based in Northern India while the southern Indian temples are some of the most visited and the richest in the world. Meenakshi Amman Temple, Jagannath Temple, Vaishno Devi Temple, Kamakhya Temple, Laxminarayan Temple and ISKON temple etc. are some of the most famous sites that should be a must visit. Apart from the various Hindu temples, there are several ancient mosques and churches which can be visited in India. Make it a point to visit the Golden Temple in Punjab, which is one of the most revered places for the Sikh community in India.
#4. Try the Traditional Indian Clothing
Like most of the things in India, the traditional Indian clothing has a diverse range of styles and designs that vary from region to region and is highly influenced by the ethnic lifestyle of the people. Most traditional clothing in India is supposed to be worn on a special or auspicious occasion which highlights the pomp and splendour related to that festival. Being a melting pot of various cultures and ethnicities, each state or region has their own set of apparels which is different from the other.
Saris, Kurta, Sherwani, Turbans, Salwar Suits and Churidaars are some of the most commonly found traditional Indian clothing. The clothing in each region is also based on the varied climatic conditions owning to the varied geographical locations.
#5. Rediscover the Roots of Ancient Civilizations
Being one of the cradles of civilizations, Indian culture is even older than the ancient Rome and has been mentioned several times in the writings of various ancient scholars and historians. India has also been a home to the very first civilizations like the Harrapan culture and Indo-Aryans which are responsible for the spread of civilization and Hinduism in India. India is home to a huge number of archaeological sites which have baffled excavators and historians for several years.
Kali Bangan, Hampi, Konark, Melhua, Edicts of Ashoka, Buddist Stupas and ancient ruins like Nalanda and others make India an archaeological gem.
#6. Experience The Best of South Asian Wildlife
While not as diverse as Africa, India is another place where a huge variety of wildlife can be found. Geographical varied India is a home to several wildlife reserves, national parks and biosphere reserves which house some of the most exquisite wildlife and plant species. India alone contains 3 of the 34 biodiversity hotspots in the world and contains a major portion of the total wildlife on earth.
Bengal Tigers, Asiatic Lions, Asian Elephants, deer, Leopards, Rhinoceros, Crocodiles, Monkeys, snakes and a huge variety of birds can be found in the various wildlife and nature reserves in India. This is pretty evident from the works of the famous wildlife writer Rudyard Kipling who has mentioned the Indian forests and wildlife species in his books.
#7. Celebrate the Indian Festivals
India is a home of festivals and if you live in a multicultural and vibrant city like Mumbai, you will agree to this point. There is hardly any time in the year when the Hindus do not have a festival dedicated to a god. Most Indian festivals are accompanied with high levels of merrymaking and preparation of sweets and special food items. Being a home of several other religious communities like Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Parsis etc. all festivals in India are celebrated in a way not like any other country.
Holi, Eid, Lohri, Baisakhi, Diwali, Onam and Bihu etc. are the major festivals that attract those tourists. Several sweets and speciality foods and beverages are distributed as communion during these festivals and you certainly want to try your hands on the cannabis (bhang) infused lassi/thandai (shake) during holi celebrations.
A visit to India and discovering the distinctive cultures that the Indian people are comprised of is always a refreshing experience. India is a country with more than a million attractions and one certainly needs more than a lifetime to experience and discover the magical country of India.