India, a country that is not just snake charmers

You must read this is if you are wondering why you should take a trip to India, or are planning a vacation to one of those exotic locations out of this country. A country that is trying to break free from the images of snake charmers, bejewelled camels and more such cliches. India is more than Octopussy, Sirs. 

 

If the manifold increase in the number of tourists to India hasn’t set you wondering yet, read this.

 

This first picture, of Chandratal Lake, is just for starters, a shot that captures the little known beauty that’s a part of India. 

Photo Courtesy – Wiki Commons

Wellness Tourism, isn’t India leading the pack?

Photo Courtesy – Ananada in the Himalayas

Ever wondered why India is ranked as the fastest growing wellness destination in the world? No sirs (and ma’ams), it’s not just the Beatles wave that swept its shores in 1969. For India, today, has some of the best spiritual retreats and yoga centers of the world, a fast growing vegetarian population, and the magical practice of Ayurveda. Hippies or A-listers, everyone is riding high on the wellness wave, landing on the Indian shore in droves.

 

Adventure Tourism, Extreme Adventure at that!

Photo Courtesy – Wiki Commons

I wrote extreme for I’m talking of much more than just rafting at Rishikesh. Here, I’m talking of the real extreme that spells skydivingparagliding at Bir and Billing (Asia’s best paragliding spot), white water rafting at Zanskar, a river that navigates one of the most treacherous terrains of Indiamicrolight flying, kite and surf boarding, scuba diving and much much more. That at a fraction of what it would cost you anywhere else in the world. 

 

 

Religion, tourism, for the love of God.

Photo Courtesy – Wiki Commons

Right from the colourful Ganga ghats at Varanasi and the dargah of Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chishti at Ajmer to Bodh Gaya (the place of Buddha’s salvation) and Leh monasteries that have sat watching changing civilisations from their high seat in the Himalayas, India has some of the most fascinating religious places. Seeking salvation or becoming the next William Dalrymple, India is the place to be at.

 

Vineyards, tours that would make you forget Tuscany.

Photo Courtesy – Flickr

Italy and France are astounding for vineyard tours and so is (even) a one way ticket to these. A backpacker’s heartache that. Thus, before you sit fiddling with your budget and try to get a ticket, visit these – India’s most famous vineyards and wine tasting destinationsFor all that I know, you would not be craving for those tickets after visiting these.

 

Road Trips, it’s not all potholed.

Photo Courtesy – Soham Banerjee

Right from the dangerously fascinating roads to Leh and Hindustan-Tibet Highway to the gorgeously meandering one from Darjeeling to Siliguri and the more gentler Chennai Bangalore Highway, India is a road trippers dream come true. And yes, you do get caravans in India. Quite easily at that. Sounds like time to make your own “Into the Wild” trip.

 

Wildlife Tourism, did you hear the tigers roar?

Photo Courtesy – Wiki Commons

Asiatic Lion, Snow Leopard, Tragopan, Bengal Tiger, One Horned Rhinos, Red Panda, Palm Civet, Flying Squirrel, Nilgiri Tah, Lion Tailed Macaque and more, India is one of your best bets to study rare wildlife from close quarters. Did that get Kenya and the idea of spending a whole lot of money out of your mind?!

 

History Classes, Anyone?

Photo Courtesy – Wiki Commons

Ah, no. History is more than just a visit to JodhpurYou would know what I mean if you embark on this once in a lifetime trip of the Silk Route in Sikkim or the now deserted havelis of Shekhawati in Rajasthan. To put it in a few words, no history book can equal a trip to India.

 

Food, also available for thought.

Photo Courtesy – Flickr

While the 42 years old Kiranjee has started cooking classes in the backyard of her kitchen in Kerala, the Lepchas of Sikkim are too happy to teach you cooking Bhutanese bread and more. If you like collecting experiences on your plate/palate, India is for you. The country has some 35 types of just regional cuisines! Savour.

 

If you still have not found a reason to travel to India, write to me and I’ll give you one 🙂 Till then, happy travelling.

 

For any queries or suggestions, do leave a comment below. 

 

About the author

Shikha Gautam loves to play with steering wheels, roads, words, flute and guitar among other things. Not necessarily in that order! You can contact her on twitter @ShikhaGautam