13 Reasons Why You Should Visit India at Least Once in Your Lifetime

300 years old Chomu Palace in Rajasthan
300 years old Chomu Palace in Rajasthan | © jpeter2 | pixabay
Aditi Mukherjee

India has emerged as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, just 7 decades after its independence. Located in South Asia, the country consists of 29 states and 7 Union Territories, all of which have varied cultures, languages and traditions. India will mesmerize you with its colours and variety. Here are 13 reasons why India must be in your sooner-rather-than-later travel plans!

It’s affordable

The Indian currency, the Indian Rupee, is relatively weak against the currency of more developed nations. For US$1 you get approximately Rs64; for €1 approximately Rs72; and for £1 approximately Rs82. This makes India an extremely economical country to visit. Who doesn’t appreciate a holiday that doesn’t burn a hole in the pockets?

Shopping in Varanasi, India

The rich art and history

A dancer performing Bharatnatyam

The photography

India is a photogenic country, to say the least. The diverse flora and fauna, colours, people and topography are a few reasons it is one of the best locations a photographer could come to. The skyscrapers in the cities, which reflect India’s growth, are as much a delight to capture as the beautiful hinterland.

A Rajasthani woman

The delicious food

Indians eat an enormous variety of food. Daily staples include whole-wheat flat breads, lentils, vegetables and fruit. India’s food culture is an assortment of Mughlai (Central Asian), Arab (Middle Eastern), and European cuisine. The Portuguese settled in India for hundreds of years and influenced the coastal cuisine. The food in southern and northern areas of the country are poles apart.

Plus, Indian street food is something you should not miss. From freshly fried fitters to assorted dry nibbles, the variety is endless and lip-smacking!

A typical Indian meal involves vegetable dishes, rice and whole-wheat flat breads

The extensive Indian Railways

The Indian Railway network transports almost 22 million people every day. Riding the rails in India is a unique experience; you’ll travel through the changing landscape, villages and lush green agricultural fields. The camaraderie between passengers on these journeys is something not often seen elsewhere. People start chatting and soon enough, a large group of passengers gather to pass time by bantering.

A train in Igatpuri, Maharashtra

The national sport – cricket

India’s cricket fanaticism is unparalleled. Here, cricketers are practically worshiped. The adrenaline rush you’ll experience watching a cricket match live in India is like no other: firecrackers burst and impromptu road rallies held after India wins a difficult match!

A full house cheering for India during a cricket match

Stay on a shikara/house boat

House boats in Kashmir and Kerala — at two opposite ends of India — will give you an experience you’ll never forget. The beautiful woodwork in the house-boats of Kashmir and the cane decor of those in Kerala are magnificent. Equipped with most modern comforts onboard, these boats offer the privilege of staying amidst nature on the serene water.

A typical boat-house in Kerala parked in the backwaters

Attend a spectacular festival

India is comprised of many religions, and with many beliefs come many gods and many reasons to worship and celebrate. Somewhere in India, a festival is being celebrated almost every day. The most significant are Holi (the festivals of colours), Diwali (the festival of lights) and Ganpati (in honour of Lord Ganesha). The colours, songs, dances, lights and food will make you fall in love with India.

Holi, the festival of colours, being celebrated in Varanasi

The 7 Sisters of the North-East

The North-East of India is an under-visited treasure. The people and landscape of this largely mountainous region is very different from the rest of the country. From Shiloi Lake in Nagaland, the Bihu festival in Assam and the Dampa Tiger Reserve and Kaziranga National Park, these seven states offer unbelievable beauty.

The pristine Umiam Lake in Meghalaya

Tea

Tea is an important part of Indian daily life. A day can’t begin before gulping down a cuppa. India is the second largest producer of tea in the world (after China), and the way tea is prepared here is very interesting. In some places you’ll be served in clay tea cups, in others in glass or steel tumblers. Tea is sold in every nook and on every corner of Indian cities, so don’t fail to try it. Assam and Darjeeling, in the North-East of the country, are two important areas for tea production.

A chai stall in Varanasi

Temple architecture

India’s temple architecture is so varied and beautiful it’s sure to take your breath away. Over the centuries, the various rulers of India made temples to their gods and deities, resulting in interesting and different architectural monuments throughout the country. Highlights include the Dravidian architecture of South India, the Nagara architecture of the famous erotic Khajuraho temples, and Kalinga style temples in the East.

An intricately sculpted temple in Hampi, Karnataka

Exquisite palaces

India’s various kings (especially the Mughals) made gorgeous structures to live in, which you can now visit. It’s even possible to stay in some of these palaces, as some have been turned into premier hotels. Finally, your chance to feel like royalty.

Umaid Bhawan Palace in Rajasthan, built in the 1920s

The street culture

Yes, India is crowded and people, vehicles and animals share the roads and footpaths. Roadside barbers cut hair and trim beards, right out in the open. Street food is for sale. Take a ride in a three-wheeled auto-rickshaw (also called a tuk-tuk) or cycle-rickshaw and check out India’s street culture.

An auto-rickshaw and a cycle-rickshaw wait at a signal in Delhi
landscape with balloons floating in the air

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