Capital: New Delhi
Official language: Standard Hindi and English are considered the two official languages of India
Currency: Indian Rupee
Welcome to Bollywood! Home to some of the world’s best cricket players, colorful festivals, the famous Taj Mahal and undeniably delicious Indian curry, India just might be the real land of milk and honey! The land of spices and bright colors lay stretched between the Indian Ocean and the Himalayan Mountains. On offer here is everything you ever dreamed of and more. From temples to mystical monasteries, buzzing cities and palaces that go beyond what seems possible. Have you ever wanted to find a hidden kingdom tucked away in pristine natural environments? Well it’s all possible in a place called India!
India is a colossal country and home to about a seventh of the world’s population, so what makes it so famous? Well, it might be due to the fact that India is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, nestled in a diverse and awe-inspiring natural landscape. All of these factors come together to make India one of the most famous and reputable countries ever, a country where dreams can turn into reality and the possibilities seem virtually endless. With a rich history dating back 5 millennia, there are a million reasons why India is a one of a kind travel destination. If we had to name but a few reasons why India is so unique, it would have to include the relics left behind by ancient empires. Then there are the dramatic landscapes, ranging from tiger-filled jungles to the frozen Himalayan deserts. India also as a whopping 32 UNESCO sites, just waiting to be explore. In all its glory, India truly is a one of a kind destination that might require multiple visits to truly get to know and fall in love with each and every tantalizing aspect of its beauty.
Must see places in India
The capital of India has two sides, New Delhi which offers Lutyens architecture, and ‘Old’ Delhi with its narrow winding streets, ancient shrines and bazaars. When in Delhi, you can also head over to India’s largest mosque, Jama Masjid, also called the Red Fort.
This is where you’ll find some of the best full moon parties in places such as Anjuna. Goa might not be as “busy” as Delhi, but it still promises an urban experience second to none in India.
The Kerala is a tranquil break from the bustling life in India. Enjoy a boat cruise and get to see some remote villages and some smaller tourist sites.
Situated in the southwest region of Kerala, this area is practically covered in tea plantations, with some rising as high as 7000 meters above sea level.
Tucked away in Rajasthan lies the very romantic city of Udaipur, also called the ‘Venice of the East’. Other than the city of Udaipur, you can explore the scenic castles and forts throughout Rajasthan and be enticed by the colorful people.
The Golden Triangle
This area of India promises to leave you breathless with its many stunning attractions. In the triangle you can explore Delhi at the center, Agra in the southeast with its Taj Mahal, and Jaipur - the Pink City - to the southwest.
The Holy Temples
Head over to Orissa state that’s crammed full of temples. Alternatively, Bhubaneswar also has some stunning temple sights to see like the Lingaraj Temple. If you want to witness a truly striking temple then head on over to Konarak to view the Sun Temple.
This is a main business center in the East of India with loads of markets, bazaars and some stunning colonial buildings.
The Temples of Ajanta
These Buddhist rock-cut cave temples date back at least 2000 years and depict amazing stories of cultural and spiritual origin.
The Yumthang Valley in Sikkim
Sourrounded by the Himalayan Mountains, this grazing pasture located 3,564 meters above sea level is also known as the Valley of Flowers.
Things to do in India
The Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal has a massive variety of coral reefs and tropical fish and is also home to India’s only active volcano
Be a beach bum
in Mumbai you can find Juhu and Chowpatty, and Goa boasts some of the most pristine beaches and resorts in the world. They say go big or go home, so head over to Marina Beach in Chennai, which is the second largest beach in the world.
Go on a camel safari
To really get to experience India’s deserts, you have to do it on the back of a camel. To get the most of your experience, stay overnight to witness the awe-inspiring night sky of the desert.
Visit the National Parks
India has over 70 national parks, 400 wildlife sanctuaries and 17 biosphere reserves, which gives you more than enough to choose from. Some of the most popular reserves include Keoladeo Ghana National Park in Rajasthan, Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh, Corbett Tiger Reserve in Uttarakhand and Sunderbans Tiger Reserve in West Bengal.
Best time to visit India
Tourist travel to India from March to June
Although India sees year round hot weather, temperatures vary greatly from one region to another. The coolest time in India runs from November to the beginning of March. The hottest times of the year tend to be from March to June. The months of June through to early October sees monsoon season.
Western Himalayas: March to October
Northern Plains: April to mid-June
Central India: March to June
Western India: November to February
Eastern India: October to February
Southwest: November to March
Did you know?
The Bandra Worli Sealink Bridge in India took a total of 25,700,000 man hours for completion, weighs as much as 50,000 African Elephants and has steel wires equal to the earth’s circumference
- Dhal - these curried lentils are an Indian staple
- Kulfi - this is a delicious and firm Indian-style ice cream
- Gulab Jamuns - another sweet treat are these deep-fried dough balls that are served in a sweet syrup
- Jalebi - this desert sweet is circular-shaped deep-fried batter that is served in a sweet syrup
- Dosa - this dish consists of fermented crepes that are stuffed with vegetables, meat and sauces
- Indian Curry - you cannot pass up the opportunity to taste some authentic Indian curry made with the finest and freshest ingredients. Enjoy it with some traditional Naan bread as a side.
- Lassi - this is a traditional Indian iced yoghurt / buttermilk drink that is flavored with fruits like mango and banana
While India is home to some of the world’s most elaborate and energetic festivals, they also have the most festivals, which is why we’ve rounded up 8 of the most popular Indian festivals that will tantalize the senses.
February through May
Kerala Temple Festivals
The state of Kerala is renowned for its temple festivals. Typical festivals include elephant processions as a part of the main attraction. Colorful floats, drummers and musicians are also a regular sight.
This two day celebration honors the victory of good over evil. It also celebrates the abundance of the spring harvest season. You might know it as the festival of colors, where people throw color powder and water over each other and party under water sprinklers.
August / September
Celebrating the birth of the Hindu elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesha, this 11 day festival is filled with lots of Ganesha crafted statues, singing and dancing.
August / September
This is the 10 day harvest festival that marks the homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali. Expect to see the front of houses decorated with flowers on the floor to welcome the king. New clothes, food served on banana leaves and snake boat races are all part of the celebrations.
August / September
Also known as Govinda, this festival celebrates the birthday of Lord Krishna. There’s a human pyramid where people try to reach and break open clay pots filled with curd and lots of singing and dancing as a part of the celebrations.
Late September / October
Navaratri, Dussehra and Durga Puja
Navaratri is what the first 9 days of this festival is called, and it is to honor the Mother Goddess. The tenth day is called Dussehra and is devoted to celebrate the defeat of the demon king by Lord Rama. In East India huge statues of the Goddess are submerged in the Ganges River. You can expect to see lots of theatrical events, singing, dancing and drama performances throughout the country.
October / November
This five day festival celebrates the Hindu New Year and is also known as the ‘Festival of Lights’. Expect to see a lot of fireworks, clay lamps and candles being lit up during the celebrations. It creates a very warm atmosphere filled with joy and happiness.
Pushkar Camel Fair
With 50,000 camels converging in a tiny desert town, this event is HUGE. This festival sees camels being dressed up, paraded, entered into beauty contests, raced and traded for 5 days.
- Women are expected to dress modestly and men should dress respectfully
- Short skirts and tight or revealing clothing in women is frowned upon
- Pickpocketing is a very present problem in India, so with that in mind, never carry large amounts of cash with you while you’re out and about
We’ve all heard it before somewhere, and in India you can actually use it! The most common greeting in India is Namaste, said with the hands together in a prayer-like position.