Incredible India, The Land of the Holy Cows and Ancient Places

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India is one of the most beautiful realms in the whole wide world and truly an enigmatic and bamboozling place to be in, even for a short period of time.

Being the biggest country in the area (the Indian subcontinent, yes, it is THAT big folks) and sharing its borders with Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Myanmar, India is actually the 7’th largest country in the world.

With a surface of 1,269,346 sq mi and  a population of 1.2 billion people (second populous country, second to China), India is the vastest democracy in the world.

The country’s name is derived from IndusHindus, an old Persian word and the capital is New Delhi with Mumbai being the largest city.

From a traveler’s point of view, India is an incredible country to visit, due to its many points of interest, i.e. various tourist destinations and interesting/attractive places.

Part of its sex appeal is that incredible mélange of modern and ancient, India being a true cultural melting pot, where modern cities and high tech meet ancient rural villages, that are just like they were 1000 years ago.

India is an unforgettably beautiful country where you can actually spend an entire lifetime exploring ancient peoples and their cultures, not to mention the picturesque landscapes, like the Himalayas. Another main “selling point” for visiting India is its vast cultural/historical/religious/ethnographical and even linguistically (there are over 400 living languages spoken there) heritage. India is basically an amalgam of the past and present times, slowly opening up to our globalised world. Fascinating, to say the least.

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What to see and what to do while in India

Now, let me enumerate India’s top travel destinations, while we’re at it, shall we?

The land of kings aka Rajasthan (rajah means king) is often regarded as the “must see” travel destination, offering you unbelievable sites/attractions, such as the Palace on Wheels, National Parks, forts, palaces, wild life sanctuaries, festivals, fairs, safaris in the desert (guided tours of course) and last but not least, the astronomical wanders of Jantar Mantar.

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God’s country, aka Kerala is another tip-top tourist destination in the south of the country. You can enjoy here various guided tours, like Beach tours, Backwater tours, Houseboat cruises, wildlife tours, Hill Station tours or Heritage tours.

Uttar Pradesh lays at the foothills of the Himalayan mountains and it’s India’s biggest state. This magical realm offers the tourists “once in a lifetime” places like the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort and marvelous and vibrant towns like Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi and Kanpur. Here you can visit museums, ancient temples and national parks.

India, Bharat, Rajasthan, Travel Destination, Udaipur, Lake Pichola and the City Palace

Maharashtra is located in the center of the country and it makes for a beautiful place to visit, offering the tourists a wild range of museums, art galleries, religious places and wildlife sanctuaries.

Andaman Islands are located in the bay of the Bengal, an archipelago that features exotic forests and plant life, the place to go for snorkeling in the corals.

Delhi is the capital of India and a traditional tourist destination, filled with historical places like the Lotus Temple, the Red Fort, Qutub Minar, the international Doll Museum, a huge zoological park and much, much more.

Other cool places include Kashmir, Kolkata, Gulmarg, the river Ganges (also sacred ) and while you’re at it, visit the epic city of Varanasi, one of the holiest places in India.

Keep in mind that I’m just revealing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to India, a country the size of a continent…

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Indian Foods and Drinks

 India’s cuisine is world renowned for its tantalizing spices, flavors and also for its huge variety. Curry is the national dish and it’s made of blends of spices, like cardamom, turmeric, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, coriander and poppy seeds. Everything differs from region to region, obviously.

You can eat all kinds of veggies, breads and sweets : paranthas, naans, rotis and chapatis (breads); jamun, gulab, laddu, kulfi, rasgula and kheer (sweets).

A few specialties : curried lentils (dhal), ice cream (Indian style-Kulfi), Gulab Jamuns (deep fried dough balls in syrup), Jalebi, Dosa.

Don’t forget : drink only bottled water.

Visa and Passport Requirements

For visiting India you’ll require a valid passport and a tourist visa, regardless that you’re from the US, the EU or Australian/Canadian.

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