A few weeks ago we did an article on Medical Tourism and Treatment in India, and we covered the benefits of choosing India as your medical tour destination. The question then becomes what if, by God’s grace, you are perfectly healthy? Is India still worth a visit?
My answer would be a definite Heck Yes! A lot of people think of India only as this overcrowded, slum filled nation with scorching heat and no air, but that is just like saying Kenya is a dessert with dry arid air that will burn the hair of your skin; though it may be true in some regions, it would be completely false to base your conception of the whole nation like that.
India is actually a vast South Asian country with diverse terrain – from Himalayan peaks to Indian Ocean coastline – and history reaching back 5 millennia! It is filled with historical landmines, diverse culture, unique terrain, and world famous attractions.
For me the best thing about India would be its culture. India has managed to cultivate its own, unique identity captured through a myriad of expressions of India’s Heritage and traditions, such as literature, music, art, dance, and even cinema; making its presence as Bollywood known to the rest of the world in its own right.
Like the Great Wall in China, and the Maasai Mara in our own land, the Taj Mahal is the completion of any tourist’s travel adventures to China. Take a tour through this beautiful architectural masterpiece in Agra, and learn the story behind its construction.
2. Ride an Elephant at Elephantastic.
Elephantiasic is a unique and inspiring experience that is a must do for anyone visiting India. Elefantastic is owned and managed by a former Elephant Rider, Mahut, and farm owner focusing on health-care and breeding management for friendly, beautiful and special elephants to produce healthy elephants in this chaotic world.
3. Desert and the Pink City
Visit the Pink City of Jaipur in Rajasthan. Rajasthan is probably the single most popular state with travellers, who are drawn by its desert scenery, the imposing medieval forts and palaces of Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Bundi, and by the colourful traditional dress.
4. Surf’s Up in the Andaman Islands
India’s most remote state, the Andaman Islands is situated more than 1000km off the east coast in the middle of the Bay of Bengal, connected to the mainland by flights and ferries from Kolkata, Chennai and Vishakhapatnam. Thickly covered by deep green tropical forest, the archipelago supports a profusion of wildlife, including some extremely rare species of bird, but the principal attraction for tourists lies in the beaches and the pristine reefs that ring most of the islands. Filled with colourful fish and kaleidoscopic corals, the crystal-clear waters of the Andaman Sea feature some of the world’s richest and least spoilt marine reserves – perfect for snorkelling and scuba diving. Although parts of the archipelago still see few visitors, the Andamans are now firmly on the tourist circuit.
The former Portuguese enclave of Goa, midway down India’s southwest coast, has been a holiday destination since colonial times, when British troops and officials used to travel here from across the country for a spot of “R&R”. Back then, the three B’s – bars, brothels and booze – were the big attractions. Now it’s the golden, palm-fringed beaches spread along the state’s 105km coastline that pulls in the tourists – around two million of them each winter. This may make it a little crowded at certain times of the year but if you know what you are looking for and you are willing to explore you can still find the perfect beach for you.
Which beach you opt for largely depends on what sort of holiday you have in mind. Developed resorts such as Calangute and Baga in the north, and Colva and Benaulim in the south, offer more accommodation than elsewhere. Anjuna, Vagator and Chapora, where places to stay are generally harder to come by, are the beaches to aim for if you’ve come to Goa to party. However, the bulk of budget travellers taking time out from tours of India end up in Palolem, in the far south beyond the reach of the charter transfer buses – though be warned that it too has become a major resort over the past decade, attracting literally thousands of long-stay visitors in peak season. For a quieter scene, you could head for Patnem, just over the headland from Palolem, or Agonda, further up the coast, where development is limited to a string of hut camps and family guesthouses. The only place where the hippie scene endures to any significant extent is Arambol, in the far north of the state, where you can dip in to any number of yoga styles and holistic therapies between spells on the beach.
6. Himachel Pradesh
Ruffled by the lower ridges of the Shivalik Range in the far south, cut through by the Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar ranges in the northwest, and dominated by the great Himalayas in the north and east, Himachal Pradesh (HP) is India’s most popular and easily accessible hill state. Sandwiched between the Punjab and Tibet, its lowland orchards, subtropical forests and maize fields peter out in the higher reaches where pines cling to the steep slopes of mountains whose inhospitable peaks soar in rocky crags and forbidding ice fields to heights of more than 6000m.
Visitors to the densely populated Kangra Valley west of Manali invariably make a beeline for Dharamsala, whose large community of Tibetan exiles includes the Dalai Lama himself.
The most visible legacy of what most Indians refer to as the South of Tamil Nadu, the protracted cultural flowering is a crop of astounding temples, whose gigantic gateway towers, or gopuras, still soar above just about every town. It is the image of these colossal wedge-shaped pyramids, high above the canopy of dense palm forests, or against patchworks of vibrant green paddy fields, which Edward Lear described as “stupendous and beyond belief”. Indeed, the garishly painted deities and mythological creatures sculpted onto the towers linger long in the memory of most travellers.
8. Natural city of Peace; Karala
The state of Kerala stretches for 550km along India’s southwest coast, divided between the densely forested mountains of the Western Ghats inland and a lush, humid coastal plain of rice paddy, lagoons, rivers and canals. Its intensely tropical landscape, fed by the highest rainfall in peninsular India, has intoxicated visitors since the ancient Sumerians and Greeks sailed in search of spices to the shore known as the Malabar Coast. Equally, Kerala’s arcane rituals and spectacular festivals – many of them little changed since the earliest era of Brahmanical Hinduism – have dazzled outsiders for thousands of years.
Travellers weary of India’s daunting metropolises will find Kerala’s cities smaller and more relaxed. The most popular is undoubtedly the great port of Kochi (Cochin), where the state’s long history of peaceful foreign contact is evocatively evident in the atmospheric old quarters of Mattancherry and Fort Cochin.
9. The Capital; Delhi
India’s capital, Delhi is the hub of the country: a buzzing international metropolis which draws people from across India and the globe. Home to fifteen million people, it’s big, sprawling and still growing. Yet tucked away inside Delhi’s modern suburbs and developments are tombs, temples and ruins dating back centuries; in some places, the remains of whole cities from the dim and distant past nestle among homes and highways built in just the last decade or two. The result is a city full of fascinating nooks and crannies that you could happily spend weeks, or even months, exploring.
10. Bandhavgarh National Park
Last, but definitely not least is a wildlife sanctuary in the eastern tracts of Madhya Pradesh. The wildlife of the Bandhavgarh National Park is truly the most glittering parts of the Aravali regions. The Park is simply known for the various species of wild creatures and is best known for the preservation of the most astonishing tiger species. The presence of the abundance of tiger species in Bandhavgarh has drove many animal lovers in this explicit arena. Appreciate the wilderness hidden behind every rugged way of Bandhavgarh with the amazing wildlife tour in Bandhavgarh Reserve. This would probably be my best tourist attraction as my personal favourite animal on the planet is the tiger. It is definitely on the Bucket list!
Shingai is an upcoming writer with a passion for words and expression through writing. She lived in Zimbabwe as a child and has traveled to over ten countries. She craves adventure and hopes to be an inspirational writer. She is currently pursuing a degree in English Literature with a minor in Psychology at Daystar University.