India is a vast country, affording visitors that much more to experience, see, and do in this intriguing country of adventure and soul-enrichment. India is home to 37 World Heritage sites recognized as important for cultural or natural heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Visitors can experience natural beauty in the waterfalls, lakes, hill stations, beaches, national parks, botanical gardens, aquaria, forests, wildlife sanctuaries, rivers, and mountains. Adventure seekers have the Himalayas, rafting, kayaking, heli-skiing, waterfall rappelling, skydiving, scuba diving, caving, mountaineering, and trekking. Sun lovers have the beaches; for foodies, the delights are endless, and partiers have the various nightlife attractions. As a bonus, India is friendly on the pocket….
Spiritualism and Nature – The opportunity of merging the natural with the spiritual is what attracts travelers to return to India. Those seeking to find inner-light and awaken the soul’s purpose through spiritual journeys gravitate to India and the many forms of enlightenment to be found here. With a multitude of gods, India is much blessed. Foreign visitors seeking peace, spiritual awakening and introspection are spoilt for choice with ashrams, yoga retreats, meditation retreats and exercise venues in abundance.
Hemkund Sahib, Uttarakhand in the Himalayan Mountains is a Sikh pilgrimage and worship site sitting at an altitude of almost 4,700 m. A picturesque spirituality in nature quality, surrounded as it is by seven mountains
Varanasi on the banks of River Ganges in Uttar Pradesh is India’s center of spiritual energy and the primary holy place of the Sapta Puris. Millions of tourists, visitors, and pilgrims visit to attain forgiveness, wash their sins away in Ganga, cremate loved ones where it is believed dying leads to moksha, or to be closer to obtaining moksha personally. Moksha is Nirvana, freedom from the cycle of death and life. The Varanasi Ghats are long stone steps, some 100 of them, that gently sink into the Ganges. The ghats are best at dawn, sunset, and during the aartis when priests chant in unison with hundreds of witnesses soaking in the enchanting milieu. Among the ghats, the Manikarnika Ghat is considered the most auspicious Hindu cremation ground.
Rishikesh, Uttarakhand on the Himalayan foothills is the yoga capital of the world and famous spiritual center of India, named after Lord Vishnu, the ‘Lord of Senses.’
Ashrams attract flocks of visitors as spiritual retreats grounded in the daily routine which uncovers a “destination” through unique, personal experience and epiphanies. Ashrams allow the busy person opportunity to be ‘unbusy,’ to be alone with the self and listen to the calling of the soul and heart.
Cost effective– A comfortable holiday with meals, accommodation, entertainment, and local transport can be had in India for a few dollars a day. Street food is delicious and safe to eat if you know how, and costs next to nothing at all. Drink plenty of bottled water to stay hydrated at a very minimal cost. Travel distances by rail (sleeper class is recommended) or using rickshaws within towns or cities for a truly authentic Indian experience. Accommodation-wise, you can afford to splurge on a hotel, but guesthouses are comfortable and considerably cheaper.
Food – Indian cuisine is influenced by many cultures, not least of all the Moghul Empire which invaded the region in the 16th century. Styles vary among regions, but spiciness and rich flavors are omnipresent. Basmati rice, curries, chutneys, and pulses are prominent in Indian meals as is lamb and chicken among non-vegetarians. Meals are eaten with the fingers using bread as utensils, which means many variations of bread, such as naan and bhatoora.
The culture shock – With twenty-nine states making up the country of India, visitors are likely to come across at least as many cultures and traditions. India is largely misunderstood by foreigners, being that it is among the oldest civilizations in the world. With thousands of unique and distinct cultures made up of many religions and communities, it is amazing how language, food, dance, music, architecture, and customs differ. India has no single official language, recognizing 23 national languages. English is, however, widely taught in Indian educational institutions, which means foreigners can communicate without too many problems. Prominent religions are Buddhism, Hinduism, and Muslim. Revel in the differences; it’s worth it.
Medical tourism in India is growing exponentially, with projected growth estimated at 200% by 2020. This phenomenon is assisted by the government expanding its e-tourism VISA to include e-Medical visas. Research indicates that private medical hospitals within India have treated as many as 50,000 foreign patients.
The Himalayas – The location of the world’s 10 tallest mountains attracts pilgrims, trekkers, and holidaymakers. As an Indian tourist visa service, Indian Visa Online can help with the application of an e-visa to kickstart an excursion to India, where spirituality meets nature.