India is not a small country. Its very expanse is a reason to visit, but more so is the people and the vibrancy of all that makes up India. There must be a good reason for India to be attracting in excess of 10 million foreign nationals to its shores annually. The introduction of the Indian e-visa online makes it that much simpler to apply for and get a visa to enjoy India firsthand.
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.
India is a vast country – India is indeed overwhelming. India is three times larger than Germany and six times bigger than France, understandably affording visitors that much more to see, do, and experience in this country of intrigue, adventure and soul-nourishment. India is home to 37 World Heritage sites recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as important for cultural or natural heritage. Visitors can experience waterfalls, lakes, hill stations, beaches, national parks, botanical gardens, aquaria, forests, wildlife sanctuaries, rivers, mountains, and reefs in this one country.
Cost effective- A comfortable holiday can be had in India on under $20 a day, including three meals, accommodation, entertainment, and transport within the country. Street food is delicious and safe to eat if you know how, and costs next to nothing at all. Drink plenty pf bottled water to stay hydrated at a very minimal cost. Traveling distances by rail is cheap, and sleeper class is wholly recommended. Rickshaws within towns and cities are really cost effective and all part of traveling around India; simply a must-do! As for accommodation, you can afford to splurge on a hotel, but guesthouses are comfortable and considerably cheaper.
The culture shock – With 29 states making up the country of India, visitors are likely to come across at least as many cultures and traditions. As one of the world’s oldest civilizations, India is largely misunderstood by foreigners. India has thousands of unique and distinct cultures comprised of many religions and communities, wherein language, dance, music, architecture, food, and customs differ. English is widely taught in Indian educational institutions, which means foreigners can communicate without much difficulty. India has no single official language but rather recognizes 23 national languages. Prominent religions are Buddhism, Hinduism, and Muslim. Revel in the differences; it’s well worth it.
History– India started with the Indus Valley Civilization which flourished around 2500 BC in what is today Pakistan and Western India. Excavations show a highly developed civilization going back some 5000 years hereabouts. The Vedic civilizations rooted in what is Punjab today were the earliest Indian civilization. Present day India has its roots in the culmination of many migrants and cultures over the millennia and is therefore culturally and historically rich.
Architecture – Diversity birthed architectural styles unique to India. Indian architecture probably dates back to the advent of Buddhism in the region. Rock cut temples and caves are certainly worth the visit and are like nothing to be seen elsewhere on earth. Monks used these as accommodation and places of worship for centuries. With colonialism came a new influence, and Indian architecture reflects the Western influence mixed as it is with its own styles.
Medical tourism is growing in leaps and bounds in India, with projected growth estimated at 200% by 2020. This phenomenon is assisted with the government having expanded its e-Visa to include e-Medical visas. Research indicates that private medical hospitals within India have treated up to 50,000 foreign patients of late.
Spiritualism – Whether in Rishikesh, Haridwar or Varanasi, India satisfies every spiritual need, extending to temples in almost every city countrywide. 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.
Ashram – Although this falls under Spiritualism, ashrams are worth a mention on their own. Foreigners flock to India to these spiritual retreats. The spiritual aspect is 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 yourself and listen to the calling of your soul, those inner voices, and your heart.
The Himalayas– The location of the world’s 10 tallest mountains attracts pilgrims, trekkers, and holidaymakers.
With an Indian e-visa, India and golden memories for a lifetime are just days away.