India, a place full of colour and contemplation, somewhere to go to find yourself or lose yourself, calm and commotion, sacred and scintillating, you have arrived!
Where to start? There are a daunting number of temple cities to visit for important places of worship. You could follow the well-trodden paths to the Hindu Temples of Virupaksha, Hampi and Meenakshi in Madurai, or the most famous Sikh pilgrimage in India, the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Varanasi is the spiritual capital of India for Hindus, Buddhists and Jains and scenes of devotions on the Ghats along the River Ganges is probably one of the most moving sights that anyone can witness. Of course, the great white marble mausoleum and architectural masterpiece that is the Taj Mahal cannot be overlooked.
Nature’s delights bestowed on India include tiger spotting in Kanha National Park and if you’re into caves then Ajanta and Ellora, close to Aurangabad, are no ordinary caves and well worth visiting. Observe the mountainous landscape of the Himalayas from Himachai Pradesh, or take in a stunning Thar Desert sunset, blessed with a skyline silhouette of the “Golden City” of Jaisalmer.
Now the accommodation spectrum is vast in India. Sample a slice of colonial Calcutta at the Fairlawns Hotel. Bask in the luxurious and exclusive Taj Lake Palace, sitting in the middle of Lake Pichola in Udaipur, featured in the 1983 James Bond movie, Octopussy. Goa, a former Portuguese province, is now a resort providing a wide variety of villas and hotels for the mid centric international tourist to enjoy. Beautiful beaches like Palolem, wonderful markets and cheap restaurants make this a perfect place to wind-down and take a break from the cultural overload and crowded cities of Delhi and Mumbai. Something a little different, “Houseboat Tourism” is popular on the lakes and lagoons of the Kerala backwaters, where you can stay on Kettuvallams (traditional rice boats) converted into floating hotels, if that’s what floats your boat!
Visit India - it may be miraculous, it could be mayhem, it might be life-changing and quite possibly mind-blowing!