India has been a prominent nation since the ancient times. It became a vital trading post to Roman and Chinese empires due to its natural resources. Subsequently, it turned into a melting pot of various cultures. India’s geography is another one of its unique features. Up north, India converges with the great Himalayas. Down in the peninsular south, the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal hit its shores. Historic and well-developed areas across the country create a fascinating, albeit stark contrast with each other. Today, yoga and wellness, food and adventure, are experiences synonymous to India.
WHEN TO VISIT
The climate in the northern and southern portions of India differ as much as their topographies. Hence, travellers should first decide on the experience they desire. From March to May, Summer heat reaches a scorching 45C. This spreads from the Northern Plains down to the central areas. Southern India is cooler at 35C, but high in humidity. Monsoon season arrives from July to September. Rain sweeps the western portion as early as June while most of the country experiences wet days in July. Northern and northeastern India brace for snow from November to February, but southtern India never gets really cold.
Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in New Delhi primarily serves the country’s National Capital Region. The adjacent Aerocity offers convenience to tourists with quick access to the Delhi Metro Airport Express, which leads to the Dwarka Sector 21 station. Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (MCSA) is the second busiest airport in India, two and a half hours south of New Delhi. The other five international airports are in Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Goa. For local air travel, domestic airports are nearing a hundred in aggregate. Intercity transport is usually on a train, bus, or even a rickshaw. Not all transportation options afford convenience, but it takes one to the desired destination.
The use of various spices distinctly identifies Indian cuisine from the rest of the culinary world. From the traditional curry to the tandoori chicken, dishes are simply bursting with flavours. And they have considerable nutritional and medicinal benefits, too. A good introduction to Indian food is through a ‘roti,’ a circular flatbread usually dipped into different sauces. As for desserts, Indian specialities will still make your palates do the work. One popular after-meal special is ‘gaajar halwa,’ a piping hot fusion of grated carrot, dried fruits, milk, and sugar.
The majority of the Indian population practice Hinduism. Hence, Diwali, or Hindu festival of lights, is a prominent celebration that happens during October or November. Another is Holi, the festival of colours. It’s a huge party all over the country during March. Dussehra, the reenactment of the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana, happens in October. For the Muslim community, Eid-Ul-Fitr is a gathering of the faithful in prayer. In the different regions, they also have particular festivals like the Baisakhi and Hemis Festivals (North India) and Pongal and Onam Festival (South India).
Ministry of India (official website)