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Experience an unforgettable holiday in India
Located in South Asia, India is one of the largest countries in the world and second-most populous. It is an incredible country to visit as it takes you through a multi-sensory experience with its diverse sights, tastes, sounds and smells. The dramatic variety of landscapes ranges from the majestic Himalayas to bustling megalopolis and beautiful coastlines. Here are some of the many ways in which to experience India.
Discover Indian food and its explosion of flavours
India has a wide range of cuisine which varies greatly from state to state, with religious and cultural practices from its rich past heavily influencing its local cuisine. The one thing that ties Indian cuisine together as a whole is its profound knowledge and use of spices.
The best way to experience the cuisine of each region is to hit the streets and follow the locals. When in the hustling and bustling metropolis of Mumbai, locals will swear by their famous fast foods such as Vada Pav (a spiced mashed potato and onion croquette served in a buttery roll with mint-coriander chutney) or Pav Bhaji (a spiced vegetable stew with a tomato based gravy served with toasted buttery rolls).
If you are heading to Hyderabad, do not leave without trying a Biryani, an ode to the region's Mughal past. Further north in the state of Punjab, you will find a dish synonymous with Indian cuisine, Butter Chicken. At the opposite end of the country, down in the southern most states of India, sample some Masala Dosa (a thin and crisp rice pancake with a potato stuffing served with chutney and spicy gravy).
India’s Magnificent Palaces, Forts and Temples
To delve into India’s history and explore its architecture visitors have a unique variety of monuments to visit that feature rich artworks and insights. While the Taj Mahal is probably the best known of India’s palatial monuments, there are many more such as those in the Pink City of India, Jaipur.
Situated at the top of the hill in the UNESCO heritage site of Jaipur, the Amer Fort is one of several monuments in the city and for a truly unique experience travel to the site by elephant with local guides. For the more adventurous, a trek in the Indian Himalayas will take you to one of several temples such as the Kedarnath Temple or the Badrinarayan Temple. If you are more suited to life on a lower altitude then visit the colourful Meenakshi Temple or Tirupati temples in southern India.
Unique ways of travelling through India
While holidaymakers may be tempted to simply jet across India with a cheap flight, you might not forgive yourself for missing out some of the unique ways of discovering the country.
Explore the lush surroundings and enchanting backwaters of Kerala, kwown as God’s Own Country with a river cruise or enjoy life on the water in style in one if its many houseboats.
If you are heading from Mumbai to the see the Taj Mahal near New Dehli, do it in style and reminisce about India’s colonial past on one of several routes offered by the Maharaja Express, a historic train line. For a more budget friendly option, simply opt to travel using the regular trains as it is often said that there is no better way to travel through India than in which the way the masses do.
Celebrating the rich diversity of Indian Culture
Much of India’s culture is deeply rooted in its religious beliefs and thus it is not surprising to find several cultural festivals throughout the year.
Holi, the Festival of Colours, is celebrated between the end of February and beginning of March on the full moon throughout India. During the festival, colourful powders and water balloons are thrown at the crowd. Be warned that everyone is fair game and be sure to wear clothing that you are happy to dispose of as the colours don’t wash off!
Every year on the 14th of January, the state of Gujarat celebrates Uttarayan, a kite festival. If you head to the capital of Ahmedabad you will find that most families are up on the rooftops and the skies are covered in a dizzying array of kites.
One of India’s holiest festivals is Diwali or the Festival of Lights, which celebrates the triumph of good over evil. The festival is celebrated in the Autumn each year (dates vary according to the lunar calendar) and as evening descends homes are lit up with candles and fireworks which spectacularly transform the towns and cities.
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