India – the land to travel to, a haven of tourism delights, a civilization to tour through. Tourists come to India for its wealth of sights, cultural exuberance, diversity of terrain and in search of that special something, an extra punch that only India promises and delivers. Teeming with over a billion people who voice over a million concerns in fifteen hundred different languages, India is where people live with variety, thrive on diversity and are too familiar with largeness to let it boggle them. Mud huts and mansions face off across city streets. Lurid luxury and limp living are inhabitants of the same lane.
From the smoky mangroves of the Sunderbans to the steaming Thar Desert, sizzling cities like Mumbai and Delhi to the scintillating villages of Khajuraho and Hampi, from the heights of the Himalayas to the deep blue waters around the Andamans, India is a travel haven – a tour package that frustrates and delights, as demanding as it is rewarding.
It demands that the traveller be prepared for its own strange forms of tourism offerings - the crowds at Pushkar, for pushy mendicants at Haridwar, for high commercialism at spiritual retreats. But equally, it means that he be prepared for an overwhelming warmth in the people, ease of conversation, and to be stunned into speechlessness by the beauty, sometimes the manmade and often the natural.
If that's what you're going to be doing, here's a bit of India tourism mantra to help you on your way: expect nothing and everything will be yours.
A land blessed by the Sun, Shimmering Waters, Landscapes Painted golden with its rays, Silhouetted mountained, And a warm glowing welcome. A land of enormous Contrasts from North to South, East to West. India unfolds for you, a Series of diversities. The People, The Culture, The Languages, The Costumes, The Religions, Their art, architecture, forms of dances and music all amazingly different from another. The land of remarkable assemblage of the traditional hospitality. An irresistible magnet for visitors through the ages.
Every year millions of people visit India from all over the world and discover more than a culture as old as time. So make your travel plans now and have a memorable experience of a lifetime with Recreation.
The culture of India has been shaped by the long history of India, its unique geography and the absorption of customs, traditions and ideas from both immigrants and invaders, while preserving its ancient heritage from the Indus Valley Civilization. India's great diversity of cultural practices, languages, customs, and traditions are examples of this unique co-mingling over the past five millinnea. India is also the birth place of several religious systems such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism, which have had a great influence not only over India but also over the rest of the world. From the twelfth century onwards, following the Islamic conquests and the subsequent European occupation, the culture of India was influenced by Persian, Arabic, Turkish and English cultures. The various religions and the multi-hued traditions of India that was created with those amalgamations have influenced South East Asia and other different parts of the world.
Food is an important part of Indian culture, playing a role in everyday life as well as in festivals. In many families, everyday meals are usually sit-down affairs consisting of two to three main course dishes, varied accompaniments such as chutneys and pickles, carbohydrate staples such as rice and roti (bread), as well as desserts.
Indian cuisine varies from region to region, reflecting the varied demographics of the ethnically diverse subcontinent. Generally, Indian cuisine can be split into four categories: North Indian, South Indian, East Indian, and West Indian. Despite this diversity, some unifying threads emerge in the art of Indian cuisine. Varied uses of spices are an integral part of food preparation, and are used to enhance the flavor of a dish and create unique flavors and aromas. Cuisine across India has also been influenced by various cultural groups that entered India throughout history, such as the Mughals, Persians, and European powers.
Indian architecture is that vast tapestry of production of the Indian Subcontinent that encompasses a multitude of expressions over space and time, transformed by the forces of history considered unique to the sub-continent, sometimes destroying, but most of the time absorbing new ideas. The result is an evolving range of architectural production that nonetheless retains a certain amount of continuity across history. The earliest production in the Indus Valley Civilization was characterised by well planned cities and houses where religion did not seem to play an active role, but which demonstrated world-famous city planning.
India is a vast country with different customs in different parts of the country. You may find the metros more liberal and cosmopolitan, whereas in the hinter land you may come across various unusual customs preserved over thousands of years. You may also find that, in general, the attitude to life is very different from that in the western world.
An irresisteble magnet for visitors through the ages, where people are friendly and are known for hospitality. India continues to lay the red carpet for tourist from all over the world. Nevertheless, certain situations may arise where deviating from the accepted customs will be considered as a sign of disrespect.
India's official language is Hindi in the Devanagri script. It is the primary tongue of 30% of the people.
The States are free to decide their own regional languages for internal administration and education, so there are 18 official languages spoken throughout the country. Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri and Sindhi, are among the official languages which are also widely spoken. Sanskrit though an official language is hardly ever used except in rituals and ceremonies.
Shopping in India
India's vast cultural diversity has resulted in a treasure trove of handicrafts for the discerning shopper, in a truly remarkable variety of styles and prices. Below are some of the best buys, either for the souvenir hunter or the connoisseur.