There are 195 countries in the world. In this world, exists INDIA, housing a world within its boundaries.
1.4 billion people live across 28 states & 7 union territories in this country – following diverse faiths, speaking 122 major languages & celebrating unique cultural distinctions be it in food, clothes, customs & architecture.
Seven years ago, I decided to ditch the more popular travel destinations of the world to explore the ancient, rich and unique heritage of this incredible country.
People often ask me – why don’t I travel to Europe more or other exotic foreign destinations. My answer hasn’t changed in these past seven years.
Glimpse of my journey through East, West, Central, North and South India.
What’s so special about India anyway?
Well, a lot. Let’s talk Geography.
Indian Subcontinent is a peninsula, surrounded by water bodies on the three sides: Bay of Bengal on the East, Arabian Sea on the West and Indian Ocean on the South. This opened up major trade routes centuries back thereby giving us a strategic advantage. Remember, once this country was called a Golden Sparrow (sone ki chidiya)?! Because of all the wealth generated via these trade routes, along with other things, of course.
History and Heritage
Being one of the oldest civilisations in the world (Indus Valley), we were ahead of the rest of the world in many areas back then.
We gave the world ‘Zero’, ‘Decimal System’, ‘Buddhism’, ‘Yoga’, ‘Sanskrit’, ‘Chess’ and many such firsts!
Imagine the treasures of heritage that you can find in this country: be it in the ancient temples or rock-cut caves dating from the 322-185 BCE, or the indigenous art & craft forms that you can find here.
India is home to one of the seven wonders of the world, and 40 World UNESCO Heritage sites, making it the sixth country with maximum number of heritage sites. 🙂 Not just Taj Mahal guys, but also forts, palaces, monuments, churches, temples, buddhist/ islamic monuments, caves, rocks, science observatories, stepped wells, archaeological ruins/ excavations and national parks.
Incredible North-east India
North-east is the most shining jewel in the crown of India. Comprising eight states, North-east India is famous for many things: its progressive customs, cleanliness, rainforests, Eastern Himalayas, rivers and Kanchenjunga (the third highest mountain peak in the world).
Highly unique and distinct from mainland India, north-east surprises you at every juncture with their magnanimous hospitality, incredible fashion sense, strong talent in music, art and craft and diverse customs. You come here once, you would want to settle in permanently.
Mountains and Hill Stations
The Indian Himalayan region is the subsection of Himalayas that spans across seven Indian states and transforms into magnificent landscapes. In total, India has got seven mountain ranges – which is the reason why we have some of the highest mountain roads in the world.
While we have places like Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Kerala and Chennai that remain relatively warm for a major part of the year, we also have Leh Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Kashmir & Siachen Glacier that touch subzero temperatures for most part of the winter season.
The temperature in Siachen Glacier drops to minus 50 degrees celsius sometimes. Did you know that?!
India is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world and is home to three of the 36 biodiversity hotspots in the world. In simple language, we have hit a jackpot when it comes to wild animals, birds, flora and fauna. 🙂
There are 105 national parks in India and 53 Tiger Reserves, housing more than 80% of wild Tigers in the world. Just like its people, the country is rich and diverse even in its wildlife population.
Forts and Caves
Caves came first, and then forts & fortresses. India has got plenty of both. There are 2702 explored caves in India. There might be many more in uncharted territories. While some of these are natural caves, many of them are rock-cut caves designed for religious & spiritual reasons. Developed over generations, many caves were shaped by multiple dynasties such as Ajanta and Ellora caves of Maharashtra. By the way, fun fact: the maximum number of caves in India exist in Maharashtra.
India didn’t stop at caves. We took our construction and architecture game up a notch by selecting high altitudes and building forts there. These forts, other than providing strategic military advantages, often doubled as architectural marvels.
With this, I invite all of you to make recommendations for travel themes, that I can pick up and start blogging about. I will pick one travel theme for each month, and will write one blogpost every Sunday, on the travel theme of the month.
Till then, Keep travelling. Keep enjoying the Life on Weekends.
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