The exotic land of India with deep jungles, meandering rivers, looming mountains, time forgotten villages, haunting historical buildings, colonial architecture, countless vernaculars and excellent cuisines offers a bewildering array of exciting vacationing activities. If you are addicted to skiing and other winter sports, visit Gulmarg during December to April and at a fraction of the cost that one would incur at the Swiss Alps. Gulmarg also boasts world’s highest golf course. If beaches are your idea of fun, head to laidback Goa with its delightful Portuguese ambience or scenic Kerala. Definitely not to be missed is the world famous adrenaline pumping white water rafting on the raging currents of the Ganges at Rishikesh. This activity has seduced quite a few celebrities – Sir Edmund Hillary and Brad Pitt to name just two. With most airlines operating flights to India from Heathrow, visiting this destination is a breeze.
Step back into time at the Mathoor village of Karnataka. Here Sanskrit (supposed to be the world’s oldest language) is the language of choice. One can revisit shades of quaint colonial life at the sleepy hamlet of Jharkhand’s McCluskieganj. Watch Kamasutra coming alive in stone sculptures at Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh. The famous golden triangle tour of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur is a wonderful lesson in history. Here, one gets the opportunity to behold the architectural wonders of the awe inspiring Red Fort and the magnificent Taj Mahal. Jaipur, known as the Pink City, is jam packed with havelis, forts, and other grand remnants of India’s rich royal past.
Hill lovers may have a tough time selecting a hill destination as there are so many of them. Every hill station outdoes the other – be it Kashmir, known as the Switzerland of India, or Darjeeling with its dazzling view of KanchanJunga, supposedly the world’s second highest mountain peak. Another rare treat is the Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand, a riot of colourful flowers and butterflies during the summer months of June to September.
India, with scores of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, is also a boon for wildlife enthusiasts. Just some of the most famous ones are The Corbett National Park, the Sunderbans Delta with its notorious man eating tigers, the Kaziranga Rhino Sanctuary, the Kanha National Park, and the Gir Forests, home to the Asiatic Lion, which is on the verge of extinction.
With innumerable temples and pilgrimages, India also acts as panacea to the soul who seeks solace in Eastern mysticism. Every Indian city will leave you with fond memories, be it the ‘City of Joy’ (Kolkata) or ‘City of Pearls’ (Hyderabad). In fact, India may well be your best bet if you want quality but cheap holidays.