India is an awe-inspiring country with a cacophony of sights, sounds and smells assaulting your senses at every turn. Guest blogger Sarah Williams tell us why India continues to grow as a popular destination and why now is the time to make your own pilgrimage to this fascinating country.
You can deepen your spiritual practice at the source.
Devotees of Buddhism, Hinduism and spirituality from all over the world go to India so they can delve deeper into their chosen discipline and learn from a genuine Indian holy teacher. Some stay in an ashram, like author Elizabeth Gilbert did while she was writing her book “Eat Pray Love” which was later made into a movie of the same name. Spiritual seekers visit the holy sites of India, such as Bodhgaya, the place where Lord Buddha became enlightened while in intense meditation under a Bodhi tree. The area also is home to several Buddhist monasteries, some of which offer retreats and courses on meditation and Buddhism for visitors to take part in. A holy site for Sikh devotees is the opulent golden temple Amritsar, which is considered the spiritual capital for the Sikhs and is a sacred shrine.
You can meet local tribes.
India is home to more than five hundred different tribes, each with their own customs and traditions that has remained unchanged for centuries. Their way of life is very much centred around nature and rarely affected by the modernisation of the western world. On a journey to India you can venture off the beaten track to meet these tribes, learn about their way of life and experience their customs at one of the country’s many colourful festivals.
You may get to stay in what was once a genuine royal palace.
Did you know India was once divided into more than five hundred kingdoms? After all the former royal municipalities merged together into the Republic of India, some of the palaces from those kingdoms were sold to major hotel chains but retained much of their original character so hotel guests could have an experience unique only to India. Of course, you must be willing to pay the price as some are quite costly, but how often do you get the chance to live like royalty?
You may get to see a real sacred cow.
India’s millions of Hindus worship the cow and they can be seen everywhere, in city streets and in the countryside as well, and even in the midst of heavy city traffic. The traffic in India’s cities is a sight to see in itself because traffic laws are nothing at all like those in the UK or the US. In fact, traffic laws pertaining to direction and flow of traffic are almost non-existent. Leave the driving to someone else and just sit back and watch drivers navigate the city streets. It’s probably not a good idea to try to drive yourself until you have observed how to survive in the “every driver for himself” atmosphere in India’s city streets.
You can experience a little bit of everything.
India is absolutely packed with things to see, so you will never get bored. The desert landscapes of Jaisalmer offer camel safaris and an opportunity to stay in a desert camp. If you can’t vacation without a beach, the country also has plenty of coastal beaches, such as glorious Goa, and don’t forget to see India’s most famous attraction, the incredible Taj Mahal.
Getting to India is easier than ever since it’s becoming a more and more popular destination that plenty of people want to visit. You could easily find cheap flights to India from a number of UK airports, so why not go and enjoy yourself in India? Go and take a look at all the major sights and experience the wonderful culture that India has to offer, not to mention the cuisine!
Sarah is a blogger and a mum of two. During her spare time she enjoys spending time with her children, blogging and browsing the internet in search for her next family holiday.