It is the home of meditation, peaceful protest and the kama sutra, but head into India's major cities and all of a sudden those romantic ideas of yogis walking along long silent roads disappears into the noises of horns honking, cows mooing, street vendors calling and the sheer brilliance of colors whirling around you from every corner.
India is a country of extremes, the tranquil places of monasteries and monks, Buddhism and temples high in the Himalayas do exist, it is true. But to the opposite end are the cities crowded with millions of people, thousands of restaurants, hundreds of corporate headquarters and a pace that can be dizzying to a foreigner.
Mumbai is home to Bollywood stars and fast living while the financial capital has traditionally been Delhi. And those aren't the only two faces of India for there is a third and a fourth. Head to the south to cities like Goa where you can hang out with surfers and enjoy bonfires on the beaches, it is these beachy seaside escapes that host foreigners who return over and over again and some who came and never left.
The extreme north of India is where the breadbasket of the country lies and also a distinct culture not found anywhere else. Here you get a sense of rustic living with generations of families living on the same farms and orchards and still cooking in fire ovens. Popular tourist sights in the country include the romantic Taj Mahal as well as the numerous temples and palaces dotted throughout the country.
Indian food is one of the most popular ethnic cuisines in the world and having tried a chicken curry is about as unusual as having had a burger. Indian cuisine is complex, layer of flavor and as you travel throughout the country you will see distinct changes from region to region. From the butter chicken of the the north which provides a little more sweetness to the fiery curries of Madras and to seafood-inspired dishes in the south. Popular street foods include samosas, chick peas and potato pancakes just to name a few, both often come coupled with a sweet glass of fragrant cardamom-infused Indian tea.
The Indian climate is fairly warm however the summers can reach scorching levels while the winters can get downright chilly in the northern half of the country. The country also experiences winter and summer monsoon seasons so take note of the forecast before you book your flight.ht.
Malaysia Airlines, Air India, Jet Airways, Emirates Airlines, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Virgin Australia,
Australia to India
Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Singapore, Abu Dhabi
More information at the India Holidays guide.