After decades of promise and preparation, India has joined the ranks of the world’s developed countries. The largest democracy in the world still has its problems, but it can well and truly say that it has arrived.
India has always been a popular tourist destination for its spiritual and turbulent history, but now it has even more to offer the worldly traveler. Below are seven reasons to make the trip to India.
You may have heard that cricket is the second most popular sport in the world. With a population of over a billion who are crazy about the game, India is the best place to catch a cricket match. The colors, sounds, excitement, and sheer passion of the Indian people for the game make this a must-see for any visitor.
2. The diversity
Anyone unfamiliar with Indian culture might assume that the population is homogenous, but nothing could be further from the truth. India is host to more than 2,000 ethnic groups, many of whom possess their own language, mores, cuisine, and entertainment. Traveling across India is like crossing hundreds of different worlds, each with its own charm and stories to tell.
For all the yoga DVDs you can find in stores, there’s nothing like experiencing the history and mysticism that spawned yoga at its source. Many travelers make the pilgrimage to India for exposure to beliefs older than a millennium to rediscover themselves — through meditation, time in an ashram, and performing yoga in its purest form.
4. The natural setting
India offers natural splendor unlike any other country on the planet. In the north are the Himalayas, with many of the world’s highest mountains. To the south are beaches where the Indian Ocean reminds you of the country’s crucial position on historical trade routes. The Thar Desert dominates the west side of the country, while forests cover the east.
You might not immediately think of India as a shopping destination, but consider the sheer uniqueness of the goods you might find there. The country is steeped in tradition, culture, and history, and you can’t leave India without some exotic handicrafts. Since each region of India is distinct, you won’t encounter the same item twice during your travels.
We’ve all tried Indian food at some point in our lives, but not all of us can say that we’ve sampled the most succulent, spicy dishes at their source. It takes courage to try Indian cuisine, but the taste of sizzling tandoori chicken or delicious sweets will convince you. Again, the different regions of India offer varying foods and concoctions.
7. The future?
With more than a billion people, India is the second-most populous country in the world, and may possibly dethrone China as number one. India still struggles with overpopulation, poverty, pollution, and a restless, outdated caste system, but the country’s progress into the upper echelons of global politics and economics mean that India is here to stay.