"If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India." -French scholar Romain Rolland
India is one of the oldest civilizations in the world, spanning a period of more than 4000 years. India is the fusion of several customs and traditions, which are reflective of the rich culture and heritage of the Country.
India is sometimes portrayed as poor, unhygienic country where people suffer a lot and they pray and meditate all day long. Many media present India as a place where people are starving or malnourished and infected by many diseases, which makes India a terrible place to live. This is not true. In this post, I have tried to clarify some of the misconceptions and then some facts about India. I hope this will clear the clouds and will develop more interest to visit India.
Myths about India:
- Safety – Some people believe that India is not safe to travel especially for solo women. The media has efficiently stereotyped India as a dangerous place to live in or for travel. India is a huge country with a diverse population. One should not conclude for the entire nation based on a few incidences. There are many foreigners who regularly visit India and have never experienced anything bad. The key for this is to respect the culture and rules of the place we are visiting. Wear decent clothes, watch your belongings and pay attention to your surroundings. You will not be in trouble.
- Lifestyle and Sadhus – Many believe that all Indians are like sadhus (holy men) who live in the mountains and meditate every day or all Indians are Yoga gurus who do some acrobatics whole day. It is a big myth. How can this be possible? Indians, like in other countries, live a regular life. They work in companies or have business…. they have pretty much same chore like anyone else. India is quite modern and digital.
- Language – There is no language called ‘Indian’ or ‘Hindu’. People are Indian and religion is Hindu. India has Hindi as an official language along with 22 more.
- Curry – Indian food is not just curry. I think no one uses so-called ‘Curry Powder’ in India. They have lots of different blends of spices and herbs and each one tastes different. Oh yes, Indian food is not always hot and spicy.
- Snake and elephant charmers – No, it is again another myth. There are no elephants wandering on streets and no more snake charmers.
Interesting facts about India :
- India has 6 seasons throughout a year. They have separate Rainy and Pre-vernal (early spring) seasons.
- There are 32 World Heritage Properties in India out of which 25 are Cultural Properties and 7 are Natural Properties. Taj Mahal is just one of them.
- India has diverse geography and therefore varied weather. It has high rising Himalayan ranges on the north while Crystal clean, silky smooth sand beaches on the south.
- Different religions including Hindu, Christian, Jain, Buddhist, Sikh, Islamic etc live together in India.
- There is nothing as such ‘National’ Dish or Dress or Festival. Like the language, each region or state of India has its own popular traditional dress, cuisine, clothes and festivals. All are incredible.
Why visit India :
- Warmth and vibrant culture – Indians are famous for their warmth and hospitality. In spite of various problems in their life, they are happy and ready to help others. A simple smile does all the job. Indian festivals are lively, colorful and amazing. One needs to experience it. I would suggest you to read this.
- Food – Indian food has a great variety. In India, anywhere if you travel 50km, you will find a new eats to taste. The list may include simple sweet curds from West Bengal or south Indian Idli and Dosa or Maharashtrian Vada or Kababs from north India. Of course, don’t forget that all Indians are not vegetarian. Rogan-josh, Butter chicken are popular dishes from India. Indian eats include an array of street foods, traditional dishes, fast foods, inter-cultural blends. Have you tasted ‘Indian version of Chinese food’? It is indeed tasty.
- Nature paradise – As I have mentioned above, India has diverse natural reserves. Kaziranga national park is famous for one horned Rhinoceros. Kerala has rolling hills with tropical greenery as well as backwater canals. Rajasthan is a famous cultural hub with forts and palaces whereas Himalaya’s snow peaks invite trackers and hikers. Kashmir is real paradise on Earth. The list is endless.
- Architecture – India’s history goes long back up to 5000 BC. Its architecture is as old as the history of the civilization. Khajuraho, Konark, Madurai are just to name the locations to visit for ancient Indian architecture.
- Cost effective – All of the life experiences like incredible nature, food, culture, heritage etc.. everything is really within budget, yet the quality is never compromised.
India is a magical, vibrant, spiritual country with full of smiling faces and endless possibilities. This is not just a country but a lifestyle. One should live and experience it.
So, Have you already started packing….?