A Journey Through Cultural India
Long haul vacations have become commonplace today as more of us seek out exotic destinations. There is nothing more fascinating than discovering the hidden wonders India has to offer. It is a country of contrast, with wonderful scenery, top class accommodation and ancient temples. India really offers the best of both worlds, you can visit the amazing sites and experience the tourist culture on offer, and just five minutes down the road you can stumble upon true third world conditions where for some, every day is a struggle to survive. Visiting these parts of India can be very humbling experience, to have the opportunity to see how a hidden majority of the population lives, and even to inspire oneself to take the steps to giving something back to these communities in need.
By far the most attractive tourist destination is the state of Goa in the west. It is a particular favorite amongst the younger generation, having gained a reputation for its beach lifestyle and dance parties. There are several beaches to choose from and the annual carnival is the highlight of the year. This region is a former Portuguese colony and much of the colonial architecture remains. The main religions are Hinduism and Roman Catholicism as is evident by the many breathtaking church and temple tours on offer. While every part of India offers a unique experience, Goa has been rated one of the most popular tourist destinations, offering a world away from the hectic, culture packed cities of India, a chance to relax and unwind, and to make the most of the beautiful weather, beaches, and take full advantage of the tourist comforts on offer.
Southern India is another tourism hot spot offering a relaxed surrounding as you take in the culture, the ancient temples, and the spectacular tropical forests and beaches. There are also a number of vibrant cities and two National Parks. The regional cuisine is known as an outstanding contribution to Indian food. Many travelers make it a point to go through Tamil Nadu to see the hill stations, noted for their scenic locations. There is wonderful architecture, temples and cultural traditions.
Tamil Nadu contains the city of Madurai, an unforgettable place on any agenda for India travel. The city is full of temples, the most famous one being the Meenakshi Temple. Madurai also contains the Gandhi Museum, where his robes are displayed and there are workshops, a store selling fabrics woven on a hand loom and a bookstore containing spiritual publications.
Where-ever you decide to travel in India, One aspect of your trip that you will notice is how welcoming the locals are. Despite their sometimes extreme-poverty, you will always find a smiling, generous face.
The people are a contributing factor in making India such a spiritual place to visit, along with the breathtaking sights and rich cultural history held by the buildings and landmarks. The state of Bihar contains the village of Bodhgaya, which is a sacred place, cherished by Buddhists. Buddhists travel here on pilgrimages from all over the world to see the famous Mahabodhi Temple. The most sacred feature is the descendant of the Bodhi tree that the Buddha sat under and gained his enlightenment.
Obviously the most well-known landmark in India is the Taj Mahal, an incredibly beautiful structure of white marble, built in the Islamic style in the 17th century. Known as one of the seven wonders of the world, it is located in Agra in Uttar Pradesh. Its origins are pure romance as a Mughal emperor built it as a tribute to his wife, whom he adored. The mosque, ornamental gardens and mausoleum are simply stunning and more than live up to its reputation.
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