By Carissa Hickok
If you wish to travel to a country with an incredibly deep history, an exceedingly diverse population, and a never-ending amount of activity, India could be the place for you. Being the birthplace of two of the world’s prominent religions (Hinduism and Buddhism), as well as being a former colony of the British Empire, means the country is a wonderful mix of foreign and familiar. Popular among business people, solo travelers, and families alike, there is something for everyone in India. From bustling cities to peaceful mountains to serene beaches, one could visit the country many times and have a completely different experience year after year.
Goa has the unique distinction of being India’s smallest state, as well as its richest by GDP per capita. Goa is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, due mostly to its position on the coast and in an area rich with biodiversity. Goa is also unique in that it used to be a Portuguese colony, meaning that one can see remnants of Catholicism and European architecture all around. Tourists usually come to Goa for its beautiful beaches and for opportunities for various water sports – jet-skiing and parasailing are quite common here, among others. However, they usually stay for the area’s beautiful temples and amazing views of nature at its finest.
Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populous state, as well as one of the largest. This contains many of the country’s most well-known tourist destinations, including the Taj Mahal and a large chunk of the Ganges River. The Taj Mahal is located in the city of Agra on the western edge of the state. One of the best places to see the Ganges is in the city of Varanasi, located on the banks of the river in the eastern portion of Uttar Pradesh. Varanasi is considered the holiest city in India for Hindus, and thus is a great place to experience religious rituals and connect on a deeper, more spiritual level with the country and its people.
Being the largest city in India, as well as its financial and entertainment capital, Mumbai is a must-see during your time here. Mumbai is the home of Bollywood, India’s booming film industry, which produces more than a thousand films every year. Because of this, it is arguably India’s most cosmopolitan city with a melting pot of immigrants from all over the country.
India’s capital and second largest city, Delhi is a special territory of India, not technically part of any state – similar to Washington D.C’s status in the United States. The territory of Delhi is typically thought of as two distinct cities: Old Delhi and New Delhi. While the old city contains many historical and religious sites, the new city is a testament to the rapid growth and industrialization of the Indian economy.
India clearly has something for everyone, and is a place where everyone can feel welcome. The sheer variety of foods, cultures and religions means this is a place with an endless amount to learn, and will always provide a worthwhile experience.
Carissa enjoys traveling so much that she left the corporate world to work as a freelancer, which allows her to up and go on a regular basis. She lives with her dachshund, Daphne in central Florida.