Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Destinations in India

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Regions in India

India is administratively divided into 29 states and 7 union territories. The states are broadly demarcated along linguistic lines. They vary in size; the larger ones are bigger and more diverse than some countries in Europe. The union territories are smaller than the states – sometimes consisting of only one city – and have much less autonomy.

India has two island chains off the mainland – the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal and the Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian Sea.

These states and union territories are divided by convention into the following regions:

  • The North of the Himalayas (Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand).
    Mountainous and beautiful, a destination for the adventurous and the spiritual. This region contains some of India’s most visited hill stations and religious sites.
  • The Plains (Bihar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh)
    The plains, India’s breadbasket, are watered by the holy rivers Ganges and Yamuna and their tributaries. This region is also home to the capital Delhi, Agra with its famous Taj Mahal, and the holy cities of Allahabad, Mathura, Varanasi, and Bodh Gaya. Many of the events that have shaped India’s history took place in this region.
  • Western India (Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan).
    The kilometer-long Thar Desert. Home to the colorful palaces, forts, and cities of Rajasthan, the country’s most vibrant and largest city, Mumbai, home to the Bollywood film industry and the country’s business center, the fascinating rock caves of Ajanta and Ellora in Maharashtra, pristine forests, the beautiful beaches of Goa, the Asiatic lions of Gujarat in the Gir jungle and the rapidly developing cities of Ahmedabad, Surat, Jaipur, and Pune.
  • South India (Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, Telangana).
    South India offers famous and historic temples, tropical forests, backwaters, beaches, hill stations, and the vibrant cities of Bangalore, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, and Hyderabad. The city of Mysore is world-famous for its palaces, especially the Mysore Palace. The island groups of Andaman & Nicobar (in the east) and Lakshadweep in the west are included in this region for convenience, but they are far from the mainland and have their own unique features.
  • Eastern India (Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Sikkim, West Bengal).
    Economically less developed, but culturally rich and perhaps most inviting to outsiders. With Kolkata, once the capital of British India, and the temple towns of Puri, Bhubaneswar, and Konark. The region stretches from the mountains to the coast, resulting in fascinating climate variations. It is also the mineral repository of India, with the largest and richest mines in the country.
  • North-Eastern India (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura).
    Insular and relatively untouched, this is the tribal corner of the country, with lush, beautiful landscapes, endemic flora, and fauna of the Indo-Malay group and famous for tea gardens.

Cities in India

These are nine of the most remarkable cities in India. For more cities, see their respective regions.

  • Delhi – the capital of India and the heart of North India
  • Bangalore (Bengaluru) – the garden city, once the sleepy home of retirees, has been transformed into a city of pubs and high-tech companies
  • Chennai (Madras) – the most important port in South India, cultural center, the automobile capital of India, and a rapidly emerging IT center
  • Hyderabad – known for pearl and diamond trade, now with a large manufacturing and financial institutions and a growing IT sector
  • Jaipur – This pink city is an important showcase for the Hindu Rajput culture of northern India in the Middle Ages.
  • Kochi (Cochin) – the Queen of the Arabian Sea, historically a center of international trade, today the gateway to sandy beaches and backwaters
  • Kolkata (Calcutta) – the cultural capital of India, known as the “City of Joy” and home to numerous colonial buildings
  • Mumbai (Bombay) – the largest city and the financial capital of India, the city that never sleeps, home of “Bollywood”, the Hindi film industry
  • Varanasi (Banaras or Kashi) – considered the holiest Hindu city, located on the banks of the Ganges, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world

Other destinations in India

India has many outstanding landmarks and areas of outstanding beauty. Here are some of the most remarkable.

  • The main temple complex at Bodh Gaya, the place where Buddha Sakyamuni attained enlightenment, including the Mahabodhi Temple
  • Ellora/Ajanta – spectacular rock-carved cave monasteries and temples, a sacred place for the Buddhists, Jains, and Hindus.
  • Golden Temple – a sacred site of the Sikhs in Amritsar
  • Hampi – the awe-inspiring ruins of the Vijayanagara Empire
  • Temple complexes in Khajuraho, famous for their erotic sculptures
  • Konark – Sun Temple, a unique example of Kalingan architecture that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Meenakshi Temple – a spectacular Hindu temple in Madurai.
  • Taj Mahal – the incomparable marble tomb in Agra, one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World

How To Get in India

The main entry points are Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai. The airports in these cities are either new or under construction.

How To Get Around in India

India is big and there are many interesting ways to travel, most of which can't exactly be described as efficient or punctual. Plan a considerable amount of buffer time for any trip with a fixed date (e.g. your return flight) and try to remember that getting there should be...

Visa & Passport Requirements for India

The rules and validity of the visa vary according to nationality. Check the website of the Indian embassy, consulate or high commission in your country, which you can find on this list.Nationals of Nepal and Bhutan may enter India without a visa and live there indefinitely.Depending on the purpose...

Accommodation & Hotels in India

The choice varies greatly depending on your budget and location. Cheap travel hotels are plentiful in big cities, where you can get a room for less than ₹ 450. Rooms in guesthouses with a double bed (and often a bathroom) can be found in many tourist locations for ₹150-200....

Things To See in India

To see all the places worth seeing in India, even a 6-month visit is probably insufficient. There are more tourist destinations in India than can be mentioned in a full-length book, let alone in a summary. Almost every state in India has more than ten major tourist destinations, and...

Food & Drinks in India

Food in IndiaIndian cuisine takes its place among the great cuisines of the world. Chances are you have tasted "Indian food" in your country, especially if you are a traveller from the West, but what India has exported abroad is only part of its extraordinary range of culinary diversity.Indian...

Money & Shopping in India

Money in IndiaThe currency in India is the Indian rupee (sign: ₹; code: INR) (रुपया - rupaya in Hindi and similarly named in most Indian languages, but taka in Maithili and Taakaain Bengali and Toka in Assamese). The rupee is divided into 100 paise. 5 rupees 75 paise would...

Things To Do in India

Fairs and festivals in IndiaGoa Fair (Carnival). February heralds the carnival in Goa. The streets were buzzing with colour for 3 days and 3 nights. The week-long event, held in mid-February, is a time for lively parades, floats, guitar sounds, graceful dances and non-stop festivity. One of India's most...

Festivals & Events in India

There are three national holidays: Republic Day (26 January), Independence Day (15 August) and Gandhi Jayanti (2 October), which take place on the same day every year. There are also three major nationwide festivals with alternate dates to be observed:Diwali (Deepavali), Oct-Nov - The festival of lights celebrates the...

Traditions & Customs in India

Religion and rituals in IndiaAt the temples and mosques, you must take off your shoes.There are special areas where your footwear can be kept for a small fee or free of charge. It may also be customary to take off your shoes when entering houses, to follow the example...

Language & Phrasebook in India

There are 22 official languages in India at the federal level, which include: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri , Marathi, Nepali, Odia ,Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.There are also hundreds of other, less prominent languages such as Tulu, Bhojpuri...

Internet & Communications in India

Phone in IndiaThe country code for India is 91. India is then divided into area codes known locally as STD codes. See individual city guides for area codes.In acronym-happy India, a phone box is known as a PCO (Public Call Office) and they usually offer STD/ISD (Subscriber Trunk Dialing/International...

Culture Of India

Indian cultural history spans more than 4,500 years. During the Vedic period (ca. 1700 - 500 BC), the foundations of Hindu philosophy, mythology, theology and literature were laid, and many beliefs and practices that still exist today, such as dhárma, kárma, yóga and mokṣa, were established. India is characterised...

History Of India

The first humans are thought to have migrated to the Indian subcontinent around 70,000 BC, and there are several archaeological sites for Stone Age India. One important one is in Mehrgarh (Pakistan), with the oldest known evidence of agriculture on the subcontinent, around 7000 BC.The Indus Valley Civilisation (3300-1300...

Stay Safe & Healthy in India

Stay safe in IndiaAs a rule, India is quite safe for foreigners, apart from cases of petty crime and theft, which occur in any developing country, as long as certain basic precautions are observed (e.g. female travellers should avoid travelling alone at night). You can check with your embassy...

Weather & Climate in India

The rain in India only falls at a certain period of the year. The season and the phenomenon that causes it is called monsoon. There are two, the southwest and the northeast, both named after the direction of the wind. The monsoon in the southwest is the most important...

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