Travel to India: The country of Fun, Food, and Festivals

If there is one country which has overwhelmed its tourist with different cultures, it’s India. Being a diverse country, India has lived and will live to its potential title. India is the only country in the entire world where people practice different religions and have so many different cultures, yet call themselves Indians. Popularly known for culture, festivals, and food, the land has been a popular tourist destination for many decades. The subcontinent country is also famous for its history, wildlife, dances, languages, and much more. Tourists come from different parts of the world to visit and witness the greatness of India. To know more about India and the activities you can indulge in, keep reading!

1) Cultures
Different Religions are widespread across India. People of India practice a variety of religions like Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, etc. Every religion has its own charm, customs, and festivals. The culture of different places across India is influenced by religion too!

Every state that you travel will strike you as a different country altogether! The languages, dance, music, architecture and even clothing of the local’s changes with almost every state. Each culture showcases so many colorful and meaningful festivals and celebrations. The folk dances, music and historical places give you a glimpse of the lives of the locals.

2) Festivals
India celebrates more festivals than any other nation does. These festivals are religion-related or people also celebrate the local heroes and their achievements. Then, of course, there are amazing celebrations on Independence and Republic days when the entire nation comes together and thank the national heroes for fighting for India’s independence. There are parades, fantastic air shows and mesmerizing performances on these most important national holidays.

Apart from these, you’d love to be a part of the Holi festival, also known as the festival of colors. People throw powdered colors at each other in the spirit of fun. Witness the beauty of lit up houses and fireworks on Diwali, the festival of lights. The streets, bazaars and all the houses can be seen decorated with beautiful lights. During Eid, the decorations and festivities are top notches but the best part? Food! You’ll get to taste some amazingly delicious food items which you may not have ever tried!

Christmas and New Years’ is a magical time in India as well, much like the rest of the world!

Every festival has a holy or a historical story behind it where goodness dominated the evil and marked its importance. Indians celebrate every festival irrespective of their religions. Secular India has given an opportunity to people around the world for blending into the social environment and witness the celebration of different Indian festivals with ease.

3) Food
In India, People believe that the path to a person’s soul is through the stomach. The wide variety of spices and herbs used makes Indian dishes taste delicious. Some of the Indian cuisines that are famous are as following.

Bengali food is famous for its desserts around the world. The seafood served in Bengal is another one of their specialties.
Gujarat’s traditional Gujarati thali is a must try for all. Vegetarian food is served in a Gujarati thali and it is bound to tingle your taste-buds!

Then there is the Hyderabadi food which is incredibly tasty but is also quite spicy. Finger-licking south Indian breakfast like Dosa, Idli, etc. is a must try when in India.

The land of famous sweet drink Lassi should also be on a tourist’s list. Punjabi food serves a whole lot of mouth-watering vegetarian and non-vegetarian food which cannot be missed out.

There are loads of other cuisines that you can experience in your visit to India. For a foodie, this place is heaven!

4) Places to visit in India
Just to get you started, we are enlisting some places that’ll give you a flavor of India’s cultural diversity.

Rajasthan
Desert, folk songs, forts, and palaces make Rajasthan a beautiful place to start your Indian journey. The royal past of Rajasthan is enlightened in its forts and majestic palaces. The Ranthambore and Sariska National Parks give you a chance to encounter the wildlife. Exotic Heritage hotels like Rambagh Palace in Jaipur and Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur allow you to experience the royal lifestyle. Desert Safari in Jaisalmer is another memorial travel experience one cannot miss out.

New Delhi
New Delhi is unlike any other city in the world. Red Fort, India’s most historic site and courtesy of Mughal architecture serves as a museum these days. Almost a 1000 years old monument, Qutub Minar gives a stunning view when visited at sunset. Humayun’s tomb, Delhi’s very own Red Taj Mahal symbolizes the history of Mughal Empire. Another stunning architecture with appealing sight at night is Lotus Temple. And of course, being the nation’s capital, it is home to various prominent government buildings like the parliament.

Mumbai
The economic capital of India, Mumbai, showcases the urban lifestyle in India. Witness thousands of people go to work every day and yet enjoy their lives in pubs, marketplaces or just hanging out at Marine drive, one of the most popular waterfronts in Mumbai. In this land of Bollywood, you can visit various clubs and shooting locations, Gateway of India and much more!

Kerala
God’s own country has dozens of attractions and reasons to visit. The romantic beaches let you stretch out under the shadows of the palm trees and enjoy a refreshing coconut drink. The backwaters and a houseboat give a heavenly experience.

Agra
The Agra’s very own Taj Mahal can humble you beneath its glorious history. The mammoth architecture gives its tourist goosebumps when told about the historic tale of this beauty. Besides the beauty of Taj Mahal, there are several other attractions like forts, Palaces, and gardens to visit Agra.

Varanasi
The land of temples, the city of Lord Shiva, and divine river Ganga attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists every day. The spectacular aarthi (prayers to the Gods) at night on ghat of river Ganga steals the show. Boat rides, street food, and temples are other attractions of this place.

Top Backpacker Destinations for 2017

1. Cuba

Simon Matzinger
Simon Matzinger

This was destination that was off limits to Americans for a very long time, until now. In 2017 there will be a flood of backpackers and tourists taking advantage of the cheap lifestyle, amazing culture and beautiful beaches. Starting in Havana, you can explore the hundreds of miles of neverending coast, with hidden beaches yet unexplored.

2. Mexico

With the decreasing value of the Peso thanks to President Trump, you can now get almost 22 Pesos to the dollar, compared to just 16 in 2015! Beautiful beaches and ancient ruins await you, where you can easily live with a budget of $25 dollars or less, dorms are around $7 per night and alcohol is cheap as chips!

3. Nicaragua

Mikeblue / Getty Images
Mikeblue / Getty Images

Another hispanic destination that grows more popular every year. Cheaper than it’s more popular neighbour, Costa Rica, Nicaragua is now a backpacker hot spot with amazing beach and night life in places like San Juan Del Sur wherea bottle of rum can go as low as $4.

4. South Africa

When most people think of South Africa, Cape Town and Nelson Mandela usually come to mind, or possibly the high crime rate of places like Johannesburg. Both places are beautiful in their own right, but the best wasy to start is in Cape Town and along the southern coast to Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth.

5. Vietnam

Cristaltran / Getty Images
Cristaltran / Getty Images

Known as one of the cheapest countries to travel in the world, especially Hanoi where you can get freshly tapped beer on the street for 10 cents! Famous street food and stunning scenery await you in this increasingly popular country.

6. Myanmar

Recently opened to tourists after being a closed country for many years, Myanmar is seeing floods of tourists every year and developing very quickly. Get in there before it becomes too over run with tourists and see the natural beauty and famous ruins like the Bagan temples while it’s still relatively quiet.

7. Ecuador

South Americas cheapest country, you can comfortably survive in Quito on around $20 per day where dorms run around $9 per night and delicious meals await you for only 2-3 dollars. Quito is known for its high altitude and spring-like weather all year round, which make the place a bit exotic when compared to most other big cities in South America.

8. Nepal

Goikmitl / Getty Images

Backpacking in Nepal is not new, but in the past the popular thing to do was backpack the Himalayas. Now the upcoming popular thing to do is visit Lumbini and Birgunj by backpacking and then make sure you head to Nepalgunj, which is famous for it is trekking.

9. Great Britain

Yes it’s possible to backpack England, especially now that the pound has been dropping since leaving the European Union. You will be spending about $20 USD per night for a hostel bed and that’s on the cheap end. Expect to be paying around $80 a day there, but it’s still cheaper than it has been for a while.

10. Tonga

Wtf is a Tonga you might ask? This tiny pacific Island has a population of only 105,000, so it’s no wonder many people have never heard of it. Soon, it’s going to become a popular destination for backpackers simply because of its natural beauty and untouched landscape.

Start in the tiny village capital of Nuku’alofa and work your way along the coast, which looks like something straight out of Lost.

11. Thailand

Masterlu / Getty Images
Masterlu / Getty Images

This country makes everyones list every year and with good reason. Notorious parties on tropical islands, dirt cheap alcohol, the best sky bars in the world, beautiful beaches, ping pong shows and amazing food. The King has recently passed away after reigning for 70 years so now the future and direction of the land of smiles is uncertain.

12. Honduras

Mainly known as the most dangerous country in the world with the highest homicide rate, however, the Bay Islands, three separate islands off the main coast of Honduras are very safe and more known for their beautiful trains and excellent scuba diving in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. It is stunning and an unforgettable place to go solo backpacking. It’s becoming more and more known, so it may be getting much more crowded in the coming years.

Top 10 Backpacking Destinations in India

Backpackers have the time of their lives in India, and there’s always something new to be discovered every time you head off with your hiking, camping, and trekking gear. Not only does backpacking save a lot of money, it also gives you a chance to appreciate the lesser known and unmapped locations of India that many usual tourists don’t get to visit. As a backpacker, you’d want to know some of the most amazing destinations in India that you can trek up for a backpacking adventure, so here are the top 10 of the many backpacking destinations in India for your next trip:

Sikkim

sikkim
Photo by Virtous One, CC BY-ND 2.0

With a remarkable view of Mount Kanchenjunga from almost every part, Sikkim is the perfect spot for a backpacking trip. Kick of your journey from West Sikkim where you can find cheap and cosy apartments and cottages to stay in (sharing or otherwise). The locals in Sikkim are pretty helpful and will even guide you to the routes best taken for hiking and trekking, which come with their very own natural beauty to astound you and get great pictures. Head over to Sikkim’s southern region, where you can find monasteries and hilltop views of the valleys and lakes. The general accommodation cost for two nights is Rs.1000.

Rishikesh

rishikesh
Photo by Virtous One, CC BY-ND 2.0

An adventure lover’s paradise and a spiritual retreat like no other, Rishikesh is a favourite of backpackers in India. With its spectacular sunset view and the river rafting opportunities in the Ganges, there is no other adventurous place like Rishikesh. Easily available delicious and cheap food with affordable accommodation, there are endless fun activities like trekking, rafting, rock-climbing, camping, hiking etc. in Rishikesh. Including accommodation, food and travelling, a backpacker would have to spend close to Rs.1000 per day.

Ladakh

Photo by McKay Savage, CC BY 2.0
Photo by McKay Savage, CC BY 2.0

People have taken budget-friendly yet the most enthralling trips to Ladakh that have resulted in nothing but sheer adventure and fun. The trekking trails in Ladakh are endless and with the snowy Himalayas in the backdrop, the many opportunities of camping for the night, and the humblest of locals providing guidance, your trip to Ladakh will be your most unforgettable experience. A week-long trip to Ladakh including accommodation, food, travelling and other activities is around Rs.6000.

Gokarna

Photo by Miran Rijavec, CC BY 2.0
Photo by Miran Rijavec, CC BY 2.0

Karnataka’s most underexplored part is Gokarna, which is one of the most ideal places for a backpacking trip. Famous temples, beaches, flea markets with amazing souvenirs, Gokarna has relaxing yet fun opportunities to offer. The guest houses are quite affordable, and a couple days’ stay doesn’t cost a lot. Spending close to 3 days in Gokarna covers almost everything, and it costs about Rs.5000 with stay, food, and travelling prices inclusive.

Hampi

Photo by Nagarjun Kandukuru, CC BY 2.0
Photo by Nagarjun Kandukuru, CC BY 2.0

Another one of Karnataka’s hidden gems is the historical town of Hampi, where lone travellers have found solace in the past years. Not only are there some abandoned temple complexes that’ll give you the chills, the Tungabhadra River has a charm of its own. Bicycle rides in Hampi are quite popular among backpackers, and there is enough natural as well as historical importance to this place to make you want to stay. Guest houses as cheap as Rs.400 per day are available along with affordable restaurants and stalls.

Goa

Photo by David Jones, CC BY 2.0
Photo by David Jones, CC BY 2.0

There is no introduction needed for Goa, what with its beaches, adventure sports, cathedrals, trekking trails, camping spots and partying opportunities. Goa is just as much a backpacker’s world as it is a luxury vacation spot. Dorm rooms, guest houses and cheap hotels are scattered around everywhere in Goa, and with the prices being a little close to Rs.1000 per day, food included, you’d want to visit over and over.

Nainital

Photo by Aman Arora, CC BY-ND 2.0
Photo by Aman Arora, CC BY-ND 2.0

If there’s one amazing location for a backpacker, its Nainital with its mountainous backdrop and cool atmosphere. Hit the temples, trek through the hills, take a serene boating trip, and check the wildlife tours, which will make the trip more indulgent. The prices for a backpacking trip to Nainital including living costs at hostels, food, and general travel expenses is Rs.700-1000 per day.

Mussoorie

Photo by Paul Hamilton, CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo by Paul Hamilton, CC BY-SA 2.0

The charming town of Mussoorie is filled with prominent hills, interesting museums, winding streets, cascading and enthralling waterfalls, and the Tibetan culture being an unavoidable attraction. Backpacking across the hills of Mussorie is most rewarding, along with the price of living being Rs.700 per night in youth hostels and dorms, along with the affordable food and travel expenses.

Kerala

Photo by Mehul Antani, CC BY 2.0
Photo by Mehul Antani, CC BY 2.0

Not only is Kerala a favourite of tourists, it has a lot of adventurous things to indulge in, including trekking, camping, forest trails, hilltops, sunset and sunrise points, gushing rivers, calming beaches, and amazing resorts. Munnar, Trivandrum, Kochi, and Wayanad are the most popular hilltop locations in Kerala, with the backpacking costs being Rs.3000 for 2 nights including food.

Varanasi

Photo by Nico Crisafulli, CC BY 2.0
Photo by Nico Crisafulli, CC BY 2.0

A spiritually uplifting place, Varanasi is complete with temples, yoga institutes, the Ganges taking prestige over everything, indulgent food, crowded markets, boating, soccer players and envious greenery. It is as much a tourist spot as a backpacking destination, with youth dorms, guest houses, resorts and cheap hotels that cost around Rs.700 per night, even cheaper in some areas. Food and travel expenses are quite cheap as well, with walking being the most preferred way of transport due to narrow and bumpy streets.

With these many awesome backpacking and budget-friendly locations in India, you’d definitely want to hit as many of them as possible with your backpacking friends, or even on your own, because they can all be easily enjoyed in company or otherwise.

Author Bio:
Rohit has travelled many parts of India that are tourist destinations as well as adored by backpackers who love some hiking and camping on their trips. He shares his thoughts on his blogs of Trans India Travels.

12 Moments Every Backpacker Experiences in Thailand

1. When you encounter your first Ladyboy

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2. When you encounter your first squat toilet

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3. When you rent a scooter with no previous experience and use your passport as collateral

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4. When you realize the food is spicier than you anticipated

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5. When you pretend you can understand Thai

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6. When they try to give you a bag and straw for your beer at 7 Eleven

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7. When someone tells you they’re going to take the overnight bus/train journey from Chiang Mai to Surat Thani

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8. When you see a bum gun for the first time and not sure what it’s used for

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9. When you first see “sky lanterns” during Loy Krathong

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10. When you discover buckets of alcohol

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11. When a local first greets you with a “Wai”

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 12. When you realize it’s time to go home and you’re going to miss this wonderful country

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