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India

With diverse landscapes, cultures, flavors and even languages, they say India changes every 50 kms – and it’s true. There cannot be a dull day in this country. A very popular joke is that there are more festivals than number of days in a year in India. The diversity in the picturesque is awe-inspiring. From populous cities to quite terrains, mighty mountains and ferocious rivers, beaches and forts, there is something for everyone. There is no way India can be described in mere words, and one must never miss an opportunity to immerse themselves in the colors of India.

Highlights

India is overwhelming in many ways and has an enormous range of wonderful places to visit. Below or picks we recommend.
  • Leh Ladakh –with its unique landscape with wide open expanses, magnificent valley views, the dotted Stupa’s and no single person around for miles it is a must have on your travel bucket list.
  • Dharmshala – it is a beautiful hill station in the cool mountains of the Himalayas from where you can do beautiful trekkings. The village itself has a cozy atmosphere.
  • Jaisalmer – is located in the middle of the Thar desert. It is a place straight out of an Arabian Nights fairy tale with a landscape of dunes and dusks that roll away as far as the eye can see.
  • Udaipur – Udaipur has a romantic vibe with lots of temples and palaces and narrow streets.
  • Kerala – a small strip of later famous for its beautiful backwaters and tea-covered hills. Hop on a boat and explore the backwaters.
  • Coorg - emerald landscapes and acres of coffee plantations and endless mountain ranges characterize this area.
  • Meghalaya – this area is hardly visited, but is so beautiful. Here you will find natural grown root bridges that give the landscape a magic vibe.

What to eat

Indian cuisine is famous for being hot, spicy, colorful and full of flavors. It is inspired by culture, tradition, availability and foreign influences. Being the spice capital of the world, the recipes are dominated by the concoction of spices and herbs. The food is predominantly vegetarian due to religious faiths, but it is also home to some mind-blowing non-vegetarian delicacies. Rice is the staple food in most parts of the country. A wide variety of sweets or ‘mithaai’ can be found in all parts of the country. The dishes you must definitely try are:

  • Chole-bhature (North) – a sumptuous spicy chickpea curry with fried bread called bhatura is served with pickle, onions and some green chillies. Generally eaten for breakfast this dish takes you to a foodie’s paradise.
  • Butter Chicken (North) – inspired by Mughal cuisine, this dish is a classic. Chicken marinated in yogurt and spices, cooked either in a tandoor or pan fried, with gravy made with tomatoes, ginger-garlic and various spices. Crème, butter, cashew paste and green chillies are added in the gravy. A must eat for sure!
  • Pav-Bhaji (West) – Pav is a bread or a bun served slightly toasted on all sides with butter. This is accompanied by bhaji, which is a dish that consists of various vegetables (mainly potato with other vegetables) and spices mashed together. Served with onions, tomatoes, a piece of lemon and a dollop of butter. This street food will awaken all your senses!
  • Sambar and Masala Dosa (South) – Sambar is a spicy tamarind broth cooked with lentil and vegetable stew. Dosa is a fermented crepe made with rice flour and black lentil batter and ‘masala’ is a kind of stuffing mainly of potatoes. It is usually also served with a coconut chutney.
  • Hyderabadi Biryani (South) – as the name suggests, it is a famous dish from the princely city of Hyderabad. It is a rice dish cooked with various spices and goat meat. Variants of it are also served with eggs or chicken instead of goat. This dish is sure to make you feel like a prince yourself. Be sure not to miss it!
  • Machher Jhol (East) – it is a fish stew generally served with rice. Stew is made with onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, potatoes and liberally used spices. The commonly used fish are Hilsa, Rohu and Catla. You will end up craving for some more.
  • Samosas – one of our favorite snacks. Deep-fried little envelopes stuffed with potatoes, peas, cumin seeds and spices. Yummie!
    • Highly recommended is a trip to a local ‘mithaai’ shop to have a taste of various sweets in India.

When to go

India is so stretched-out that climatic conditions in the far north have little relation to those of the extreme south. The best months to visit India in general are from November to end of February, although there are marked regional variations. From March to May in most areas it is really hot and from June to August it is the Monsoon season which starts in the south and rolls up to the north.

What to know

If you are from Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Laos, Myanmar (Burma) or Indonesia then you are currently granted a 30-day single-entry visa on arrival at Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and New Delhi airports. If you have another nationality – except Nepali and Bhutanese – you must get a visa before arriving in India. These are available at Indian embassy’s worldwide.

Traveling can be challenging in India. The best way for transportation in most cases is by plane or train. Best for booking your train tickets is via a local agency, the ticket counter at the train station (queues are long!) or via this website

If you are looking for a flight within India then Cleartrip is a good website to find cheap flights.



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