When you think of India, it’s possible that certain stereotypes come to mind. Maybe you think its dirty, or crowded, or that little kids will steal your shoes while you sightsee (thanks, Slumdog Millionaire). But here’s the truth: there are dozens of reasons to love and want to visit this beautiful, intriguing country.
Here are 11.
#11. The food.
Indian food is super spicy, which most Americans know, but you might not be aware that a large part of the population are vegetarians. Consequently, there are many places to buy vegetables, and the variety is amazing.
You’ll also be delighted by the clay and leaf ad banana leaf bowls that take the place of basic serving pieces – eco-friendly!
The 8 islands off the Goa coast attract divers from around the world, and under the water, you can find a host of shipwrecks to explore. India also has amazing beaches that can compete with Rio, Ibiza, and Australia and the warm water is sure to draw you in.
#9. It’s young, diverse, and fun.
India is home to 400 co-existing ethnic groups and a young population – over half of them are under 25 and 2/3 are under 35. You’llheare 21 official languages being spoken on your travels, which is bound to make you feel less out of place – and ready to step out of your comfort zone!
#8. Alternative medicine.
If holistic healing calls to you, then Ayurveda – a treatment method and philosophy native to India that uses oils, herbs, juices, massages, and herbal pills as opposed to modern medicine – should be right up your alley.
India is one of the oldest places on earth, and in Hampi you’ll find the remains of ancient cities, palaces, temples, and other architecture that represents the entire history of humanity.
#6. Wildlife galore!
Most people want to see elephants, but you can also check out camels, cows, and a bunch of other rare plants and animals around the country – over 1/3 of the local flora is completely unique to the country.
The traditional dances of India represent people, animals, plants, nature, and emotions, and some are over 5,000 years old. That, combined with the costumes and makeup, mean you’ve got culture at your fingertips anywhere you go.
Indians are talented people and produce over 1600 original films a year. If you’re a movie lover, there’s no better place to be.
There are really no road rules – which can be an upside or downside, depending on your personality – and you can travel on public transit from 30 cents per ride to the Maharajas’ Express train, which is the best train in all of Asia. Long story short, you’ve got lots of choices depending on budget, but you’ll be able to see the country in style.
#2. Find the meaning of life.
It may sound cheesy, but millions of people head to India looking for the meaning of life – the people there seem to have a lock on living in harmony with the world and each other. If spiritual enlightenment is on your to-do list, visit ashrams, where you’ll find gurus and places to meditate, recite mantras, attend lectures, etc.