India and her nuances are as infinite as her concepts. It is a village,a meadow,a sleepy town left behind by the advances of time.She is also bustling metropolises,booming factories,lush fields.Hers is the blue summer sky,the gold drenched fields and snowy winter morns..hers too the factory whistle,the commuters rush hour and brisk trading in super markets.
Keeping up with advanced technology,India is one of the few countries in the world that is almost entirely self-sufficient.She builds her own cars and trains,her own shhips and aeroplanes.Poised on the brink of a breakthrough into the space-age,she has already launched satellites into far oblivion.
A country so vast,India represents diversity in all its forms:people,religion,customs and traditions, clothes,dialects,habits,forms.She begins with the highest peaks and descends across mighty vastnesses and rolling plains to submerge in not one but three seas.Beaches surround her coastal belts,and in Rajasthan,there is the stillness of the Thar desert;the great seas,a still desert,the might of the Himalays..India has all this and more.Backwater canals and trropical forests,rugged hill town,river estuaries,wooded swamps and glacial meadows.Regions unattainable by road.Places unexplored.The suavity of city dwellers contrasts sharply with aboriginal tribes who still lead their shelterted existence, Unhindered by the spread of civilisation.
To the Indian,the country is a harmonious wh
Visions of the past
The past lives on India’s continuity.There is no nostalgia for what was no impatient anticipation for what will be.For the philosophy of the land dictates that to live for the moment is to share the spiritual joy of belonging.
The first records of history trace back to the great 5000-year old Indus Valley civilisation on the banks of the river Indus.Many planned cities have been excavated at Harappa,Mohenjodaro (now in Pakistan),Lothal(in Gujarat) and many other sites.
The retless Aryans,who came to the subcontinent around 2000 BC,became the inhabitant of the country,pushing the Dravidians towards the southern tip of India.They came and settled in thhis beautiful land,and they took as their own the forests and rivers and seas.Sun worshipers,they settled downto a pastoral life, governed by the politics of king and emperors.Their spirit of adventure and their language.
Legends of India spread across the continents and temped no less a man than Alexander the greate who rode in at the head of his army.He fought the small kingdoms of this great land and conquered northern India.His victories did not,however,cloud his regard for the magnificent civilisation of
The Mauryan dynasty was founded in 323 BC by Chandragupta Maurya and the golden age of this period has been recorded by Megasthenes,a Greek ambassador.
One of the great monarchs of the world,Ashoka was a product of this dynasty.This great emperor, who expanded the boundaries of his empire rekognised the futility of conquest by war and embraced Buddhism.He sent monks with the message of the Buddha to Sri Lanka,Syria,Egipt and Macedonia.
Kanishka ushered in the Kushan empire in southern India,the Chola,Pandya and Chera dynasties flourished.The Gupta dynasty strengthened India and trade with Europe began on a major scale.One of the future compositions in poetry;the spirit of learning spread across the length and breadth. The Chalukaydas and Pallavas established dominion in south India.Islam found its way into India in the
8th century AD..Muslim conquerors came to the countru and settled down.Subsequently,the Mughals established a mighty empire.So recent was their domain in India,that events of that period and monuments still live.
Sun,surf and sand
To each his town.While the wealth of culture that India has to offer is ernomous,its amorphous can confuse,bewilder,constrain the tourist.
Take a little time off to relax then,at an
India has a spectacular coastal belt and all long,in hundreds of kilometres,are beaches,some developed,some not.
If you are a city person,Bombay is built along a bay with the Juhu beach garlanding the city in opaque blue.Further down the city,however,are beaches not visited by people except for the fisherfolk. Equally enticing is the Marina beach at Madras.
But if you wish to escape from the cities,come to Goa.A former Portuguese colony,Goa has over a hundred kilometres of the beach strips,each more compelling than the other.Now fully developed as an international beach resort,Goa offers the finest holidaqy villages,hotels and cottages.Come at Christmas or New Year,come during the carnival folowing Lent:the boisterous merry making,feni-the local wine,the strains of a lonely,haunting melody-these will become tangible memories of an earhly Xanadu.
Come to Kovalam,Kerala’s magnificent beach resort,set amidst the blue of the Arabian Sea and the lush green vegetation of Kerala,one of India’s finest beach resorts.Wake up to yoga exercises in the morning and close your eyes to tender fingers massaging your tanned body in the finest experiment in herbal and ayurvedic messages.
Or visit Mahabalipuram and watch the sea thunderously apploud the beach temple,gloriously silhouetted against a spectrum sky .Or go to Vishkapatnam an
But the beach holiday to beat them all will be on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.A torquoise sea with myriads of coloured fish,white tree-fringed sands,coral reefs,and shells,shells,shells for the collection of a life time.
Exotic cuisine.Gourmet’s delight
With every daily event a celebration of life,Indian food is heady multi-course meal for the gourmet with a taste for the exotic.
India offers a diverse range of foods for the traveller-to be eaten crisp and freshy cooked from the heart,for therein lies the flavour.
The mainstay of India’s food is wheat and rice.The former is kneated into a dough and prepared in a wide range of rotis,parathas,naans and puris.The served as pulao and biryanis in mouth-watering concoctions.These are eaten with a variety of meat,fish and vagetable dishes in exotic combinations with very surprising results.Barbecued,grilled,curried or fried meats,rich sea fare,lentil curries,curd preparations,salads and rotis|rice are the basic foods of an Indian meal.
Ideally,if you are looking for rich fare,take your pick from a Mughlai or Kashmiri menu.In every region and in every city there is a refreshingly different meal to delight your palate.
And to digest a heavy meal-chew a paan with its multi-action as a mouth refresher,digestive and lip salve.
Indians drink tea and coffee round the year,even in summer heat.But if you want something cooling,have a lassi(butermilk)or nimbu paani(freshly prepared lemonade)or any of a range of fruit juices:mango,orange apple,sugarcane,lemon.
Fun and festivity
India is a land of continuing festivals in continuos celebration.A secural tradition enriched the ordinary working man’s year with a great number of festivals-holidays enjoyed in the extravagance of emotion.
To the Hindus,the most familiar festivals are those of Diwali and Dussehra.
Dushera(october)is ten-days long celebration epitomising the victory of good over the evil,marked in north India by burning giant effigies of the demon king Ravana,his son and brother.In eastern India,Dussehra welcomes home the goddess Durga,benovolent in her goodness,murderous in her wrath, and received her like a beloved daughter,only to have har depart once again on the Dussehra or Vijaya Dasami day.And in yet another part of India,Kulu,a wooden cheriot with all local deities from surrounding villages coming to pay homage to the great one.
Diwali (October-November),a bejeweled night outlined in a million flickering candles in an explosion of firecrackers to celebrate the return of Lord Rama,the prince of Ayodhaya banished for fourteen years from his kingdom.
Holi(March),is a chorus in colours,a time to splash coloured powders and water on friends and relatives,to celebrate all thet is good on earth.Id is a Muslim festival with men gathering at mosques in thousands and embracing one and all in a gasture of love,peace and goodwill on earth.The Sikhs celebrate the birth anniversaries of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh,there spiritual leaders,by reciting the holy skriptures in gurdwaras and dining in langaras.Christmas is a time of greate bonhomie and goodwill,a time when the spirit is the occasion,especially boisterous in Madras, Calcutta and Bombay.And Lord Jagannath’s return to his kingdom(June-July)is occasion for the car procession at Puri.
Most of the state capitals and many cities are the venue for these festivals,each unique,presenting a treasured memento of tradition and heritage to the modern seeker.And India is one big constant celebration.
In India,the aestheric strikes a balance beween the antient and the modern,the clasical and the jazz. Come to a recital and you witness a moving eloquence:each motion a suggestion,each gesture a silent phrase.
Dance in India is a rhithm captured in the vast plains and enraptured in the vast plains and enraptured to the beat of musicians.Eyes,faces,hands,feet move to varying moods,reflecting an ancient art.
Home to the Bharata Natyam which Lord Shiva danced,the Cosmic Dance the great auditoria,Indian dance reflects a magnificent heritage,individually perfected by each dancer,a nuance that is celebrated by time itself.
Aiding the swishing of silk,the glitter of diamonds and the note of tinkling bells worn on the dancer’s feet is the orchestra.
The Indian dancer catches in her movements the shyness of the gazelle,the haunting smile of a lingering memory and the divinity of the great cosnic dancer,Shiva,the Nataraja,to whom all dancers must pay obeisance.To have seen an Indin dancer is to have experienced bliss.
Modern theatre directors have experimented with the dramatic from resulting in starting variations: ballets in the Yakshagana and Mayurbhanj Chhau strain, musical extravaganzas and street theatre. Each of them owes to the tradition of the past.
Craftshop of the world
The Indian craftsman has been perfecting his art handed down in the family,from father to son-for hundreds of generations.The result is a culmination of the best in modern aestherics and ancient art- a legacy that even the Indians cannot ignore.
First look to your wardrobe.Do you want yards of silk for a dress or a shirt.Then look to Lammu & Kashmir,to Brnaras or to the south.Or pick up a handful of crisp cottons in any of the bazars all over India.
Go a step further.Pick up a rate and exclusive collection of precious stones and jewellery.If you’ve seen the Kundan work of Rajasthan,or the fashionably shaped silver from Orissa,you may not go back empty handed.And remember,the world’s purest diamonds were once mined at Golconda and nearby Hyderabad is a thriving industry for pearls.
Come to see our very wide range of carpets and rugs.India has the world’s largest carpet industry and the result is colourful collage of paisleys,Persians and fire breathing dragons.
There is a bargain waiting in the Indian market.Don’t forget:India is the last resort for bargain hunters and adventurers.
Lure of the wild
India has a great tradition in preserving wildlife.Even before her inderpendance,maharajas,who took to hunting with great pleasure,had set aside wildlife preserves for the natural conservation of species.
Today,most states in the country have national parks and wildlife sanctuaries with a view to preservation.To see the tiger,the visitor must travel to the Corbett and Dudhwa national parks in Uttar Pradesh,or to Kanha or Bandhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh.India’s national bird,the colourful peacock can be seen almost everywhere,but in great abudance in Rajasthan.
India’s other famous sanctuaries include Dachigam in Jammu & Kashmir;Sariska and Bharatpur,a bird paradise,in Rajasthan;Sunderbans,Jaldapara and Bakkhali in West Bengal ;Betla National Park in Bihar; Simlipal National Park in Orissa; Bandipur and Ranganathittoo in Karnataka.Peryar in Kerala; Mudumalai and Vedanthangal in Tamil Nadu.
Much of India’s wildlife is peculiar to the subcontinent.Come to Kaziranga and Manas for a rare treat-the Indian onehorned rhinoceros.The swamp deer is found only in India,as is the spotted deer,chinkara or the four-horned antelope and the nilgai.And come and see the preserve of the last of the great Asitic lions at the Gir forest in Guraja.
Migratory birds from Siberia come to winter in this country.Monkeys,flying foxes,panthers,alligators, pythons and king cobras,unusual phesants,migratory and indigenous water-bids abound.
A great legacy,come and see the proud contenders of the animal kingdom on terrain which is their home and where we are the intruders.
Travel to India
Air India,Air France,Swisair among other airlines,operates a number of concessional youth and excursion fares all the year around.
The Asian Highway prvides a through route from Europe to Asia passing through Western Europe. Yugoslavia,Bulgaria,Turkey,Iran and Pakistan to India.
Entry to India from Pakistan daily between 9.00 a.m. and 4.00p.m. Indian Standart Time at the Wagah-Attari border near Amritsar.(Check with the local Indian embassy before departure in case of any change in timings.)