There are so many adjectives that can be used to describe India from colourful and vibrant to noisy and bewildering but nothing can compare to actually visiting India. This sub continent covers such a range of sights and places that is it impossible to see everything in one holiday.
The history of India
This could be a full page in itself, such is the array of subjects to cover about how India has transformed itself over the centuries. Suffice it to say, a potted history of India involves the birth of Gautama Siddhartha in 566 BC, who became the Buddha, giving rise to a religion that teaches non-violence and is followed by millions throughout the world, and the Chola Dynasty from the 9th to the 13th centuries where many magnificent temples were built.
The coming of Islam in 1206 to India bought new ideas in architecture, warfare and theology from other parts of Asia. The Mughals ruled pockets of India for over 300 years blending together the best of Hindu and Islamic traditions as well as bringing wealth and the building of the Taj Mahal. By 1858 most of India was under British rule, which ended when India became independent in 1947.
This independence has meant a whole new way of life in India, in the north reaching as far as the Himalayas and around the areas of Rajasthan and Utter Pradesh, which is the largest and most populated state. Here the rivers Ganges and Yamuna cut through the landscape with the three great cities of Agra, Lucknow and Varanasi situated alongside it.
The holy city of Amritsar boasts the Golden Temple, the spiritual centre of the Sikh religion, as well as the shrine of Akal Takht where ceremonial guards keep watch outside.
This vast area includes Goa where beaches are the focus, Mumbai where Bollywood thrives, and Chennai (formerly Madras), the state capital of Tamil Nadu and the fourth largest metropolis in India. The state of Kerala is washed by the Arabian Sea and offers the visitor coconut groves, paddy fields, and backwater tours along the waterways that weave in and out of villages and lush vegetation.
The sacred cows of India
Wherever you end up in India you are sure to come across cows wandering through the streets. They are seen as an embodiment of the benevolence of the gods and thus are sacred. You might see Hindus touching the cow's forehead and uttering a prayer in a gesture of devotion and respect.
India is a country like no other and if you feel like visiting a place where unique sights and special smells invade everything then India is for you.