About India

My friend Jorge asked me what INDIA stood for. I awaited his response. If Necessary, Divinity Is Available.

India’s definition as a ‘modern’ country is paradoxical because of the way her development is compartmentalized. The upper class strata of her population enjoys the indulgemence of the most modern countries while those on the other end of this spectrum, and those geographically located in the "interior" of the country, depend on age-old techniques of harvesting, transportation and communication. This diversity is what makes India all the more fascinating.

Spiritually, India is a secular country where many religions were born and flourished. Rulers, visitors & invaders have all contributed towards her spiritualism and religion with a consequential list of holy places of a multitude of sects and religions spread through out the country.

General: Size of Europe; located around the Tropic of Cancer; altitudes from below sea-level to the 27,000 ft Himalayas and two other mountain ranges; topography from the Thar and Kaatch deserts to the rain forests of Assam; unparalleled cultural, religious and philosophical history with 300 million Goddesses and Gods; thousands of species of mammals, birds, reptiles and insects.

Arts, Dance, Drama & Architecture: Variety of ancient, traditional and modern schools of paintings, sculpture, dance, drama and architecture through 2,500 years encompassing indigenous, Mughal, European/English and European schools.

Cuisine: India is well known for her cuisine, and ineed many cuisine-centric tours are packaged annually.

Customs: As with any ancient civilization, India has many customs which do not appear to offer any immediate benefits.

Religion & Spirituality: Unequalled in the world with the number of practicing religions, either born in India (Buddhism 500 BCE, Hinduism 3,000 BCE, Jainism 500 BCE & Sikhism 18c AD); come to India because of persecution in home country (Bahá'í Faith arriving late 19c AD, Judaism arriving 700-600 BCE & Zoroastrianism arriving 7c AD); or, being practiced here (Christianity arriving 54 AD & Islam arriving 7c AD). Additionally a variety of current indigenous “Lesser Known Religions”.

Textiles: An exporter of cottons and silks to the ancient Roman, European and Chinese Empires. Variety of cotton, silk and cotton/silk traditional weaves from different parts of the country continue to be unique.

Shopping: India is a shoppers paradise.

Wildlife: Unique fauna and wildlife excels in range and diversity. Over 500 species of mammals, 2,060 species of birds, 748 species of reptiles and 30,000 species of insects. 11 National Parks and 135 Sanctuaries cover an area of 26,000 sq. km.

Languages: Apart from Hindi which is the the Central Government, and English which is the de-facto language all over India, there are 17 additional languages - not dialects - used in India. See the different languages in a currency note, keeping in mind that the languages shown are in addition to Hindi and English:

One of the beauties of traveling in India is that English is spoken all over. One of the beauties of traveling in India is that English, well, is spoken all over -

Assamese (Assam)
Bengali (Bengal and Tripura)
Gujarati (Gujarat, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu)
Hindi (Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Bihar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh)
Kannada (Karnataka)
Kashmiri (Jammu and Kashmir)
Konkani (Goa)
Malayalam (Kerala and Lakshadweep)
Manipuri (Manipur)
Marathi (Maharashtra)
Nepali (Sikkim)
Oriya (Orissa)
Punjabi (Punjab)
Sanskrit (A classical language mostly used in ancient texts)
Sindhi (Bombay)
Tamil (Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry)
Telugu (Andhra Pradesh)
Urdu (Jammu and Kashmir)

 

This signpost put up by the Indian Army at one of the highest passes in the world really sums up what India is all about:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a look at a map of India to see where you would be going.

 

There are many videos about India on You Tube. Have a look at one of them.

While we do not vouch for the veracity of the following, answers below are apparently actual responses by tourism website officials who obviously have an excellent knowledge of India and whose astute responses will make your visit to India that much more pleasurable!

Q: Does it ever get windy in India? I have never seen it rain on TV, how do the plants grow? (UK).
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.

Q: Will I be able to see elephants in the street? (USA)
A: Depends how much you've been drinking.

Q: I want to walk from Delhi to Goa - can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only three thousand kms, take lots of water.

Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in India? (Sweden)
A: So it's true what they say about Swedes.

Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in India? Can you send me a list of them in Delhi, Chennai, Calcutta and Bangalore? (UK)
A: What did your last slave die of?

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in India? (USA)
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. In-di-a is that big triangle in the middle of the Pacific & Indian Ocean which does not.. oh forget it....... Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Goa. Come naked.

Q: Which direction is North in India? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into India? ( UK)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Q: Can you send me the Indiana Pacers matches schedule? (France)
A: Indiana is a state in the Unites States of...oh forget it. Sure, the Indiana Pacers matches are played every Tuesday night in Goa, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q: Can I wear high heels in India? (UK)
A: You're a British politician, right?

Q: Are there supermarkets in Bangalore, and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gatherers. Milk is illegal.

Q: Please send a list of all doctors in India who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)
A: Rattlesnakes live in A-meri-ca which is where YOU come from. All Indian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.

Q: Do you have perfume in India? (France)
A: No, WE don't stink.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in India? (USA)
A: Any place where significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in India? (France)
A: Only at Christmas.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first

Q: Can I see Taj Mahal anytime? (Italy)
A: As long as you are not blind, you can see it anytime.

Q: Do you have Toilet paper? (USA)
A: No, we use sand paper. (we have different grades)

I'd love to meet the person who answered these questions - pure genius !!!

 

10 Sensory Experiences you must experience when in India

Potent Pleasures
Breathe in the intoxicating aroma of fresh spices while wandering through the bustling markets of India. Cardamom, coriander, cinnamon and nutmeg are classic spices of the subcontinent and aren't hard to find - the fresh scent envelopes markets across the country.

Fiery Flavours
Treat your tastebuds to the spicy flavours of India with a traditional aromatic curry. Indulge in the heady mix of coconut milk, chilli, ginger, ghee and spices, then, cool down by sipping on a refreshing Lassi - the prefect antidote to the unrelenting heat of an Indian curry.

Colourful Chaos
Experience the urban cacophony of Delhi - a unique collision of cultures, cattle and people. Hear the rumble of cars, truck and buses, the frantic calls of street vendors and hawkers, the sizzle of food and the rustic ring of a cow bell in this unforgettable and irrepressible city.

Pink Pleasure
Admire the dazzling pink hues of Jaipur. Watch the historic palaces, forts, temples and monuments of the 'Pink City' be bathed in a dusky pink glow as the golden sun sets over the dramatic Aravalli Range.

Rat Race
Walk barefoot through the Karni Mata Temple as thousands of rats scamper across the marble floor. Just felt a furry rodent scurry over your feet? Fear not - it's a sign of good luck in this unique rat-worshipping temple.

Captivating Karma
Experience the multi-sensory wonder of an Aarti ceremony on the banks of the Ganges. Hear the clanging of bells, watch the luminous glow of fire, smell wafts of pungent incense and hear rousing devotional songs and mantras. Be immersed in the fire and prayer of this Hindu ritual and be changed forever.

Boundless Beaches
Sit beachside in Goa and gaze into the sublime beauty of the ocean. Take a moment to kick back and soak up the clear skies and deep blue sea of this exotic island. Watch the sun's rays shimmer on the horizon and bask in the golden glow of this balmy retreat.

Silky Sophistication
For a slice of extravagance, feel the soft, luxurious touch of traditional Indian silk. Made in a variety of vibrant colours and perfect for making everything from saris to prayer mats, decorative hangings and upholstery, the inimitable feel of finely crafted silk is a simple pleasure in life.

Petition a Prayer
Hear the flutter of prayer flags as they flap in the wind near the isolated monasteries of Dharamsala. In a stark environment of rugged, mountainous landscapes, quietness permeates the air, except for the unique sound of prayer flags collecting prayers and sending them to the heavens above.

Brilliance of Bollywood
Be treated to a feast for the senses at a bombastic Bollywood movie screening. Covet the glamorous costumes, marvel at the energetic choreography and delight in the lively music. Revel in the razzle dazzle of the whole spectacle and be swept away by the irresistible charm of India's triumphant cinematic phenomenon.