When talking about India, it is almost impossible to stick to one line of conversation simply because the country offers so much. As Mark Twain put it, “India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition.” With over a billion people of different religions, cultures, languages, and lifestyles co-existing in the same country, India is a land that is exquisite, to say the least. Perhaps this is the reason that a holiday in India is on the mind of almost every traveler. And the thing about India is, you simply cannot experience everything in a single trip. So although you have ticked a holiday in India off your bucket list, chances are that you will be returning to this interesting country more than once to soak in the majestic beauty and explore the different unique experiences that the place offers.
From the spectacular snowy peaks of Ladakh to the vast desert of Rajasthan, the laid-back vibe of Goa to the frantic pace of life in Mumbai, India is full of beautiful contrasts. If a holiday in India is on your mind, you must be trying to make a list of destinations to visit and things to do during the time you are in the country. Well, that’s no easy task considering the size of the place and the sheer variety of experiences it offers. However, there are some things that you simply cannot afford to miss when on a holiday in India. We have compiled a list of few such experiences, without which your holiday in India would not be complete.
The pilgrim city of Varanasi is known for its rich tradition and ancient culture, and the experiences it offers are almost surreal. Take a boat ride on the famous Ganges River (which is considered as a holy river in Hinduism) at dawn along the bathing ghats (steps that lead down to the river), and get to witness some of the most amazing sights even as you pass by some traditional cremation sites. Early morning worshippers offer their prayers as they stand in the waist-deep water against the backdrop of marvelous 18th and 19th-Century temples and palaces, some others meditate and offer prayers to the Hindu Sun God, while others stretch their limbs as they prepare for a bout of wrestling.
In the evening, do not miss the Ganga Aarti performed at the Dashashwamedh Ghat, in which a group of priests perform the spectacular ritual of offering fire to the Ganga River and Lord Shiva while chanting shlokas (holy verses) from the Hindu scriptures.
The beating retreat ceremony, or the lowering of flags, is a captivating display that is being held at the Wagah post between India and its neighboring country Pakistan every day since 1959. At this daily military activity held at dusk, the security forces of both countries participate in an enthusiastic parade as one infantryman from each side of the border opens the gates, lowers his country’s flag, greets the other with a customary handshake, and returns to close the gates. As civilized as the ceremony is, the feeling of patriotism is unmissable and emotions run high among people of both the countries, as crowds gather on either side and shout loud slogans to support the country that they belong to. This experience is almost unparalleled during your holiday in India.
For almost every foreign tourist who plans a holiday in India, a visit to the Taj Mahal is definitely on the list. Albeit a tad clichéd, this is one place that you must visit when you are on a holiday in India. Soak in the splendor of the magnificent structure from the moment you walk in through the main gateway as you try to observe the jaw-dropping architecture of this monument, one of the wonders of the world. Commissioned in 1632 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, this architectural landmark houses the tomb of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal and is considered as a symbol of love the world over. A visit to the Taj Mahal is a magical and indescribable experience that is bound to stay with you for a long time even after your holiday in India is over.
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