India – United, Diverse, Unexplored

Yes, we are talking about a country which is the largest democracy in world by population, 7th largest in terms of area & Asia’s rising behemoth in terms of growth.

Here I will introduce you to a land blessed by varied landscapes, versatile personalities & above all its people. The P-2-P connect (aka people-to-people) is humbling & charming. Here we connect with a “Hi”, “Hello” or “Namaste”!  Let us have a look at some facts:

Major Spoken Language: Hindi (though as per data, we have 461 languages spoken across)

Currency: INR (Indian National Rupee)

Style: Democratic

Land Frontier: 15,107 Kms

Coastline: 7,517 Kms (approx. 50% of the land has coastline, of which 43% are sandy beaches, just think of beach abundance, plenty!)

Season: Winters from December till March, Summers from April to June (may extend depending on the land geography), Monsoon Showers from Mid-June till September, Autumn or Pre-Winters from September till November

Weather: Tropical Temperatures ranging from 10oC to 35oC (this range is a country average, though minimum temperatures reach near freezing point in Northern parts as they are at higher altitudes and experience snowfall. While maximum temperatures may extend till 45oC in western parts due to desert geography as they receive less or no rainfall)

Clock: UTC + 05:30

Best time to visit: Winters (though the country looks scenic during Monsoons too!)

The multi-faceted landscape this country offers to its people who stay or pay a visit is by no means short of options. I will split the country into 6 parts for better understanding.

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(In Pic Above: India’s Pride, The iconic Taj Mahal situated in Agra)

One

North India: Heavily guarded by the mighty & majestic Himalayas, this part of the country offers some picturesque destinations. The snow-clad mountains in winters are a treat to the eye. Snow-Skiing, Camping, Ice-Skating, Snowboarding, Trekking are some of many adventure activities that are home to this part of the country during winters. The region also houses many sacred & holy places of worship.

Places to Visit1: Srinagar, Leh, Manali, Shimla, Gulmarg, Darjeeling, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Rohtang, Corbett National Park

Major Airports2: New Delhi, Amritsar, Leh, Jammu, Srinagar, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Lucknow

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(In Pic Above: A Goddess Durga Idol exhibited for Durga Puja Festivities in Kolkata)

Two

East India: One of the most beautiful parts of the country, divine & less explored. The green cover accompanied with varied flora & fauna, take your breath away. A region less connected through rail, but major airport strips have come up in recent years. The region saw slow development due to hilly terrains & inaccessible areas. Monsoon season blesses this place with no-holds-barred treat. It is also home to the literature-rich Bengali community & the city-of-joy Kolkata, world known for their cuisine too!

Places to Visit1: Kolkata, Gaya, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kaziranga National Park, Shillong

Major Airports2: Kolkata, Guwahati, Shillong, Gaya, Patna, Ranchi, Dibrugarh

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(In Pic Above: The Hawa Mahal standing tall in Jaipur)

Three

West India: One of the most developed parts of the country in terms of economy & connectivity. Blessed by Western Ghats, this region offers some breath-taking spots to cruise along the coast till the Southern part. Home to the financial capital, Mumbai, the region offers superb locations for adventure activities like Paragliding, Jet-Skiing, Surfing, White water rafting. Contrast to the offerings mentioned, one can get a princely view of the state of Rajasthan, which is a gateway to lavish palaces & forts built by the erstwhile rulers amidst desert.

Places to Visit1: Mumbai, Goa, Pune, Lonavala, Mahabaleshwar, Kolad, Ahmedabad, Kutch, Aurangabad, Udaipur, Jaipur, Jaisalmer

Major Airports2: Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Goa, Pune, Aurangabad, Rajkot, Jaipur, Udaipur, Nagpur

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(In Pic Above: A Houseboat swiftly sailing across Kerala Backwaters)

Four

South India: If you ever want to visit an ideal place with a perfect mix of human & nature balance, search no more. This part of the country has some major dense forests, well preserved & undisturbed. Tourists seeking solace, peace & rejuvenation therapies throng here, just to get loose in the lap of nature. Idyllic settings here self-promotes tourism. Home to some of the classic coastlines & calm backwaters, tourists cannot think to give it a miss. The literature community is strong since roots & thriving as ever. The delicacies of this part are savoured throughout the country as the go-to breakfast. Home to Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad – these mega cities have boosted the economic progress of this land piece. The world renowned Tirupati Temple is a must visit.

Places to Visit1: Chennai, Alleppey, Puducherry, Tirupati, Bengaluru, Cochin, Madurai, Ooty, Mysore, Hyderabad, Vishakhapatnam, Rameswaram, Munnar

Major Airports2: Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Cochin, Trivandrum, Mysore

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(In Pic Above: The Khajuraho Group of Monuments, a UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Five

Central India: You might think why I have classified Central India separately. Trust me India is huge & diverse. You will agree with me after reading this part.

This region is known as the “Heart of India”. Beaming with tourists, it offers dense jungles presenting an opportunity to explore the unexplored. Jungle Safaris are a common place here, thanks to many reserved forests protecting ecology. The state of Chhattisgarh is home to native tribes, living of the ages. Several documentaries have been published to study the area & its people. The Chitrakoot Waterfalls are a treat to watch during monsoons. The Khajuraho Group of Monuments is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This part of the country is abundant in agricultural produce.

Places to Visit1: Bhopal, Indore, Puri, Kanha National Park, Tadoba National Park

Major Airports2: Bhopal, Indore, Raipur, Bhubaneshwar

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(In Pic Above: A Magical Sunset at Port Blair)

Six

Islands Of India: This warrants a separate section. India is blessed with some amazingly beautiful islands worth visiting. Andaman & Nicobar Islands in Bay of Bengal & Lakshadweep in Arabian Sea, just complete the missing pieces in country’s tourism space. The clear blue-turquoise waters & pristine white sand beaches will make you forget your home. You can do various Water Sports, Deep Sea Diving, Scuba, Jet-Ski and the likes. The underwater world will leave you speechless and thoughtful.

Places to Visit1: Port Blair, Agatti, Neil Island, Havelock Island, Baratang Island, Kavaratti

Major Airports2: Port Blair (Andaman & Nicobar Islands), Agatti (Lakshadweep Islands) both are connected with mainland airports.

This blog covers the basics of this massive country along with snippets of renowned tourist destinations. But the country has much to offer for which I will put up blogs specific to different regions & deep-dive into places to visit. Should you require any further information, shoot me a mail & I will be more than happy to assist you.

Planning to travel outside India? Discover Dubai

1 Not an exhaustive list, but if you want to know more, shoot me an email else relax, I will shoot more blogs (don’t forget to follow)

2 Covers major busy airports

6 Most Entertaining Activities To-Do in Dubai

Whilst there are numerous places in Dubai

Continue reading “6 Most Entertaining Activities To-Do in Dubai”

Dubai – A truly cosmo-global city!

Boss, these Arabs have built one masterpiece called Dubai. Located between endless sea & desert on either sides, this dot on Google Map is known for its luxury living & shopping with state-of-the-art architecture.  Beautifully sitting on the Persian Gulf, the city has a  lot of shades to offer. A Financial Hub, A Tourism Hub, Gateway to Middle East, a must visit on every travellers radar. It is one of the strongest emirate of UAE, having a veto power in critical matters concerning UAE, along with Abu Dhabi.

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(In Pic Above: The astounding Burj Khalifa – built-in 1325 days!)

Best Time to visit:

The world-renowned Dubai Shopping Festival starts from December. Travellers who love shopping can’t just keep a tap on their wallets. Almost all of the world’s greatest brands & their products are available at sale prices.

Tip: Being part of a conservative country, Dubai is just the opposite. You can wear as per your wish, barring places of prayers, especially if you are visiting Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, where you need to cover yourself completely.

Seasons: November to March can be termed as winter (though it is no way near to what we know as winters) which is perfect for beach outings, April onwards it starts getting warmer till October. Being a desert, dry & arid place, the city experiences less or no rainfall.

Temperatures: Range from 18oC in winters to 45oC in summers

Driving: Right side of the road, Left hand drive

Currency: Arab Emirates Dirham (1 AED = 17.75 INR approx. at the time of writing)

Visa: Click here to see the visa regulations for your country.

Fact: One of the few places in the world, where you don’t have to pay any tax on your income. So earn more, spend more and enjoy more!

Which area to stay:

Sheikh Zayed Road is the main arterial line that dots Dubai. The Dubai Metro also covers the city extensively & it is well supported by a network of buses. So public transportation is not a problem. The area to stay primarily depends on your vacation type, budget & time of travelling. You get budget & cheap accommodations in Deira (also known as Creek area or Old Dubai) which is just next to airport. When you move closer to the city but other side of the creek, the area is called Bur Dubai which is still closer to airport & offers a bouquet of places to stay which are economical as well as astronomical. If you want to stay close to Modern City & places like Burj Khalifa & Dubai Mall, choose Downtown. If you want to stay close to a beach, choose Dubai Marina.

What to Eat:

Dubai offers a plethora of cuisines ranging from fine-dine to street smart stuff. When in Dubai, never miss a chance to grab a Shawarma (looks like rolls), Falafels (deep-fried patty), Al Machboos (chicken & rice combo) Tabbouleh (salad), Shish Tawook (Kebab), and Knafeh (dessert) from the streets of Old Dubai as you have lots of local café owners serving authentic Arabian delights.

Visit Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding to better understand emirate culture by booking a meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) and have original Arabic cuisine. This centre also promotes Heritage Tours.

Taxi/Cab: They have Uber (app), Careem (app) & Local Taxi’s. You can download the local taxi app (RTA Smart Taxi) when visiting.

Places to visit: This list can go endless, but I will bullet out key places which should not be skipped.

Innumerable places to visit in this megacity, as they take pride in tourism by providing world-class entertainment & value for money. Few have been listed below.

  1. Burj Khalifa – The Tallest Tower of UAE
  2. Burj-al-Arab – The iconic hotel built on man-made island
  3. Palm Jumeirah – Man-made Island, looks like a palm shaped tree
  4. Dubai Mall – Largest Mall in world by area, a premier shopping destination
  5. Mall of Emirates – Ski Dubai is located here
  6. Dhow Cruise – Cruising in Dubai Creek
  7. Desert Safari – Get a thrilling ride in the sand dunes
  8. Aquaventure Park – A Theme Waterpark
  9. Ski Dubai – Indoor Icerink

Check UAE Weather Info here