India is The one country that appalled by its size and diversity. Nothing is quite as planned, so all we can expect is the unexpected, which comes in many forms and always will be seated next to the passenger. The visit represents the ultimate test for many tourists, and it is not surprising that some relief on board the plane back, but fans cosmologies complicated and sensual overload found in India one of the most complex and rewarding performances that exist on earth
India General Information
|Official name||Republic of India|
|Area||3,287,590 km ²|
|Language||Hindi and English are official, but they speak hundreds of languages and dialects more|
|Religion||Hindu 80%, 14% Muslims, Christians 2.4%, 2% Sikh, 0.7% Buddhist, Jain 0.5% and 0.4% other|
|Visas||Currently extend tourist visas for six months for multiple entries and exits to the citizens of most nations, even though they intend not to make so long a stay or leave and return home. Check if it is valid from the date of entry or from the dispatch.|
Best time Travel to India
India has a very comprehensive record of climatic factors that it is impossible to accurately draw the best time to visit. In general, the most pleasant months over much of the territory are from October to March. At the southern end, the best time is usually from January to September, weather patterns imposed by the monsoons, while Sikkim and northeast regions are more pleasant from March to August. Kashmir and the mountainous areas of Himachal Pradesh are more accessible between May and September. The deserts of Rajasthan and the Himalayan region of India, in the northwest, are at their best during the monsoons.
The trekking season in the Indian Himalaya runs roughly from April to November, although it can vary widely depending on the route, altitude and region. The ski season runs from January to March.
India Mean festivals and Holidays
India has a large number of festivals, some of them so spectacular that it would be folly miss if you are relatively close during its journey through the country. Begin with the Festival Republic Day, a secular, being held in Delhi in January, which includes elephants, a procession and a great display of military might and Indian princely splendor. The Festival of Holi, in February, is one of the most exuberant Hindu festivals of northern India. Marks the end of winter and, basically, is to throw colored water and red powder over as many people as possible.
The Shi'ite Muharram festival of 10 days between late April and early May, commemorates the martyrdom of the grandson of Muhammad. It is characterized by a great parade, in which devotees are raging with whips in an atmosphere of great religious fervor. The best place to view is Lucknow, the main Shiite city of India. During the same time of year, deserves a special mention of the massive Maha Kumbha Mela, which recounts an ancient battle between gods and demons to take over a pitcher (Kumbha). During the conflict, which spilled four drops fell on Allahabad, Haridwar, Nasik and Ujjain. This myth is evoked by rotation every three years in one of these four cities.
Do not confuse the great festival of Rath Yatra carriages with a simple rally. In this show, which takes place in Puri during the months of June and July, parades on the gigantic temple of the god Jagannath wheels in its annual journey, pulled by thousands of ardent devotees. One of the main events of the year in Kerala Snake Boat Race Nehru Cup in the lakes of Alappuzha, which takes place during the second Saturday of August.
The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, in late August and early September, is dedicated to Ganesh, the popular elephant-headed god. Celebrated throughout the country, but with particular enthusiasm in Maharashtra. Altars are erected, fireworks are launched, clay idols are immersed in rivers or at sea, and everyone keeps looking at the moon, because it is said it brings bad luck. In September and October is the time to go to the mountains to contemplate the delicious Festival of the Gods in Kulu. It is part of the Dussehra festival, whose expression can witness more conspicuously in Mysore and Ahmedabad.
In November comes the huge and colorful turn of the Camel Festival in Pushkar, Rajasthan. Diwali (or Deepavali) is the most joyous celebration of the Indian calendar and is celebrated throughout the five days in November. It pays homage to various gods, and sweets, oil lamps and fireworks play an important role. Finally, while it may seem too cliché, a beach holiday in Goa is still the best way to spend Christmas
India Most Attraction Places to Travel
It is quite unlikely that the first impression of Delhi is positive, especially if it is also the first impression of India. The traveler will surely capture the pollution, crowds, smells, noises and the constant harassment of pediguenos long before the real charms of the city. But it is worth persevering as the history of Delhi is fascinating and ubiquitous: the bazaars of Paharganj are a wonderful introduction to India more bohemian, the architecture of the monuments of the city is very impressive and also eats very well.
Delhi including New Delhi, the capital city and center of the routes to the north. It is an excellent base for visiting Agra and the Taj Mahal Palace and Jaipur, with its colorful rajastaní, is less than five hours of travel. To get to the Himalayas in the north or to the Ghats of Varanasi in the east, there is almost always pass by Delhi. That is, the tourist has no choice but to tighten their teeth, hold your breath and launched headlong into this amazing city.
Mumbai is the fascination of Bollywood cinema, cricket in maidans (parks) on weekends, the bhelpuri (cuisine) on the beach at Chowpatty and red double-decker bus. Also the booths of Chinese neighborhood, the largest slum in Asia, the policy community and the powerful godfathers of the Mafia. This tug of war for the soul of the city is developed in an urban landscape more like a prosperous industrial city of the British nineteenth century than to any place that might be expected on the shores of the Arabian Sea.
It is a pity that the image of Goa is associated with a questionable lifestyle, because it offers much more than sun, sand and psychedelic culture. Has the advantage of being very different from the rest of the country, and have a reasonable size so it covers and explore like no other state of India. It is accessible not only by the family footsteps of European colonialism, exoticism or book illustrations, but also by the predominance of Catholicism and a form of social progress and political understandable to Westerners. Although two thirds of the population are Hindu religion, people are more liberal than devout, in a manner that is not found anywhere else in the nation.
The main town of West Bengal are scattered at random, along the eastern bank of the river Hooghly. Once glorious capital of British India, its history of urban horror, misery and famine began with Partition and the subsequent arrival of thousands of refugees. However, it insists on proclaiming the City of Joy and is revealed as one of the most fascinating and friendly city in the country, the intellectual city of the nation, and a bustling arena for the arts and politics.
In the essential heart of the city, the large expanse of open Maidan, Calcutta people spend their leisure time playing football or cricket, held assemblies policies and practice yoga. They graze their herds. The large size of this park allows you to cover the huge Fort William, still active at present, and whose interior can be visited only with special permission, rarely granted. At the southern end of the Maidan is a huge monument of white marble Victoria Memorial, which contains a statue of the old British Queen Victoria on the front and a large collection of historical objects in Anglo inside.
The administrative center of Calcutta, the Dalhousie Square, is known as BBD Bagh. Here are cohabiting as brutal and fantasy: to one side, is the building of writers, where writers (an interesting euphemism to describe the clerks) are struggling in a Kafkaesque maze of corridors and vast rooms, whose walls are crowded forms in quintuplicate and carbon copies, on the other side is the Post Office building, built on the site of the legendary Black Hole of Calcutta. It was here where, in a sticky night in 1756, more than 140 British people were locked in a basement, where many died from lack of air during the night.
According to legend, when the wife's corpse was dismembered god Shiva, one of his fingers fell into the place where now stands the temple of Kali, which is a pilgrimage center spectacularly disgusting. In the morning, the devotees sacrifice goats, by cutting the neck, to satisfy the bloodlust of the goddess.
Other centers of the city are: the excellent Museum of India, the largest and certainly the best in the country (though dusty and deteriorated for lack of funds), the Botanical Garden, which houses a higuera Bengal 200 years that they say, has the second largest in the world cup (the highest is that of a tree which is in Andhra Pradesh), Howrah and the symbolic bridge, a cantilever bridge that apparently is the world's busiest.
In Chowringhee, south of Howrah Bridge, there are many accommodations, cheap restaurants and bars. Sudder Street, Chowringhee Road that leads to is the meeting point of the Globetrotters. This area also abounds in cinemas where films are projected products of Calcutta, as well as the latest Hollywood movies and their premiums Bollywood. Calcutta can not be considered a paradise for shopping, especially since a municipal law that forbade the street, but the New Market, north of Sudder Street, is a good place to haggle the price of many products, from clothing to wicker objects.
The city lies on the international circuit, and sometimes can be airline tickets at a good price at the offices of airlines around Chowringhee. Calcutta by Indian Airlines offers frequent domestic flights for the major cities of the country, including Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and Lucknow. In general, it is better to travel by train than by bus but if you prefer this mode of transport, should fetch the Rocket Services (rocket) on the bus from Paseo. There are two railway stations: the Howrah on the western shore of the river Hooghly, for trains that go to the city or the Sealdah, on the other side, for those who go to Darjeeling and other northern regions.
The Taj Mahal, a palace, described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love, has become the tourist emblem of India. This poignant Mongolian mausoleum was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, whose death while giving birth in 1631 the emperor was so devastated it seemed to her hair encaneció overnight. The building was started that same year, but was not completed until 1653.
As much as the emperor lost the color of his hair, his sense of detail remained, obviously very sharp. The feeling of perfection that produces the architecture of the Taj Mahal does not diminish when one studies closely, but there is still more apparent. The marble monument seamed carries semi-precious stones, which form an elaborate pattern. Whoever wants to visit this wonder should be aware that remains closed on Friday for non-Muslims.
Another important attraction of the city is a huge strength of solid red sandstone, the Agra Fort, also on the river Yamuna. The colossal double walls of the building amounting to over 20 m and measured 2.5 km perimeter. They are surrounded by a fetid moat and contain a maze of superb halls, mosques, houses and gardens that form a small city within a city. Unfortunately, not all buildings can be visited. For example, the Pearl Mosque, made of white marble, considered by some as the most beautiful of India, remains closed to visitors.
Mongolian other jewels worth visiting in this area include Itim-ud-daulah, many of which served as models in the construction of the Taj Mahal, and the Mausoleum of Akbar at Sikandra, with a mix of Islamic grounds, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Christian, just like the syncretic religious philosophy advocated by Akbar.
Agra is quite close to Delhi (200 km) and can therefore be visited in one day. It is located in the busiest tourist circuit, so many means of transport to get there: plane, bus or rail.
For over two thousand years, Varanasi, the Eternal City of Asia, has been the religious capital of India. Built on the banks of the sacred Ganges, which they say combines the virtues of all other places of pilgrimage, and anyone who finishes his days there (whatever their religious beliefs, and they have been great sins) will be transported directly to heaven. It is the easternmost city of Uttar Pradesh and a major education center, home to novelists, philosophers and linguists. This is reflected in the role played in the development of hindi.
Varanasi has just over one hundred Ghats for bathing and cremation, but Manikarnika Ghat is the most sacred of all. It's where you'll find more cremations of corpses, and one of the best auspices. A caste of pariahs (the tracksuit) is responsible for the dead, carrying the alleyways of the Old City to the holy Ganges on a bamboo angarillas, and wrapped in a canvas. Huge piles of firewood are stacked along the top of the Ghat, and each log carefully weighed with a balance to calculate the enormous cost of cremation. Visitors can see these transactions as in without any problems Manikarnika death is nothing but pure routine, but have to leave your camera at the hotel.
Ghat best to pass the time watching the river activity is Dasaswamedh Ghat. It meets a dense concentration of people who arrive on the shores of the Ganges not only for ritual bathing, but also to practice yoga, offer blessings, buy bread, buy flowers, take a massage, play cricket, swim a little , shaving, and benefit your karma by giving alms to beggars. It is also the best place to arrange a boat trip on the river, because there are many that are disputing ferrymen customers.
Apart from the numerous Ghats along the river, the city has other attractions like the Golden Temple, built in a quadrangle filled with stunning gilded towers, the purchase market, famous for the decorative metal lacquered toys, shawls, silks and sitars (instrument popularized by Ravi Shankar, who lives in the city), wander through the labyrinth of narrow alleys winding impossible from the Ghats, visit the nearby Sarnath Buddhist center and embark on the obligatory trip down the river Ganges.
Varanasi is located on the main tourist circuit, about 580 km east of Agra and 780 km southeast of Delhi, and you can get there by plane, bus or rail.
Call the Holiday Capital of British India extends along a hill shaped like a half moon at an altitude of over 2,100 m in the southern part of Himachal Pradesh. It was the most important hill station of Cologne, and social life that was cultivated here during the summer months, when the British arrived to escape the torrid heat of the lowlands, is legendary: dances, parades and games of bridge to iban pace with gossip, intrigue and romance. Currently, officials, administrators, and distinguished ladies of the Raj have been replaced by hordes of tourists, but the echoes of the colonial past still resonate strongly. The famous main street, the Mall, still runs along the hill, surrounded by stately English-style mansions. Other elements that consolidate the European flavor of the city are Christ Church, Gorton Castle and the former residence of the viceroy, with an air of strength.
Once you have fulfilled the mandatory walk the Mall, dreaming Kipling, Burton and Merchant-Ivory, it's worth exploring the narrow streets that descend steeply from the hilltop to the picturesque bazaars. You can also give an interesting trip to , dedicated to the monkey god Hanuman. Located at the top of the hill, offering beautiful views of the city, the surrounding valley and snow-crowned peaks. Beautiful places in the vicinity of waterfalls are some 70 m in height, the Chadwick Falls, an area ideal for picnics in Prospect Hill, and Wildflower Hall, where he was once the mansion of Lord Kitchener. The ski resort of Kufri is just 15 km to the east, while precipitation has been so little snow in recent years that it was considering suspending the tour operator. The tracks are suitable for beginners, and snow is more likely between January and February.
Shimla is well connected by air as other destinations in the Himalayas, but there are two or three companies that lead you there. The lack of air transport is offset by the number of trains and buses. Three types of bus (public, private and development company of the Himachal Pradesh tourism, HPTDC) connecting Delhi with almost daily. The so-called Shimla toy train is, however, big enough to carry the traveler to Kalkar, in the north, where New Delhi can take the Queen, relatively wide and comfortable, which covers the remaining leg to Delhi.
The capital of Rajasthan is popularly known as the Pink City, because of the pink-ocher hue of its old buildings and crenellated walls. The Rajputs, originating in the region, the pink color associated with hospitality, and are said to have painted the color of this city during the visit of Prince of Alfredo United Kingdom in 1853. This tradition and the atmosphere relaxed and friendly Jaipur still valid today.
Jaipur owes its name, foundation and careful planning and the great warrior astronomer Maharaja Jai Singh II (1699-1744), who took advantage of the weakening of the Mongolian able to leave his stronghold in the mountains, near Antwerp, where it lacked space and get to the lowlands in 1727. He built the city walls and six rectangular blocks with the help of the Shilpa-Shastra, an ancient Hindu architecture treaty.
Presently, Jaipur is a city of broad avenues and remarkable architectural harmony, built on the dried bed of a lake and surrounded by desert hills. It is a colorful place, and under the sunset light radiates a magical warm glow. It has 1.5 million inhabitants, and has expanded beyond its original confines fortified, but most of its attractions are concentrated in the walled Pink City, northeast of the city. The walls retain all its original seven gates, one of which leads to the Johari Bazaar, the famous market of the jewelers.
The monument is the most obvious Swarga Sul Iswari Minar, a minaret built to dominate the city, but the most impressive is the amazing artistic work of the five-storey facade of Hawa Mahal, or palace of winds. It was built in 1799 for the ladies of the royal house might contemplate life in the streets and processions, and this is part of the palace which is the heart of the old city.
Many international airlines have established their offices in Jaipur Towers, while for domestic flights is easier to book tickets on any of the major travel agencies. There are daily flights to Delhi, and most continue to travel to Mumbai via Jodhpur, Udaipur and Aurangabad. The Transport System of Rajasthan covers major cities in that state, as well as private luxury. The train also reported the majority of these destinations.
The most romantic city of Rajasthan, built around the beautiful Lake Pichola, has inevitably been dubbed the Venice of the East. Founded in 1568 by Udai Singh, is a harmonious blend of buildings limed india, marble palaces, lakeside gardens, temples and havelis (traditional houses). Boasts an enviable artistic heritage, a great reputation for performing arts and an abundance of water, which has helped turn it into an oasis of culture and entertainment in a dry monotone.
Lake Pichola is the hub of the city and contains two beautiful island palaces (Jagniwas and Jagmandir) which define the perfect fantasy Rajput. The former is now an exquisite luxury hotel. The huge City Palace overlooks the lake and is covered by balconies, towers and cupolas. It contains a museum, beautiful gardens and luxury hotels. Among the attractions of Udaipur are the doors of the old walled city and its beautiful streets, the magnificent temple of Jagdish indoario, built in the mid-seventeenth century, and Bagosora ki Haveli, once residence of the royal guests on the shores of lake, which has been converted into a cultural center.
Despite the long list of monuments and places of interest, the best of Udaipur is undoubtedly find a pleasant stay at the lake, climbing to the roof and see the activity in the Ghats, hear the rhythmic sound produced by washerwomen to mercilessly beat their laundry, and perceive the subtle changes of light in the water while moving slowly on the day.
Indian Airlines offers daily flights to Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai and Aurangabad. Many state buses leave Udaipur to other regional centers, as well as Delhi and Ahmedebad. If traveling by bus should take a direct: if it takes many hours to reach destination. Rail lines Udaipur are only narrow gauge, and is scheduled although his conversion to standard gauge, no one knows exactly when. Almost always faster to travel by bus. Another way to move through the region are the taxis, but should practice negotiating skills and bargaining the price a bit before getting on the vehicle.
This charming and quiet town has long been a favorite of many travelers for its manageable size, its climate and its tendency to preserve and promote their cultural heritage rather than replace it. The town is famous for its silk and is also a thriving center for trade in sandalwood and incense, but the air is not just more fragrant than any other city.
Until independence, Mysore was the seat of the Maharaja of Mysore, a principality which covered about one third of the current state of Karnataka. Indosarraceno The Maharajah's Palace is the main attraction of the city, with its kaleidoscope of colored glass, ornate mirrors, mahogany coffered ceilings, solid silver doors somewhat gaudy and colorful.
The fruit and vegetable market of Devaraja, in the heart of the city, is one of the most picturesque of India. Another point of interest is the climb of a thousand steps to the top of Chamundi Hill, where the great temple of Chamundeswari. The famous Nandi (bull of Shiva), the massive stone and 5 meters in height, mounted guard at the stairway. The Dussehra Festival, which takes place during 10 days in early October, culminating with a spectacular procession of richly decorated elephants, servants of livery, cavalry, marching bands and images of Hindu deities covered with flowers.
There are no flights to Mysore, so the bus and train are the only options to get there. Every 15 minutes a bus to Bangalore leaving flying as the devil takes soul, the station, along with other regional destinations, including the Bandipur National Park. Several private circulation at a slower pace to Mumbai, Goa, Chennai and Hyderabad. Rarely there are long queues to book tickets at the station of Mysore, and four trains depart daily to Bangalore, besides the fast Shatabdi Express, with air conditioning, which leaves at 14.10 every day except Tuesday, and continues to Chennai .
The port city of Cochin is located in a group of islands and narrow peninsulas. The oldest parts of the town are an unusual blend of medieval Portugal, Dutch and English people, all grafted on the tropical Malabar coast. At the water's edge is St Francis Church, the oldest church of India, a Portuguese palace for 450 years old, Chinese fishing nets spread beyond Fort Cochin, and a synagogue that dates back to the mid-sixteenth century. Ferries plying steadily between areas of Cochin, and it is not unusual to see some dolphins in the waters of the harbor. Most historic buildings are in Fort Cochin or Mattancherry. In Ernakulam, the coast, you can find cheap accommodation.
Indian Airlines offers daily flights to Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Goa. If the traveler's budget does not allow him to fly, a huge amount of Cochin buses leave at regular intervals to all directions. There is no problem finding a bus, state or private, to address the surrounding regions, but no tickets can be booked in advance. There is no option but to go in the season, join the crowd and wait until you find a seat. If the initiative fails, you can always use the trains daily along the coast to all major destinations
At an altitude of over 2,100 m at the northern tip of West Bengal, Darjeeling has been a very popular hill station by the British since they established it as a recovery center and recreation facilities for their troops in the mid-nineteenth century. Currently the city is as popular as ever, and offers visits to Buddhist monasteries and tea plantations, shopping in bustling bazaars and trekking in high altitude areas of north. As in many other places in the Himalayas, reaching this point is already half the fun, and also has the famous miniature train, which meanders and is on its way back from lowland to Darjeeling in a beating of 10 hours between the charcoal and smoke.
Among the main attractions of the city is the Passanger Ropeway, the first chairlift built in India, which connects Darjeeling to Singla Bazaar on the River Little Ranjit, very down. This is undoubtedly a fantastic trip, although perhaps not very recommendable for those who suffer from vertigo. Unfortunately, the lift does not work forever, and you must call ahead for information. Nearby is the zoo, home to Siberian tigers and red pandas (a rare species) under conditions that are far from ideal. The animals are victims of the Indian tourists who annoy them and spit them without mercy. The beautiful snow leopards are in a separate enclosure, and are treated much more reasonable. To learn about the intricacies of the complex process of production of tea, it is best to visit the Happy Valley Tea Estate, you can also taste the harvest of the year in impressive Gymkhanas Club, once a place of recreation of the Raj.
To get there, the easiest and most convenient way to travel is the aircraft which, however, lands at 90 km from the city, near Siliguri, Bagdogra in the plain, although there is a transport that takes people from the airport to Darjeeling. There are also several bus lines to leave the city.
This fortress in the desert near the border of Rajasthan with Pakistan, it seems right out of a fairy tale Arabic. Founded in the twelfth century to work as a way station for camel caravans traveling between India and Central Asia, Jaisalmer is a city of golden limestone with crenellated walls, a magnificent fortress, and several havelis of exquisitely carved stone and wood. View at sunset, and from afar, resplendent with the brightness of a mirage.
The impressive fort of Jaisalmer crown of a hill 80 feet above sea level, and approximately one quarter of the 40,000 city residents living within their walls. Not much has changed here for centuries. If you ever tried to make an effort to collect a record number of houses, temples and palaces in a small space, this would be the outcome: The fort is a veritable hive of winding alleys, with formidable doors in the walls, a palace maharajah, a courtyard and ceremonial beautifully carved Jain temples. The most beautiful havelis built by wealthy merchants of Jaisalmer are Patwon ki Haveli, Salim Singh ki Haveli and Nathmal ki Haveli.
Despite being extremely picturesque, it is not necessary to stretch before realizing that Jaisalmer is deteriorating at an alarming rate. Its disintegration has, at last, together with local groups and governmental interests and archaeological tours, and has launched a campaign entitled "Jaisalmer endangered" in the United Kingdom.
Camel excursions are a good business in Jaisalmer, and are a great way to discover the desert. Be sure, however, get all the services for the agreed price, as many disappointments. Most walks last three or four days. The best time of year to travel is between October and February.
Rajasthan has a reasonably reliable bus system and a fairly extensive rail network, so it does not cost too much to reach Jaisalmer. In some sections of the railway works are underway to improve the speed of transport, so you should check at the new schedules and route changes. Those who want to experience how they live the more fortunate of the earth, can book accommodation at the Palace on Wheels, which passes through Jaisalmer on its regional road. It's a mobile hotel on wheels, the carriage decorated traditional ceremony of a maharajah, as expensive as luxury. Jaisalmer is 795 km from Delhi.
Leh, past point for the caravans of yaks on their way to Central Asia, is located in a small valley just north of the valley. At the present time is partly strategic and military, in part, resort. His most secure fame for the Leh Palace, built in the sixteenth century, but now deserted and very poor condition: a legacy of the wars of Ladakh in Kashmir, in the nineteenth century. The main reason for the rise there is the beautiful view that overlooks the roof. Zanskar mountains, the river Indus, appears within reach. The palace was sold to the archaeological body of India for the royal family of Ladakh, and is currently planning an ambitious restoration project. With luck, you can get a monk opens the central prayer hall, preserved but not in use at present. It is a dusty and mysterious, enormous masks hovering in the darkness. It's worth out of the craft shops and restaurants of backpackers to walk through the winding alleyways of the old town and see the appearance that the town had before it started to be visited by tourists.
From Leh one can make a trip one day, very popular, until Tikse Gompa, 20 km, in a picturesque setting overlooking the River Indus. This religious center houses a large collection of Tibetan style books and some excellent works of art. It is also a good place to attend religious ceremonies. The Hemis Gompa, which is 45 km, is the largest and most important temple of Ladakh, Hemis is famous for its Festival, two days of elaborate masked dances before a crowd of enthusiastic spectators, who usually held the second half of June or early July. For those who have not experienced an adrenaline subidón enough on the trip to Ladakh, the decline in fast waters of the Indus can be organized by various agencies operating from Leh, and it is also possible trip hiking in the valleys and Markha Indus.
How to arrive or depart from Leh can vary significantly depending on the season: June to September to present no problem to arrive by plane, but things changed in the coming winter months. If weather conditions permit, you can fly to and from Delhi, Srinagar and Jangmur. But there are only two bus routes out of Leh, and both are suffering from the uncertainty principle: sometimes the vehicles do not appear. In the worst case, if we have the use of vehicles and long distance taxis, more expensive than buses, but with the advantage of being always available.
This beautiful and peaceful population in northern Madhya Pradesh, has a saturation of religious buildings. You can find temples dedicated to everything imaginable: from the sun gods, sacred bulls and, most spectacular and memorable of all, sex. The erotic possibilities suggested that the stone statues have helped to consolidate the international reputation of Khajuraho. Another element of art in this town is handicrafts, profusely decorated Chandela period, a dynasty that lasted for five centuries before falling under the impulse of Islam. Visitors can also attend a dance festival that takes place in March and brings together some of the best classical dancers in the country, and for which the temples, beautifully lit, forming a spectacular backdrop.
The religious buildings of greater size and importance are in the western group of great architectural beauty. On the outside, the temples are curvilinear towers with clusters of smaller torrecitas attached to them, and suggest the mountain peaks to converge around a large central peak. Around the exterior walls may be two or three overlapping rows of goddesses, gods, kings, heroes, courtesans, and couples in carnal embrace and, in some cases, friezes representing various forms of bestiality. The interiors are also adorned with an open gate that leads to a central chamber and a hall, beyond which is an inner sanctum containing the statue of the main god. In fact, sculpture and architecture fit so perfectly that each building seems to have been conceived by a single creator, with a strong libido, incidentally.
Arrival to Khajuraho may not be easy, since this population is truly at the end of the world and requires a long bus ride on narrow roads. It is better to get there by plane, and offers an Indian Airlines flight Delhi-Agra-Khajuraho-Varanasi daily. The planes are usually very full, so you need to book in advance as much as possible. Buses leave for Agra, Jhansi and Ghansi, and if you travel by train have to transfer in the latter place and continue by bus.
The complex network of lagoons, lakes, rivers and canals of the coastal strip of Kerala forms the basis of a regional lifestyle very characteristic, and a boat trip on the inland waters will be one of the highlights of a visit to this state. The boats cross shallow lakes, deep and surrounded by palm trees planted on Chinese networks, and move through narrow, shady canals where the natives loaded fiber coconut, copra and cashew nuts in their barges. Along the way, stop at small settlements where people live by what you get in close languages of earth, only a few meters wide, carefully cultivated. It can sometimes be a traditional boat, huge sails, and with the bow in the form of carved dragon. The most popular travel these waters is the journey of eight hours between Quilon and Alappuzha, but the majority of fellow travelers on this route will be foreign visitors. To enjoy a more local experience, or if you simply want to embark on a short trip, a few local boats cover the journey from Alappuzha to Kottayam and Changanachery.
Kollam is situated on the route from Thiruvananthapuram to Ernakulam, covered by numerous buses, in addition to being coincidentally located at the confluence of four different rail lines. Is no problem getting there from every major southern city, while Delhi is far from a 2756 km.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands
This string of 300 islands covered with lush forest, is located in the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and India, and extends almost to the tip of Sumatra. From an ethnic point of view, the islands are not part of India and, until recently, only inhabited by indigenous tribal peoples. Most of the Andaman and Nicobar islands are deserted, surrounded by coral reefs and beaches with white sand and incredibly clear water. This is an excellent place for scuba diving and diving, and relaxing on the beach. Indian tourists can move freely around the islands, but foreigners must first obtain a permit 30 days, which allows travel only on certain areas. There are regular flights from Calcutta and Chennai to Port Blair in South Andaman, the permits were extended at the airport of arrival. To arrive to the islands, you can also travel by ship from Calcutta and Chennai, but it takes four days and not come out very often, if despite everything you want to take the boat, the permit must be requested in advance.
National Park Kanh
Kanh is one of the largest national parks and remote parts of India, covering 1945 km ² of forest planted with trees and meadows, watered by an extensive network of rivers and streams. The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling, is set in this park, which has an excellent variety of wildlife including leopard, chital (spotted deer), Samba (the largest Indian deer), and the most famous of all, tigre. You can make excursions to elephant early morning and late in the afternoon, while becoming increasingly unlikely tigre some envision, because of the activities of gangs of poachers. Although wild animals can be viewed at any time, are more likely to glimpse one in the warmer months of March and April, since then the animals emerge from their lairs among the trees in search of water. The park remains closed from July 1 to October 31.
There are direct buses that leave state twice daily Jabalpur. These are old cars and ramshackle, with very little space (at least until Mandla), so you should not travel with much luggage. The nearest train station is nearly two hours by bus.
The number of walkers visiting the Indian Himalaya is relatively small compared with that climb on the trails of Nepal, so that in peace to explore the world's largest mountain range, it is best to practice walking in Himachal Pradesh or Uttar Pradesh . The season runs roughly from April to November, but is subject to wide variations, and some roads are open only a couple of months a year. The main centers of India are walking Lahaul, Spiti and Kulu valleys and Kangro in Himachal Pradesh, north of Rishikesh, in northern Uttar Pradesh Darjeeling, West Bengal; Yuksam in Sikkim, and Leh in Ladakh.
The ski season runs from January to March, and there are some stations in Narkanda in the state of Himachal Pradesh and Auli in Uttar Pradesh. The facilities are quite rudimentary, but this experience is even more fun. Normally, there will be a drag on performance and a place to rent equipment. The après-ski is to eat chapatis and take a good cup of ginger tea.
India is not particularly famous for its beaches, although some centers acceptable beach in Goa, just across the border at Gokarna in Karnataka, and in Kovalam (Kerala). There are good beaches in Diu and Puri, Orissa. Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Bay of Bengal, also have excellent beaches, and offer the only chance to go diving and snorkelling around the country.
In the desert around Jaisalmer and Pushkar in Rajasthan, camel excursions can be arranged, with a duration of between several hours and several days. The best time of year is between October and February. If traveling by camel has left bruised and hungry visitors can always resort to drop by the swift waters of the Indus, which is organized in Leh.
India the first great civilization flourished along the Indus River valley for over a thousand years (2500-1700 BC). Its major cities, Harappa and Mohenjodaro (now in Pakistan), were dominated by priests, who sowed the rudiments of Hinduism. Aryan invaders from Central Asia swept the country between the years 1500 and 200 BC, and then controlled the north of India, pushing the original inhabitants Dravidar to the southern regions.
The occupiers have brought their own gods and traditions and farming carnivorous, but were absorbed to such an extent that in the eighth century BC the priests had returned to establish their supremacy, consolidated in the caste system: a hierarchy maintained by strict rules ensuring that the power of the Brahmin priests.
Buddhism, which emerged around the year 500 BC, condemning the system. That led to a radical movement in Hinduism in the third century BC with the conversion of Emperor Asoka of the Maurya dynasty, who controlled much of India. Asoka (273-232 BC) established Buddhism as the official religion of the empire, and during his reign, India experienced one of the periods of splendor.
In 326 BC, Alexander the Great reached India from the north during his expedition of conquest to the East, but withdrew shortly after defeating the king Poros. However, the Greek cultural influence remained long in the north.
Several empires arose and fell in the north after the collapse of the Mauryan. However, one of them, the Gupta dynasty, which began in 320 AD and remained on the throne 160 years, set up another golden age of poetry, literature and art in India. This period coincided with the revival of Hinduism at the expense of Buddhism. The new revival took place between 40 and 600 years AD
After the invasion of the Huns in the sixth century, northern India was fragmented into a series of Hindu kingdoms and reunificaría not really until the arrival of Muslims. However, the far south, whose prosperity depended on its trade ties with the Egyptians, Romans and the peoples of Southeast Asia, was not affected by the turmoil in the north, and Hinduism did not see never threatened their control of the region .
In 1192 came the Muslims of the Middle East. After twenty years, the entire basin of the Ganges had fallen under Muslim control, though Islam failed to penetrate the south. Two great kingdoms developed in the present Karnataka: the mighty Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar, and the fragmented Bahmani Muslim kingdom.
Mongol emperors entered the Punjab from Afghanistan, defeated the Sultan of Delhi in 1525 and led to another artistic golden age. But Marathe Empire grew during the seventeenth century and was seizing the Mongolian territory. The Marathe, from the northwestern part of the Deccan (central and southern India), consolidated control of central India until they fell to the last great imperial power, the British crown.
However, the British Empire was not the only European country that was established in India: the Portuguese had controlled Goa since 1510, and the French, Danes and Dutch also had trading outposts there. In 1803, when the British finally defeated the Marathe, most of the country was under the control of the British East India Company, which had established its first trading post in Surat (Gujarat) in 1612.
For the British, India was merely a place to earn money, and despised by their complete culture, beliefs and religions. United Kingdom developed country in mining to extract coal and iron, as well as tea, coffee and cotton, and began building the vast network of railways of India. The British encouraged the absenteeism of the landlords, to lightening the burden of administration and collection of taxes, which in turn led to the impoverishment of the rural population, a problem remains chronic in Bihar and West Bengal. The 1857 riot in the north end with the demise of the British East India Company, and the administration of the country was in the hands of the British government.
Opposition to British power emerged strongly in the early twentieth century. Congress set to give India a degree of autonomy then began to demand real freedoms. In 1915, Gandhi returned from South Africa, where he practiced law, to devote himself fully to the struggle for independence by adopting a policy of passive resistance and nonviolence, or satyagraha.
World War II dealt a death blow to colonialism, and independence was now inevitable. But within the country's Muslim minority is widely realized that an independent India would be dominated by Hindus. Communalism grew, with the Muslim League led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, a spokesman for the vast majority of Muslims, and the Congress Party led by Jawaharlal Nehru, representing the Hindu population. The attempt to create a separate Muslim nation was the main obstacle for the British granted independence to the country. But before the political impasse and the increasing tension, Viceroy Mountbatten reluctantly decided to divide the country and rapidly established a program to independence.
Unfortunately, the two predominantly Muslim regions were on opposite sides of the country, with the new Pakistani nation is divided by a hostile India. When finally announced the establishment of the line, began the largest exodus in history, with the Muslims to move to Pakistan and Hindus and Sikhs back to India. More than 10 million people emigrated, and even the most moderate estimate that 250,000 of them died. On January 30, 1948, Gandhi, deeply disappointed by the Partition and the subsequent bloodshed, was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic.
After the trauma of national division, the first leader of independent India, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, called for a secular constitution, socialist central planning and a strict policy of neutrality. The country opted to join the Commonwealth, but also strengthened its ties with the USSR, partly because of conflicts with China, and in part by U.S. support for his staunch foe, Pakistan, India especially hostile toward the claim the state of Kashmir, a Muslim majority. India and Pakistan clashed violently in 1965 and 1971, the first time by the issue of Kashmir and the second by the East Pakistan (which gained independence with the name of Bangladesh).
The following Indian Prime Minister and statesman of international stature was Nehru's daughter, Indira Gandhi, who was elected in 1966. Still enjoys high esteem in the country, although some criticize him have interfered in the democratic foundations of India to declare a state of emergency in 1975. Indira was assassinated in 1984 by Sikh bodyguards in reprisal for having expelled a group of armed radicals belonging to this religion of the Golden Temple at Amritsar. The control of Gandhi dynastic politics in India continued when her son, Rajiv, came to power.
Rajiv introduced a new, more pragmatic, in the country. Encouraged foreign investment and the introduction of modern technology, eased restrictions on imports and thus created many industries. These measures designed to India in the 1990s and out of its isolation, but did nothing to stimulate the country's huge rural sector. Rajiv was assassinated during an election campaign by a follower of the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka.
The dangers of communalism in India were evident in 1992 when a Hindu mob took by assault and destroyed a mosque built at the birthplace of Rama in Ayodhya. The Hindu nationalist party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has always managed to capitalize on such incidents, and has exercised the power with several disparate coalitions in recent years. Despite the dangers of playing with nationalist politics, the traditional Hindu BJP has attracted voters concerned about the preservation of traditional values to the regular attack of modern global influences.
In 1998, India conducted its first nuclear weapons test. Despite the discontent international nuclear tests were received with great jubilation in the country and raised a wave of accessions to the BJP.
However, in April 1999, Prime Minister Vajpayee had lost majority support in parliament, and had to face a confidence motion, which lost by one vote. Everything seemed to indicate that Sonia Gandhi, the widow of Rajiv Gandhi, would lead the Congress Party to victory after three years of his political ostracism, but it was unable to secure a coalition and the country had to return to the polls for the third time in as many years. The BJP again to form a government, albeit with a considerable decline in popular support.
Since then, tensions with Pakistan have been fluctuating regularly despite the attempts of rapprochement by the political classes. In January 2001, an earthquake in Gujarat killed 20,000 people and left more than half a million homeless. In December of that year, an armed individual entered in the national parliament killed thirteen of their members, while hundreds of people were killed in Gujarat a year before the earthquake as a result of conflicts between Hindus and Muslims.
In 2002, the crisis between India and Pakistan in the Kashmir region erupts again. More than one million soldiers from both countries came to the border and nuclear missile tests. Fortunately at the end of 2003, both countries declared a ceasefire. India embarks on the new dialogue with Kashmiri separatists.
On May 14, 2004, with a majority of the Congress Party and supported by the left, lawmakers voted to lead the Congress Party (CP), Sonia Gandhi as prime minister. However, due to the campaign against him because they are Italian, resigned 4 days later, appointing Manmohan Singh, leader of the minority Sikh religion as the new prime minister.
culture and people
Religion is closely linked to all facets of life in India. Despite a secular democracy, is one of the few countries on earth where religious and social structures that define the national identity intact. And so it has been for four thousand years at least, despite invasions, persecution, European colonialism and political upheaval. With modern technology increasingly infiltrating into the fabric of society, changes are inevitable, but rural India remains much the same for thousands of years. Social and religious institutions are so strong that they have absorbed, ignored or rejected all attempts to destroy or change.
80 percent of the population, approximately practices Hinduism. In terms of numbers of adherents, is the most widespread religion in Asia and one of the oldest in the world. It relies on a vast pantheon of gods and holy books, and argues that each person lives a series of births or reincarnations that ultimately leads to spiritual salvation. With each birth, the person is approaching or moving away from the lighting, the decisive factor is the karma of each. Hinduism has three basic practices: the bid (or worship), the incineration of the dead, and the rules and regulations of the caste system. It is a religion that is not proselytizing, since you can not convert it to be born or not born Hindu.
Moreover, Buddhism was founded in northern India around 500 BC and spread rapidly when emperor Asoka adopted him, but was gradually absorbed by Hinduism. Today, Hindus consider Buddha as another incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. At present there are only 6.6 million Buddhists in India, although some Buddhist enclaves in the north, such as Bodhgaya, Sarnath (near Varanasi) and Kushinagar (near Gorajpur) remain important centers of pilgrimage.
The Jain religion also emerged as an attempt to reform Hinduism, Brahmanism, at the same time as Buddhism and largely for the same reasons. The Jain is currently about 4.5 million and is mainly found in areas west and southwest of the country. This religion has never found adherents outside. Believe that the universe is infinite and was not created by any deity. They also believe in reincarnation and the possible spiritual salvation by following the path of the prophets.
There are over 100 million Muslims in India, making it one of the largest Muslim nations in the world. Islam is the predominant religion in neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh, Mohammedan and a majority in Jammu and Kashmir. The Muslim influence is reflected in the architecture, art and cuisine.
Sikhs of India added 18 million and live mainly in the Punjab. This religion was proposed at first to unite the best of Hinduism and Islam, and its basic principles are similar to those of Hinduism, but with the important difference that opposes the caste system. The most important sanctuary of this religion is the Golden Temple of Amritsar.
India is the place closest to Babel exists in the earth. There is no common language Indus, which is why the English still, in part, spoken throughout the country almost half a century after the British left it. The constitution recognizes 18 official languages, but in the 1991 census recorded over 1,600 minor languages and dialects. The language issue is highly politicized, largely due to the fact that the route followed by many state boundaries in many cases the linguistic borders. Despite significant efforts to establish Hindi as an official language of the nation, to the detriment of the English progressive, these attempts have been hampered by the predominance of Dravidar languages in the south, well away from the Hindi spoken in the north. The upper classes of Indian society continue to speak English as a language shared by the educated elite, flying as an emblem of social and as a passport to the world of international business. Although, in fact, only 3 percent of India's citizens really mastered the language.
Indian art is basically religious in its theme and development, and to appreciate it must have at least basic knowledge of the widespread belief in the country. Its most prominent include classical Indian dance, architecture and sculpture of Hindu temples (disciplines sometimes difficult to differentiate in the temples), the military and urban architecture of the Mongolian empire, miniature paintings, and exciting music india . The latter may be difficult to understand for foreigners, since it ignores the concept of harmony expressed in western terms, but it's worth not discouraged by this difference.
The Indians love the cinema. The film industry of India, centered in Mumbai, is one of the most important and full of fascination worldwide, although a huge number of films that are produced there are melodramas based on three vital ingredients: romance, violence and music . The traveler will know what to expect by simply observing the fantastic hand-painted posters that dominate many streets. To get a rough idea of the contents of Indian films, just imagine a cross between Rambo, smiles and tears, and a biblical epic of Cecil B. De Mille. This is pure escapism popular, very hard for the ear, but that visitors should not be lost under any circumstances.
Not all Hindus are officially vegetarians, as is often believed. This practice is especially prevalent in southern regions (not influenced by the Aryans and Muslims meat eaters) and the Gujarati community. There are considerable regional variations from north to south, partly because of climatic conditions, and also because of historical influences. In the north is a lot more meat and cooking is often Mongolian style, similar to the cuisine of the Middle East and Central Asia. The cuisine leans more towards the spices rather than to the chile, cereals and breads are more popular than rice. In the south it is consumed more rice, more curry and vegetarian food is usually more spicy. Another feature of the southern vegetarian food is not covered employees will be eaten with the fingers, but never with the left hand.