"If there is ever a heaven on earth, it's here, it's here, it's here”, Jahangir.
The aura of India’s beauty lies in its diversity, dazzling culture and elegance. Entire India, starting from Jammu and Kashmir to Kanyakumari is a wonderful piece of the “paradise” that God has created by his own hand. Jahangir was absolutely right when he coined the above couplet in regards to India.
“Athiti Devo Bhava (Guests are the Gods) – the philosophy is ingrained inside all of us. We find immense pleasure to serve our guests. Wherever I travelled in India, I was thoroughly enthralled by the sublime level of hospitality and generosity showered to me by the people. Despite so many languages and dialects, we Indians love to communicate the universal language of love, peace, and brotherhood. I am extremely proud of being an Indian.
Image courtesy- holidify.com
One day, I planned to travel entire India. Here is how I did it.
After my Graduation exam, a few years back, I decided to visit a cluster of North Indian states; Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Haryana. I started with Jammu. It was absolutely magical. The valleys, the mountains, peaks, lakes and enjoying a short ride on houseboat – all in all it was an astonishing experience.
Without wasting time, I reached New Delhi. It is a fascinating metropolis with all the magnificence that you wish to experience in your lifetime. I was thoroughly amazed by staring at its big-big historical palaces. Apart from the famous Red Fort, Qutub Minar and Lotus Temple, the glimpses of the splendid architecture of the Indian Parliament, Rashtrapati Bhavan and Central Secretariat are still fresh in my mind. O’ yes, I tasted the famous street food of Chandni Chowk too.
Visiting Shimla, Amritsar and Dehradun
Then I reached Shimla. It was entirely different from the chaotic life of New Delhi. A serene weather, snow, hills and forests could best describe the theme of Himachal Pradesh. One night stay at Himachal Pradesh wasn’t enough to explore the state, but that’s how my itinerary was planned so that I could visit most cities of India in a short span of time. Yes, I saw Kullu Manali also, and it was awesome.
The pristine beauty of Golden Temple in Amritsar (Punjab) brought so much solace deeper inside my heart. As the shadow of the great Golden Temple falls on the crystal clear water of the Sarovar (Pool), the heavenly sight completely rejuvenated my mind.
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at Golden Temple for a couple of hours. Participating in a langar is something that I can never forget in my life. Soon, I visited Dehradun, the beautiful capital city of Uttarakhand. The unpolluted atmosphere and tranquillity made my journey to Dehradun so relaxing.
A Sojourn in India’s Eastern Cities
What I like about Lucknow is its cleaner streets and the historical places. This enchanting capital city of Uttar Pradesh is famous for Rumi Gate and Bada Immambara and Chhota Immambara. Then my next destination was Varanasi. This is the place where religion continues to be an integral part of our lifestyle. What I liked most about the place was Ganga Aarti. It’s world famous, and I enjoyed the sacred worship of Ganga in such hue and colours on Benaras Ghats.
A brief stay at Varanasi concluded as I moved to Agra – another enchanting city in the Uttar Pradesh. Well, Agra is inseparable from Taj Mahal. And I am glad that I saw this iconic monument in front of my eyes. Shah Jahan added everything to this monument with his love, affection and never-ending longing for Mumtaz Mahal.
In the evening, I took flight for Patna. Mostly, in the news for wrong reasons, Bihar happened to be the melting pot of several religions; Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism in the past. The ancient land of Magadha formed the first ever republican form of government. After visiting Patna Museum, Mahavir Mandir, Golghar and Patna City’s famous Gurudwara, I set off to Bodh Gaya.
I visited Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya and enjoyed a few solemn moments all around. Tourists from all across the globe visit the city every year. In the evening time, I relished the traditional Bihar’s famous Litti Chokha.
Then I landed in Kolkata – the city of joy. The cultural and literary whirlwind of the city is something that you can’t ignore. The indomitable love for the game of Football is immense in Kolkata. Sweets and fish are the norms of Bengali populace. Starting from Victoria Memorial to Alipore Zoo to the historic Eden Gardens, I enjoyed my Kolkata trip so much.
Visit Kolkata, the city of joy was so much fun
I was fortunate enough to have seen the other famous cities of Bengal like Darjeeling, Kurseong, Jalpaiguri and New Cooch Bihar. The big-big tea gardens and amiable climate won my heart. Soon, I reached Guwahati in Assam. I went to Kaziranga National Park, Kamrup Kamakhya temple, and other places.
I explored the untold splendour of the North East’s folk culture and rural tourism too. Manipur, Tripura, Sikkim, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh are the states having their indigenous cultures and lifestyle. Thick foliage of greenery reinstilled my faith in the beauty of North East India – small, scenic and serene.
Next day, I decided to go to Odisha and Jharkhand. I reached Puri first and admired the landscape beauty of the city with so many famous temples all around. I also entered some temples in Bhuvneshwar and then travelled to Jharkhand. Jamshedpur’s Dalma Pahari and Deogarh are the two famous tourist’s spots in Jharkhand. I visited both of them.
A Visit to Central India
In central India, my first destination was Bhopal. I went to Birla Mandir Temple took god’s blessings and immediately took a flight to Gwalior. I went inside Gwalior fort, but the heat was too much there, so I came out within half an hour.
I visited Sanchi Stupa and enjoyed the majestic view of it. The states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have lots of things to offer to visitors, but I had to set off to Mumbai.
My Travel Memoirs in Majestic Maharashtra
Mumbai is such a great city with an astonishing lifestyle. It is a city that never sleeps. Gateway of India, Taj Hotel and Marine drive are some of Mumbai’s key locations you must visit. I visited these awesome tourist’s spot and also tasted delicious doughnuts from nearby shops.
Pune is also a beautiful location. It is considered as the cultural capital of Maharashtra and a vibrant educational hub too. Ratnagiri, Kolhapur and Navi Mumbai, Solapur and Shirdi are some other eye-catching locations in Maharashtra. After a spiritual visit to the famous Shirdi Saibaba temple, I went to Goa – just for a few hours stay only. We visited a few of the famous Portuguese-styled churches and liked it.
Now, I embarked on a trip to Ahmedabad. However, I missed visiting Vadodara, Rajkot or Surat due to lack of time. However, I could only visit Akshardham temple (Gandhinagar) and enjoyed the beauty of Ahmedabad city. I relished some traditional Gujarati-styled dhokla before backpacking for Rajasthan.
Bikaner, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Sawai Madhopur among other places – Rajasthan has so much to offer. I visited Hawa Mahal and Pushkar temple in Rajasthan during that “India Trip”. I liked the atmosphere at the Pushkar temple. The great Pushkar lake is charming too.
India’s Southern Cities: Beautiful beyond Imagination
From iconic Charminar to roadside eateries in Hyderabad, the charm of Nawabi culture is everywhere in the twin city of Hyderabad and Secunderabad city. I especially liked the Chicken Kabab at a Hyderabadi restaurant.
Then I reached Chennai the very same evening. What a wonderful city! From a traditional banana leaf food-serving style to delicious idli, dosa, Chennai always fascinates me. Starting from the best medical facilities to educational institutes, Chennai always shines. Spending the evening at Chennai’s iconic Marina Beach is spectacular. I also went to Meenakshi Temple in Madurai which was a superb spiritual journey. Now, I departed for Bangalore (Bengaluru).
Touted as one of the greenest cities with a high level of urbanisation, Bengaluru maintains a high standard of living with quality lifestyle and all modern amenities. Mysore, Hubli and Mangalore are some other popular cities in Karnataka; unfortunately, I couldn’t visit these places. Carnatic music, Kunitha dance and top notch IT firms are the symbol of Bangalore.
Image courtesy- hellotravel.com
Kerala is truly a God’s own Country
In less than two hours of flight journey, I reached Trivandrum in God’s Own Country. Truly, a visit to Trivandrum was a breathtaking pleasure. Be it Kochi, Kozhikode or Trivandrum. Each city has its own enigmatic beauty and charisma. From sublime weather, boat races to Kathakali dance, Kerala is spectacular.
In a nutshell, I can conclude this article with a simple thought that if you really like to explore the magnificence of India, then one lifetime is not enough! It’s truly a fabulous, marvellous and incredible India.