Grandly protruding into the Indian Ocean, India is more of a
continent than a country.
This subcontinent covers every topographical wonder, from white sandy
island beaches and tropical forests to high deserts and soaring mountain ranges.
Discover 5,000 years of human history, beginning with one of the
oldest civilisations of the Indus River Valley who merged with Aryan invaders around 1,500
B.C. to create the classic Indian culture that still thrives today.
With 26 World Heritage Sites sprinkled about the country, it is easy
to be immersed in the intricacies of local culture in nearly each of the 28 states and 7
The northern region of India is an assorted mix of cultures,
traditions, languages and arts.
The vulnerability of this area to outside invaders throughout history
has been both a blessing and a curse, bringing with the turmoil unique external influences
The capital city of New Delhi, with its mix of four major religions, 7
reigns of power and 2,500 years of history, is a prime example of coexisting realities.
Wind your way through Old Delhi and be surrounded by remnants of the
Mughal Empire, including the largest mosque in India, the Jama Masjid, and Humayun's Tomb
- a 16th century landmark of breathtaking Mughal architecture that would later be echoed
in the Taj Mahal.
New Delhi is almost a different world with its imperial architecture
and broad stately boulevards. Colonial influence is abundant since the British declared
Delhi the capital during their rule.
The Taj Mahal is also in the north, about 200 kilometres from Delhi.
This is the most iconic demonstration of Mughal construction and should not be missed.
Travel to the more culturally homogenous south of India and
witness thousands of years of the caste system still in practice despite the more modern
structure of India's government.
With its alluring tales of trade and independence, Goa is one of the
most popular destinations along the Indian coastline.
Among Goa's ancient ruins stands the Vittala Temple, a monumental
tribute to the capital city of the primeval Vijayangara Empire. Most notable are the
temple's musical pillars that represent different musical instruments.
Goa's intricate architecture and independent culture are also products
of 450 years of Portuguese colonial rule.
In the south, the traveller will also encounter a plethora of
biodiversity and protected wilderness areas.
The Western Ghats Range is classified as one of the world's
biodiversity hotspots where Silent
Valley National Park protects India's last tract of virgin tropical evergreen forest.
Despite the gargantuan size of this subcontinent, there are
distinct seasons during which travel anywhere in the country can be extraordinarily
uncomfortable and stressful.
From April to October, temperatures soar above 90F (45C) and humidity
escalates to unbearable levels.
October also marks the end of the monsoon season, during which the
southern and coastal regions are plagued with torrential downpour.
The rest of the year is very pleasant and mild with consistently warm
weather in the south and rather chilly evenings in the north, between December and
By Frank Johnson.
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