What India can offer to a backpacker?
In this post, we will be taking a look at what India can offer to a backpacker? It is a big topic and an important question to ask. Read this to find everything you need to know to make an informed choice if this country is for you or not. After all, there are 195 countries in the world and only one life. So asking yourself why India should be on your bucket list is an essential question to any traveller and one I am here to answer.
India is blessed with an astonishing array of landscapes, cultures, cuisine, wildlife and historical wonders. You can travel from the tranquil palm-fringed beaches of the Andamans to the lofty snowy peaks of the Himalayas in just one trip. No other country on earth offers such diversity, and all of this comes at great value for money.
I will now go through each point I listed above individually and provide links where appropriate. Obviously, there is only so much I can write in one post, so do follow the links to get a full and comprehensive breakdown of what India can offer to a backpacker. So without further ado, let me go into a little detail on what you can expect on a journey through incredible India.
India can offer diverse landscapes.
India can offer diverse landscapes to any traveller. There are steaming jungles and towering glaciers. Vast mangroves and baking desserts. No matter what you like, be it sun, sea, sand or ice, this country has you covered. Unless you have stacks of time, I suggest you decide which part of what I have just described appeals to you most.
Ask yourself what the purpose of your visit is? What is it you are looking for? I strongly advise you to try not to cram too much into one journey, or you will spend all your time on transport and miss all the good stuff. It is also noteworthy that many of India’s landscapes are very inaccessible. It can take a long time to reach there, and you will need a need to be very intrepid to take on some of these environments. For a first-hand look at some of them, check out my blog on adventure travel in India.
India is a vast country, covering about 3.287 million square kilometres, and its topography varies more than any other country I know. Yet, India seamlessly changes from one incredible landscape into another.
India offers mountains of culture.
The fact is that India offers mountains of culture to anyone who takes the time to discover it. I have read the Wikipedia page on religions in India, and interestingly it says there are six? Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism and Christianity. Ok, those things are all there, but there is a lot more than that. I have met countless animist cultures that definitely do not fit into those categories.
Whatever the case, maybe it seldom feels like you are experiencing the same culture twice when you move from town to town. It can seem easy to forget you are in the same country sometimes with all of this diversity.
India offers endless cuisine.
It is also a fact India offers endless cuisine. Let’s be honest here if you mention Indian food to someone, and their mouths will probably begin to water. The smell of exotic spices and the promise of complex aromatic flavours are intoxicating to our palate. If you are passionate about food, then give yourself a pat on the back as you have come to the right place. All good curries start with the crackle of whole spices such as cumin seeds, cardamom pods, cinnamon or star anise, and after a few months of travel here, you will be lucky enough for that sound to have become familiar to you.
Research shows it is our favourite takeaway here in England, and it is not only in England. The countries cuisine has become synonymous with good food across the planet and for an excellent reason. But what’s it like on the road?
India offers wildlife.
India offers wildlife by the truckload. Even though India’s protected areas cover just 1.23% of its landmass, that still equates to 40501.13 square kilometres. That space is divided up into 104 national parks and reserves, which are unevenly sprinkled across the country.
India is home to 8% of all the species found on earth, making it one of the 12 mega diversity hotspots in the world. With 1301 species of birds, India is an Ornithologists dream. You can also find 410 species of mammals, or 8.86% of all the earth species. This includes some of the most spectacular megafauna to be found anywhere in the world, such as the Indian one-horned rhinoceros, stripped Hyena, Asian Elephant, Bengali Tiger, Snow leopard, common leopard and the entire world’s population of Asiatic Lions, to name just a few.
There are also 518 species of reptile, including 279 species of snakes. In addition, 410 species of amphibians, and of that number, 50% are found nowhere else in the world. There is also 18000 species of plants and an undetermined number of insects. Put bluntly, India is a wildlife enthusiasts paradise.
India offers a rich history.
Humans first started to inhabit this land around 3500BC and have flourished ever since due to its bountiful nature. As a result, the country has seen countless empires’ rise and fall. Each has left a genuinely breathtaking mark on its architecture. From the Hindu empires in the south to the Muslim kingdoms of the north, Architectural wonders are everywhere, and they are as varied as their landscapes.
The historical ruins are so varied I would be hard-pressed to pick any single one as my favourite. Some are delicate, intricately carved and designed to impress like the Hawa Mahal in Jaipur. Some are built for strength. To protect all those who live in their walls like the mighty Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur. Some are just plain Bizarre and can only be described as the personification of someone’s abstract imagination like those found in Gujarat.
There is also the mighty monuments leftover from India’s days as a colony scattered across the country. From the exquisite Portuguese churches of Goa to the Imposing grandeur of The Victoria Memorial in Kolkata, there is plenty for any history buff to feast their eyes on.
In summary of what can India offer to a backpacker?
I think is fair to say that when asking yourself what can India offer to a backpacker, the answer is a whole lot. With so much on offer and only one lifetime, my best advice is to find out as much as possible about where is right for you.
There are many ways for you to discover what you need to create your dream trip that is tailored to your needs. I have always found the Indian governments website for tourists to be packed full of useful information and inspiration for your trip. Also, you can read blogs like mine or pick up a copy of the lonely planet. Whatever it is, you do learn as much as you can before you go, as this will help you get the best possible value for your time and money.
I find it perplexing that so many blogs actively discourage planning? Ok, if you’re going to do that, what will you replace your preparations with? It seems nothing? I have to say I think that is some terrible advice as you will waste time for sure. Your all-important holiday has to utilise the best you can after all, right? It is just common sense, surely?
I hope you have enjoyed this post and found it of value, and just like that, it’s done! See you in the next post, guys, and if you have any questions, you know what to do.
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