From the imposing peaks of the Himalayan peaks to sublime Indian Ocean coastline, India is a vast Asian country with a diverse terrain and a history that goes back 5,000 years. It is a land of extremes: rich and poor, modern and ancient all sit side by side in a hectic, colourful nation. [ReadMoreMob]
From Mughal Empire landmarks in the north such as Delhi’s Red Fort to Agra’s iconic Taj Mahal mausoleum, India shakes the senses and stirs the soul. Pilgrims bathe in the Ganges in Varanasi, yoga-lovers seek sanctuary in Rishikesh, and travellers seek out serene Kochi and its beguiling mix of giant cantilever fishing nets, ancient synagogues and mosques, Portuguese homes and the vanishing remnants of the British Raj.
Traditional rural communities lie next to vibrant, modern cities like Mumbai with its western skyscrapers, multicultural flavours and traditional bazaars. The intense city ignites curiosity, and is in stark contrast to the humble coastal city of Porbandar, the birthplace of Gandhi and India's spiritual beginnings. [ReadMoreDesk]
Loved for its variety, spices and tantalizing flavours, Indian cuisine is world-renowned. Whether it's enjoying a quick bite from a busy street vendor or dining at a fantastic 5-star restaurant, visitors to India's cities and villages are in for a culinary treat.
Mormugão, Goa, India
Legacy of the Portuguese
The Portuguese history of Goa began in the 15th century, when Portugal began to set its sights on Goa as a destination in which to expand her empire abroad. For nearly 500 years, this small area on India’s west coast was ruled by the Portuguese. Their influence is still visible today in the architecture, food, art and ideology that make Goa unique.
Since ancient times, India has been known as the country of fabulous aromas and flavours. Spices are actually the cause and the stimulus of the historical development of mankind, colonial conquest and geographical discoveries. Today, India is the world leader in the production and export of spices. India is growing more than 50 different kinds of spices, and supplies more than 150 countries.
Although it is one of the smallest states in India, Goa boasts some incredible picturesque beaches. From the small Bogmalo Beach to the larger Mandrem and Agonda Beaches, they all offer clear white sand, beautiful walks and stunning views.
Most of the heritage structures that stand in the city today were built in the British period and display Victorian neo-Gothic, the Indo-Saracenic and neoclassical architectural styles. These include, the UNESCO-listed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, the Gateway of India (commemorating visit of King George V), Rajabai Clock Tower (modelled on Big Ben) and Prince of Wales Museum.
Dabbawalas are a common sight in Mumbai and deliver hundreds of thousands of meals on foot and bicycles in one of India’s busiest cities every day. When translated the word ‘dabbawala’ literally means ‘one who carries a box’.
Dhobi Ghat is an open-air laundromat and also the largest in the world. The washers, known as dhobis, work in the open to clean clothes and linens from Mumbai’s hotels and hospitals. There are rows of open-air concrete wash pens, each fitted with its own flogging system.
Porbandar is known worldwide as the birth location of Mahatma Gandhi. Kirti Mandir, the home of Gandhi, houses a museum with some of his possessions and old photographs, a Gandhian library and prayer hall.
Sudama temple was constructed in 1902 and 1907 at the centre of the city. It is one of India’s most exceptional temples and is dedicated to the best friend and great devotee of Lord Krishna. It is said that due to the depletion of funds during the time of construction, the devotees collected money by organising drama shows. The temple has a plaque that depicts this entire phase of depletion and collection of funds for the temple.
Over the past few years, Porbandar has shown a remarkable improvement in local industries. The fishing industry is the major industry in the city, providing job opportunities for the majority of the population. The salt plains and boat building industries are also present in Porbandar.
Port Blair, India
The small settlement of Chidiya Tapu, at the southern tip of South Andaman, boasts lush mangroves, thick forests and sandy beaches. It’s ideal for birdwatching. Species you may spot include Alexandrine parakeets and endemic Andaman woodpeckers and treepies.
Of the 572 islands that make up the Andaman archipelago, only nine are open to tourists. These include Havelock Island, home to world-renowned beaches, and Ross Island, where ruins from the British occupation offer a glimpse into the island’s past.
Vizhinjam Rock Cut Cave Temple is a historic monument featuring 18th century rock cut sculptures, which were unnoticed for centuries. Considered to be the smallest rock-cut shrine in southern India, the Vizhinjam Rock-cut cave dates to the back to 8th century. This rock cut cave is now a protected monument under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India since 1965.
Situated ten kilometres from Trivandrum city is the ancient, red and white striped Vizhinjam lighthouse. Constructed in 1925, the lighthouse stands at 57 metres above sea level. Capture stunning views of the Arabian Sea from atop the lighthouse as you climb the 144 steps.