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If we were to look over the whole world to find out the country most richly endowed with all the wealth, power and beauty that nature can bestow – in some parts, a very paradise on earth – I should point to India”. ~ Friedrich Max Müller

India

India.

A land that is so rich in beauty, so colorful and so spiritual, that it evokes a sense of patriotism even in my totally unpatriotic soul.

Being an Indian, I, unfortunately, have seen only a tiny fraction of this great country. But I cringe every time my husband suggests touring it little by little whenever we visit our parents (which is every year!).

Why?

Because India is not really a place for the faint-hearted. There are a lot of issues plaguing the country that will shock you. It is hard to close your eyes to the poverty, the gender inequality, the uncleanliness, the pollution and commotion on the roads, the lack of proper infrastructure, the lack of privacy and to the injustice of it all! There will be people staring at you too long trying to figure you out or sitting too close. There is no such thing as “personal space”. When I am there (which is for a month), I just go with the flow, trying hard to look the other way and not care because, honestly, there really isn’t anything I can do otherwise. The problems are just too huge.

But having said that, somehow, 6 places in India have found their way to my bucket list and I do hope I will, someday, get to see them.

Jaipur   Jodhpur   

 Jaipur & Jodhpur (above)

Jaipur, dubbed “the Pink City” after the color-wash of its old city’s walls. Also famous for its palatial hotels (like the one pictured right on top).

Jodhpur, dubbed “the Sun City” because the sun shines brightly here every day of the year and also as “the Blue City” because most houses in the old part of the city are painted blue.

Udaipur

Udaipur (above)

Often called the ‘Venice of the East’. It is also the ‘city of lakes’. The Lake Palace located in the middle of Pichola Lake is the finest example of architectural and cultural marvel.  

Darjeeling

Darjeeling (above) :

High up near the Himalayas with Mt. Kanchenjunga as a backdrop, where, ancient forests, quaint houses and friendly people make the trip to this most famous hill station of India worth it. They also have a toy train that enables travelers to explore the wonderful hill station at a calm pace, soaking in the environment and culture of Darjeeling. 

valley-of-flowers

Valley of Flowers (above) :

A paradise on earth and home to over 300 species of wild flowers, the Valley of Flowers offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to naturalist and nature enthusiasts. 

and

Manali

Manali (above)

Holding a magical allure for tourists with its incredible landscape abundant greenery and exquisite scenery, Manali evokes many images… fairy-tale snow-capped mountain vistas, flower-covered meadows, glaciers, winding rivers, temples and Buddhist monasteries. 

Here is a short and cute ad on Indian Tourism by one of India’s Tourism Organizations – Incredible India.