From festivals to food, culture, and even fashion, India bursts out with life and color. A kaleidoscope of experiences, this incredible country is bound to surprise you at every turn. Therefore, it is no wonder that there are several things you can only experience in India! Here are four things you can’t miss:
The Pushkar Fair or locally known as the ‘Kartik Mela’ or ‘Pushkar ka Mela’ is the biggest cattle festival in the world. Held for seven days, the festival is loud, colorful, and filled with camels! In this fair, the farmers showcase some of their best livestock—horses, goats, sheep, camels, and cows, dressed in bright majestic attires, all to be sold. One of the best parts of the Pushkar Fair is a camel tour that takes you past the villages and into the deserts, just as the locals still do in rural West India.
While the landscape of the Western part of India varies from rich mountains and valleys to the coastal areas, a massive part of it is a desert, known as the Thar Desert— the Great Indian Desert, and Pushkar lies right in its center. Hence, making it easy to ride from here and visit various religious and historical sites and cities around it. You can even choose to ride early to meet the sunrise, or late in the evening to watch the sunset over the golden sand dunes of Thar; it remains magical either way.
Right in the middle of Pushkar, is a sacred lake, which according to the Hindu religion, is essentially the most important water-associated pilgrimage site. Surrounded by about 500 temples and over 50 Ghats, religious lakeshores where one participates in a sacred bath; it is also ranked as one of the world’s top ten religious sites. It is believed that bathing here during the auspicious time of Kartik, between October to November, cleanses a person of their sins and diseases. Therefore, thousands of people, locals and tourists, flock to Pushkar Lake every year to participate and witness this phenomenon.
One of the most mystical experiences in India will be witnessing a pooja ceremony by the shore of this holy lake. Watch as Hindu priests perform rituals that bring good luck, prosperity, and peace, and bring home with you blessings from India.
India is known for its many wonders, one of them being its cuisine. And like any other cuisine, it is always best served by the locals, in their own home. Indian food, like the culture, is quite diverse and is different from state to state, and often consists of lentils, bread such as naan, roti, and puri, vegetable, and meat cooked with spices that are availed locally— turmeric, chili, cumin, and more.
To be welcomed to dine with a local family, to converse with them about culture, and to exchange stories is truly a rare opportunity. One that will grow your mind and belly as well!
Undoubtedly the most iconic symbol of India, the Taj Mahal stands tall and majestic by the banks of River Yamuna. An expression of love and grief as well, the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, built it in 1653, in remembrance of his wife who died giving birth to their child. It is said that it took about 20,000 people to build the entire structure, and the main building alone took eight years to finish! It is also considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and most beautiful during sunrise or sunset.
And after Emperor Shah Jahan died, in 1666, he was buried at the Taj Mahal, next to his wife. Poets, artists, and romantics all agree that no more magnificent monument signifies love than the Taj.
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