One article will not be enough to present this country of 3.287 million km², but here is an overview of the country that will make you want to discover India as soon as possible.
Colourful country of South Asia, India is very rich culturally speaking. This is one of the reasons why it is one of the Come & Go destinations, which wants every student to have an unforgettable experience during their internship abroad. Discovering India means facing modernity and poverty, experiencing traditions and seeing incredible landscapes.
As you may know, India is home to one of the seven wonders of the world: the Taj Mahal. Located in the North of India, in the city of Agra, it is known for its majesty and grandeur. Built in 1632, it is also called the “palace of love” since it was the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan who ordered its construction in homage to his wife. His wife died in 1631 while giving birth to their fourteenth child. Words are not enough to make you feel how incredible is this place: you have to visit it. You will be able to admire the marble sculptures, very nice and neat. The gardens of the Taj Mahal are also quite spectacular. In contrast to the arid plains of Rajhastan, this is an opportunity to stroll between lush green lawns and exotic trees, populated by frolicking parrots.
The Golden Temple is the informal name of the Harmandir Sahib, another must-see monument in this beautiful country that is India. It is the holiest monument of the Sikh religion, located in the heart of the city of Amritsar, Punjab, in northwest India. The name “Golden Temple” is due to its gilded cover with fine gold. As dazzling as it is luxurious.
A few dozen kilometers from Agra and its Taj Mahal is the ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri. Erected under the reign of Emperor Akbar, it was the capital of the Mogul Empire from 1571 to 1585 before being abandoned because of a water shortage. However, the beauty of the place attracts many visitors and the city never remains deserted for long. The main door is grandiose and announces the color of this monumental and very well preserved complex.
The monuments of Khajuraho are also worth a visit, known worldwide as the “erotic temples” of India. They are remarkable for the delicacy of their superb façades and for the few tantric figures that adorn them. Khajuraho originally had 85 temples built between 950 and 1050 under the Chandela dynasty. Today there are 25 of these temples, discovered in 1838 by a British officer when nature had regained its rights.
The caves of Ajanta and Ellora, the ruins of Hampi, or the Temple of Meenakshi… India is home to many incredible monuments that reflect its culture, wealth and history.
Jodhpur, the blue city. The nickname of the city is best understood when viewed from the terrace of the fortress. The spectacle is incredible. The clock tower is the focal point of the bustling old town. It marks the entrance to the bazaar and the various markets. The whole life of the city is organized around this labyrinthine market.
Jaisalmer is a golden city, rising from the desert like a mirage. The city of Jaisalmer is located in the far west of Rajasthan, not far from its neighbour, Pakisthan. The setting is worthy of the tales of a thousand and one nights. Nicknamed the golden citadel, the city of Jaisamer originally prospered thanks to the trade of the caravan route. The splendour of the past can still be seen here. The facades of the havelis and the houses of the notables with their finely carved balconies are a magnificent sight. Jaisalmer is also the gateway to the Thar Desert! There you’ll have the opportunity to make a trek in the desert on camels… An unavoidable stopover during a trip to Rajasthan, north of India.
Bangalore is one of the Come & Go destinations, a city where we are used to offer internships. It is the capital of the state of Karnataka in South India. It is the most important centre of high technology in India and is also known for its parks and nightlife. In Cubbon Park is the neo-Dravidian-style building Vidhana Soudha, the state’s legislative seat. The city also has former royal residences such as the Bangalore Palace, which dates from the 19th century and was inspired by Windsor Castle.
In India there are also huge cities such as Mumbai, a densely populated city on the west coast of India. It is the country’s largest financial centre. Offshore, the nearby island of Elephanta has ancient temples carved into the rock and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. The city is also famous as the centre of the country’s film industry with Bollywood.
Chennai, Jaipur, Calcutta… as you were told, one article alone won’t be enough to introduce this immense and incredible country that still keeps many secrets from you.
TRADITIONS AND CULTURE
Among the most important traditions in India is the traditional dance. The first appearance dates back to the 2nd century BC. Each performance is a mixture of colour, song, dynamism and good humour. Traditions in India are also an incredible love for music. There are two main styles of music, depending on the region. In the South we find Carnatic music, and in the North we find the Hindustani style which emphasizes feelings. Walking through the streets of its cities, you can easily recognize them.
Indians also have the habit of dressing in colourful fabrics. Even if the outfits vary according to religion, women often dress in sari.
GASTRONOMY IN INDIA
We will end this article with our favorite part: gastronomy. Because discovering a country goes through the cuisine, the flavours and the kitchens. Here is our small selection of Hindu specialties.
The chapati is a simple sheet of bread made of wheat flour. Used as a spoon at every meal, the chapati is to the Indians what the baguette is to the French.
Samoussas are one of the Hindu specialties! Composed of a thin wheat dough, they coat a stuffing traditionally made of vegetables or meat and chilli and spices, such as curry.
The karahi style chicken is a chicken cooked for several hours in a marinade of green peppers, tomatoes and ginger extract. There are many spices found in India, the Palak Paneer for example is a mixture of green peppers, spinach and feta cheese. A very healthy but very spicy dish. Luckily for westerners, raita is a sauce made from yoghurt and vegetables, which helps to sweeten the taste of spicy dishes.
If Indian gastronomy is strongly marked by curry dishes, its desserts are also very present. This is the case of Bebinca. Although it requires only 4 ingredients (egg, maida, sugar, coconut milk) the dessert is very long to prepare because the layers have to be cooked one at a time (and there are between 5 and 16 layers). This dessert is therefore rare in the country but very present in the city of Goa. This dessert made with coconut and butter makes your mouth water.
India is just waiting for you ! Maybe a second article will complete this one soon, because there is a lot to discover there… If you are afraid of the price of the flight, discover our blog post « Cheap airline tickets – Come & Go tips » in french, but you can always translate it 😉