If you ask people from around the world where they’d like to travel before they die, many list India as a top destination. India is an enigma for much of the world but nonetheless one of the most intriguing and sought after travel destinations for travelers. The rest of the world in many ways experiences little bits and pieces of India in culturally adapted things such as yoga, Indian cuisine, Bollywood’s growing popularity, parts of religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, and India’s bright patterns and colors that captivate foreigners. But to experience them in person with the backdrop of India’s incredible regions is an experience unlike any other.
However, India is as vast, diverse, and complex, as travelers imagine. Knowing how to see India in a way that is going to give you the true essence and authenticity you’re looking for is another enigma. Missing out on the best parts of India’s landscape and culture is not ideal. Expert tips are in order if you’re thinking about India as a future, bucket-list-worthy destination.
Here are expert tips on traveling to India for beginners from seasoned travelers and India’s local travel experts:
Take advantage of India’s unique regions and nature:
Travelers tend to get sucked into booking trips in the typical highly populated touristic cities and forget that India is a vast country with many diverse regions to explore. There is so much beyond the big cities that most travelers miss. India’s Himalayan mountains boast some low population regions with the most amazing views of the world’s highest and most famous mountain range complete with historic and religious sites unseen by the rest of the world. Sikkim is a stunning green rolling mountainous region between Bhutan, Tibet, and Nepal with amazing views and wildlife. It’s an amazing destination for those who love active vacations. Another example is the white sand beaches of Goa, India. When most travelers think of India, they don’t think “beach vacation” but it’s one of the best places in the world for stunning coastlines. Goa is a perfect destination for a unique blend of culture, white sand beaches, and wildlife. Without knowing a little more on India, it’s hard to know what you’re missing out on from this diverse country. Hire a local guide to put together the perfect custom tour or explore curated tours from local travel experts with Unventured to avoid missing out on best of India.
Incorporate India’s rich history into your travel plans:
India is not only home to strictly India history, but the history of civilization. India is home to multiple UNESCO World Heritage sites (explore them here) dotted across it’s vast landscape that has been the backdrop of a intense and important history. What’s really intriguing about Indian history is that it involves so many cultures and waves of civilization that can still be explored today. Where the past, multiple cultures, and the present day mix are places not to be mixed as they explain a lot about India’s culture. The Western Ghats area of south west India is home to ancient temples and forts that tell the story of dynasties that once inhabited the region and are a big part in creating the India that exists today. It’s a destination not to be missed! Badami in Karnataka is also an amazing ENESCO site that gives a glimpse into first century civilizations that first ruled over the land. They left behind entire intact cities that you can walk through. Away from the big cities, these destinations are very much worth it and are frequently missed.
Go local whenever you can to support sustainable travel:
The thing with India is its still very much a mystery to the rest of the world and you really need a local understanding to experience the authentic India and all of its layers. India is also an emerging economy in many ways with traditional villages and regions that are still surviving the same way they have for hundreds of years. Tourism can be damaging and without a symbiotic relationship with local culture, travelers get a watered down experience. Always consider staying, eating, traveling, and buying local for both authenticity and sustaining culture and local economies. At Unventured, we focus only on culturally, economically, and environmentally sustainable travel and use our local relationships to curate tours that bring you to the center of authentic culture.
Explore India in an active, natural way:
There are plenty of amazing destinations in India that cannot be reached via tour bus. These include ancient Buddhist monasteries high in the Himalayas, spice plantations in the Western Ghats, and various ancient temples of Rajasthan. The only way to these places is by car with local guides and then treking or biking. For those who love active vacations, India is the best destination for you. You will be able to see more than the average traveler if you go off-the-grid. Learn more about biking through the unseen India here.
Explore the religious aspects that are a deep-rooted part of Indian culture and history with an open mind:
India’s culture, history, architecture, and more are all deeply rooted in various religions that are still present throughout the country. When you visit India, make sure not to overlook how important this aspect is as you will miss the significance and an understanding for many parts of India. Having an understanding of Indian religions and their histories and ties within Indian culture will give you a better appreciation for so much. For example, it’s hard to truly appreciate the Buddhist monasteries of the Indian Himalayas without an understanding of Buddhism and its history in the area. It’s hard to truly see how beautiful the temples throughout the Western Ghats are without understanding how important they were to ancient dynasties and still are today to locals. The best way to keep conscious of this is to travel with a local guide who can put everything into deep context for you. It will make all the difference in your experience.
At Unventured, we take care of this for you. We aim to give first or seasoned travelers to India a new, immersive experience no matter what. Join us for a locally curated tour for a truly authentic and unforgettable experience.