November 28, 2008

Incredible India

I wrote this post 2 days ago but didn't publish it for some reason.. And then the Mumbai attacks took place and it felt mis-timed to talk about India tourism. I am hoping that it doesn't sound out-of-place in the whole grand scheme of things.

Ever been asked a question, to which you have soo much to say that you can't answer it? Let me ask you the same question that my professor asked me, not verbatim, but pretty much the gist.

"I am going to India for a conference based in Chennai. I will have 4 days for sightseeing.. what all should I see?"

Trying to see India in 4 days is like trying to swallow an elephant in one go. It's impossible. But I have often found myself floundering to answer various combinations of the very same basic question. Me, who can give you unsolicited opinions and direct suggestions about what to do and what not in most of the other places I have visited am left clueless when it comes to India, maybe because I haven't seen a whole lot yet, maybe because I haven't played tourist while having planned the trip (our parents planned the trips when we were young).

Of course, what came to mind almost instantaneously were
1. Mahabalipuram (simply coz if the conference was in Chennai, then it's a must-see),
2. Pondicherry (same reason + it's all French-French)
3. The backwaters and a houseboat experience in Kerela (God's own country)
4. Taj Mahal
5. Fatehpur Sikri
6. Palaces of Jaipur, forts of Jodhpur, the city of Jaiselmer
7. Bangalore - Mysore
8. The Western Ghats (and Bombay n Goa perhaps)
9. The Ganges - Himalayas - Haridwar-Hrishikesh
10. The temples of the south (Tirupati, Kanchi Kamakshi, Madurai Meenakshi) the Golden Temple in Amritsar
11. The caves of Ajanta-Ellora
12. Sanchi

And suddenly it seems like I could go on and on about places and spots to visit and importantly regional cuisines and food to try. But where to start? And where to end? And that too in a 3-4 day trip? If any of you have given recommendations to a friend to do something similar or have done it yourself, do give me some tips here. Your perspective of must-see in India will be most appreciated. Thanks!


Martin said...

Mahabalipuram is a treasure house of ancient Tamil art, culture, civilization, & history. A coastal city, Mahabalipuram has an immense place of importance in Tamil history and mythology. This beautiful coastal city of Tamil Nadu is ordained with a number of temples and places of archeological importance. It is not surprising therefore, that because of the overabundance of these places Mahabalipuram is often referred to as a legacy in stone. The unique instances of art, culture and architecture that has been preserved by the kings of the then Pallava dynasty proves to be a delight to the eye even today and it is not for nothing that Mahabalipuram is known as an “open air museum”. The richness of Mahabalipuram has made it one of the most favorite tourist places of South India. Hotels in Mahabalipuram are for tourists from different walks of life. As the place is more of a tourist destination rather than a business one, there are many leisure hotels and budget hotels in Mahabalipuram.

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