India: Best Vacation Spots for NRIs
Planning your annual vacation?
Wondering if it’s going to be the same old routine of going to India to meet family and old friends and acquaintances, with the kids bored to death doing the same things every year? Well how about combining a family gathering with seeing and experiencing something different?
If you are game for this, then read on!
India today has more to offer every kind of tourist than ever before. Whether young or old, whatever your interests, you are sure to find something to charge you up. The facilities at tourist spots are world class and come at very reasonable rates. So, go ahead and find out what whets your appetite and start planning.
Do you want to feel rejuvenated after the frenzied rush to meet deadlines at the work place and are in the mood to relax and feel years younger than you do today? Why not try a visit to God’s own country – Kerala. The coastline of Kerala is dotted with delightful backwater destinations like Kottayam, Alleppey, Alappuzha, and Cochin. In this breathtakingly beautiful land, let your eyes drink in the beauty of nature and the lovely lakes and lagoons surrounded by the verdant green of the countryside, listen to the gushing of the waterfalls, and watch the graceful swaying of the coconut palms – all this while you take a ride in a houseboat along the shallow palm fringed lakes and canals. Experience what it feels like to wake up to the twittering of birds, and watch the early morning mist give way to the first rays of the sun. Relax under the soothing pressure of the hands of the masseuse on your body as you soak in the special herbs in the oils and feel your muscles unwind and the wrinkles disappear from your face. Return after this vacation to the envious glances of your colleagues who will wonder what brought about such a dramatic change in you.
Are you a student of history or art? Steeped in history, India is a veritable storehouse of historical monuments. Such monuments can be seen throughout the length and breadth of the country. Rajasthan with its majestic forts and palaces built in the vastness of the desert is awe inspiring. The desolate and haunting beauty of Rajasthan is synonymous with romance and chivalry. With a kaleidoscope of magnificent forts and opulent palaces from which to choose, this is an art or history lover’s delight. It is easy to lose one’s self in the architectural splendour of this paradise and be transported back in time to the days of the Rajput kings, as one listens to the legends of valour and chivalry surrounding these magnificent structures. The master pieces of Mughal architecture like the perfectly preserved city of Fatehpur Sikri which marked Mughal victories, or Sikandra the last resting place of Emperor Akbar, whose reign marked the zenith of art and architecture in India during the Mughal period, allows one to step back in time to the days of Mughal glory. No other monument in the world can match the serene beauty of the Taj Mahal. This stunning monument built by Emperor Shah Jehan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal is often referred to as a poem in stone.
The temples of Khajuraho are a feast for the senses of lovers of art and culture. If one could take in thecultural festival that is held here every year to celebrate the dance and music forms that have been handed down through the generations, then that would be the icing on the cake. The temples of Ajanta and Ellora are renowned for their Buddhist frescoes. The caves of Ajanta are famous for their intricate paintings and murals while Ellora is better known for its neatly carved sculptures in stone. Together they describe Buddhism through the ages including the famed Jataka tales about the several reincarnations of Gautam Buddha; while those at Hampi and Halebid Belur transport you into a bygone era of sublime spiritualism that transcends earthly pleasures.
While on this vacation, would you like to pay your respects to your family deities, as well as take in the architectural splendour of these places of worship that are an exquisite blend of various styles? Whether Hindu or Muslim, Buddhist or Sikh, Christian or Bahai, every faith is represented in this vast cultural spectacle that has for centuries embraced all faiths and cultures to become what it is today – a truly incredible land.
There are also wildlife sanctuaries for those so inclined. One may spot the Bengal tiger sprawled on a rocky outcrop sunning himself at the Corbett National park or at Ranthambore, hear the blood curdling roar of the magnificent lion as he proclaims himself king of the jungle and makes his presence felt throughout the sanctuary, or watch the rain dance of India’s national bird, the peacock, and observe the innumerable bird species in their natural habitat.
If you love the exhilaration of adventure, then India is the ultimate destination for the trekker. Choose from a variety of destinations and follow unexplored nature trails, commune with nature in its awe inspiring beauty, ford streams and drink in the beauty and the heady fragrances of the myriad blossoms in the valley of flowers.
Are you game for a safari? If you are planning a vacation between June and October, your best bet would be a thrilling camel or Yak safari in the remote regions of Ladakh. This beautiful land that lies on a desolate Himalayan plateau beckons both the nature lover as well as the avid adventurer. Lofty snow peaks, thunderous cascades, and murmuring streams flowing through lush meadows and thick forests of this rugged land have a mesmerizing effect on the visitor. This remote area with some of the most amazing views of the beautiful Himalayan lakes and glacial valleys has preserved a culture that is unique. The safari winds its way through some of the old mountain passes and allows the visitor to experience first hand the culture of the region, visit the quaint Buddhist monasteries called Gompas, and take a dip in the hot springs of the region, believed to have medicinal properties.
Youngsters today enjoy the thrill of exhilarating activities. Skiing (both water and snow), white water rafting, snorkeling, paragliding and hang gliding, kayaking, and a host of other adventure sports are all possible in India, depending of course on when you plan your vacation. Water skiing is not restricted to the sea as it can be enjoyed in rivers and lakes too. Some popular places in India where you can undertake water skiing include Assan Barrage, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep. The Kashmir Valley offers innumerable places for water sports. Skiing on the Mansabal and Nagin Lakes in the shadow of the mighty Himalayas is an unforgettable experience. World-class facilities for ice-skating, snow boarding, and skiing are available on the slopes of Gulmarg, Khilanmarg and Pahalgam in Kashmir.
The Nilgiri Ranges in Tamil Nadu are renowned not only for their pristine natural beauty, charming towns, lush tea gardens and coffee plantations, but also as a wonderful destination for the adventure sport of hang gliding. Kalahatty in the Nilgiris is a perfect place for a hang gliding expedition. While gliding, if you are lucky, you may just spot some of the wildlife in the sanctuary below, and hear the roaring waterfall known as the Kalahasti Falls. This region is home to a wide variety of wild animals such as panthers, sambar, bison, and wild buffaloes. Billing and Dharamkot are popular hang gliding destinations in Himachal Pradesh. Billing in the Kangra valley is said to be one of the finest sites for hang gliding in the world. The clear sky of Billing can lure any gliding enthusiasts to take up a gliding challenge. Expert hang gliders of the world have rated this place amongst the best in the world.
After a fun-filled vacation, take back with you gifts of famed Indian art. There is an astonishing variety to choose from ranging from simple articles made from grasses, bamboo, and cane to intricately carved pieces in stone, ivory, gold, silver, or brass. World-renowned Indian perfumes and textiles, as well as the paintings and carpets, with their floral motifs are an expression of India’s ancient folklore and culture. Each state has its own distinctive and unique stamp ensuring that the buyer gets the widest possible choice.
All this and much more is what India has to offer so why go anywhere else? If there is a paradise on earth, it is here – so said an ancient sage. Explore this paradise, which is your heritage, and return with a wealth of experience, rejuvenated and ready to resume your life with a song in your heart and a new spring in your step.