An Introduction to Backpacking in India
When starting to write destination guides to India, we realised that we were embarking upon an impossible task. India is such a huge, “incredibly” diverse and ever-changing country that we would never be comprehensive enough to cover everything. Therefore, we decided to slowly cover each state with a short overview and what we thought were the highlights of our travels. The rest… is for you to discover!
- Eat: Curries, of course. Eat all of the curries, everywhere you go. Indian food is simply incredible. At lunchtime, go for a thali. For something around $1, you’ll be presented with rice, roti, dhal, a couple of curries, yoghurt & mango chutney. To avoid the dreaded “Delhi Belly”, follow the advice found below in the “beware” section.
- Drink: Chai. Sickly sweet, but incredibly welcome (especially masala chai). This drink will set you up with the energy you need to help you through the sweltering heat.
- Wear: More than you’d like to. This rule is especially true for ladies. Legs & arms (especially shoulders) should be covered so as to a) avoid causing offence, and b) avoid unwanted attention from men.
- Beware: It’s no secret that getting sick in India is pretty common. It’s best to eat at popular places and at the busiest times of day. Families with children among the clientele is a good indication of a trusted restaurant. Eat until you’re satisfied, but stop there (which may be a challenge, given how delicious the food tends to be). And for the love of all that’s good and pure in this world, DON’T DRINK THE TAP WATER!
Check out our travel guides to the best places to visit in India below! Scroll further down and you’ll find some important travel info (visas, the best time to visit etc.) as well as an overview of each region and a clickable map!
A Short Introduction to India… (An Impossible Task!)
Love it or hate it! India cannot be compared. It is a unique country that has its own rules, morals and way of life. It is a fascinating place that makes you think, wonder and tests your flexibility on every level.
On 15 August 1947 India became an independent nation with New Delhi as its capital. It had been a colony of the United Kingdom since 1858. The fight for independence started in the late 1880s when well-educated Indians began to question the colonial power.
Such men as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Subhas Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh dedicated their lives to the freeing of their country.
India consists of 28 states and seven union territories.
The list of 22 official languages includes among others Hindi, Urdu, Sanskrit, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Nepali, Konkani, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and English.
Mumbai is its most populous city followed by Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata. About 1.21 billion people live in India which combines many cultures, traditions and religions.
Approximately 80% are Hindus, 13% are Muslims, 3% are Christians, 1.6% are Sikhs, 1.5% are Buddhists, 0.5% are Parsis and 0.6% are others including Jews and tribal religions.
Numerous states and cities attract a large number of tourists each year.
Rajasthan is famous for its historic cities and its Mughal architecture which can be observed in such cities as Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer and Pushkar.
Kerala is known for its beaches at Kovalam, Fort Kochi and Varkala, the connected rivers known as backwaters, the hill stations in Munnar, Wagamon and Ponmudi, and several wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.
Goa and its numerous beaches have been popular among travellers since the 1960s.
Popular cities include Kolkata and Darjeeling (West Bengal), Dharamsala and Manali (Himachal Pradesh), Rishikesh (Uttarakhand), Delhi, Agra and Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Mumbai and Pune (Maharashtra), Hampi (Karnataka), Chennai and Madurai (Tamil Nadu) and Pondicherry (Puducherry).
Quick Travel Facts for Travelers to India!
You need to apply for a visa before you visit India. Normally tourists apply for a tourist visa, which is valid for six months.
- Time: GMT + 5:30 hours
- Currency: Indian rupee (₹)
- Telephone Code: +91
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