I have a confession. It wasn’t until I moved to the Middle East that I even considered India as a travel destination.
I’d always considered it to be a little too confronting. Too big. Too crazy. Too dirty.
Then around five years ago, I finally made a decision. I took a deep breath and booked a trip to Delhi. It was a revelation. Organized chaos and a riot of colors and smells, yet also somehow addictive.
So if you are on the fence about India and in honor of their amazing festival Diwali, here’s five reasons why you should take the plunge.
THE FOOD: This goes without saying but the food in India is exceptional. But a word of advice – everything you THOUGHT you knew about Indian food should be filed away after you leave the airport. It’s completely different when you get there. From the rich, deep gravy based curries in the north, to the seafood and coconut and seafood laden dishes in the south, this is a foodie paradise.
SOMETHING FOR ALL BUDGETS: Luxe or on a shoestring and everything in between, there is an experience, hotel or restaurant to cater to all budgets.
THE PEOPLE: They don’t call it Incredible India for nothing. The Indian people are amongst the country’s greatest cultural assets. All fiercely proud of their country, they are also great ambassadors and conversationalists!
THE DIVERSITY: By this I mean the landscapes and experiences. You can have a chilled out beach escape in Goa or a once in a lifetime experience at the Taj Mahal. Feel the big city sophistication of a roof top bar in Mumbai or take in the beauty of the Golden Temple in Amritsar. One of my most surprising trips was my recent visit to Kerala – completely different in food, landscape and outlook than anywhere else in India. I’m yet to head to the snow capped peaks of the Indian Himalaya – that’s on my destination list for next year.
QATAR AIRWAYS FLIES DIRECT: Qatar Airways flies to 13 Indian cities and its network is growing. At between three and five hours and flights leaving in the evening from Doha, it’s a perfect destination for a weekend trip. Arriving in India is also getting easier, thanks to a range of spanking new airports being built and a new tourist visa on arrival system for many nationalities.
What are you waiting for?