Namaste! Or welcome, to first of many dedications to the spellbinding country of India. The word ‘namaste’ has a special place in every Indian’s hearts – in addition to being nationally understood, it is a way to respectfully greet anyone you might encounter on the street. This small phrase binds the country together. The large subcontinent consists of 29 states and more than a billion stories of hard work and dedication that are touched with the vibrancy of its different regions. From icy mountains to scorching deserts, it’s a wonder that such contrasts can exist in the same space. Unity in diversity is a staple of Indian culture, and it is our goal to make sure any newcomer feels welcome.
Here at VibeIndian, the mission is to make everyone’s eyes widen in awe at the wonders of Indian culture and tradition. We believe that it is impossible for India not to suit your taste because it comes in a thousand flavours! To travel without seeking meaning is like dancing with no rhythm. VibeIndian encourages all our readers to visit and understand Indian customs on a level much deeper than the surface. The value behind the stones you are stepping on, the flower that you put on an idol, and taking off your shoes before entering a temple will only be enhanced if you understand why it’s being done. At its core, the mission at VibeIndian is to immerse everyone in the beauty of India. As Keith Bellows from National Geographic said, “there are some parts of the world that, once visited, get into your heart and won’t go. India is such a place.”
The states of India are varied in numerous ways, from the physical to the spiritual. The culture and tradition have a deep-rooted connection to Indian history. Starting at the top, states like Himachal Pradesh are known for their icy mountains that are available yearly to be trekked on (a part of the mountain ranges that make up the Himalayas lie in this region!). For the adventure freaks, this is the place to be. When the Beatles visited India, the aim of their journey was more about getting in touch with their inner peace. For this reason, they travelled to Rishikesh in Uttarakhand. The city is internationally renowned to be a sanctuary for people looking to retreat from the noise of everyday life. The landscape of India is so diverse that, within one trip to Rishikesh, the Beatles travelled by taxi, walked on a footbridge, travelled over the Ganges river, and climbed a hill. For a deep breath of fresh air and a soft cashmere scarf to wrap you up, visit the north. You won’t be disappointed.
The great thing about India is that it has something for every mood. If the mountains don’t suit you.look a further down, to the state of New Delhi, the capital of India. It houses countless museums dealing with Indian history and culture, in addition to other things. New Delhi is where one can go to see the monuments that shape the government of India but also to experience the bustling and metropolitan city. To witness the Indian festivities of ‘Navratri’, Gujarat is the place to dance your heart away. In the state of Maharashtra lies Mumbai; some call it the Los Angeles of India, or the Bollywood hub, or the financial capital. No matter what you call it, there is no denying that Mumbai will show you a fun time. There is an uncountable number of places you can visit for leisure which will also teach you about Indian culture and heritage. If you’re confused, throw a dart at a map of India, because no matter where it takes you, it’ll be a life-changing journey.
The Indian way of life is full of peace and belonging. In Indian culture and heritage, the family is the most important part of any person’s life. Everybody develops their own community and has an opinion on everything that happens. It is a common sight to see a group of adults sitting on plastic chairs below their apartment complex discussing everything from their personal lives to politics. It is this sense of togetherness that shapes our Indian culture and makes sure we are aware of our values. Another aspect of Indian customs is shaped by the natural world. Even the most industrial cities in India have a lot of greenery. Many rural towns in the country live in coexistence with nature and lead an organic lifestyle, and some of the most important landmarks in India, like the Ajanta and Ellora caves, are embedded in nature. The value that Indian traditions place on respecting the Earth is seen by the fact that India is one of the countries planting the most trees in the world- it smashed the world record for this feat by planting 50 million trees in one day. The national parks in the country are dedicated to preserving many of the tree and animal species unique to the land. If you are a traveller who appreciates being one with nature, the forests, mountains, and rivers of India have a lot to offer.
The spiritual side of Indian art and culture is seen through numerous historical places in India. A secular land, India has landmarks that commemorate the beliefs of a range of religions. There is an abundance of Indian temples where a foreign traveller is welcome to go to learn more about this way of worship. In addition, beautiful churches and grand mosques decorate the landscape, coexisting to create a diverse country full of respect. Some of the famous monuments of India are religious landmarks. It’s clear that a visit to India can teach anyone about the history and culture behind the beliefs of many people. The words of George Bernard Shaw, a popular playwright, summarise Indian culture in the following way: “The Indian way of life provides the vision of the natural and real way of life, carrying the mark of the Creator’s hand.” Balancing your chakras is no joke, and the perfect place to do it is at the heart of this culture- India.
The sky during sunset, the view from the mountains, the sound of the waves, the feel of rain drumming on your umbrella, and the rush of crossing a traffic-filled street- these are the universal experiences that become unique in India. Being in the country is like seeing everything you’ve seen before but with different eyes. The sight of a cow on the street might surprise you at first, but then it’ll become something you will want to store in your mind forever. The way you haggle with the shop vendor at the roadside will make for the best conversation starter later on. The architecture of India is a mix of traditional and modern. The swirly details of the TajMahal are just as beautiful as the skyscrapers in Mumbai. There are many ‘heritage buildings’ that have been preserved for more than a century. Walking down a street in India is like taking a walk down the memory lane. Ask a local, and you’ll be entranced by the stories of those who walked on the street before you.
In addition to its beautiful natural and urban landscapes, Indian art and culture will amaze you. The government-commissioned street art will captivate you with its bright colours. The Indian festival of Holi is similar to performance art, where people take to the streets and paint each other with whatever shade they feel best. In India, there is art in living. During Diwali, patterns are made outside houses for good luck and prosperity. Art is embedded in Indian culture and heritage. Moreover, India is not lacking in its history. From the era of the monarchy to the British ‘Raj’ or rule, there are so many battles and moments in history that come to life with a visit to any one of the historical buildings of India. Stay tuned here at VibeIndian for a deeper look into the art, history, and culture of India!
Here in India, there is a value behind every step you take. Indian culture is deep and versatile. A trip to India will not be regretted by anyone, as it will teach you to appreciate nature, get in touch with the universe and appreciate all the things in life. In a fast-moving world, it is easy to take everything for granted. If there’s one thing a visit to India will get you, it is perspective. The vastness of India will help you realize that you are not alone with your worries and fears. Indian culture and heritage encourage that you should stay in touch with your community or family because they provide security. There is no doubt that, even as a traveller, you will feel this sense of family. The famous writer Mark Twain stated, “India is the cradle of the human race, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend and the great grandmother of tradition.” When Indian culture and tradition is appreciated, it also becomes a home away from home.