Travel and tourism in India is not new but has a very long history behind it. Travelling is about more than just visiting scenic places as religious places have more importance in our lives. The Brahmins and the common people used to visit many holy spots all across India for ages. The early emperors often had to travel to conquer new places in the vast and varied landscape of the subcontinent. For the Mughal rulers, building lavish living places and enchanting gardens near naturally beautiful sites was a common practice. However, tourism – in the sense of what we mean by the word today, began to flourish in the 70s. The transcendental meditation and Hare Krishna movement created a stream of tourists inspired by this Indian tradition at that time.
Introduction to Travel and Tourism
Travelling defines one’s movement from one place to another by foot, automobile or any other means, while tourism is a recreational activity. You travel with a purpose to amuse yourself by experiencing interesting placing and acknowledging diversities. Both terms ‘travel and tourism’ are used together to define one’s journey to new places, sightseeing and staying in places for relaxing.
As a big country with varied environment and cultures, India has a natural potential for tourism. And that potential is quite active as tourism is becoming an important contributor to the national income. There are numerous opportunities for developing this sector further.
In recent years, Indian government has realized the importance of tourism opportunities, and with their active support the tourism industry has enjoyed a steady growth. The already rich natural beauty mixed with cultural diversity and historical sites attract many people from around the world.
Importance of Travel and Tourism in India
As a country India is benefited in three ways from the tourism industry. These are: economical gain through employment of local people, flow of foreign currency in the country and development of infrastructure. In a rough estimate it can be said that tourism provides job for more than 20 million people in India and nearly 11 million USD is earned as foreign currency each year. It opens job opportunities in different sectors like hotel management, restaurants, shopping malls, transportation and in companies dedicated to tourism. A good tourism industry also indirectly helps to develop transportation systems like road ways, airports etc. As a recent example we can mention the Delhi metro system, which was quickly developed targeting the Commonwealth Games in 2010. Tourism also has a positive cultural impact. As people from different countries visit India, the local and international culture gets exchanged creating a global understanding among people.
Sightseeing in India
As a large country with varied geographical and cultural environment, sightseeing in India is always a rich experience. In the East there are the Assam and Sikkim with their rich wilderness and famous Buddhist archeology. In the West you can visit the ancient forts and palaces on the golden sands of Rajasthan. Also you should not miss the Great Rann of Kutch of Gujarat along with the exotic foods. The North will amaze you with the great Himalayas, the wonderful beauty of Kashmir. The Uttaranchal and Himachal are also great sightseeing places. The Southern India has its own charms. The beautiful beach of Goa is a place you don’t want to miss. Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have their hills, temples, mosques, churches and stations up on the hills to satisfy your tourist appetite. Lastly, the Central India – Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa – has beautiful temples with rocky caves designed elegantly to represent ancient Indian tradition.
Most Popular Tourist Destinations in India
The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s Taj Mahal is an enormous mausoleum built to keep alive the memory of his beloved wife. The mesmerizing white marble structure has withstood the test of time to become one of the top tourist destinations in the world. The old temples of Varanasi by the side of Ganges where pilgrims pay their devotions at sunrise is an impressive view; unparallel in the world. The Ellora and Ajanta caves by the city of Aurangabad are magnificent. The Golden City amid of the Thar desert and Jaisalmer Fort are views which seem to have popped out from an Arabian Night tale. The Golden temple of Amritsar (also known as Harmandir Sahib), the religious center of Sikhs, is a major tourist spot.
There are many other very popular tourist spots in Indai. The most well known beach of Goa is Palolem. India has the most diverse wildlife reserve in Asia, named Kanha National Park. The ancient temple of Virupaksha, located in the city named Hampi, is special among all other temples in India. This temple is still in service though it is one of the oldest ones. In Kerala the lagoons are a beautiful natural place. The 5 star hotel named the Lake Palace in Udaipur’s Lake Pichola was actually build in 18th century as a summer palace for the royal family. It is now a well known tourist attraction.
Heritage in India
With 30 world heritage sites as recognized by UNESCO, India gets a lot of tourists in famous spots like Taj Mahal, Ellora-Ajanta caves etc. But there are also other lesser known heritage sites like Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus. Things like ten thousand year old cave paintings or a fort which has three hundred temples inside deserves more visitors and space in every tourist’s checklist.
Medical Tourism in India
This may sound interesting but every year a lot of foreign nationals come to India for medical treatments of checkups. This type of tourism is called medical tourism. India enjoys a growth in this sector which will continue in upcoming years. Anyway the concept of medical tourism is well known around the world.
People who come here for medical care, which may include surgical treatments too, often have to stay in the country. And in this time they visit nearby tourist spots. Medical tourism has much potential not only as from the perspective of tourism but it also influences the health care cystem of the country in a good way.
Resorts in India
The Kabinakkad Estate is a beautiful resort with a calm and flowery nature. The place can be reached by a nearly 260 km road starting from Bengaluru. The road view is just beautiful. The resort encompasses an area of about 170 acres.
Darjeeling tea resorts are one of the most beautiful and naturally attractive places of India. One of the best resorts here is the Glenburn Tea Estate. This resort by the mountain Kanchenjunga has a colonial charm in all of its eight suits.
Inside the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, the heritage state is situated at above 15000 feet. The long (about 500 km) uninterrupted view of the mountain range can be perfectly enjoyed from the bungalows. The number of bungalows is three. The place has quietness and privacy as it is mostly inside a forest.
The hotel has 13 rooms. Narmada and Neem suits are the special ones. The walls are whitewashed and inside the rooms there are images of the royal family members. There are historical bronze statues in the yard decorated by bougainvillea creates a quality atmosphere.
The Island of Vembanad Lake has an area of about seven acres. There are two special private residences named High Noon and Sun Rise. These residences have separate lagoons connected with each of them. The Kerala homes have gardens, pools and other facilities like own butlers and massage pavilions. They have been restored and in some cased even relocated to make these more than hundred year old establishments reusable.
If you are looking for a honeymoon resort, Ri Kynjai is probably the best choice. This resort is situated in Cherrapunjee which is one of the places with excessive rainfall. But don’t worry. The Khasi styled resort will give you the opportunity to have the enchanting natural beauty of Umiam Lake right from your balcony.
Planning a Trip to India?
Most of the people come to visit India by air. There are international airports in Delhi and Mumbai. International flights are also available in Bengaluru, Chennai and Kolkata. For local flights there are a number of companies.
Inside the country, Railways are the best ways to travel if you want to move on land. However, there are different types of rail services. The top class trains run on inter-city routs. These are air conditioned and maintains high standard. The cheaper Express (or Mail) trains are also good considering they are much cheaper. However, foreign tourists should not generally use the cheapest option, which are generally much slow and crowded.
There are also bus services throughout the country. However, the roads of India might not be comfortable due to huge traffic and unruly driving habits of the local people. If you really want to travel by road, you can hire a private car instead.
In case it is necessary, you can seek for medical help (for example: call an ambulance) by dialing 108 or 102. For general purpose a medical box should be kept handy. Most of the hospitals maintain good quality but in some government run hospitals service can be of low standard.
You should always be careful about your passport and credit cards. Though generally India is not a risky place for your valuables, care must be taken while travelling in a crowded public transport. It is best to have a photocopy of your all the important documents. Torn banknotes are often impossible to use but people will try to pass these to you. Also remember that getting changes is not always easy.
Due to low income profile, everyday products are lot cheaper in India than other first world countries. Though price is always on the rise, foreigners will mostly find that the prices are quite affordable.