Few countries in the world make such a deep and lasting impression on the traveller as India. It, perhaps more than any other country on earth, boasts such vivid contrasts, an intensity of colours, smells, tastes and sounds. A trip to India is full of surprises, but one thing is certain: you won't come home the same after this adventure!
Aleksey Koshlyakov, PR-director of an international transfer booking service, told TV BRICS in an exclusive commentary that everything depends on the goals of the holiday: "If you prefer beaches and a regular tourist holiday, then feel free to choose a trip to Goa: you are guaranteed miles of sandy beaches, the clearest water and lush palm groves. If you like an active nightlife and want to search for the meaning of life with hippie followers, then the northern part of Goa is for you, while the southern part has respectable hotels and various complexes."
"If you want to see untouched and wild nature, then you have to go to the foothills of the Himalayas. If you want to do yoga, go to Rishikesh, the yoga and meditation capital of the world. The Taj Mahal is a must-see if you want to see one of the wonders of the world. India is a country that is difficult to grasp and get to know in one trip," he added.
Svetlana Demidova, a travel journalist, agrees with the latter statement. In 2023, she spent two months in India (mid-January to mid-March). European countries sometimes differ less from each other than different states in India, she said.
"India's traditional tourist destination is the 'golden triangle': the country's capital Delhi, Agra with the popular Taj Mahal, the 'pink city' Jaipur with the famous Hawa Mahal palace of winds. It will not lose its relevance in 2023 and those who are visiting India for the first time or have only seen Goa before can be well advised to enjoy the Indian classics," said the expert.
She also recommended three other places for those who want to see a little more:- Bengaluru, Karnataka state. It is India's IT capital, earning the title because of its high concentration of IT companies. Tourists will hardly notice this peculiarity, but the city is clean and green (compared to more typical Indian cities). Among the attractions are Bangalore's palace and fort, major 'calling cards'.
- Kochi (Cochin), Kerala. Kerala is considered the most "educated" state and probably the most well-appointed and also the best tourist destination in India, but it is completely unpopular with our compatriots. Like the "non-Indian" Goa, the state of Kerala was under the influence of the Portuguese for a long time, which affected its appearance. Kochi is a clean, livable and very European city, where you can stroll along the stylish waterfront or wander the streets of the old fort. There are many Catholic churches in the city, and if you take some pictures of Kochi and post them with the caption "guess the country from the picture", your readers will be the last to call India, mistaking the city for something European.
- Ahmedabad, Gujarat. An option for the strong of heart, this state is vegetarian and has a dry law (prohibition). Try a dip in real India, but be prepared for real Indian food too, without the slightest indulgence for tourists. However, this is a modern metropolis, even once recognised as the best place to live! The city's main attractions are its mosques.
Svetlana Demidova also said that the minimum price for a week in Goa has roughly doubled since 2020: the price for a week's stay for two in spring 2020 was about 55 thousand rubles, and now the minimum price for tours for two starts from 100 thousand rubles.
Prices in eateries have indexed between 5-10 per cent in rupee terms, but much depends on the rupee-ruble exchange rate (in March 2020 - 1 rupee equalled 0.93-1.05 roubles, in March 2023 - 0.92-0.95 roubles) and on conversion. The flight time has changed slightly: the direct flight to Goa will take 7 hours 50 minutes to 8 hours 15 minutes (in 2020 it was 7 hours 30 minutes).
Maria Nikolaeva, a professional philosopher and orientalist specialising in Indology, when asked why a visit to India is a must, said that the country has many ancient monuments on the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List, such as the ruins of the ancient capitals of Hampi and Mahabalipuram.
In addition, she mentioned that if you plan your trip around important dates, which usually fall on new and full moons, you can catch the colourful and unforgettable folk festivals. "And India's abundance of delicious and very cheap fruits will allow for a vitamin reset for the body," said Maria Nikolaeva.
The expert reminded that India is the birthplace of yoga, where one can learn from reputable teachers, especially in Rishikesh, in the foothills of the Himalayas, gaining knowledge and experience from the best masters even at tourist hotels. The southern state of Kerala is the birthplace of Ayurveda, traditional Indian medicine, and is home to many clinics offering pancha karma, a comprehensive body purification treatment, as well as other procedures.
"A high level of cooperation is maintained with Latin American countries in the humanitarian sphere. The number of countries with which we have established a visa-free regime is steadily growing - currently it covers 27 Latin American states. This opens up more and more opportunities for business, scientific and cultural exchanges, as well as increasing counter tourist flows"