Escape to India

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India: land of a thousand exotic stories, of spice and heat, of elephants and maharajas. Take flight and immerse yourself in one of the most rich and colourful cultures on the planet. From the iconic Taj Mahal to Bollywood to the white sandy beaches of Goa. Across tea plantations and along the Ganges. India is an indescribable getaway. So far removed from the colder, drier countries of the Western world.

Bollywood

Ever wanted to experience what Hollywood would look like if the actors sang and danced their way through most of the films? Come to Bollywood. Bollywood is the name generally given to the film industry based in Mumbai (formerly Bombay). They make films in the Hindi language but films have become increasingly permeated with English as India becomes more and more westernised. It is the older Bollywood films that feature women in decadent saris, dripping with gold singing long high-pitched songs about love. The more modern Bollywood stars are impeccably manicured. Straightened hair with highlights and movie star sunglasses and clad in showy clothes to rival British and American pop stars, modern-day Bollywood stars have got it going on. They ooze glamour. Mumbai itself is a top destination. The capital of the state of Maharashtra, it’s the most populated city in all of India.

The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is probably the most widely recognised Indian landmark. It is a large mausoleum in Agra which sits on the banks of the river Yamuna. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, as a shrine to his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The white marble structure combines Persian, Turkish and Indian architecture and is one of the most hailed examples of Islamic art not only in India, but in the World and is rightly listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Goa

Goa is a small state in India and not overly populous. It is in the south west of the country in the region of Konkan. The Arabian Sea runs along its western coast. Goa is the richest of India’s state and is well known as a luxury travel destination. It is home to some Catholics, owing to its occupation by Portugal. Portuguese India existed until the early sixties. Its history is long and Early Paleolithic and Mesolithic rock art engravings were found on the bank of river Kushavati at Usgalimal. Goa has a tropical monsoon climate and is consistently hot throughout the year.

The Ganges

The Ganges begins its journey in the mountains of the Himalayas and winds through India and Bangladesh before emptying out in the Bay of Bengal. The Ganges is the most sacred river to Hindus and is the source of life for many Indians that live along it. The basin is the most densely populated river basin in the world. It is also one of the most polluted rivers in the world, particularly in the river near Varanasi. Waste that humans and animal produce being put into it making the risk of catching gastroenteritis incredibly high.

John Hutchinson has enjoyed travelling since he was a young boy when his parents first took him to visit family overseas. Since leaving home, John has tracked down family all over the world and regularly jets off to faraway lands to see distant relatives.