Eating Indian food and yoga are the top things to do in India. That is what most of us think. But India is a diverse nation of thousands of different cultures and peoples.
All held together by an ethos of non-harm, tolerance and brotherhood. The Indian subcontinent has seen the birth of civilisations, religions; it has seen invasions, conflicts and synthesis of traditions.
Throughout antiquity, India has bewildered the foreign mind with its idiosyncratic ability to find harmony and order in chaos.
It has amazed the rest of the world with its wisdom and teachings. And in the modern times as well, it continues to do so.
That’s the reason why so many tourists flock to the country, not just for yoga and food. Planning a trip to India yourself?
Here are the top things to do:
If experiencing the phenomena of India is in your mind, then renting or buying a motorbike should be the first thing to do.
On a motorcycle one can ride through the Indian hinterlands, and get to know the nation inside out. Ride through the various topographies India has to offer. Hills, mountain ranges, coastal towns, agrarian stretches of land, forest villages, deserts, you name it, India has it.
If you plan on spending longer than a year, experiencing monastic stays, backpacking and spending time with natives, buying a bike would be better. As your trip nears an end, you can choose to resell the motorcycle at a great price. That way its more economical.
Learn to break traffic rules
Assuming that you have a motorcycle in India, it would be advisable to blend in and learn the ways of the road. Because people in India are not known to follow traffic rules very much.
Cars and vehicles are often driven erratically, interchanging lanes at breakneck speeds, many a times without an indication. It could all seem overwhelming at first. You might even find yourself cursing at people on the road. But it would get easier with time.
You would learn to loosen your grip, and adapt. After a few scrapes with near fatal crashes, you would automatically find yourself transforming into an average, rule-breaking Indian driver. And the sense of accomplishment that follows would be indescribable.
It is as Harvey Dent says,” You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain”
Learn an old Indian Martial art
India has been home to many martial traditions. Some belonging to tribes, some to religious groups and some had been developed in the ancient times. Some of the various Indian martial arts are: Kalaripayattu from the state of Kerela; Gatka from Punjab; Thang-Ta from Manipur; Silambam from Tamil Nadu; and Musti-Yuddha from the city of Varanasi.
One can go and ask for initiations into these traditions from their respective masters. Seeing that these martial arts are fast being forgotten in the modern age, the respective gurus would be more than willing to instruct.
Explore uncharted territories
One of the few benefits of riding through the countryside would be to encounter beautiful untouched landscapes. India, being such a vast nation has no dearth of places which are still unexplored by tourists, foreign and domestic alike.
You might just be lucky enough to find such a spot. And if you do, don’t refrain from considering yourself a little Columbus in your own right.
Experience Indian Rural life
Gandhi said,” The soul of India lives in its villages”. The essence of India can be understood by spending time with the villagers. One can learn a lot about living a simple life from them. They have lived over the centuries in a sustainable manner, with respect to the environment.
Today these, villagers practice agriculture, animal husbandry and livestock rearing. You can always choose to ride into a village on your bike and smilingly approach a villager. Rural folks in India are generally hospitable and will readily let you stay with them for a few days.
And after your stay you can also choose to leave a token amount to show your gratitude to the villagers. Also, you shouldn’t be surprised, if they refuse to take it. That’s how nice they generally are.
Spend time with the tribes
Image Source: Wikimedia
There are several tribal belts in India. Most of them in the Forests. If you wish, you can choose to go and stay with them as well. What you can learn would be to live off the forest land, in the most primitive fashion.
You can be treated with exotic tribal cuisine and made to wear the tribal attires. You can find various tribes in the central, north east and south of India. Each of them vastly different from the other.
Trek through the Himalayas
The Himalayan states in India offer hiking routes for every kind of traveller, from the beginner to the pro. There are snow laden mountain passes and cool mountain grasslands that one can tread through.
A number of the tough trekking routes are the highest in the world, often touching the bases of the highest mountain peaks. If you choose to trek through the snowclad routes, don’t forget your sunscreen lotion and sunglasses.
Given that the sunlight up there gets pretty glary after bouncing off the surface of clean white snow.
- Take part in a political rally
India is the largest democracy in the world. Which means that election season is like festive season in India. And there is always an election happening somewhere or the other. During the election times, its not uncommon to witness huge motorcades being followed by hundreds of supporters on motorbikes.
Assuming you are riding through India on yours, and there’s an oncoming political procession, do not hesitate to take part. It should be one of the most exhilarating experiences you’d ever have. What’s more, you also might just be paid enough cash to get your bike’s fuel tank filled up to the brim.
Live in a Monastery
India has many religious monasteries you can choose to stay in. In these monasteries you can get to know the ancient Indian philosophies and teachings. Teachings which once used to attract students from all over the world. There are many philosophies to choose from. Some of them are Nyaya, Samkya, Vaisheshika, Yoga, Vedanta, Mimamsa, Buddhism and Jainism.
Have a nice day!