India is a country that celebrates the unique presence of distinctive society, rich heritage, sumptuous traditions, and diverse culture. There are so many beautiful languages, virtuous values and ethnic ideologies that are still being followed in various states of the country and it makes India a delightful place to travel to for the tourists. Visitors from all over the globe travel to India, hearing stories about the great history of the country, the brave warriors and rulers, the monuments, the eternal civilization, and the eloquent beauty it bestows in terms of religious places as well as pious environment.
Take a tour to the ancient ruins, forts, palaces, monuments, castles, temples, tombs and caves in India and anyone would feel lively, enlightened and so much more rejuvenated to learn more and unearth the hidden treasures of a country. India boasts of various world heritage sites that go much deeper than the outlook of the country and help people understand the roots of its cultural background and enticing rituals.
A Voice from Far Away brings to you some of such larger than life places in India that represent the cultural heritage of the country and continue to allure tourists from all over the world.
Varanasi is the spiritual abode of India and is considered as one of the most sacrosanct pilgrim heritage sites within the country. The place is pious and serene and it attracts worshippers from all over the country on a constant basis, with utmost reverence and devotion. The gentle breeze of the Holy Ganga caresses your skin and the mellifluous chirp of temple bells allows you to lose yourself and surrender to the traditional beauty of the place.
The city compiles a perfect blend of various religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism and colors the entire aura with rich customs and diverse belongings. Myriad of temples, vibrant markets, riverside ghats and ashrams add to the beauty of Varanasi. Furthermore, you cannot afford to miss the Ganga Aarti in the evening and the 5-day classical music & dance extravaganza during the Ganga Mahotsav, which makes the city ever so more enlightening.
The Pink City of Jaipur comprises of architectural marvels, forts and palaces, monuments, and Havelis that make it one of the most diverse and culturally rich cities of India. Places such as Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Jal Mahal, Jaigarh Fort, Amer Fort and Nahargarh Fort never get old and they add something beautiful to your aesthetic senses every single time you go to have a glimpse of them. Jaipur keeps you engage with the expedition of its rich folk culture comprising beautiful folk songs, dances and puppet shows.
The city has a sense of majestic grandeur and is also famous for its block printing industry, colorful bandhani work and the Jaipuri razai.
Udaipur is a mirror to the Rajputana greatness and time-honored triumphs. Known as a lover’s paradise, the city enchants and presents beautiful lakes, architecture, gardens, fairs and festivals. Udaipur provides you something more with its heartwarming hospitality and wonderful gestures of local people that more often than not end up winning your heart. It makes for a memorable sojourn as the place takes you the ancient days of Rajputana glory and you could sense the echo of the great battles fought by the ancestors of the country.
From the folk dance performances every evening to the boat ride from Lake Pichola, everything about Udaipur is enriching and intriguing.
The Palace city of India and the cultural capital of Karnataka, Mysore represents the Wodeyar dynasty with the illuminating night-time experience via its palaces, monuments, temples and festivals.
People from various cultural backgrounds, religions and ideologies live together peacefully and make constant efforts to make the city a much more secular and welcoming place. It has a rich heritage which dates back to the time of the Mughals and the British. Places such as Jaganmohan Palace are now converted into a museum of art gallery. Taste the delectable Mysore Pak, a famous sweet dish of the city that showcases its cultural richness.
The land of the Kamasutra Temples and erotic sculptures, Khajuraho depicts a different and a romantic facet of the ancient Indian culture. The city possesses best figurine art of India and is precious gift to the heritage of India. The place gets your adrenaline rushing and generates a sense of passion to explore more of the underlying Indian artistic magnificence. The exotic beauty of temples presents embellishing patterns and sumptuous architecture which takes you on a journey to the rich cultural ethnicity it had witnessed during the Chandella period in Madhya Pradesh. Visit Ajaigarh Fort & Archeological Museum to explore more of the city’s culture.
Madurai is an iconic city in the state of Tamil Nadu, representing the diverse Indian culture that has been passed on over an era of 2500 years. It is famously known for India’s pride possession i.e. Meenakshi Temple that attracts visitors from all over the country and across. The manifestation of the Tamil language and the colorful festivals also contribute to the cultural attraction of the city. Madurai is one of the oldest cities in India and its cultural richness reflects well in its marriage rituals, heritage holders, and architecturally established temples.
Kolkata is probably the cultural capital of India because of its rich heritage and cultural ideologies that goes beyond a number of specialties. It is a city that belongs to renowned freedom fighters, illustrious poets, novelists, film-makers, actors and Nobel Prize winners. Bengalis take a lot of pride in the richness of the literary heritage and the artistic traditions that are immersed deep in the history of the city.
Visit the Victoria Memorial, the imposing St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Greco-Romanesque Writers’ Building for a peek into Kolkata’s past.
From food to sweets, music, sports, travelling, films, festivals and whatnot, the city literally exhales culture. Kolkata is an absolute carnival during the Durga Puja, also called Durgotsava, which is an annual Hindu festival that reveres the goddess Durga.
Delhi is a mixture of identities. Adaptations and modifications in languages have taken place and Delhi holds a long historical influence. Delhi is vast cosmopolitan place and a city open to all. A city has to be open to all comers and continue to survive and grow. It has to be inclusive, multicultural, and multilingual and Delhi fits the description. The monuments and structures present the historical dominance of the capital region and depict the value of making a living out of heritage, quality of life out of heritage and not just cultural values. The contribution of Sufis and the legacies of Rajputs, Sultans, Khiljis, Mughals, and even British have left an imprint upon the city in its literary works, art creations, forts and palaces and bustling markets like Chandni Chowk.
India Gate, Red Fort, Old Fort, and Qutab Minar are the most prominent tourist places in Delhi.
Bhubaneswar and Puri
This place is a very distinctive and the indigenous group of people living here has formed a unique set of standards for themselves. May it be art, food, trademark folklores, songs and dances, everything here is cherished and embraced to the fullest and it leaves an impactful persona of the place in the hearts of the visitors.
Bhubaneshwar is famously known for its temples; The 11th century Lingraj temple complex, the 10th century Mukteshwar and the unique Rajarani temple with no deity are some of the ones to mention. The seaside temple of Jagannath in Puri is where the rath yatra takes place and is a sight to behold. However, the UNESCO World Heritage Site the Sun Temple at Konark (35 kilometres from Puri), remains to be the supreme manifestation of the architectural artistry of the ancestors.
God’s own country Kerala is truly a breathtaking place that represents various cultures, religions and heart winning heritage of the country. The architecture, the rituals & customs, the performing arts, and the festivals of Kerala constitute the diverse contributions from Aryan & Dravidian cultures, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity.
There are several dance forms in Kerala – Kathakali, Krishnanattam, Mohiniyattam, Thullal, and Koodiyattam. Music forms such as Panchavadyam, Nadanpattu, and Omanathinkal Kidavo also evolved in Kerala. The ancient Malayalam literature is still held in high regard by the local people and it contributes to the art culture that is very dear to them.
Fort Kochi is a place in Kerala that represents the imprints of the Portuguese culture. It is a unique experience to visit the place and is a perfect blend of old and contemporary art. The exotic beaches, the backwaters, Chinese Fishing Nets, Bronze Stucco walls to Anglo-Indian Bakeries, Fort Kochi is a colossal painting on an ethnic canvas.
The home to the Sikh culture, Amritsar is a place very dear to the Sikhs. A city that surrounds with holiness and welcoming nature, it is one of the best places to experience Indian culture and heritage. The pious Golden Temple being its most beautiful site is a sight to behold, a place that calms your soul and nourishes you with a sense of compassion and tranquility. Then there is the Wagah Border, a place where all the passionate country lovers combine to formulate an exuberant and patriotic environment every evening.
In addition to that, there are many other temples, gurudwaras, museums that make Amritsar a tourist attraction. The city has massively contributed towards Punjabi folk culture and literature. On top of that, there’s the authentic Punjabi cuisine you simply cannot afford to miss. Amritsar is the people’s place and it definitely makes everyone fall for its simplicity.
Compiled by Prashant Pundir
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