“If we were to look over the whole world to find out the country most richly endowed with all the wealth, power and beauty that nature can bestow-in some parts a very paradise on earth-I should point to India”. Max Mueller
The biggest asset of India as a desirable tourist destination is its 5,000-year-old historical and cultural heritage. Every region in India developed a culture of its own. The culture is a wide term, which includes the languages, rituals, beliefs, festivals and tradition, given from father to son and carried on with generations.
Take for instance, the desert state of Rajasthan. With the Thar at its background and shifting sand-dunes, mirages and camels, the vast palaces, forts and havelis present a very distinct aura. The Rajput Culture with bright `Bandhani’ colours, intricate designs and the Royal background gives a very different look. Its unique architecture in the series of palaces in Pink City (Jaipur), Lake Palace in Udaipur and sand coloured forts in sand-dunes city of Jaisalmer, coupled with the folk dances and art, gives it a distinction of ‘Epitome of Cultural Tourism in India’. But, one jewel which attracts the bulk of tourists is in the once Mughal Capital-Agra. The great Mughals gave India the architectural splendour and influence of Persia. It reached its zenith with the symbol of Mughal romance—the Taj Mahal. Its architectural perfection gave it a place as one of the seven Wonders of the world. Today, Taj Mahal has become synonymous with ‘India’.
Be it the Ancient Indian beauty in the form of caves of Ajanta Ellora, Sun Temple at Konark, Khajuraho Temples or the Dravadian style stone-carved temples of Hoysalewara and Ranganathaswarny or the Medieval glory of Qutab Minar, Red Fort, Fatehpur Sikri and other forts and mausoleums with Islamic influence of Persia, Turkey or Afghanistan; or even the English and the Portuguese influence in Victoria Memorial, Gateway of India and churches in Goa; each one symbolises the glory of India in the different eras. All these eras gave India some spectacular masterpieces which are not found anywhere around the globe.
Another aspect of Indian Culture is its vibrant and colourful festivals. India has been the mother of the oldest religion-The Hinduism and subsequently Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Islam and Christianity also experienced the motherly affection of this great country. The festivals still carry on the gaiety and colours of past. The festive season in India coincides with the Tourist Season and with 33 crore Gods and Goddesses, one surely cannot miss out the colourful extravaganza whenever visits India. In fact, the real cultural experience of India is unaccomplished without these festivals. India’s Dance and Music festivals also have cultural roots.
And when all the natural beauty is mixed with culture, this harmony presents a very unique picture, making each destination different. For India to continue as a ‘Tourist Paradise’, a judicious and prudent analysis of socio-cultural and environmental carrying capacity has to be done. Apart from Desert Triangle and Golden triangles in many states, many more circuit have to be developed.