From stark deserts to tropical jungles and Himalayan peaks, from palaces temples redolent with the essence of the past to vibrant festivals and exquisite traditional cuisines, India is a land of variety and contrast. So much so, that it can be an overwhelming experience for the traveler. Not with Worldwide Adventures India (WWAI): we’re here to bring you face to face with the best that India has to offer, while making sure your holiday is packed with all the comforts and personal touches that add up to a truly memorable holiday.
Officially called the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, this is a landlocked country in South Asia.
It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China and to the south, east and west by the Republic of India.
With a population of approximately 30 million it is spread across an area of 147,181 square kilometers (56,827 sq mi).
Nepal is the world's 93rd largest country by land mass and the 41st most populous country.
Kathmandu is the nation's capital and the country's largest metropolis.
Nepal has a rich geography. The mountainous in the north has eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including the highest point on Earth, the Mount Everest called Sagarmatha in Nepali.
It contains more than 240 peaks over 20,000 ft (6,096 m) above sea level. The fertile and humid south is heavily urbanized.
It is believed that the name Bhutan is derived from the Sanskrit Bhotant, meaning 'the end of Tibet', or from Bhu-uttan, meaning 'high land'.
Historically the Bhutanese have referred to their country as Druk Yul, "land of the thunder dragon'.
Bhutanese refer to themselves as Drukpa people.
The kingdom of Bhutan lies in the eastern Himalayas, between Tibet to the north, the Indian territories of Assam and West Bengal to the south and east, and Sikkim to the west.
Bhutan has a total area of about 47,000 square kilometers, roughly the size of Switzerland.
Located in the heart of the high Himalayan mountain range, Bhutan is a land-locked country.
The sparsely populated Greater Himalayas, bounded to the north by the Tibetan plateau, reach heights of over 7,300 meters (23,950 feet) and descend southward to form the fertile valleys of the Lesser Himalayas, divided by the Wang, Sunkosh, Trongsa, and Manas Rivers. Monsoons promote dense forestation in this region and alpine growth at higher altitudes.
The cultivated central uplands and Himalayan foothills support the majority of the population.
In the south, the Duars ('the gates' or 'doors'; the traditional 18 points of access into Bhutan from the Indian plain) drop sharply away from the Himalayas into the large tracts of semi-tropical forest, savannah grassland, and bamboo jungles.
Exclusive to the region, Jaisalmer is popular for leather messenger bags. These bags are made from wild camels.
Jaisalmer has some of the oldest libraries in India which contain rare artifacts and manuscripts of Jain tradition.
The most talented and famous dancer from Jaislamer, Queen Harish (the desert drag queen) is world renowned and features in many International films.
The Maganyar musicians native to the regions, are recognized worldwide and their music dates back to several decades.
The manmade Gadi Sagar Tank was the only source of water in ancient times.
Pokhran situated around 112 kilometres from Jaisalmer is well known for nuclear testing than its mythological connections. As the legend goes, Ram aimed a powerful arrow which generated severe heat in order to dry the Sri Lankan seas. Persuaded not to do so, he fired the powerful arrow into the Saraswati River instead. This dried up the river and left the place to be a barren desert.
In the Thinksey Monastery, Buddhist monks create a mandala made of sand, dust and precious stones. Once finished, it is destroyed to represent the impermanence of forms that are visible.
The consumption of garlic and usage in dishes is high as it is a good natural remedy to combat high altitude sickness.
Buddhism is the predominant religion. Several monasteries have existed over the years. However, almost half the population consists of Muslims. In Leh, the only mosque built around 17th century is still frequented by the local Kashmiris and has strong Tibetan architectural influence.
According to the people who live here, a place called Lamayuru is considered to be a free zone in Ladakh with no criminals allowed to be detained.
An exclusive product supposedly sold is the fleece of Tibetan antelopes used to make Shatoosh shawls. The manufacturing, buying and selling of these products is banned by the Government of India and considered illegal.
The prayer wheels that are spun by Tibetans are made of pieces of paper with prayers written on them.
The only Buddhist temple in Kerala is an ancient shrine by the name of Karrumadikuttan.
It is said that an Irishman, James Darraigh brought a group of craftsmen from Bengal to impart the knowledge of coir spinning and weaving. This knowledge has made the craftsmen of Kerala legendary in the art of coir making and much more popular than their masters in Bengal.
The largest powered human boat in the world is the snake boat or Chundan which is found in Kerala. About 100 oarsmen can be seated on one boat and can make around 120 strokes per minute, therefore covering a distance of around 1 and a 1/2 kilometres in 5 minutes.
Kettuvallams or house boats are constructed manually by binding planks of wood with coir ropes and other natural material. These boats made of cane measure up to 80 feet in length; around 13 feet in width and can carry 30 tonnes of weight. The evidence of exquisite craftsmanship is by the fact that not a single nail is used!
A common practice to be followed in most of the temples is Kerala is that, men have to remove shirts and vests before entering.
In 1914, considering it a good omen to shoot 109 tigers, Maharajah Venkat Raman Singh of Rewa factually killed 111 tigers.
It is regarded that the grasslands of Bandhavgarh was earlier inhabited by swamp deer. The change of habitat is considered to be the main reason behind their disappearance.
The Sal timber tree found in the region is the second best after teak. Its leaves are used by the tribal people for making 'bidis' or homemade cigarillos.
While the year round breeding of the Barking Deer may not seem to be so peculiar, the shedding of their antlers around the month of May-June is surely fascinating.
Tigers follow a regime of alternating extremes of famine and feast. At one sitting, a tiger can consume up to 18 to 20 kilos of meat as there is no certainty about getting the next meal.
Poaching and killing of Indian tigers is mainly for the use of traditional medicine made from tiger bones and skin. This illegal demand comes entirely from China and has little or no demand from India.
There is an adage about drinking wine made from the intoxicating Mahua flower. They say if a man drinks a little mahua wine, he repeats whatever he says like a parrot; if he drinks a bit more, he roars like a tiger instead of speaking and if he drinks too much he would flop to the ground like a hog.
In 1852, the exiled King of Coorg, Veerarajendra and his daughter Gowramma were the first Indian royal family to visit Britain. Queen Victoria was the godmother of the princess and showed strong affection towards her. She was called Princess Victoria Gowramma.
People in Coorg did not practice child marriage and were against dowry system making it perhaps the only Indian community to do so.
Kodagu is considered to be the most densely forested district in India. Around 65 percent of its geographical region is under tree cover.
Angling is a popular sport in the River Kaveri. A rare catch is the mahaseer fish with a few weighing up to 46 kgs! A major rule to be followed is that if you hook a mahaseer fish you have release it back into the waters. The ladyfish you catch could be taken home.
Goa was colonized by the Portuguese until the 1960's.
At Campo de Sao Lazaro, during the Portuguese Inquisition, Jews were burned at the stake in the sixteenth century.
A difference in cooking styles can be observed in Goans. People from south prefer to grind coconut and spices together and pass them through a thin muslin cloth to maintain the flavour while people from north prefer to grind them separately.
In the 1970s, hippies auctioned their belongings in order to extend their stay on the heavenly beaches of Goa. This led to the birth of what is known today as the Anjuna Flea Market.
Jesuits discovered Goan toddy in the village of Majorda where they leaven bread. The people from this village were initially trained in the art of baking bread and are still considered to be the best bakers in Goa.
Abbe Faria, one of the Great Goan Freedom Fighters was born in Candolim and is also considered to be the Father of Hypnotism.
In 1755, an earthquake and tsunami struck the coasts of Lisbon and Portugal, destroying the naval fleet and trade routes. The Portuguese were unable to regain control over the trading routes and therefore Goa as an important trading hub gradually faded.
Jaipur was founded on 18 November 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II.
Jaipur was built in the 18th century based on the principles of Indian architecture or Shilpa Shaastra.
When the Prince of Wales visited the city in 1853, the city was painted pink as a sign of welcome. Exactly why, even to this day Jaipur is referred to as the Pink City.
Though known for its historic and artistic grandeur Jaipur manages to find its place among the 50 Emerging Global Outsourcing cities.
Jaipur is also home to a prosthesis called Jaipur Foot known for its affordability and quality.
Well known as the Lake City, Jaipur is dotted with lakes such as the Lake Pichola, Fateh Sagar Lake, Udai Sagar and Swaroop Sagar.
Situated close to Udaipur is Shilpgram, a crafts village that's home to one of the biggest annual crafts fair in India.
In addition to being a favourite locale for the Indian cinema industry, certain parts of the popular James Bond movie, Octopussy was shot in Udaipur.
The Udaipur Solar Observatory is built along the lines of the Solar Observatory at Big Bear Lake located in California.
Initiated by Raja Wodeyar, the Mysore Dasara celebrations have been taking place ever since the year 1610.
Even as early as 1882, Mysore was connected to Bangalore through a railway connection making it one of the first cities to have that honour.
In September 1935, Mysore played host to the first private radio broadcasting in India.
As a literary epicentre, Mysore had its first local newspaper in the year 1859.
Close to Mysore is Krishnarajasagar Dam that is home to Brindavan Gardens, a popular tourist destination that is modelled along the lines of Shalimar Gardens in Srinagar.
In a cricket crazy nation, Chennai is home to one of India's oldest cricket stadiums- The M.A. Chidambaram Stadium (MAC)
With over 1000 performances, the Chennai Music Festivals is one of the world's largest cultural events in India.
Chennai's municipal administrative body that was established in 1688 is the oldest in India.
Chennai contributes roughly 60% to India's automotive exports.
The Guindy National Park comes within the city limits of Chennai giving it an honour very few cities in the world can talk about.
After Shanghai, Mumbai is the most populous city in the world.
According to some surveys, Mumbai is among the top 10 costliest office markets in the world.
Contrary to popular belief, the oldest Stock exchange in Asia is The Bombay Stock Exchange.
The Bombay Samachar was first published in 1822 making it Asia's oldest newspaper.
Mumbai is also home to the now famous Dabbawallas, a lunch delivery organization that have been awarded a six sigma rating.