“Atithi Devo Bhavah”
The slogan “Atithi Devo Bhavah” means “The Guest is God” which describes the dynamic relationship of Guest and Host. It emphasizes the infinite love, gratitude and respect everyone has for our foreign guests. Being the seventh- largest country by area in the world, India is full of multicultural experiences one can feel and discover. It’s a country having a historical legacy and countless heritages in any field. With the title of being “Incredible India” it has remarkable destinations to explore like trekking in the snow-clad Himalayas, places with spiritual essence like the Vaishno Devi of Katra and locations depicting the past colors like the gigantic Taj Mahal or Qutub Minar. India welcomes its guests across globe to get a glimpse of our nation’s heritage. In India, the train is considered as the most convenient and preferable mode of transportation used by a major section of the total population. Indian Railways is continuously adding facilities for passengers and e-catering being one of them is a boon, as passengers can order food online in train of their choice at any station they want. From spectacular landscapes to wildlife, from food/cuisines to Yoga/wellness, India is rich in every aspect. Also, there’re many attractive destinations that are loved among foreign tourists and remain crowded throughout the year. Here’s a list of popular places foreigners like to visit in India irrespective of any tourism season.
The Glorious Taj Mahal: The Historical Resplendence
Counted as one of the top Indian destinations popular among foreigners, the Taj Mahal is located in the Indo-Gangetic city “Agra”. Construction of this enormous tomb was dedicated in the memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Inspired by the Persian and earlier Mughal architecture, this structure denotes the immense love Shah Jahan had for his wife. Irrespective of any tourist season, this place is crowded throughout the year. There is no best time to visit Agra and gaze this unimaginable beauty. However, in February, TAJ MAHOTSAV (a festival) is organized especially for the tourists which a 10 days long carnival providing the artists a platform to promote Indian art and craft. Apart from promoting art and craft, this 10 days festival is celebrated with great pomp and show. Bollywood singers and international DJs thump up the dance floors. In 2020, the Taj Mahotsava will start from 18 February 2020 to 27th Feb 2020. Pre-book your tickets online. If you’re in New Delhi, do not miss to board the Gatimaan Express that is one of the fastest running trains of Indian Railways covering the entire distance in an hour and a half.
Kerala: God’s Own Country
Renowned for its natural pulchritude and solace, Kerala scores a top position among tourist destinations that will interest travelers. Thick green forests, hauling sea beaches, forts, palaces, monuments, mesmerising village, hills, natural spa therapies and the most fascinating attraction is the backwater boating that attracts tourists in millions. Though monsoon season is considered as the perfect one to visit this natural wonderland, Kerala is crowded with tourists throughout the year. Also, exploring the wildlife at Konni, trekking to Kannavam forest, shopping at SM Street and crossing through the vast tea terrains of Munnar are also popular amongst tourists. If Jammu and Kashmir is considered as the “Heaven on Earth”, then Kerala ranks second in the position. Palm-lined beaches, slopes supporting tea plantation, elephant sanctuaries and sports like paragliding and snorkelling in sea beaches, jeep safari are the major attractions. Apart from the natural extravaganza, Kerala is a land of Asian Vedic treatment culture called “The Ayurveda”. There’re Aashrams and small institutions which are deeply indulged in this ancient method of treatment and offer Ayurvedic massage treatment to rejuvenating your senses.
Varanasi: Where Spirituality Exists
If spiritualty is the theme and essence of your tourism in India, then Varanasi, also known as Kashi, is a perfect choice. This sacred city has 80 river banks (ghat) where spirituality, religion and the supreme Almighty (God) meets. The best part of Varanasi is the evening Ganga Aarti (evening prayer) where thousands of earthen lamps (diya) are lighted on the (ghats) with the devotional sound of instruments being played on the other side arouses the devotional spree within you. At a distance of 10 kilometers from Varanasi, lies the Sarnath near the confluence of the Ganges and the Varuna rivers. It is one of the four Buddhist pilgrimages which every follower must visit once in their lifetime.
Goa: For Party Enthusiasts
Goa is also known as the “Party Capital of India”. It’s one of the rockiest destinations where party enthusiast gathers in huge numbers to celebrate their life. It’s a hub for foreign travelers where the party temperature soars high starting from October to January. The enthusiasm to celebrate New Year is on its peak where DJ nights are arranged for the guests along with water sports like scuba diving, paragliding, river-rafting, etc. Party animals are welcomed to this state to enjoy the wing-ding along with drinks and dance. Goa is a glimpse of western culture and is a lively city in terms of festive celebrations. The tiniest state of India is known for its popular cathedrals, wildlife reserves, flea markets, and the Saturday market. Several ancient churches are present in North and South Goa where tourists can venture along with museums, parks and historical monuments. Do not miss the appetizing Goan cuisine which has a strong influence on Vietnamese culinary culture. Also, June to September is a season to visit and enjoy the essence of lying on the beach under the sun.
Rann of Kutch: Where you lie on the Bed of Salt
The beauty of Kutch is beyond imagination. Apart from being a hub of historical forts, crafts, apparel and architecture, the Rann of Kutch is famous for natural shining salt desert and high-tech tent city erected specially for the tourists with multiple facilities for a prominent stay. Imagine yourself standing on a vast white salt land with cool breeze floating around you in a full moonlight making the surroundings shinier to the next level. This unimaginable beauty becomes live at this location thus swaying your mind and senses in the state of extreme jubilation. Do not forget to choose hot and tasty local Rajasthani cuisines. Some of the top traditional delicacies of Rajasthan are Dal Bati Churma(prepared with lentil soup served with baked flour balls dipped in Ghee), Laal Maas, Kachori (Kachori is a special dish prepared by various stuffing like Mawa, mashed lentils, dry fruits, etc. fried in hot oil). Do not miss the scrumptious and the tastiest local delicacy called “Rajasthani Kadhi”. Visit the official website of Rann Utsav for more details regarding the festival and pre-booking. The festival will last till March 2020.
Train Travel for Foreign Tourists in India:
Foreign tourists in India holding a valid passport can avail Foreign Tourist Quota of Indian Railways while booking their tickets online from the official ticket website of IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation). Any foreign tourist can book their rail tickets 365 days in Advance on any train. Available classes for booking tickets are Executive Class (EC), 1st AC (1A) and 2 AC (2A). NRI’s can sign up to irctc.co.in with a registration fee of Rs. 100 +GST with a valid mobile number. Any SMS communication by IRCTC will be done on the registered mobile number. Some important factors to know about booking are:
- 200+GST per ticket will be charged under Foreign Tourist Quota.
- 50% of the fare shall be deducted in case of any cancelation of tickets.
- IRCTC will refund any fare to the concerned debit/credit linked account as the payment reconciliation team works on a 24 x 7 basis.
- Submit and verify International mobile number in their online profile created on IRCTC.
- IRCTC tourism website has various tourist packages listed on their website at optimum cost. One can also choose among these packages.
India is a country where art, architecture and literature are present in abundance to explore. Some reside in here, while others come to explore its beauty. Though there are many places but these’re most visited place in India by foreigners. If you visit India do not miss these five most popular Indian attractions among foreign tourists.