India is the seventh largest country in the world (it is 3,287,590 km2 or 1,269,009 mi2), and with 1,342,512,706 (roughly 1.3 billion) people, there is a lot to see and a lot of people to meet. The problem with wanting to visit India is knowing where to start. Well, just like any other trip, the answer is doing some research. First, a little history. India has changed a lot in the last hundred years. It was colonised by the British in 1858. However, in 1947, India was granted (or, through the persistence and persuasiveness of figures like Mahatma Gandhi, it earned) its independence. However, its tumultuous journey was not yet over. Pakistan, once a part of the British Indian state, ceded and became a nation of its own. Bangladesh gained its independence from Pakistan in 1971. The island nation of Sri Lanka has a similar story in so far as in 1948, it became a dominion of the British Commonwealth and was named Ceylon. In 1972, it became a republic and took on its modern name of Sri Lanka.
From this brief overview, it may seem that, over the course of the last seventy years, India has simply been becoming smaller piece by piece. However, this is a rather reductionist view since India has been growing more and more and now commands an enviable place as the world’s seventh largest economy and its fastest growing large economy. Since 2000, its population has also grown by a massive 33.4%. It is an exciting, hectic, beautiful place that you need to see at least once in your life.
There are lots of reasons why you may be hesitant to visit India, and one might be just how hot it gets. Summer lasts from April to October and during its peak in June, temperatures can reach a sweltering 45° C. If you think that would be too much for you, you should consider going during the cooler months of December and January. However, if you like the heat, then you should check out all the hot water springs in India. There are over 350, and they are said to be good for your health. There are lots of other natural wonders in India though including the Kashmir region which is known all over the world for its beauty. If city life is more your pace, New Delhi, the capital, has a lot to offer, as does the recently renamed Chennai (formerly Madras) and Goa which has some of the most prized beaches in the world.
India is not all about just being beautiful though. If you are into sports, you will find yourself at home in India. Their love for cricket is well known but the statistics are astounding. It is estimated that when the national team plays an important game, 400 million people will watch it (that is more than the populations of the USA and UK combined). India has also developed the most popular cricket league in the world. It is called the IPL and it is worth watching even if you don’t know the rules of the game.