Wednesday, 4 April 2012 2:26 PM
India is one of those countries that pretty much every traveller wants to go to, whether it's their sole destination or part of wider travel plans. The question is, what exactly is it about tours to India that draws in so many people?
Culture and heritage
Perhaps the most obvious reason is the nation's incredibly rich culture and heritage. India is home to one of the oldest civilisations in the world and amazing destinations where old and new sit side by side.
You can really see India's story reflected in the places you visit, which is a big part of its appeal. Unlike many other countries, where you have to duck into museums to learn about their past, here you can see it played out all around you in the historical buildings, the traditional dress and the unique landscapes.
What makes this rich culture all the more exciting is the diversity it offers. India is a huge country comprised of a number of states and each of these has something different to offer you as a traveller.
Head to the far south-west, for example, and you'll find yourself in Kerala. What's particularly exciting about it is that it's considered to be one of the nation's most modern - particularly in terms of literacy levels and such - but it's also by far one of its most traditional. Expect to see just as many people in traditional dress as more contemporary clothing, while festivals, religion and spirituality are all integral to the local way of life.
Visit the more isolated farming communities in the far north and you'll get a rare glimpse of rural India. This is an experience many travellers miss out on, so when planning your break choose an itinerary that incorporates some of these off-the-beaten-track areas if you can.
Manmade treasures and natural wonders
India is pretty famous for its spectacular buildings, but what's really exciting about the country is that there are loads of natural wonders to discover too. So, when you come here, you have sights as diverse as the culture itself to explore.
One manmade gem you'll definitely have heard of is the Taj Mahal, which is in Agra. It's one of those places that everyone flocks to, but don't be fooled into thinking this is nothing more than an average tourist site, because seeing it really is an experience like no other. In fact, it's so stunning that it's both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
In contrast, if you head over to Rajasthan, you can explore the sandy landscapes of the Thar Desert and the traditional communities it's home to. Plus, amazing national parks are dotted around the country - like Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary down in Kerala - which are great for checking out the local wildlife.
Scope for different kinds of travel
India's home to some incredible attractions, but these aren't the only reason it's so popular. You see, India caters to all kinds of travellers - from backpackers to luxury - which gives it a wide appeal. When you think about how diverse its various attractions are as well, it's pretty easy to see why such a broad spectrum of people is drawn to it.