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  • Writer's picturePallavi Nair

Welcome to India, The land of Surprises - Part 2

Updated: Aug 3, 2022

The vibrant country of India, where the traditional and modern worlds meet. It is the seventh largest country area-wise and second largest nation population-wise. The geography of India has always startled its visitors how can a single nation have so many natural wonders, landscapes, surrounded by sun-drenched beaches, topped with Himalayan mountains, flourished with various flora and fauna, and vibrant national parks? India also boasts a rich and ancient heritage that’s the result of centuries of different cultures and religions leaving their mark. Visitors find a trio of cultural, historical, and spiritual treasures in India like the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, Charminar in Hyderabad, and many more architectures like them.

Continuing with our previous journey through India, we will now move toward the North-Eastern part of the country.

North East India - Visit the seven sister and one brother states.

A picture from Meghalaya’s Dawki lake where one can see teal water and transparent fishes.

Sightseeing in India is a never-ending activity that only gets better in the North-Eastern states of India. The Northeast states include Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura.

In Sikkim, one can also go rock climbing, mountaineering, river-rafting, and experience Yak safaris. Also, don't miss out on the delicious Sikkimese food and some local handicrafts, murals, and paintings.

Another must-visit place is Tawang, the magnificent, cultural epicenter of Arunachal Pradesh state. It has the world's largest working Tibetan Buddhist Monastery and was once a part of Tibet.

The state of Meghalaya has innumerable waterfalls, pine-covered Garo and Khasi hills, mystic caves, dense forests, and a man-made, double-decker living root bridge that has held strong for over 200 years.

While visiting northeast India, one can also visit the state of West Bengal, which is the location of Darjeeling, a beautiful hill station with lush green tea plantations and awe-inspiring snow-capped mountains (including the view of the world’s third-highest mountain, Kangchenjunga). There are gorgeous Buddhist monasteries, breathtaking trails, and trekking mountains for biking adventures. One of the most popular things to do in Darjeeling is taking a ride in a 140-year-old Toy Train by the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways, a two-hour ride that takes you through a mountainous journey.

A whole book could be written about places like Gangtok, Imphal, Shillong, and Cherrapunjee, but a small glimpse is enough to show what tourists can explore when visiting northeast India.

Mumbai - The city of Dreams

A sight of Gate of India and Hotel Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai.

Mumbai, earlier known as Bombay, is the most cosmopolitan city in India. Situated toward the western coastal side of India, this energetic city is a home of lots of Indian billionaires, movie (Bollywood) celebrities, five-star hotels, and gourmet restaurants. This luxe city also comprises a beautiful scenic coast and glamorous Art Deco buildings. Tourists love to visit Marine drive, which is also known as "Queen’s Necklace," to look at the beautiful street lights, as they make the road look like a pearl necklace from above. One can visit the "Chor Bazaar" (Thieves Market), drive across the Bandra-Worli sea link, and take pictures in front of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and Gateway of India. The city's 20 million-plus people call this bustling metropolis home, making this India’s largest commercial capital.

A sight of the Bandra-Worli sea link.

Mumbai is famous for its street food, for which there are various seaside food markets known as “Chowpatty.” Other than modern architecture, the city serves some good ancient sites, such as the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and the Kanheri Caves. It is a complex of monuments carved out of basalt formations, which are around 2000 years old.

When it comes to activities in Mumbai, tourists have many choices for things to do, like visiting museums, temples, and churches, as well as tours of Bollywood.

Goa - known for its beaches and ancient churches

Beautiful shacks in Goa near the beach.

The best place to relax and get a tan is none other than Goa, a state known for its gorgeous beaches, nightlife, seafood (Indian style), and various World Heritage Listed monuments. Goa is a stretch of golden sand alongside the Arabian Sea and serves every kind of tourist. Whether you're hanging out with a backpacker crowd in laid-back beach huts or enjoying the watersports, you will feel right at home. Goa is also famous for its nightlife and beach parties with trendy bars, beach shacks, elegant cafes, and funky clubs mostly near the famous beaches in South Goa. While visiting the town of Old Goa, one will get to see the blend of Indian and Portuguese culture. The old part of the state has many whitewashed ancient churches, crumbling forts, and spectacular beachside mansions. This culture is seen in the cuisines of Goa, as its spicy vindaloo curries and seafood dishes are famous among westerners.

Beautiful white church of Goa.

Goa has many beach adventures like water sports, snorkeling, jet-skiing, and paragliding. It is also a good destination to rejuvenate and get involved in many relaxing Yoga and Ayurveda sessions.

Kerala - Known as God’s own Country

A Houseboat sailing in Kerala backwaters.

Heading towards the south of Goa, you will find the pristine backwaters, coconut-palm fringed beaches, rejuvenating Ayurvedic massages, and beautiful lush green landscapes of Kerala. It is known as God’s own country for its picturesque places. Tourists mostly come here to experience traditional thatched-top houseboats in Alleppey and slowly float through the palm-fringed lagoons and rivers known as backwaters. Kerala is tucked between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats.

A man dressed as Kathakali for a traditional dance performance.

Besides beautiful backwaters, there are pristine and calming beaches and scenic hill stations with numerous wildlife sanctuaries. It has sprawling tea gardens, wildlife safaris, mesmerizing Kathakali performances (local traditional dance), and traditional dishes.

The top attractions in Kerala are Munnar, Alleppey, Cochin, and Periyar National Park, among others.

The Golden Temple - A scared place for Sikh followers

A picture of Golden Temple in Amritsar

Amritsar is a prime city of the state Punjab and is an important place for the followers of Sikh religion as it has the very famous Golden Temple also known as ‘Harmindir Sahib Gurudwara’. This religious site is a divine capital place for their culture and comprises original ornate gold decorations. It has a man-made pool that was completed by Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh Guru. The temple remains open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It serves free fresh food daily to its visitors, known as ‘langar’.

The city also comprises other touristy places like the Jalianwala Bagh massacre memorial, a place where thousands of people were shot by the order given by a British General during the British Era in India in the year 1919. Today's tourists visit to see the bullet-hole-ridden walls and memorial plaques.

Another must-visit place in Amristar is the Wagah border, also known as the “Berlin Wall of Asia”, marking the dividing line between Pakistan and India. There, tourists get to watch a retreat ceremony, the “lowering of the flags”, which has taken place every single evening since 1959 and is witnessed by hundreds of people every day on both sides of the border. It’s free to watch and starts 30 minutes before sunset.

Soldiers of India and Pakistan at the Wagah Border performing lowering of their respective national flags.

As a foreigner, one can spend their money economically or extravagantly. It's hard to mention all the interesting places here: there is the Kanha National Park in the Madhya Pradesh state (which was the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book), beautiful caves of Ajanta -Ellora, Shimla, Bangalore (also known as "Garden City''), beautiful Leh-Ladhak situated in the north, Hampi in Karnataka state, Rishikesh in Uttarakhand, and many more interesting places.

India is a huge historical land that boasts grand civilizations and a wonderful fusion of culture and identity. One needs to experience a planned visit to know the real India. Home to some of the world’s major religions. India is an interesting and vibrant country to travel to and explore the colors and flavors. The country is filled with breathtaking natural beauty and extravagant man-made structures. So India is truly a place that is worth putting on your must-travel list of countries.

If you like to learn more about languages and related topics, keep following the ReDefiners World Language blog. ReDefiners World Languages is an online platform for kids and adults to learn languages like English, Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin. Students get the opportunity to learn the languages and learn about their cultures and influences. For more information about the classes, please visit or email us at

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