The Asian sub-continent of India is a land that attacks each of your senses and all of your emotions. The colors, noises, smells, and crowds of the markets and the streets will make you respond and reflect.
The numbers and contrasts are dumbfounding. The cities swell into the millions, but 70% of the population of one billion lives in small towns and villages. Over 40% of the people are under the age of 15 and the average life span is only 63. The government recognizes 18 official languages of the 1,600 minor languages and dialects spoken by the people.
No food in the world takes on your senses like the cuisine of India - hot vegetarian or meat curries, soothing yogurts, wild spices, and tasty breads.
Indian music challenges different western senses. At first droning and then seductive, the fast beats of the tabla and the rapid intricacies of the sitar will leave you in awe.
Once past the initial stun of India, you can approach the great range of adventures available on the sub-continent. Trekking in the Himalayas, elephant excursions in Kanha National Park, camel safaris in Rajasthan, skiing in Narkanda, sunning and swimming in Goa, or scuba diving and snorkeling in the Adaman islands.
At the edge of the Himalayas in the north, the toy train to Darjeeling chugs through tight curves up through the mountain area famous for its tea. In the canals of Kerala, at the opposite end of India in the southwest, dragon boats prowl the intricate water network of canals and lakes. Mystical island palaces, one now a hotel, seem to float on the lake in Udaipur.
Ritual bathing in the Ganges at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, the Taj Mahal in Agra, the pink facades of Jaipur, the sandalwood and incense of Mysore, the temples of Khajuraho, the camels of Jaisalmer, the cinema of Mumbai (Bombay), and the history and crowds of Calcutta and Dehli.
The assault of the old and the new and the different is unending. India remains magical, mysterious, and a must for the curious.