India Tourism - at a glance! (Part II)
Before reading this hub, I request you to read the first part of this hub - "India Tourism - at a glance!" (otherwise this may go over your head. :D )
The northern-most state of India is Jammu & Kashmir. Kashmir is often called as ‘heaven on earth’ due to its unbelievable natural beauty. The Dal Lake in Kashmir is the biggest lake in the country which is famous for its houseboats and ‘Shikara’ (a small wooden boat) rides. Ladakh is one of the major attractions of this state and is famous for ‘Khardung La’, the highest road in the world. This state is situated amidst the snow-capped and beautiful young-fold Himalayan mountain range. With its huge colorful flower gardens and saffron farms, Kashmir is indeed a peaceful heaven on earth.
Mountain climbing, kayaking, skiing and snow-boarding are the major attractions of Himachal Pradesh.
Towards the south of Himachal Pradesh are the two well-flourished states – Haryana and Punjab. They are well-known for their huge agricultural yields and the reason behind this is hidden in their names. Punjab means ‘the land of five rivers’. These five rivers make Punjab one of the most fertile states of the country.
Chandigarh is the common capital of the two states and is also a union territory.
To the south-east of Haryana and Punjab lies another beautiful state in the lap of the Himalayas – Uttarakhand. A few years ago Uttarakhand used to be a part of Uttar Pradesh. The Gangotri glacier, which gives rise to the holy river Ganga, which is considered sacred by the Hindus, emerges from Uttarakhand. The terrains of Uttarakhand are famous for adventure sports such as white water rafting and mountain climbing.
Dehradun, the capital of Uttarakhand, is the headquarters of the Indian Military Academy and the Nehru Mountaineering Institute. Uttarakhand is also famous for the beautiful hill stations of Nainital and Mussoorie and also the holy cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh.
Below Uttarakhand lies the land of the first wonder of the world, Uttar Pradesh; yet another state that receives the greatest part of the total annual tourism in the country. The reason is the country capital Delhi being connected to the world with its Indira Gandhi International Airport and having located it almost inside the state boundaries.
The greatest attractions of Uttar Pradesh include Agra, the city of the Taj Mahal (which is popularly known as the first wonder amongst all the Seven Wonders of the World), the capital city Lucknow, popularly known as the ‘City of Nawabs’ and the two holy cities of Banaras (Varanasi) and Allahabad, which are also the venues of the ‘Kumbh Mela’, which is probably the world’s biggest religious carnival. Banaras is said to be the world’s oldest city, with a history almost 4000 years old! Agra is also famous for its sweet ‘Petha’ and Mathura for its sweet ‘Peda’.
Uttar Pradesh is a state worth a million pages to write about. It has got so much to describe that even this whole hub will not be sufficient for Uttar Pradesh alone.
Now, moving onto the central part.
Central India :-
The central part of India has two major states – Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Madhya Pradesh once used to be the biggest state of the country, when Chhattisgarh was a part of it. Amongst all the states in the country, Madhya Pradesh is having the largest area under forests, with several small hill ranges, including the big one – ‘the Vindhyachals’. The Vindhya region of Madhya Pradesh is also known as ‘the land of white tigers’, because it is said that the first white tiger ‘Mohan’ was found in this region and was tamed and pet by the king of the ‘Rewa’ Estate, ‘Maharaja Gulab Singh’.
Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, is a city with a perfect blend of nature and technology. In the olden times, Bhopal was known as ‘Bhojpal’ or the city of ponds and lakes. Now, the ‘Badi Jheel’ (big lake) in Bhopal is famous for hosting the Asian Kayaking and Canoeing championship held every year.
The Kanha National Park and the BandhavGarh National Park are famous for their tigers. The Dhuadhar waterfalls on Narmada River at Bhedaghat near the Jabalpur district of the state are famous for their marble rocks. Indore, the biggest city of the state, is popularly known as ‘Mini Bombay’ due to its features resembling the lifestyle of Mumbai (Bombay).
Chhattisgarh that lies to the south-east of Madhya Pradesh was once a part of Madhya Pradesh. Raipur is the capital of this state. Chhattisgarh is very well known for its Bhilai steel plant. Besides being rich in minerals and natural resources, Chhattisgarh is also famous for its waterfalls, hot spring, caves, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, archaeological sites and temples.
Goa is the smallest state of the country and lies on top of all southern states, covered by Maharashtra and Karnataka. Goa is world-wide famous for its beautiful beaches, churches and temples. From amongst the tourists that visit Goa every year, about 60% are foreign tourists and that too, mostly Europeans. The main tourism in Goa remains only up to its beaches and decreases while moving inwards. Portuguese were the first to land on Goa and so, Goa still shows marks of the Portuguese culture and is quite different from the rest of the country.
Karnataka, the land of the brave king ‘Tipu Sultan’, is below Maharashtra and Goa. Bengaluru, the capital city, (formerly known as Bangalore) is also called the Silicon Valley of India for its I.T. sector. Karnataka is also one of the main centers for medical tourism in India. The Mysore palace in Mysore is very popular and especially renowned for its own way of celebrating the Dussehra festival (or Vijayadashmi festival).
Karnataka is also rich in Flora and Fauna with 25 wildlife sanctuaries and 5 national parks. Kudremukh national park is one of the major national parks. Jog falls that fall from a height of 253 meters are also situated in Karnataka.
Besides spices, the thing for which the southern Indian states are famous, are the historical Hindu temples which were built centuries ago by the rulers of several different dynasties. Andhra Pradesh is one such blessed state having abundance of these temples. Hyderabad is the capital of Andhra Pradesh. The Tirumala Venkateshwara Temple in Tirupati is one of the most visited religious centers of any faith in the world. Visakhapatnam, the center of Indian shipping industry, is famous for its golden beaches. Andhra Pradesh is also popular for its natural caves such as the Borra caves and the Belum caves. Horsley hills are a popular summer hill resort of this state. Nirmal, a small town, is famous for its handicraft items and paintings.
Kerala is in the southernmost part of India (with Tamil Nadu towards the east and Karnataka in the north) Thiruvananthapuram is the capital city. Kerala is the most educated state of the country with literary rate more than 94%. Kerala enjoys its tropical climate, which means; it receives precipitation throughout the year and remains evergreen. For its coconut plantations, paddy fields and spices, Kerala has an importance of its own. It was the spices of the southern Indian states that attracted most of the European colonizers towards India. Kerala is also famous for its backwaters, Kovalam beach and its very own martial art – ‘Kalaripayattu’. Several reputed organizations and magazines from all around the world have ranked Kerala very high amongst the best places in the world to live in and also as a tourist destination. Kerala is indeed, one of the best places to live.
Tamil Nadu, the southernmost state of India, has the second largest tourism industry in the country. The capital of Tamil Nadu is Chennai. Tamil Nadu has got all the aspects and features for being a perfect tourist destination. From some of the finest and grandest Hindu temples renowned for their architectural mastery and grandeur, including the Brihadeshwara Temple, Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple and Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, to the beautiful hill stations of Ooty and Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu displays its tourism wealth. Also rich in wildlife, Tamil Nadu has several national parks, biosphere reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, elephant and bird sanctuaries and two tiger reserves. Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of India, is famous for the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, its beautiful sunrise and Thiruvalluvar’s state built off the coastline. Marina beach in Chennai is one of the longest beaches in the world.
If history and mythology were wealth, then probably India would have been the richest country of the world. I believe that there are several places in India that are yet unseen, untouched and undiscovered, desperately waiting for that one person to come and throw light on them and introduce them to the world. Until then, we will have to realize the importance of the present tourist destinations of India.
Copyright © 2011 Abhimanyu Singh. All Rights Reserved.
- Incredibleindia.org | Home page
The official Indian tourism website.
- Home: National Portal of India
National Portal of India is a single window access to information and services being provided by the various Indian Government entities.
- MEA - Ministry of External Affairs
The official website of Indian Ministry of External Affairs (M.E.A.)
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