Kerala state, quietly luscious.
Boating on the Kerala backwaters is one of the most relaxing and delightful activities a tourist can enjoy in a mostly hectic India.
The backwaters are a series of calm natural lagoons and lakes, partially salty, that have been connected by canals to form a waterway stretching hundreds of kilomtres along half of Kerala’s length. On either side of the backwaters rural Indian life drifts quietly on, fishing, duck, coconut and coir farming, while foreign travellers chug by.
You looking at me? Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Karnataka state.
Hampi village is situated inside the extensive, monumental ruins of the capital city of the Vijayanagara empire which controlled much of southern India from 1336 to 1646.
This is a little-visited UNESCO World Heritage Site, a delightful change from most of the historical India tourism, a place where wandering in calm contemplation is actually possible (apart from affluent begging kids! ). Try that in Agra, Jaipur, or Varanasi!
Khajuraho’s erotic templesin a green and remote UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Khajuraho village is a bit off the beaten track but well worth a trek 600 kms (385 miles) south-east of Delhi in Madhya Pradesh state. It’s a magnificently calm UNESCO World Heritage Site of gorgeously proportioned and fascinating Hindu and Jain temples.
Khajuraho temples were built around 1, 000 AD and 25 remain out of 80 – many were destroyed by Muslim invaders in later years – in an area of 21 sq kms (8 sq miles).
Varanasi, washing and watching in and on the Ganges River, Uttar Pradesh state.
Varanasi, also known as Benares, is one of India’s holiest cities and the one hundred ghats stepping down to the River Ganges are loaded with temples (in some cases overloaded as they are sinking into the river) venerated by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains and visited by 1, 000, 000 pilgrims a year.