Anybody setting out on the adventure of long term travel, starts mostly with South East Asia. But since you are in Asia, have you considered, is India worth visiting for long term travel? I say, more than anywhere else. And I am going to back this with facts.
India is not your regular tourist destination – it needs to be explored slowly. It is overwhelming and transformational, even for a traveler who explores it from within – like me.
Picture courtesy my friend Natalia from https://www.facebook.com/wandernati
It has as many opportunities as reasons, for you to travel through it for long term. Let us look at the Top 5 with a bonus reason!
India is a subcontinent!
When planning a trip to India, most travelers get overwhelmed because India is huge! It is the most diverse country both in terms of size and culture.
The first good idea is to divide the country per regions. So we have North India, South India, West and the East. Most travelers pick a direction and make an itinerary within that to be able to cover it in a nice way.
Now if you are travelling long-term, you can do much better planning with all the regions together. With time in your hand, you can do justice to this country which is not just a country but a sub-continent.
In fact I have met people who keep coming back to India after saving money to explore a new part of this beautiful country on long-term travel.
My friend Natalia here is one of them. She is from South America, a travel blogger herself and has made multiple trips to India in past few years.
Once you have experienced India on a long-term trip, chances are – you shall be as hooked on.
Start here with the Ultimate India Vacation Planner from Tripsavvy.
India is the birthplace of Yoga
People all over the world have made Yoga a part of their life – not just the physical discipline but the Yogic lifestyle. They have found their peace and balance in this ancient Indian tradition.
I am one of them.
Although we Indians also have our lost and found relationship with Yoga, truth is that true masters still walk this land.
So when you ask me is India worth visiting for long term travel – I will say a must! For Yoga.
Indulging in a long and rejuvenating Yoga retreat or school makes most sense in the land of its origin.
The perks of being part of a Yoga retreat in India, especially a traditional one – is that, it shall take care of your life balance ever after – if you keep practicing.
Here are some very valuable lessons from my Yoga practice to get you curious –
- Asanas is only one very small part of Yoga.
- You cannot meditate, meditation happens
- Yoga is not a form of exercise, it is a path towards self-realization
- Yoga is the highest form of medicine
- To calm your mind, calm your breath
Many independent schools, institutions, resorts, tour companies and even online platforms offer a plethora of Yoga retreats in India.
It is of immense importance that you choose the right one. I intend to do a post on that also shortly. Here is a favorite mix of mine –
Book Yoga Retreats
India is the largest and fastest growing economy
If you really want to know what this chaos is all about – I recommend you volunteer in India.
India is the largest growing economies of the world and potentially the fastest in 2019. It for sure has its own problem areas.
Whether it is child education you are interested in or working on farms. Be it community development that you are curious about or conservation of natural environments – opportunities are countless.
Not just will you support the cause, but you will also get tremendous insight into the soul and the structure of the country. Now this is what we call transformative travel.
Here is a list of organizations that let you stay for free and volunteer in India – an ideal option for long term travel.
Below is a picture of some beautiful kids I met while working on a toilet project in Delhi. The availability of toilets to the construction workers and slum dwellers in Delhi. The discoveries were appalling, but obviously necessary to bring about a change.
Yes, you heard it right. I am selling you India for its population – not the rise of population, but just the number, at a given point in time.
If you have traveled to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam before – you sure have at some point in time thought to yourself – I would like to see more of locals and less of tourists.
That is the plight of whole of South East Asia today – backpackers in numbers that outnumber the locals. And the tourist movement is ever increasing.
In fact, South East Asia saw a growth in tourist numbers by 10% during the first four months of 2018. The international average is 6%.
It can mean that in coming few years, you might be travelling to these destinations to meet more international crowd, than local. Whatever happened to travelling to see the exotic!
Over-tourism is becoming a problem in many parts of the world and often, local bodies do not take any step to regulate it. The result? Beautiful destinations around the world like Barcelona, Venice, Ladakh, Paris, Bali etc. are bleeding because of it.
Undoubtedly, it brings in money – therefore, people choose not to do anything about it. But the purpose of travel is defeated in the end – which is to see the local communities and natural attractions in their natural state.
India being much more diverse in size, culture and experience – has a fill of offbeat destinations – where you won’t find yourself in the middle of a tourist ocean. How about a list of 51 offbeat destinations by Thrillophilia, India’s largest experience selling platform, offering 10000 plus experiences in 25 plus countries.
Luckily, the otherwise slow government machinery of India, is continuing to take swift steps that are meant to keep the tourism sustainable.
Few out of the many steps that local tourism bodies in India has taken are –
Being a traveler, having to witness no access to any part of the world is painful for me. But I understand that it is important and the need of the hour sometimes.
Also, bans are only temporary until the government comes up with a detailed plan on regulatory measures.
Therefore, travel to India is completely worth if you want to see the authentic!
India has the second largest English speaking population
India is officially the second largest English-speaking nation in the world – second only to the US of A.
This is so, in spite of the fact that India has 23 official languages and more than 700 dialects of its own! Well, English is one of them.
Indians are forward looking and technically sound people. English being the most common language being spoken in the business world, and its not hard to see why we have taken it as our own.
Yes, there is a fist-full of people who may be downplaying their own language because of that – but exceptions are always there.
Most of us still love our language, our food and our culture. So even though, we welcome everything else with open arms, we are rooted in the right places.
Bonus Reason –
India has the most prolific erotic architecture in the world
Yes, this blog is full of shocking and honest suggestions.
India may have become a conservative society over the years, as we let ourselves get affected by less evolved opinions and authority. It was not the same originally.
In ancient India, sex was an open book and an essential part of life – not something that is looked down upon. In fact it was given due respect as it is the source of all reproduction – how life moves forward.
Shiva, the ultimate Yogi, the formless being, is represented in temples by the ‘Lingam’. The ‘Lingam’ is standing in the middle of a ‘Yoni’ –the male and the female reproductive organs respectively. Source of all life.
This is one of the reasons, you shall see erotic art on a lot of ancient temples in India – across regions.
Also, the presence of erotic art outside the temples with the deity sitting inside connotes the presence of God beyond all material pleasures.
You must cross the outside to get to the inside – to be one with the God or yourself – however you may want to understand it.
One of the most influential new age spiritual leaders of India, Osho quotes –
‘Love is the real thing. And when sex happens without any sexuality in it, it is divine. That’s what Tantra is’
Indian temples are prolific with such art and you can see one in every corner of it. Here is a list of the best 14.
So, is India worth visiting for long term travel? You tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram channel Roli Jain
Until next time!