Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Why You'll Want to Visit India in 2013

Kumbh Mela celebrations in Hardiwar
For me, that question could be rephrased: why you'll want to visit India every year. The richness of its culture, the awesome variety of sights, the friendliness of the people, the affordability of in-country travel--how could India NOT be a personal favorite of mine?

But Indian travel in 2013 is going to be especially groovy. Here's why:

-The Indian Government just revised its visa regulations for the better. Now, one no longer has to wait two months before re-entering the country if one ducks across the border into, say, Nepal. That's important since many folks plan multi-country hops when they go to India, to better amortize the high cost of airfare here. Thanks to the new rules, they'll be able to do this kind of trip easily. Here's an article on the new visa regulations.

-The Kumbh Mela festival, which only happens every 12 years, is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world and will be taking place this February in the city of Allahabad. The Hindu worshippers who take part believe that a potent elixir was dropped in the rivers of India, and by bathing at the right times (ie the time of this festival), they'll have the opportunity to rinse away their sins and, perhaps, escape the cycle of death and rebirth. From what I've heard, the rituals surrounding the bathing are awe-inspiring, as is the site of the millions of pilgrims who come here for this celebration.

-India is never expensive. That's especially true if you're savvy enough to stay and eat where the Indians do when they travel (rather than picking the multi-national chains, which peg their prices not to the exchange rate but to the going, international rate for luxury items). This year, the rupee is at near historic lows against the dollar, meaning better value than ever for budget-conscious travelers.

So there you have it. Switch off this blog, and get booking!

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