India’s tourism industry is thriving due to an increase in foreign tourists’ arrivals and greater than before travel by Indians to domestic and abroad destinations. The visitors are pouring in from all over the world: Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia and Australia. At the same time, the number of Indians traveling has also increased.
India is probably the only country that offers various categories of tourism. These include history tourism, adventure tourism, medical tourism (ayurveda and other forms of Indian medications), spiritual tourism, beach tourism (India has the longest coastline in the East) etc.
Being an ancient country, India is a country of monuments. Just like the number, the variety is also varied in every sense. All in all these monuments spell the true colours of India and carry its very essence. But some incomparable monuments that form an integral part India’s historical heritage are, the epitome of endless love – Taj Mahal, the Axis of Islam – Qutub Minar, the pride of free India – Red Fort, the Chariot temple of the Sun God – Konark, the mighty Mughal citadel – Agra Fort, the glorious island caveland of Lord Shiva – Elephanta; the cave site of numerous Chaityas and Viharas – Ajanta, the grand memorial of an Emperor – Humayun’s tomb and last but not the least, the forgotten walled city of Fatehpur Sikri.
In recent years India’s emergence as one of the most sought-after adventure destinations is a well-known fact. The country offers the variety of adventure opportunities. This diversity is remarkably amazing – from the white water rafting on the Ganga, Indus or Teesta to heli-skiing in the high Himalayas; from hang-gliding and ballooning over the Indian plains to camel-safaris in the vast Thar Desert of Rajasthan; from chasing the elusive tiger on the backs of mighty elephants to trekking in the Himalayan ranges – the choices are endless.
The distinctive feature about the Himalayan tourism is that traveler has the option of enjoying myriad adventure activities. If you travel to Kashmir you can indulge in trekking, travel on horseback, go trout fishing in its rivers or enjoy in a little bit of skiing or water sports in its transparent lakes. Of late, skiing has put India on a pedestal in Asia. As a matter of fact, skiing in India is less expensive compared to anywhere in the world. The facilities are meant for beginners as well as for seasoned skiers. The three states that boast of providing these facilities are Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. Heli-skiing has established as another prime attraction for travelers. The facility for Heli-skiing can be availed of at Manali in Himachal Pradesh. Water-rafting, kayaking and canoeing on the Ganga are becoming popular day by day.
Sailing, another adventure sport, is rapidly catching tourist’s imagination and gaining popularity in Nainital, Ramgarh and Khadakvasla in Maharshtra. Introduction of water-rafting in the Teesta River in northeastern India is beginning to attract the tourists on a large scale.
Medical Tourism in India is a developing concept whereby people from world over visit India for their medical and relaxation needs.
With yoga, meditation, ayurveda, allopathy, and other systems of medicines, India offers a unique basket of services to an individual that is difficult to match by other countries. Also, clinical outcomes in India are at par with the world’s best centres, besides having internationally qualified and experienced specialists. In addition to allopathic treatments and surgery available at hospitals like Apollo, you can also avail the benefits of Ayurvedic Medicine in India. India is the birthplace of this 5,000-year-old science. The many Ayurveda resorts in India are located in various scenic locations of the country, from Ananda in the Himalayas to the many resorts in the picturesque backwaters of Kerala. Ayurveda is the system of traditional medicine in India. It is based on many centuries of experience in medical practice, handed down through generations. Composed of two Sanskrit words, “Ayu” or life, and “Veda” or knowledge, Ayurveda is regarded as “The Science of Life” and the practice involves the care of physical, mental and spiritual health of human beings.India is also the birthplace of the concept of Yoga and Meditation, practices that are becoming increasingly relevant and popular in the context of today’s spiritual aridity.
India is a land of inherent spirituality and people have been known to travel here to find solace in its ancient wisdom since time immemorial. India is called the “yogabhoomi” and the gateway to the heavens. Innumerable saints and seers, in their quest for knowledge, have contributed largely to the development of various religious monuments viz. Temples, Mosques, Monasteries etc. built lavishly across the length and breadth of the country. The kind of cosmopolitan existence India has is best reflected in its pilgrim centres. Religion is the heartbeat of the nation and the followers of all the major religious and sects, viz., Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Zororastrianism have lived here for centuries. Together has come up temples, mosques, gurudwaras, churches, synagogues and religious and spiritual centres. The spiritual tour starts from the holy city of Varanasi , the Buddhist stupa at Sanchi and the Jain temples at Ujjain . While following in the Footsteps of the Buddha you can see the holy sites of Buddhism in India and Nepal including Sarnath, Bodh Gaya, Rajgir, Nalanda, Vaishali, Kushinagar, Lumbini and Kapilvastu. On the North India you can visit Nepal , see the temple towns of Khajuraho and Varanasi in India and the temples of Pashupatinath and Bodhnath in Nepal . On the West, you can see the amazing rock cut temples of Ajanta and Ellora near Aurangabad and the Sai Baba Temple at Shirdi.
For untold centuries, the powerful triad of the sun, the sea and the sand have pooled their resources to present spectacular effects and memorable experiences to a cross section of people from all over of the globe. India has almost a 6,000 km long coastline, which is home to some of the finest beaches in the world. Both the West and East Coast of India offer verdant vistas of palm on the Arabian Sea shores or the Bay of Bengal.On the west coast there are miles of sandy beaches broken into attractive bays by rocky headlands. The most popular ones are the beaches of Goa and Kovalam at Kerala.The beaches on the eastern coast are less well developed. The best known are the beaches of Mahabalipuram and a small but exquisite beach in Orissa called Gopalpur-on-Sea.
The Travel and Tourism industry holds tremendous potential for India’s economy. It can provide impetus to other industries, create millions of new jobs and generate enough wealth to help pay off the international debt. That is why we have included Tourism amongst the Core Sectors of the Indian Economy.