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Get a real feel

india Updated: Sep 08, 2010 22:14 IST

Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

We are a little disappointed at the reasons why India has been voted the 7th best holiday destination in the world at the recent Conde Nast Readers’ Awards 2010. True, India offers value for money and a range of accommodation. But then so do other countries like Thailand. But what could have been better highlighted are some of our unique features that most would be hard put to match.

For those who are the outdoorsy type, why go to the trouble of climbing Mount Everest or Kilimanjaro? We can offer the same uphill experience, or downhill if you wish, on our city roads where you can navigate mountainous formations of rubble and swirling potholes that could put the Zambezi to shame. If the warmth of the people is something that warms the cockles of your heart, be assured that you can get a feel of our fellow feeling very much up close and personal. In fact, there is nothing some of our citizens like so much as to get a real feel of you. On our famed beaches, you could exercise your Hercule Poirot-like grey cells in a game called ‘spot the predator’. Or a more physical one called ‘fend off the tout’.

Unlike other places where national monuments are just a ticket away, here we make it a more interactive process. Not only do you have to cough up more for the ticket if you’re a foreigner, you have to navigate carefully-crafted mounds of garbage and livestock to get at them. Historical gems don’t come that easy when you are in our neck of the woods. Then we have our police officers who might just clap you in irons for asking directions. But that is what they do to most locals and this is just to make you feel really at home. And, of course, there is our street food which is often cooked in such exotic mediums as triple boiled industrial oil or boiled in water from locally available canals and ponds. You may feel a bit green about the gills after partaking of such fare, but you’ll learn to stomach it soon enough. We could go on. But try it out for yourself. Incredible India does not begin to describe it.