Why India May Soon Be the World’s Top Travel Destination

India has always offered a wealth of treasures to its visitors. The stunning Mughal architecture, incomparable natural beauty, and exceptional food have drawn travelers for centuries. India’s recent emergence as a technological and economic world power provides new and compelling reasons for travel as well. Keep reading to find out why India is the hottest destination in the world.

India top destination, technological boom

Technological Boom

The Indian technology and services industry is on track reach $225 billion in revenue by 2020, and it will change the economic face of the country. India has quickly emerged as the second largest mobile phone market in the world, and there’s still plenty of room for growth: Almost 20% of the population (800 million people) still lack internet access.

Facebook’s Internet.org recently started offering free mobile internet service to many in India who would not otherwise be able to afford it. Both startups and tech giants are increasingly interested in India as a new market base, and many are using it as a testing ground for new software and features.

Mark Zuckerberg himself is also invested in India’s technological growth and deepening the connection between India and Silicon Valley. When Facebook was foundering in its early stages, Zuckerberg took the advice of his mentor Steve Jobs and visited a temple in India. The trip inspired him to double down in his efforts, much as Jobs’ seven month Indian excursion inspired him to launch Apple in 1976.

Would-be tech entrepreneurs looking to recreate the success of Facebook and Apple will be drawn to India, and it’s never been easier for them to make the trip. India’s strong and lasting connection with Silicon Valley will be cemented with a recently announced direct flight from San Francisco to New Delhi. Operated by Cathay Pacific, the flight will run three times a week, and in the words of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, it will unite “two great cultural and economic centers of the world.”

India top destination, travel boom

Travel Boom

The new flight is part of a general increase in Indian travel: India welcomed 7.68 million visitors in 2014 and expects more this year. Indians themselves are also traveling more frequently. In 2014, 9.6 million Indians traveled internationally, up from 3.5 million only a decade ago. Part of the growth is due to the rise of travel agencies designed exclusively for women. Groups like Women on Wanderlust organize women-only groups that travel within India and internationally, providing a safe and supportive community of female travelers.

India is also experiencing a huge expansion in air travel that will making getting around the country vastly easier for both residents and visitors. Over 20 airlines are currently operating in India, six of which have started flying in the last year alone. The proliferation of options has led to lower fares, making it very cost-effective to travel around India by plane. Domestic air travel is up 19% from last year, giving India has the highest growth in domestic air travel in the world.

It’s also easier to get a visa to India as of this August. Over 100 new countries, including the United States, are now eligible for e-Visas to enter India. Rather than waiting in long lines to apply in person, visas are now accessible online. Processing time has been reduced from two weeks to four days, and the fee has been reduced to $60. The new visa system is part of an initiative by Prime Minister Narenda Modi to incorporate more technology into government and education.

India top destination, wellness

Wellness Boom

In 1968, The Beatles made a pilgrimage to an ashram in Rishikesh to study Transcendental Meditation. Their trip helped to introduce Eastern spirituality to the West and opened up the idea of India as a destination for enlightenment and spirituality. Since then, travelers seeking a holistic mind/body experience have come to India to practice yoga, pray at temples, and embrace meditation and mindfulness.

The explosion of yoga’s popularity has also helped to fuel travel in recent years. Yoga originated over 5,000 years ago as an eight-fold path to spiritual enlightenment, and asana, the series of postures that make up its physical branch, is now a $27 billion industry in the United States with more than 20 million practitioners.

To capitalize on the demand, many ashrams are offering packages for yogis to experience their discipline in its homeland. Sivananda Yoga Vedanta, for example, has put together a Yoga Vacation that involves two weeks of silent meditation, lectures, and yoga classes with vegetarian meals provided.

Now there’s no excuse not to book a trip to India. Flights are cheap, visas are easy, and there’s never been more to see and do in this fantastically beautiful country. Get a visa, book a flight, and prepare to experience travel nirvana.

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on Oct. 16th.

Traveling Through Indian Food (photo essay)

It is Cultural Tidbits Monday and we continue with our new mini series. Today, we are traveling through Indian food! As you already know, on this series, I’ll be featuring some of my favorite ethnic foods and restaurants through educational (and quite yummy) photo essays.

My obsession with Indian food

Ahh, this post will make me really really hungry, because Indian food happens to be my favorite cuisine in the world. Actually, it is more an obsession with any Asian curry, and well, Indians happen to have a heck of a lot of different varieties. Mmmm, thinking about thick curries perks up all my senses: they look, taste and smell incredible. First, I’ll describe one I tasted for the first time last week:

Chicken khorma

Indian food chicken khorma

Indian food: Chicken khorma in all its glory (photo: bellaonline.com)

I basically told my server at India’s Grill Kennedy: “it’s been a while since I’ve eaten Indian food and I’m bad with names, so please just serve me the thickest curry you offer.” The big grin of the server was priceless, as he pointed to the menu and exclaimed “Chicken Khorma!”

Definitely could not refute his choice after he said it was a very thick yellow curry and the menu read “boneless chicken cooked in a creamy almond sauce.” I could not help but think: “amazing in my mouth, good for my skin. BINGO

That’s not all I got on the massive entree, oh no. In addition to a huge portion of chicken khorma and accompanying basmati rice, I also got two additional decently-sized sides: paneer butter masala and fried spinach pakoras:

Indian food paneer butter masala

Indian food: Paneer butter masala and some naan *melts*

Paneer butter masala

Paneer is Indian cottage cheese, while butter masala means it is cooked in a buttery tomato sauce. To me, it smelled and tasted like another delicious curry. My gosh. I want it again.

Indian food spinach pakoras

Indian food: Crispy spinach pakoras app (photo: eatnstayfit.blogspot.com)

Fried spinach pakoras

The crispy, fried delicacy, are made of what seems to be batter and, well, spinach. Flavourful and a bit spicy, they are not as heavy as they look. Perfect!


My dining buddy this time was my roomie Alan, and since he had never had Indian food before, I had to order the famous Indian samosas as the app. Of course, it is pretty tough to mess up a samosa, especially when the place you walk into plays nothing but Bollywood movies on a big screen. Then, I just knew they would be fantastic:

Indian food samosas

Indian food: Samosas (photo: lifesambrosia.com)

Lamb masala

Talking of my dining buddy, he is Jewish and can never say no to lamb whenever it is offered, so he went for the lamb masala: tender lamb cooked in a creamy, tomato-based curry sauce. I had a bite and it was heavenly – will have to order a full portion next time!

Indian food lamb masala

Indian food: Lamb masala

Malai kofta

I have a special relationship with this particular Indian food, as the first time I tried it was at the Sub Kuch Milega hostel for Eid el Adha in Israel…ahhh, brings back so many wonderful memories! I grin every time I remember that trip and that hostel *happy sigh*

Coming from the Hindi phrase (and meaning “everything is possible”), this funky Tel Aviv hostel is the epitome of how I imagined a hostel to be before I ever stepped into one. The bright colors, permeating Indian spices scent due to its 24-hour Indian food kitchen, the 32-shekel-all-you-can-eat Indian food buffet, 24-hour bar…you can only imagine. The vibe of the place was unique and got to meet several locals that simply hang out at the place to eat and drink. We were fortunate enough to meet a group of Israelis that were planning a Palestinian solidarity “peace walk” — now that’s something you won’t see on the news! Sad isn’t it?

Ok, I got drifted away! Back to malai kofta: they are croquettes made of ground vegetables, nuts, raisins, and cheese smothered in a thick, creamy sauce. Once again, that thick sauce is shock-full of Indian spices goodness, bringing Asian curries to mind again.

Indian food malai kofta

Indian food: Malai kofta (photo: evernewrecipes.com)

Mmm, can’t wait to eat Indian food again! Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to travel to India yet. When I do though, I know I’ll be a very, very happy camper. This fascinating subcontinent is in my Top 3 destinations to visit.

Do you like Indian food? What’s your favorite dish?

Indian superstitions: Part 2 of World Superstitions series

The superstitions of today’s country could, quite frankly, make up a book bigger than the Bhagavat Ghita. Still, on the second part of my new The World’s Superstitions series, I try to show you a glimpse of this long list. Ladies and gentlemen, it is Indian superstitions time today!

* As in many eastern countries, using your left hand to do pretty much anything is quite offensive. Why? Because it is typically used to, umm, wipe off after doing no.2 in the bathroom. Thus, you must refrain from eating, giving or taking anything with you left hand. Sorry, lefties!

* According to Indian superstitions, a sack full of rice will be “spoilt” if touched by a woman during her period. This also applies if the woman touches it after having sex. In fact, throughout different religions and other parts of the world, a woman on her period of after having sex is considered unclean.

* If a cat walks by you, STOP! Let it cross first. Otherwise, bad omen for you!

* But hey, not all cat events are created equal. Any pregnant cats around you? Make sure you are present during the birth of those cute little kittens! Why? According to Indian superstitions, it is good luck to see a cat giving birth!

* Many things are considered sacred in India, but here’s a mini list: Cows, Banyan, Ashoka, and Coconut trees

* For an unexplained reason, east is the preferred direction to face when performing virtually any activity, including sitting facing east at the office!

Indian superstitions photo

“Give Me My Arrows And Give Me My Bow” (Sheet music) by Samuel Lover, New York: Firth, Pond and Co. (1848)

* According to Indian superstitions, seeing someone yawning indicates that someone is thinking about you or remembering you. Aww 🙂

* Ladies and lads: No shaving on Mondays, no hair washing on Thursdays. Or else you’re doomed. Yes, bad omen for you again!

* Doing charity or volunteer work? Or you are simply starting a new business or wanting a fresh start on something? Don’t book Tuesdays or Saturdays. Yeah, no Saturdays! Or else…doomed!

* New moon tonight? Bad night! Ill omen! Ahhh!

* This one made me smile: According to Indian superstitions, walking under a ladder is bad omen, just like in Puerto Rico. My mother was right!

* Want good luck to dwell in your home forever? Then never sweep at night.

* Talking about Lakshmi (good luck), turn on all the lights in your home if you want it to pay a visit =)

* Right eye twitching is good for men, left eye twitching is good for women. Why? I honestly don’t know. Good luck in love life maybe?

* Want a sort of premonition when something bad is about to happen? A dog wailing is a sign.

* Tons of Indian superstitions associated with lizards. Heck, my fellow tropical islanders, seems like we are inevitably doomed!

Ok, long enough! Gotta keep it fair and more or less equal in length to those of other countries =) Stay tuned as tomorrow we are discovering the superstitions of a whole new country! By the by, if there is a particular country you would like me to research, tell me in your response so I take it into consideration! (Hint: I will probably write about every country I am provided *wink*)

Previous featured countries:
Puerto Rico

Got more Indian superstitions or sayings from your country? Share below!