Home of one of the world's oldest civilizations, and several of the world's great religions, India has been changing and re-shaping itself for as long as anywhere on earth, forever producing new forms of culture and absorbing new influences. Visiting the subcontinent, you'll see spectacular carved temples and gleaming marble palaces, lonely Himalayan lamaseries and far-flung dusty villages where council meetings are held under the shade of a banyan tree, plodding camels, holy cows, snake charmers and wild-haired sadhus; you'll also find a dynamic state racing into the twenty-first century. The boundaries of modern India, fixed some fifty years ago, are merely the latest in a four-thousand-year sequence of redefinitions that have produced one of the most heterogenous societies in the world. The land where the Buddha lived and preached, and where the Moghul Muslims erected the Taj Mahal, has recreated itself as both a majority Hindu nation and the world's largest secular democracy, home to almost one thousand million people. The best Indian itineraries are the simplest. To imagine that there is some set list of places you must go, or things you must see, is a sure way to make your trip self-defeating. You couldn't see everything in one expedition, even if you spent a year trying. The best way is to think of India is in terms of her tourist Regions: The North, East, West, South and the Himalayas and plan your trip accordingly with our help.
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