When you think of India, a whole range of words or images probably come to mind, from beauty and culture to crime and poverty. India may still be a developing country, but it’s also being named as one of the fastest emerging markets in the world, with the potential to become a global leader in the next 30 years. Filled with curiosity about this place of contradictions, I decided to see it for myself.
There are a lot of superlatives you can use when desribing India. With a population of over 1.2 billion citizens, it is the second most populous country in the world. According to the IMF, its has the sixth-largest economy in the world by market exchange rates, and the third-largest by purchasing power parity. And with an average annual GDP growth rate of 6.1 per cent, India is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
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India is also a culturally rich country. With 29 states each home to unique cultures and civilizations, India is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Throughout its 4000 year history, India’s culture has been heavily influenced by religion, which continues to play a central and definitive role in the life of many of its people.
From the moment I landed in New Delhi, everything seemed new and amazing to me. Cows wandered across crowded streets in the centre of the city. People thought nothing of using enormous camels and elephants as their primary mode of transport. I was blown away.
From New Delhi, I travelled to Jaipur, Jodhpur, Agra and Lucknow. I was able to experience India’s amazing architectural heritage, visiting the stunning Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur and dining at one of the royal palaces in Rajasthan.
While there’s no denying that poverty and lack of infrastructure are serious issues in parts of India, I found that all of the areas I visited were clean and well managed. The streets were lined with greenery and there were no beggars.
Compared to Hong Kong, or any other developed places in the world, land and houses are relatively cheap in India. With so much space, people tend to live in rather big houses. In fact, I came across the largest house I’ve ever seen in my life, which looked exactly like the entrance of the British Museum in London (I am really not exaggerating).
I’m still only a few days into my journey around India and I’m already fascinated by what I’ve seen. It has subverted and exceeded all my expectations and I can’t wait to experience more.
Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge