India is one of the most intense places to experience as a traveler. The density of people, as well as the multitude of sights, sounds, and smells can be overwhelming.
Much in India is the largest and most extreme. It has the world’s largest public laundry, Dhobi Ghat; the world’s largest spiritual gathering, Kumbh Mela; and the world’s largest lunchbox distribution system. Predominantly Hindu, India also has the 3rd largest Muslim population in the world and is the home in exile of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
India also exhibits some of the greatest contrasts on earth. The ultra-wealthy live in often-unfathomable opulence and masses of poor live in cardboard containers on the streets. Traditional arranged marriages and modesty are still vital parts of the Indian culture, and yet co-exist with widespread religious and secular eroticism. Cows wander the streets and oxen pull plows a few miles from international call centers and the world’s major outsourced technology companies.
One comes away with a sense of amazement that all of these extremes and contrasts exist within one country and that over a billion people are able to co-exist in this environment.
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