India is one of the most exotic and most preferred touristic destinations in the world. Of course, this is so mainly because of the unique landmarks in the country. However, there is also a way to have fun. India is full of different attractions, religious and all kinds of colorful festivals, it is a paradise for the divers and people who want to just get sun tan on the beach.
There isn’t another experience such as the thousands of festivals in the country. The best part is that Indians from different religious communities get involved in holidays that are not part of their religion. The euphoria and fun unite people, involving also the foreigners.
May be the most popular festival in the country is Holi – a crazy celebration, where people get covered in all rainbow colors. Kumbh Mela is the biggest religious holiday in the world. It is marked once in three years, as four cities swap the hosting on a rotational base – Prayagraj (earlier Allahabad), Nashik, Ujjain and Haridwar. It continues for 55 days. Every time the festival unites close to 100 million people at one place – the view is so impressive that can be seen even from space. The festival’s culmination is the mass bathing in the waters of the Gang or in another river, depending on the place where the festival is held, aiming to clean body and soul.
Among the famous festivals in Mumbai, that are an attraction for tourists and locals, are the Mumbai Festival, Banganga Festival, Elephanta Festival, Janmashtami, Ramadan-Id, Ganesh Chaturthi and others. In most bigger cities and touristic centers there are cultural programs, including regional presentations of Indian dance and music, that are also extremely interesting for foreign tourists.
If we talk about the night life, India in general is not the most popular destination for that. Apart from some big cities, such as Mumbai, Delhi and Calcutta, the country has weak night life according to the Western understanding of the word. In these cities however, you will find cool bars, discos and different clubs.
If you want to drink something stronger, you may have a hard time. Alcohol is not officially forbidden in the whole country, but it is frowned upon. If you really want to drink, you will definitely find a bar that can serve you. In some regions though alcohol really is forbidden, but even there you can buy it illegally in some hotels and restaurants. Loose manners are stubbornly stigmatized in the country because according to local perceptions they stain the cultural heritage.
At the same time, if you decide to go to a bar or disco in one of the big cities, it is good to know that you shouldn’t expect to party till dawn. Indian clubs have strictly defined and permissible working hours, that usually finish around or a little after midnight. In the best case 1:30-2:00 o’clock, but that’s super rare. The clubs in Delhi, Mumbai and Calcutta close the latest, and those in Goa – the earliest – around 22:00-23:00 o’clock, due to considerations about the order and piece of the tourists in the resort. In Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad the norm is midnight, and in the weekends usually 1:00 am. To compensate that the discos open as early as 19:00h. There is also diversity – to start with simple bars, piano bars and pubs and finish with elite clubs for electronic music, dance, hip-hop, ethno or most often a mix of it all at the same time. The good clubs here are usually located in the big hotels or shopping malls at the key and central places in the city and actually are just as good as the European ones.
There are however a few peculiarities that you should know about. In the capital, New Delhi for example, it is forbidden to consume alcohol if you are under 25 years old, in Goa the drinking age is 18, and in the other places with night life – 21. Apart from that the clubs are expensive. In many of them there is a fixed cover fee with drinks, snacks, wardrobe etc. included in it. It’s interesting that more and more Indian clubs start to offer New Year offers with celebratory parties and programs. There is usually a dress code for the more formal events and the New Year raffles are a must.
There is also one category of night places which is quite attractive and useful based on the price and what they offer. Indians call them resto-bar – a combination of a restaurant and bar in one. The best part there is that until about 9:00-10:00 pm you can eat peacefully and after that you can have fun and dance as much as you want.
Another thing we should point is that gambling is strictly forbidden in India. Goa is the only place with casinos and has so far kept its reputation of a state of entertainment with world class clubs and beach gatherings in the busy season.
Goa also attracts another group of tourists – those who love water and underwater experiences. Around the coastline of the smallest state in India you will find 8 islands that attract divers from all over the world. In the long history of the country there are many cases of shipwrecks around its coasts. Hundreds Arabian, Portuguese and English ships wait for you by the coasts of the country. In case you don’t want to dive for sunk treasures, you can just lie one the beach. The water here is warm all year round.
If you are a nutritionist who likes the nice atmosphere, then Delhi is an excellent place where you can enjoy the best of Indian cuisine. From the traditional to the contemporary it has many of the best restaurants in India. Eating in Southern India is a vivid experience that will challenge your senses. The restaurants here are two types – those on every street corner, which offer snacks and drinks, and those that offer full meals and all kinds of dishes. Among the popular restaurants in the country are Bukhara, Indian Accent, Varq, Dum Pukht, The Black Pearl, The Bar Stock Exchange, UFO and others.