From the moment you arrive in India, you will feel completely hypnotized by the colors, engulfed by the scents and enchanted by the music. You’ll become enamored with the vast cuisine and the warmth of the people. In celebration of the launch of our India trip, Exoticca has compiled a list of the ways India is a celebration of your five senses.
Without a doubt, India is one of the most visually stunning places on the planet. Everything from the food to clothing bursts with vibrancy and colors that are as lively as the people. Bright colors are also reflected in the architecture of some of the cities.
In the Rajasthan area, in the north of India, you’ll find monochromatic cities such as Jaipur, known as the pink city due to its salmon-colored buildings. In Jodhpur, the second biggest city in the region, many buildings below the Mehrangarh fort are painted blue as it helps keep homes cool in the inside. The city of Jaisalmer is also known as the golden city as many of its buildings have been built in yellow sandstone including the Jaisalmer Fort.
The myriad of smells in India may come as a bit of a shock upon arrival, however, those nose wrinkling moments make the tantalizing aroma of spices, flowers and perfume that little bit more pleasurable. Roses, amber and jasmine were often used to scent the estates of Maharajas and today these scents can still be found in markets and many establishments across the country.
The smells of spices will also be omnipresent during your trip. Walking down any street, you will notice the smell of cardamom, coriander and peanut oil, which is used to cook many traditional dishes. You’ll often smell incensed too, used in both social and religious settings.
Indian cuisine is synonymous with spice and often features a variety of vegetables. Some of the most used spices are chili, ginger, cumin and saffron. These, when grounded together, are known as Garam masala. This blend helps create some of the most seductive and flavorsome food that is often served on a Thali, a metal plate with small bowls. Essential meals to try whilst on your trip are Tandoori chicken, seasoned with Masala; Biryani rice; or dosa, a typical Indian crêpe.
Whether its traffic noise in Delhi, the sound of a cowbell, the prayers heard from the temples or spices being ground from a stone, the sounds of India are as distinctive as the aromas. You’ll be amazed at how the honking of car horns will fade into the background, as the sound of market barterers will rise above it. India’s cinema industry, having had international recognition has attracted many people to visit the country. The soundtrack to popular Bollywood films which can be heard in bars, parties and on buses will captivate you.
The rough, carved stone of the grand palaces and temples contrasts with its polished marble underfoot and the touch of silk. You’ll often see silk saris fluttering in the wind, you’ll feel the softness of this luxurious fabric in many of the markets and textile shops in towns and cities. In Varanasi, many factories can be found where they offer the possibility of buying clothes by weight or tailored to your measurements. Wool can also be found in abundance in many of the markets in India.
What will be most apparent in India is the sense of human touch and the warmth by which you’re welcomed and made to feel at home by its people, often with a hug and a handshake.