I am not much of a Travelogue writer so please dont expect too much out of this. This is my first attempt at putting together my experience and knowledge about India. I am still in India so will keep adding to this travelogue as I go to other places. The second most populous country in the world, which forms subcontinent with Pakistan, where around 250 different languages and dialects are spoken, a society (though not formally) that remains sharply divided into social classes of caste system, a history over five millenniums long, tells a story that people all around the world love to hear. However, this story should be lived... India is named after the river Indus, or the name that locals used - Sindhu. Subcontinent's population differs in ethnic, religious, racial and cultural structure. The largest percentage consists of Indo-Aryans and Dravidians. The earliest inhabitants were the Vedas, people of dark complexion who still live in the southern part of the country. Hindus are born and die as members of castes: Brahmins (priests), Kshatriyas (warriors and royal family), Vaishyas (free Aryan population - traders, farmers, etc), Shudras (enslaved Dravidian population) and the Dalits formerly Harijans (untouchables - unworthy of life). The modern Indian society does not recognize this division any more, but Hindu religion, which represents 80% of the population, still respects the laws of Manu, so there is no interference between the castes. The capital and the largest city of India, is only part of Delhi, one of the oldest cities in the world. Many times demolished by enemies, eleven times rebuilt from the ashes, Delhi is mentioned in the famous Indian epic Mahabharata. As soon as you exit the airplane, you will find yourself inside the cultural shock between luxury and poverty, in this magical Hindu land. Your senses revive and your view of the world changes! Patchwork of colors and fragrances, singing people, smiling children, silk saris, yoga combined with ancient temples, richness in cultural and historical monuments make India a unique country. McLeod Ganj While Dharamsala is located in the valley, with average elevation of 1457 meters (4780 feet), McLeod Ganj is constructed at an average altitude of 2,004 m (6,575 ft) in the mountain range Dhauladhar, with highest peak HanumanKa Tiba which is 5,639 m high. Another name for this place, Little Lhasa, comes from the wide population of Tibetans who resided there. It is the place of Tibetan government in exile. This estate was named after Sir Donald Friell McLeod, Lieutenant-Governor of the Panjab, and the suffix "Ganj" comes from the common Hindi word for "neighborhood". During the British rule in India, the British were spending glowing Indian summers here in a pleasant climate. British Viceroy of India Lord Elgin (1862-63) was so fascinated by this place, it is proposed for the summer capital of India. The whole area has suffered major damage in the 1904 earthquake, when nearly 20,000 habitants of the Kangra district lost their lives. Rishikesh and Haridwar Holy cities on the banks of the Ganges, Rishikesh and Haridwar show the best of India from the religious aspect. Rishikesh, the world capital of yoga, is famous for Kumbh mela festival. Walk beside Ganges, sandy shores, throwing flowers into the river and making wishes, holy tramp - babies and of course sacred cows! Fascinating! In Haridwar, there are two temples which offer incredible views on the city and the Ganges. The sight of ritual bathing at the banks of the sacred river and flower baskets let to float downstream. The stunning scenery that one sees! Agra - Taj Mahal Agra is a city in India that would not be as attractive if it weren’t for Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, who built a magnificent mausoleum in the name of love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, above her tomb, the Taj Mahal - that was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World constructed by human hand. Over 20,000 people worked on the construction of the edifice of white marble with stunning garden in front of it. "A dream in marble" as many call the Taj Mahal, is the dominant, but not the only attraction in Agra. The story of the most beautiful monument of love begins in 1607. when a prince Khurram, of the Mughal kings line, was walking in Meena Bazaar in Delhi. There he saw a girl who was selling silk and glass beads, and charmed by her beauty he fell in love at first sight. Only after five years he was able to marry her. Her real name - Arjumand Banu Begum - replaced by new: Mumtaz Mahal (Chosen One of the Palace). Prince was twenty, and his chosen one nineteen. As in a fairy tale, they lived happily and loved each other endlessly. Khurram had three wives (Mumtaz was second whom he married), but single one chosen by his heart, the woman of his life, while the other two marriages were quite a protocol. Mumtaz accompanied her man in all his travels and various wars, not just because human laws require. Khurram was enthroned as Emperor 1627. On that occasion received the name of Shah Jahan. Although the emperor showed his brutal face by murdering his brothers to ensure he will keep the throne long enough, he was also known by generosity to friends and to the poor and by the construction of numerous monuments and temples, mostly in Agra and Delhi. Varanasi Its history goes back far into the past. First record in the Vedas, the Indian scriptures and the earliest archaeological evidence, suggests that the inhabiting of the area began in the eleventh or twelfth century BC, making it one of the oldest cities in the world. Varanasi is rightly considered one of the most spiritual and religious centers of India. Indian holy trinity, which consists of: Brahma (God the creator), Vishnu (the god guard) and Shiva (the god of destruction and transformation), has very important place in Hinduism, but also in the spiritual and religious significance of the Varanasi. This city of distinct paradox, the most sacred in India has played a big role in the history of Indian civilization. As a religious and cultural center, for its long history could be compared with Rome, and for its sublime place of pilgrimage and idealized center of faith, it is standing shoulder to shoulder with Jerusalem and Mecca. Great poets, writers and philosophers who have contributed to the enrichment of Indian civilization are descendents of this city. In Varanasi, one can see all that India has to offer. This city that seems to be standing on the brink of time and connects ancient and modern world with an invisible but present bond, emanating almost tangible vibrations of unstoppable cycle of birth and death, does not cease to fascinate with its boundless energy. It is a city of light and dark, morality and corruption, peace and violence, all of contrasts that captivate visitors. Pondicherry Pondicherry is a real rarity - a French enclave on the Indian coast. Although the French have gone for more than half a century, "Le Pond" still has a specific identity as a result of the combination of three different worlds. Here, instead of engine noise you will hear the birds singing, you will be able to visit the beautiful small restaurants and unusual shops. The most famous of the former villas became hotels: L'Orient, Villa Helena and the Hotel du Parc. Botanical Garden, where the parents of Pi had the zoo in the film, was also built by the French. Giant African mahogany, high intertwined branches of the sacred fig tree and mesmerizing jacaranda can be seen here. The colonial district is divided by a channel that looks more like draining than continuous flow. As soon as you cross it, you will feel the life accelerating, especially along the "main artery" of the city Rue Jawaharlal Nehru. The streets are narrower and you can see residents of colorful houses enjoy the conversation on each terrace. Occasionally, you might see herds of goats as a reminder that the village very close. Less fortunate among them were referred to the Grand Bazaar where they sell fruit, fish and flowers, and where the scene of Pi following the girl of his dreams was filmed. Mumbai Apart from being the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra and the financial center of the country, Mumbai (formerly Bombay), is a center of high fashion, film industry and the city with the highest skyscrapers in India. On the other hand, more than half of the population lives in unhygienic slums, and a religious and social unrest is constantly present in spite of the financial surplus that exists in Mumbai.