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5 Reasons Why India is Awesome

Updated: Nov 12, 2023

The list could be much longer, but you have other things to do today.

Ganges river in Rishikesh India
The Ganges River, in Rishikesh

India is a crazy, chaotic, beautiful, disparate, smelly, tasty, crowded, and colorful place. For any American, the first step out of the airport is sure to whack you in the face with an overload on your senses and plunge you headfirst into culture shock. There are car horns honking, people everywhere pushing and bumping into you- not to mention the hoards of drivers trying to get you in their taxi or auto-rickshaw. There is an undeniable collaboration of scent; of body odor, smog, cows, trash, and potentially even urine, clogging your nostrils. The first time I visited India, I was surprised and overwhelmed by it all. Crowds, poverty, trash, and noise! But upon arrival into the country on my second trip, it was different. I remember a moment when I was sitting in a taxi, gridlocked in traffic; gazing out at the tuk-tuks packed beyond capacity, horns blaring, and a dim cloud of smog hanging overhead. Yet a huge smile crept up on my face because I realized: I love India. I just felt like I was in the right place. And here’s why India is awesome:

1. It all boils down to this: ANYTHING GOES.

Many times it appears that in India, there are no rules.  And as a person who enjoys some structure and order to society, I’m shocked that this is the thing that appeals to me most.  How many people can you fit in a tuk-tuk? As many as possible. Cows walking down the middle of the road? Sure. Can’t get a seat on the train, so you decide to just lie on the floor? No problem.  This kind of mentality strikes me as fun. Definitely unsafe and impractical… but in India, I like it.

rickshaw in india overloaded with large bags
How many sacks can fit on a rickshaw?

2. CHAI.

I truly believe that there is no substitute for the magical elixir of life (coffee), but if there is a runner up, Indian chai is the winner. Plentiful, cheap, and amazingly comforting to consume, I could probably live off of this stuff. Delicious.

cup of indian chai
Oh chai, how I love you!

3. The FOOD.

Indian food is amazing. While not one myself (anymore), I prefer vegetarian food, and thankfully the majority of Indians are vegetarian, making this type of cuisine diverse, plentiful, and well done. I don’t think I could ever get tired of the many variations on curry. Not to mention, lassis are delicious, and everyone knows that naan is amazing. If you eat meat, there are plenty of options as well, but I’ve never eaten it during my times in India. FYI you will not find beef or pork at McDonalds due to Hindu and Muslim dietary restrictions. And you will not necessarily get sick in India either!

indian food on table
Traditional food at an Indian kids birthday party

4. India is CHEAP.

So cheap. I doubt that your money would go further in any other place in the world. I usually set my budget for $5/meal (in a restaurant), and rarely go over that. I spent 29 hours roundtrip on a train one weekend, and it only cost me $12. Buses are even cheaper. One year I bought all of my Christmas presents in India at a price point of approximately $3/per person, and purchased a new suitcase for $10 to bring them all home with me. Private driver and car to go to the Taj Mahal? Only $40 for the 9 hour trip, and that was split between 4 people. Yes, sometimes you get what you pay for, and I’ve definitely learned my lesson that shelling out an extra 250 rupees ($3.75) is preferable to wondering if you’re going to die in a tragic bus accident or shady hotel. But even then, it’s still very affordable.

5. India is BEAUTIFUL.

Once you exit the overcrowded cities, there is so much diverse natural beauty in this country. From the northern Himalayan regions, to the beaches of Goa, to the backwaters of Kerala; you could probably never exhaust it. Add to that breathtaking architecture and ancient historical sites, the sight of women in their brightly colored saris, and monkeys perched atop buildings, and it really is a beautiful place to visit.

kerala india backwater
Floating down the backwaters in Kerala

And there you have it! I realize that this list will not be able to convince some people to take the plunge and visit India. India is certainly not America or Europe, and that is something to be well aware of in advance. However, learning to be happy in a difficult place is all about managing expectations and finding the little things that make you smile. And that’s why India has such a special place in my heart.

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