The air is fragrant with nostalgia. The senses are filled with freshly-ground spices and homemade pickles. The streets that were once childhood playgrounds are beckoning forth towards home. The bittersweet memories of youth spent with friends are calling you once more.
The urge to deeply explore your homeland – to rediscover India for reestablishing your connection with home – or perhaps renew the kinship with the motherland. Because it’s time. Because you can. And because you feel the desire to explore your birthplace or explore the country of your heritage.
Regardless of whether your home country was your birthplace or not; the call of the roots is strong. If India is your home country and you have been away for years; perhaps now is the time to rediscover it. Perhaps you visit India every few years or so but cannot see the country much beyond your hometown or nearby places. If you have familial or heritage connection to India and have missed it for years; consider these fun and easy ways to rediscover your home country.
Explore beyond your home state.
Perhaps you have just enough time to simply visit the family and head out again. And for most NRIs or those studying or working abroad, spending whatever little break is available with family is the priority and why not. But when you have time to (re)explore India or perhaps a robust desire to see more of your home country; you might want to factor in the same into your itinerary.
With increasing air connectivity in India, it is now easier than ever to visit different parts of India. Once you arrive in the country, you can take a number of flights to major cities and small towns.
With many new small-town airports in India now operational (and several more coming up); you can plan quick visits to several places in quick succession.
Once you have booked your flight to India, you can start looking at local itineraries. For example, if you are visiting a big city such as Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, or Delhi then you can easily book flights for any place near or far.
IndiGo offers connectivity from all metro cities to most tier II and tier III towns in India. Other airlines also offer connections to cities and towns. With new airlines such as Akasa Air inaugurating new routes every month, there is no dearth of connections. Air India is also restructuring and has revamped its offerings. For instance, if you are visiting Kolkata or Delhi and looking for a quick visit to a popular town for spiritual sojourn, you can do so easily. How – both these destinations are now connected to Deoghar Airport; making a quick visit possible to this famous Shiva pilgrimage. Similarly, now you can visit Arunachal Pradesh as it has a new commercial airport. So, now you can easily visit even the places that were earlier inaccessible in India via air – saving you time and allowing you to see more of your home country.
Venture out on road trips.
Another easy way to see more of India is to plan quick road trips in and around your hometown. For instance, weekend trips from Andhra Pradesh or Telangana offer opportunities to explore heritage towns such as Warangal, the tiger reserve and old Shiva Temple in Srisailam, natural structures such as Borra Caves and a number of east coast beaches. A weekend trip from Ahmedabad can be to Dwarka, Dandi, or Daman. There are places to see in the outskirts of every town and city.
Road trips are ideal to (re)discover parts of a country that are either inaccessible by air and train and to explore places at your own pace. You can conclude heritage, temple, and nature tours from any town in the country. Even if you simply want to see waterfalls near Bengaluru or beaches near Kochi, you can do so by undertaking a road trip. The real magic is on the road.
It is enroute you will see blurry faces as you rush pass them in your vehicle and wonder about the people here. It is how you will suddenly come across a quirky café or a cozy tea stall with chitchat of locals around you – sounding sweet and offering melancholy and also joy all at the same time. It is by that coconut grove you suddenly discover on your way to your planned destination that you will regain a sense of India that is either stranger to you or a familiar old friend.
Attend concerts and art festivals.
One of the ways to rediscover your home country is to see it through the lens of art and culture. India is now the choice destination for many international artists and events. But when you are on a journey to rediscover India, you need to delve deeper into local talent and events. If you do your due research on the art and cultural scene in India, you will find plenty of events scattered across the year. Rajasthan International Folk Festival, Rann Utsav, Modhera Dance Festival, India Art Festival, Jaisalmer Desert Festival, Goa Carnival, Hornbill Festival, Jaipur literature Festival, Hemis Festival, Kala Ghoda Arts Festival etc. are big and small but significant cultural and art events in the country.
Then there are festivals of India. There is no comparison to celebrating festive events in the land of your birth or heritage. Holi in India – even if it’s with only your family and neighbors (rather than at a famous place), will be different than what you are perhaps used to as an expat. The same applies to Diwali, Christmas, Onam, Eid, or any other festival.
Festivals are as much about the celebration as about the vibe leading up to them. The anticipation of the big event and all that goes into preparing for it are the cornerstones of traditional festivals.
If you are looking for ways to rediscover your home country then try and attend a festival or two in India as your schedule permits.
The same goes for exploring the art and culture scene in the country. Attend one or more festivals every year or as and when you can for an immersive experience of India. The folk music scene in India is as exciting as the Indie-Rock in the country. Both famous and emerging artists in any field can offer you a glimpse into the changing art landscape in the country – an opportunity to appreciate India as it is now and not only as it was then.
India is rapidly changing. If you haven’t travelled much in and around the country in the past many years, you will notice changes in the landscape – be it big or small. The wonderful part is that old neighborhoods have retained their essence even if you can notice marked changes in an area. But there are now new vistas that exist. So, use exciting ways to rediscover your home country and make your connection to it stronger.
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