Category Archives: Tourism

India Tourism: Learn from your Food!


It might sound strange, but does it? I feel Indian Tourism can pick some learning’s from its food. The secret formula is there. The formula of how should the Indian tourism experience, be offered to the world.

Food served in major part of the world is so monotonous, where the first bite and the last bite taste the same (except for the temperature may be). But the Indian Food, it’s different! 

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 Let’s observe the images above of a Gujarati Thali and a South Indian Thali, taken for reference. What do we notice? There is rice, roti, different green vegetables, fresh fruits, dal, curd, ghee, pickles, chutney, salt, salad, green chili, lemon, papad, sweet dishes and many more. Some are cooked in steam, while some are fried in oil. I have at times wondered, that why should an Indian meal consist of such a big palette of tastes. Moreover, irrespective of the different regions, where there are variations but on a broader term of taste, a meal served in Indian home has many elements of uniqueness. When served to a group of people, I can bet that no two people would have enjoyed the same taste, from the same food served.

For the world, the taste of food is limited to five basics – sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami (savory). Is the Indian Meal cooked in this limitation?  The experiment done with flavors or smell in an Indian Meal is humongous. Thanks to the rich Indian spice collection, even a modest vegetarian meal offered in less than $ 2, would take you to a roller coaster of taste. That’s the Indian uniqueness, which I feel has some learning’s to offer to the Indian Tourism.

I would like to share my observations of Indian Food, leading to my inferences or lessons drawn for Indian Tourism.

  • Option of a Variety of tastes: Even the modest food we eat in our home has a variety of tastes, spiced up. Unlike the western option of “Salt and pepper to taste”, the Indian meal offers a reasonably large option is a fact. Taking the clue, our each Indian Tourism destination needs to be packed with options (with unique tastes!)? I mean that even religious destinations like Haridwar or Ajmer, need to have more tourism products.
  • Specialize in a vernacular flavor: While the Incredible India advertisement shows the entire gamete of experiences offered in India, it is upon the states to choose for a particular flavor. If the thali’s of Rajasthan, Andhra, Bengal, Kashmir, Gujarat etc are so different, why should the amusement park in all these places be same. I feel the local “Tadka” is important! The varied tourism products may be planned “of the place”.  There is also learning for some states like Himachal, Jharkhand etc, who do not have a popular Thali (read Tourism Theme or Image), to introspect and discover their uniqueness.
  • Scope for Customization: USP of an Indian Meal is customization. People mix different elements of an Indian Meal and create their own tastes. Some might mix rice with dal then add some mango pickle and for the next bite some rice with vegetables and a bite of green chili and in very next bite, have some papad to add the crunchiness. One should really observe, how you eat your Indian meal and may be count the different tastes you had, in our food bites. Believe me, it’s amazing!

 I wonder if there can be any guide book of how to eat an Indian meal; what to mix, when and how?  There cannot be any one defined way to experience Indian meal (please read Indian Tourism). Similarly, Indian Tourism should create different tastes (tourism products) in a destination and leave on the tourist to customize their experience.

Do not bother about a planned sequence. Instead, let’s create experiences, and let the tourist plan on how he customizes “a rainfall of tastes”, in one single meal.

Is Indian Tourism about being emotional ?


Hello everybody,

As I choose to write my first-ever post, I select a place named Gaya in the state of Bihar. Gaya is a wonderful place, and is a city “frozen” in time. It is wide known that the Indians take pride in their family values; how they have taken care of their parents and also the vice versa. But I have often wondered, how such family values would have developed in a civilisation?

One of the answers, I found was in an age old ritual at Gaya, of offering “Gaya Sraddha”. This ritual in its core, connects the current generation with its old generation or its ancestors. A person would come to Gaya, may be first or the only time in his life, for his ancestors. He does not belong to this place, yet performs this ritual (it might take from 1 day to 30 days) in a constant dialogue with himself. Imagining his state of mind, wherein he is constantly in the memories of his lost father, grandfather and many more (who he may not have even seen).

One can only imagine the experience one might have, performing this ritual? One is expected to lead a pious life during this period, and be devoid of any worldly pleasure, even cook yourself. While remembering the relationships with your father, you might make many confessions to him, silently! You might break down, cry in a corner … might make certain resolutions for the future. But sure, you would be relieved and recharged, after you established this connect.  All this ’emotional’ and very ‘personal’ exchanges happen, in this unknown place. What a strange city! A city, that can make you cry! I often think, the importance of this experience and the moral upliftment, this city contributes?

In the displayed picture, a son is performing this ritual “Pind daan” for his father at Gaya. He is accompanied by his wife and his son. Irrespective of the varied regions in India, its languages and sub- cultures, this son pays homage to his parents at Gaya. What kind of an example the ritual presents to the society? What should his children learn from this experience? Would it not motivate them to continue with these core Indian values, of having a connect with our old parents? I often remember my father telling my mother, that she should treat my grandmother the way she expected her to be treated as she gets old.

I was bewildered to learn one written account from the Cambridge University Library. A person named as Veeraswamy, came to Gaya from Madras in 1830. There were no Airport then, nor were any trains or even the vehicles on roads. He travelled often by foot, and it took him 15 months to perform this ritual or pilgrimage and return back.  He also writes that it was not only him, but more than 1,00,000 people came to Gaya in 1811, to perform this ritual. I wonder, what would have been the “emotion” to travel this far?  What do we say about this Hindu belief that “a son, is a son only when he perform this ritual at Gaya”, for his ancestors? Has this contributed to the Indian Values? If it has, what should Indian Tourism do today, to make more people visit Gaya, and inherit these values?

There are many examples, which indicate the people have always travelled in India, often have been guided by such emotions. We all know that religious tourism is the biggest factor for domestic tourism in India. Do you also feel the essence of Indian Tourism is “in being emotional”?

I feel that this is how, India can be experienced best! In its core values, Indian Tourism has a lot to offer to this world.