A cow lies in the middle of the Golden Quadrilateral, a superhighway that opened in 1998 linking India’s four main cities: Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata (Calcutta), and Delhi. It’s part of a $30 billion-plus National Highways Development Project—the most ambitious building spree in India since Britain created the railway system in the 1800s.
Kolkata’s omnipresent rickshaws are part of its image—something it would like to change. City officials have debated banning the hand-pulled vehicles, citing traffic jams as well as humanitarian issues.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Railway Station, Mumbai
Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji train station, formerly the Victoria Terminus, is notable for its mix of traditional Indian and Victorian Gothic Revival architecture; it has turrets, pointed arches, and a ground plan that resembles an Indian palace.
Dharavi Slum, Mumbai
A young girl walks through Mumbai’s Dharavi slum, home to about a million people. Many Indians live in modern suburbs and work in gleaming skyscrapers, but many more—a large majority—remain impoverished and trapped by tradition.
Bangalore’s Brigade Road hums, a reflection of how quickly India’s industries have grown in response to globalization. Along with Commercial Street and the MG Road, Brigade Road appeals to young, savvy shoppers.
Jain Wedding, Mumbai
In Mumbai, a bride feeds the groom at a Jain wedding, which requires a series of rituals thanking deities. Some tenets of Jainism are similar to those of Hinduism, but the religion hasn’t spread far beyond India.
The hands of a woman in Jaipur are covered with mehndi patterns painted with henna. Trendy in recent years, the lacework decorations are part of a 5,000-year-old tradition of creating designs to ward off evil or declare one’s happiness.
Karni Mata Temple, Deshnoke
A woman in Deshnoke, Rajasthan, stands outside the Karni Mata Temple, a monument to the rat goddess. More than 20,000 rats live in the temple, including a handful of white ones, which are thought to be direct descendents of Karni Mata and therefore considered especially sacred.
Baha’i House of Worship, New Delhi
The Baha’i House of Worship in New Delhi is better known as the Lotus Temple, thanks to its lotus-shaped concrete petals. The complex covers 26 acres (nearly 11 hectares).
Taj Mahal at Sunrise
The Taj Mahal, one of the most enduring symbols of India, is popular with tourists, drawing more than two million each year. Cricket is the most popular sport in India.
Wrestling Match, Himachal Pradesh
Two men wrestle during a festival in Himachal Pradesh, which means “region of snowy mountains.” This resort area in the foothills of the Himalaya is an Indian favorite.
Sikh Holy Book
Sikhs reach to touch a chest containing a copy of their holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, as it’s carried into Sachkhand Sri Hazur Sahib, a temple in Nanded, during the 300th-anniversary celebration of the book’s consecration. Sikhs also mark the anniversaries of the passing of their religion’s gurus.
Ganesh Festival, Mumbai
During the ten-day Ganesh festival in Mumbai, devotees carry a statue of the elephant-headed Hindu god into the sea. Across India, worshippers carry hundreds of the statues into rivers and lakes as well as the sea.
Temples in Agra
Tourists flock to Agra to see the world-famous Taj Mahal, only to realize that the area is home to many other astonishing buildings, among them the 16th-century Red Fort, which once surrounded a Mogul imperial city.
- Rat Heaven (socyberty.com)
- Meltin’ Mumbai – Mumbai (Bombay), India (travelpod.com)
- Mumbai’s fashion and film (ebookers.com)
- Experience the vibrancy of India (orbitz.com)
- Welcome to Mumbai (pushikhushi.wordpress.com)
- Holy Rats of Karni Mata (neatorama.com)