25 Jun 2021

5 Top Culture Hubs in India

The dazzling diversity of India’s jewel-toned tapestry of culture and heritage is a masterpiece of deep antiquity and incredible beauty. Bound together by the silken thread of its regional diversity, it presents a vision of an ever-changing world rooted through the continuity of its ancient traditions to contemporary times.

Delhi, the national capital, is an eternal landscape of thrilling cultural discoveries. The sumptuous banquet of its layered heritage and history is richly documented across the city— from the 1000 BCE moorings of the first city of Indraprastha near the ruins of the Purana Kila to the grand vistas of the Raj-era Rashtrapati Bhavan and Lutyen’s Delhi, from the Islamic period Qutb Complex to the bustling bazaars of Mughal Shajehanabad.

Kolkata, the first capital of the 200-year British rule in India, is awash with remnants of its imperial architecture, defined by the classical Victoria Memorial and the structures of the ‘White Town’. ‘Calcutta’ also witnessed the glory days of the Bengal Renaissance in art and literature. Jorasanko, home of legendary poet Rabindranath Tagore in ‘Black Town’, was a lively hub for this great cultural movement which began in the 19th century. Kolkata’s Durga Puja celebrations are as legend as its ancient pilgrimage point, Kalighat, home to the 19th century Kali temple—which inspired Bengal’s Kalighat style paintings.

Lucknow’s treasure chest of cultural offerings stimulates the sensibilities with the promise of many treasured moments. The city of the Nawabs was long recognized as one of the great cultural capitals of Asia in its heyday. From its fabulous Islamic architecture to its Raj-era buildings, from its splendid bazaars in the Old Quarter to its amazing poetry and dance, crafts and culinary traditions— it’s an alluring destination that encourages many repeat visits.

Kerala’s gorgeous world of waterways and paddy fields and plantations is best enjoyed by a leisurely cruise on the traditional rice boats by the labyrinthine network of backwaters. A stay in a traditional houseboat (kettuvallams) at Alleppey, Kollam or Kottayam is an unmissable experience. Savoring the local nuances of Kochi’s café culture offers great insights into Kerala’s contemporary cultural pursuits.

Goa, defined so richly by its Indo-Portuguese history, has distilled the most incredible experiences for the visitor through its churches and forts, ancient temples, and culinary pursuits. Yet its natural setting by the Arabian sea makes it one of the world’s most popular beach destinations, with deep reminders of its marine past.

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