India, a magnificent mix of traditions, spiritual beliefs, festivals, architecture and landscapes, there is no shortage of reasons as to what makes the country of India so exceptional. The variations in India’s landscapes are as evident as its cultural traditions.

Visit snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas in the north to the sunny beaches of the tropical south, this country has a bounty of outdoor attractions. You can journey from Manali to Leh through gargantuan sized Himalayas, trek high into the mountains of the North, explore the colourful cities of Rajasthan, experience camel safaris into the Thar desert, or simply indulge in the tropical forests and shimmering waters of the south. Among all these natural treasures is a wealth and abundance of historic and architectural gems from remarkable ancient forts and temples, to famous monuments scattered throughout the entirety of the country.

The array of sacred sites and spirituality pays testament to the country's long and colourful religious history. Festivals are a plenty throughout India with holidays being joyously celebrated often. A go-with-the-flow attitude will help keep your sanity intact when traveling the chaotic canvas that is India.

With its ability to inspire, agitate, astonish and confuse all at once, be prepared to be tested. It can be challenging, particularly for first-time visitors: despite India's wonders, the poverty is confronting, the touts and beggars can be frustrating and the intensity of the cities may turn the simplest task into an aggravating and exhausting effort.

Even veteran travelers find their nerves frayed at some point. But love it or loathe it – and most visitors will tend to sway between the two – to embrace India's unpredictability is to embrace its soul