India's story is one of the grand epics of world history. Throughout thousands of years of great civilisations, invasions, the birth of religions and countless cataclysms, India has time and again proved itself to be, in the words of its first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, 'a bundle of contradictions held together by strong but invisible threads'.
With India's mind-bending diversity — from snowcapped mountains to sun-washed beaches, crusty old bazaars to designer boutiques, tranquil temples to feisty festivals, ramshackle rural villages to techno-savvy urban hubs — India has been dubbed the planet's most multidimensional country.
The subcontinent is home to more than a billion people, and its eclectic melange of ethnic groups translates into an intoxicating cultural cocktail. For those on a spiritual quest, India has loads of sites and stirring philosophies. Demystifying India is a perpetual work-in-progress and for many travellers that's precisely what makes India so deeply addictive. Ultimately, it's all about surrendering yourself to the unknown: this is the India that nothing can quite prepare you for because its very essence — its elusive soul — lies in its mystery. No matter where you go or what you do, it's a place you'll never forget.