I've travelled to India many times over the years and often experienced fascination and frustration in equal parts. And with India being such a vast and diverse country, you really cannot talk about it as a whole. Each state and even every town has such a unique character.
In January I went with my daughter, touching on a few places in Rajasthan. Travelling overland by car (time was short and train booking procedures bureaucratic and looong) meant that we got to see a lot of the countryside. Both of us animal lovers, we were enthralled by the sheer volume and variety of creatures who play such a big part in the everyday life of the people, villages and bush of rural India.
We saw herds of camels, goats, cows, pigs, deer, sheep, monkeys, elephants, and a dog asleep on every sunny corner, flocks of birds and a snake. Admittedly the snake was a cobra coming out of a basket swaying to the music of a snake charmer. And despite being charmed at the time, I've since learned that for our amusement, the snakes suffer the removal of their fangs, and that animal activists are trying to get snake charmers retrained to relocate dangerous snakes from populated ares. I also didn't know that snakes are actually deaf, so the cobra weaves about following the visual cue of the charmer's pipe, and only emerge from their basket in response to the vibrations as the owner taps their foot on the floor. At the time we knew it was touristy, yet somehow also quintessentially, magically Indian.
Add to that the amazing people, everywhere. So many people, mostly kind-hearted and outwardly always so polite, but also sometimes tough and shrewd. Then top that off with squats and palaces, lakes, temples, huts, trucks, cars, motorbikes, trolleys, pushbikes, and the incessant tooting and blaring and blasting of horns (our driver was particularly good at this) and the effect is colourful, vibrant, magical, noisy, chaotic, surprising, overwhelming, and yet, delightful.
I of course loved visiting anything to do with fabric and India has the most amazing fabrics and extraordinary handiwork. We visited a little town called Pipar, which seemed populated by twice as many goats as people. The goats were sitting or standing languidly in doorways and on the road. In Pipar, we also visited a block-printing factory which, having been owned and used but the same family of artisans for generations, boasted a large and beautiful collection of patterned blocks.
I think it is impossible not to be profoundly moved by the experience of a visit to India.