Updated: Feb 6
India is a nation with 22 official languages, six major religions, and several hundred ethnic categories. It is essentially the most diverse nation in the world!
So far, across India, I have traveled to multiple capital cities including Chandigarh (north India), Delhi (central-north India), Mumbai (western India), Chennai (south India), and Kochi (south India). I also have traveled to some unique places such as Auroville, which is an "experimental township," as well as to Leh, Ladakh, a city with a Tibetan culture that is based in the Himalayan region. These experiences have exposed me to diverse groups across India. Let's take a look at a few of these places together!
Delhi, being the the capital of India, is very diverse. There is not as much international diversity as I had expected, but still, the cultural diversity is quite immense here. All the traffic signs in Delhi, for example, are posted in at least three different languages, and
some even in four, depending on the neighborhoods.
Based on my observations of the few times I have visited Mumbai, there does not appear to be segregation within the city, meaning that one will often find a quite affluent community located directly next to a poorer community.
This structure seems to foster a stronger connection among the groups within the city, and I have a lot of respect for this way of living! The official langauge of Mumbai is Marathi, but most people also speak English.
Bangalore, similar to Mumbai, is a hub of headquarters for some of India’s largest companies. Specifically, it is the hub of IT companies, and some refer to it as “the Silicon Valley of India.” During my experience visiting Bangalore, I was amazed at how cosmopolitan the city is. This means that it includes many people from different countries. English is well-spoken here, and the official language is Kannada.
Jaipur is located on what tourists call the “triangle,” which consist of the three cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Therefore many tourists visit Jaipur, and its proximity to Delhi is a huge reason for this. Many call Jaipur the “pink city” because of its rich architecture and trademark pink building color. The official language of Jaipur is Hindi.
Chandigarh is the capital of Punjab, a northern state in India. Chandigarh was designed by the Swiss architect Le Corbusier, and in my opinion, it is the best structured city of the places I have visited in India. Unlike most other Indian cities, there is rarely traffic, and it is easy to commute from one place to another. The dominant language is Punjabi.
Kerala has beautiful nature and forests and is well-known for its tea gardens on huge plantations of land. I loved visiting them. The people were nice and friendly, and if I were to choose a vacation spot from the places I have traveled to thus far in India, Kerala would be the place. The official language spoken here is Malayalam, but most of the people I interacted with knew Hindi while only a percentage knew English.
Auroville is an “experimental township” in Tamil Nadu, and I worked here last summer with a solar company. I have never visited a place like it, because it has such incredible international diversity. It has around 3,000 residents from 54 countries with two-thirds of the population from India, France and Germany. The people are friendly and very environmentally-conscious. English is the primary language spoken here, and yoga and spirituality are important components of this society.
Leh is a city located in the Himalayan region in the far north of India. Leh is primarily Tibetan in culture, and it has incredible monasteries (Buddhist temples) spread out across the city and the surrounding mountains. A Wifi connection is difficult to come by, but there are specific shops one can go to in order to get access. The official language is Tibetan!
Overall, India is very diverse and I have only been able to experience a small portion of this diversity. There is tremendous beauty in this diversity, and the amount of potential India has as a result of this diversity is enormous. Diversity can help countries grow economically, culturally, socially, and spiritually, in many ways. But it takes work to also blend this diversity in a way that facilitates positive growth, which India must continue to do!