Author shares his experiences of 'dynamic and diverse' India
If you're looking to visit a place where the old and new, different cultures and ways of life collide like nowhere else, then an overland adventure through India could be the way to go.
Journalist and author Oliver Balch, whose new book India Rising looks at the process of modernisation and cultural change taking place across the Asian state, describes the country as one of the most diverse and often contradictory he has visited.
In an interview with Wanderlust magazine, he explained how his experiences of India had shifted during different visits over the years, with an 'Old India' and 'New India' coming to exist alongside one another.
"I first went to India 15 years ago as a school leaver," he said. "I left after nearly a year absolutely enchanted with the country. For me, India was everything that the West wasn't: spiritual, amaterial, ethereal.
"Then I started hearing talk of 'New India', this land of dotcom entrepreneurs and IT whizzes. I was interested in trying to reconcile these two opposing versions of the same place. I discovered neither were in fact true. Nor were they entirely untrue either."
With so many different places to see, people to meet and cultures to experience, an overland adventure through India may be the best way to take in as much of the country as possible.
Indeed, Mr Balch struggled to pinpoint any one location when asked which part of the country he would recommend travellers visit.
"India is so diverse, it's difficult to say," he said. "I'm torn between pointing people to the amazing palaces of Rajasthan and temples of South India, and alternatively advising them to jump on a random train and see where it takes them."
However, he added: "For me personally, I love the mountains. I went to Ladakh for the first time on this last trip. Just stunning."