The well chosen slogan of ‘Incredible India’ is a perfect way to sum up my first visit to India. It is both beautiful and shocking at the same time. All the senses are given a thorough workout as you travel through this emerging economic power. It is a place of contradictions. Ladies wearing fabulous sari’s walk along roads where there is rotting litter in large piles where stray dogs feed. There will be 4 people on a moped, passengers standing on the bumper of a minibus but they travel at a slow speed and manage to avoid the large number of cattle, pigs and dogs that wander freely on the highways. They are a friendly nation, with lots of smiles and lively conversation even though many live in shacks without sanitation or running water. They value education highly, but don’t follow any rules. Ladies can show their mid riff but not their legs or cleavage. You can piss but not kiss on the street. Shoes are sold from air conditioned shops whilst food is sold alongside polluted streets. Everywhere is crowded, not surprising with 1.25 billion people, yet I saw no one get angry with anyone else. They have magnificent world heritage sites, beautiful monuments that are a reminder of its historical wealth, they are custodians of some of the world’s most endangered species, but a tea picker earns £1 a day. They are a peaceful, gentle people who freely acknowledge that corruption is part of everyday life. Everything from arranged marriages, over 300 million gods of the Hindus, the caste system, to the beautifully designed fabrics, jewellery, art and crafts are all fascinating aspects of this colourful country.