Indian women sit inside an auto-rickshaw as they show their ink-marked fingers after casting their vote in Alwar in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan on May 6, 2019.
For most travelers, a trip to India might center around temples, forts, festivals and food.
But for one niche set of visitors, it’s all about “election tourism” right now.
Home to the world’s largest democracy — with up to 900 million votes being cast in the current parliamentary election — India is an ideal place to immerse yourself in politics, history and culture.
Throughout the elections, on till May 23, local villages, towns and cities are buzzing with energy and events. And that’s exactly what Akshar Travels hopes to highlight with its collection of political tours and experiences.
“When elections are happening, it’s like a festival over here. The people and all the political parties are holding events, rallies, parties and parades to promote their visions,” Manish Sharma, founder of Akshar Travels, tells CNN Travel.
“You can see that the energy and the participation is tremendous. It is in our blood, it’s our passion.”
This year, the company expects to welcome about 10,000 travelers on its six- to eight-day election tours. Each group is accompanied by a dedicated guide, which Akshar Travels has hand-picked and trained.
So far, Sharma says the majority of guests tend to be researchers, university students, special interest groups, history lovers, culture enthusiasts and journalists from all over the world — in particular, the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan.
Read more on India’s election tourism here.