'The amount of acceptance we have as a culture is amazing'
In our Independence Special on the India You Didn't Know, Rocky Singh, one of the country's best television presenters, feels India's real beauty lies in its amazing culture of acceptance.
The thing I like the most about India is that it is very easy to belong and be accepted.
The moment you walk into a restaurant and ask someone 'Kahan ke rehne waley ho?,' the ice has already been broken.
The amount of acceptance we have as a culture is amazing. All that talk about caste and religion, I believe, exists only in the newspapers because when you go out there and interact with people you realise that they are far more accepting than you might have expected. And that is beautiful.
One of the most breathtaking landscapes in India is the place where the Kaveri and Arkavati rivers merge. It is called Mekedatu, loosely translated as 'goat's leap.'
Mekedatu is smack in the middle of a large forest and is close to the enchanting Galibore fishing camp near Bangalore. Also nearby is Anandhama that includes a traditional gurukul.
The place gets its name from a legend where, it is said, that a goat that was being chased by a tiger, leaped from one end of the gorge to the other -- a distance of over 20 feet! A baffled tiger gave up the chase and turned around.
Since the rivers have worked their way through the landscape, the rocks here are soft stone and at one point over 30, 40 streams eat through an area that is 500 yards wide.
You have to be there to experience it. Perhaps no pictures can do enough justice to it.
But the most interesting part about Mekedatu is the presence of monkeys who have a thing for alcohol.
A few friends and I made the mistake of leaving a few beer cans open and go for a walk. When we returned, we were rather shocked to see that the monkeys had drunk all of it!
Rocky Singh, along with Mayur Sharma, are host arguably India's best food and travel television show, Highway On My Plate, the new season of which begins on August 14. Rocky spoke to Abhishek Mande.
Earlier in the series:
'The stink at Gandhiji's birthplace angered me'
'There is an India we don't wish to know'
'The world has come to know India better'
'The credit is in India's roots and its stories'
'See the Ganga aarti at least once'
'They looked African but spoke Gujarati'
'Indians have a sense of humour'
'Hindu couple at an Islamic shrine shows what makes India work'
Image: Mekedatu, where the Kaveri and Arkavati rivers merge in Karnataka
Photographs: Rocky Singh