A LAND OF contrasts and contradictions, India is a nation where the unexpected pops up even for the world-weary traveller. The relative tranquillity of New Delhi, home to the Indian Parliament, is quickly transformed into a cavalcade of rickshaws, buses and people as you enter the congested markets of Chandni Chowk. In Mumbai, the cityscape is a fusion of grand neo-gothic architecture, Portuguese-style decor, art deco buildings and modern towers. In late 2002, the Tourism Department launched an ambitious project to rebrand the country. The Incredible India campaign brought 2.75 million tourists to India last year, more than 15 per cent over the previous year. The campagn's budget for this financial year is US$20 million. Last year 30 per cent of visitors came from Britain and America. France, Japan and Germany followed with about 3 per cent each. In the first six months of this year, there were more than 1.56 million tourists. 'There is still a lack of awareness for India. We want to create a greater level of awareness and raise knowledge of our country,' the joint secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, Amitabh Kant, said. 'Europe and the United States are our key targets, but we are also launching campaigns in Asia and China to market India as a high-value, upmarket destination.' India's art and heritage, as symbolised by monuments such as the Taj Mahal, the natural wonders of the Himalayas, the desert and wildlife, golfing and adventures are some of the selling points. 'India's spiritualism and the art of well-being are also our emphases,' Mr Kant said. Yoga and ayurveda, the ancient science of Indian medicine, have been practised for more than 5,000 years. Now an ayurvedic lifestyle is increasingly gaining worldwide prominence, especially among Germans. While India makes leaps in the fields of interactive technology and medicine, you can still enjoy a labyrinth-like India in all its splendour as it runs on 'slow time', with is many cultural traditions intact.