India - explosion of colours
I love colours! I love travels! I love food! India combines all of these and is definitely worth a visit.
Through the years, I have been to India twice (so far), and have seen my fair share of the country. The mundane maharaja inheritance of the north in Rajasthan, the mountainous north-west of Darjeeling, the warm coastal south of Kerala as well as the lush nature of south-eastern Nilgiri area. Every corner of India is different, but equally beautiful. And did I mention the food?
But of course, a country with that many inhabitants also has their share of problems. Poverty is the biggest one of those. If you travel to India, you will not be able to NOT understand this problem. Especially in the bigger cities, you will see people living and sleeping on the streets, very close to rich people’s houses. You will see dedicated slum areas, where people live in cardboard box houses with tin roofs and for sure, you will see many people beg on the streets. You have seen Slumdog millionaire and thought it was the usual Hollywood exaggeration? Go to India and you will know it is not, it is in fact the opposite. When you travel there, you will have to decide before, if you want to support these gangs, exploiting kids to beg for money. But be prepared that either way, this will break your heart!
But let’s not talk about this. Yes, people are poor, but they are also very generous, friendly and extremely happy to see you, not only because they now they can get money out of you.
When I first was there, my friend and I felt like superstars. Everybody wanted to take pictures with us. Of course, two white women travelling alone is not the usual sight.
Kids wanted to know everything, where we are from, what we do and most of all, they always asked me if they can touch my blond hair, followed by the question if I have a pen for them. I did bring some stuff to give away, but it was not nearly enough. So, we ended up buying more stuff in local shops to give out to the ones who were so friendly with us.
India is a place where everyone finds something they like:
So, now you know where to go. Everywhere, right? No matter how much you have travelled before, India is completely different to anything you have experienced.
The chaotic (but pretty well working) hustle of traffic in the big cities can be an overwhelming challenge to travellers. Where else will you see roads shared by cars, buses, horse carriages, bikes, bicycles, pedestrians, tuktuks AND elephants all at the same time? Only in India. And there is no way to really prepare for this. You know what you will see, but you will not know, what this does to you before you experience it. You either love it and dive right in, or you hate it and you instantly want to go back home.
And did you hear of Delhi Belly? It is the Indian version of Mexico’s Montezuma’s Revenge, also known as Diarreah. Everybody says, you have not been to India if you did not experience this. I did not believe it; my stomach is usually pretty strong and I am careful to not drink from glasses washed in the street. But my first time in India, Delhi Belly hit me the last 3 days I was there. And it hit me hard… Since that experience, I have medication like Imodium with me wherever I travel. I don’t mind getting this, but I don’t want it to ruin my vacation by keeping me in my hotel room all day.
But I don’t want to scare you, besides all these points (or maybe because of them), India is for sure one of the most fascinating destinations you will ever experience. Andi t will stick with you for a lifetime. I can still smell all these smells from the many spice markets, I can hear the honking of tuktuks, and most of all, I miss those vibrant colours you see everywhere. You will know what I mean if you go there in winter time and come back to Europe to see everybody wearing grey and black.
India is amazing and has a special place in my heart. I will always say YES to anyone asking me to go there again.
Have you ever been to India? What are your experiences? Or you plan to go there? What will you visit?
I am a swiss photographer (www.fmphotography.ch),
a travel, wildlife, volunteer and outdoors addict who cares about zero waste, the environment and simply our planet.