India has been on my wish list for quite some time. Having a best friend who is a massive Bollywood fan probably influenced my desire to travel there, but there has always been a curiosity about the culture that I knew could only be satisfied once I’ve arrived.
And boy it was just as majestic and fascinating as I had hoped for!
Firstly, I would like to note that I’m a year late to post this up! I travelled to India last year in Oct 2014, for a quick few days in Delhi. I flew with Air India into Delhi and as the passengers alighted aimlessly waiting around on the tarmac (wtf!!!) waiting for further instructions where to go next, it continued like this for 10mins before the airport bus came and picked us up to drive us 50m to the entrance. Because you know….walking around aimlessly on the tarmac is completely safe but a further 50m walk towards the airport doors is a no no??? Only in India. I can hear myself saying this quite often on this trip.
The main reason why I travelled to Delhi was to visit my work colleagues who were there on a business trip at the time, plus it was my annual birthday trip and I had my sights set on the Taj Mahal!
We were based in Gurgaon which is about 40mins further out of Delhi, in the business district. There are pros and cons about basing yourself out further away from Delhi, but to be honest I didn’t mind as much, plus we were using Uber to get us everywhere, and AUD$15 for a cab ride into Delhi everyday wasn’t so bad!
India has no shortage of temples and tombs.
The Lotus Temple
Catching a rickshaw (aka Auto) can be fun, but beware of getting ripped off and even worst, they can take you to a random ‘market’ trying to sell you expensive garments.
There are no 7/11 stores in India, this is the closest thing to a convenient store.
Qutub Minar, New Delhi
The locals loved to take photos of tourists! Well…just as much as me taking photos…
Beautiful Jaipur aka The Pink City. We had a private tour showing us around and giving us a history talk about this beautiful ancient city. We were only there for the day (which is enough) but you can stay there overnight to take in all the majestic elements Jaipur has to offer.
And of course one of the seven wonders of the world, the beautiful Taj Mahal! The story goes, the King fell in love with his young bride, and after she passed away during the birth of their 14th child, he decided to build her the largest mausoleum over her tomb. There’s no electricity in the Taj, it glows when there’s a full moon where the moonlight bounces off the white marble and it can be seen from miles away. It’s a true testament of love, but because the King spent so much of the tax payer’s money and time, his son the Prince sentenced him to prison shortly after he was in power.
I was obsessed with posing like Princess Diana. I’m pretty happy with this shot haha
You have to take your shoes off or wear these shoes covers to enter the Taj, as it’s slowly turning yellow due to India’s pollution problem.
Entering Agra’s Fort
It’s true, there are cows everywhere! Definitely a culture shock when I found a cow lying next to me on a beach in Goa.
Tips for India:
- Yes it is easy to get Delhi Belly in India, bring medication with you when you’re travelling
- Only drink bottled water
- Get a SIM card for your phone when you get the chance and Uber everywhere, cabs won’t always turn on their meters for you as they want a set price. Uber was GREAT in India! I loved loved it!
- There will be a lot of staring if you are a foreigner, get use it. Also it helps if you dress like them, wear long pants and long sleeves
- For tour bookings – seek help from the reception in your hotel
- Try and see an Indian theatre show, it’s amazing!
- It’s not safe to travel alone if you are a female (sorry but true!)
- Avoid public transport if you are female
- There’s not a lot of places that are in ‘walking distant’, we cabbed it everywhere
- Some temples will have dress codes
- Public holidays are dry days – where you can’t consume/buy alcohol
- India is predominantly a vegetarian country, but you can find meat in the ‘non vegetarian’ section of the menu
- Everything runs on India time, so learn to be patient
- They don’t drive in lanes…it’s kinda like one big lane you know? Wear your seat belts!
- Most people can speak English
- If you are in Agra make sure you visit the Mother Teresa’s Missionaries Orphanage (one of the highlights of my trip) you will meet the most beautiful kids and learn about the good work that these ladies are doing!
I loved India and I will happily go back! There’s a lot to see in India!