Well, as mentioned in an other post. India was my “first”, long time ago. I feel i grew a lot there and it has my heart for ever. I can’t write a lot about it, better see it from your own eyes. I just want to mention that the place is a lot safer that everyone think or say. Sure, depending where you go, the experience will be very different. Delhi or Mumbai aren’t pleasant (at least for me), very crowded, insanely hot. Some other places as Agra, Varanasi or Calcutta have an heavy soul not so easy to shake off, but what an energy. Some other places are heaven on Earth, Udaipur, Pushkar, Vashisht, Silkim region, Black waters, and Hampi!
I’ll start by the last, Hampi! It’s an old archeological site full of ruins, with a river splitting in two the little town. All the area is surrounded by boulder rocks, ideal for climbers, and heaps of rice fields. It has as well a super refreshing lake 10min away from town by push-bike, perfect for the insanely hot and dry days. The archeological site is huge (and free if i do remember well). you can easily visit it for two or three days without repeating yourself. The vibe is so so peaceful there, alike if it was on a different latitude from the rest of Earth. Chilled people, smooth day, quiet and cosy. Don’t stay in Hampi bazar but go across the river. There you’ll have few bungalows on top of the river, just one street, and few restaurants to feed yourself. I don’t know what more to say about it, just go and i believe you would feel it as well. I didn’t know nothing about Hampi, beside that a very good friend of mine was speaking of it for years. She always had stars in her eyes when mentioning Hampi. That was enough for me to want to have a feel of it. Once there, just few minutes were needed to understand it. No words can describe it, it is just a special place with a calm soul. Since, i’ve spoken a lot about Hampi with other travelers, we all do feel the same vibe about it.
Udaipur & Pushkar are located in the Rajhastan. My memories about it are rusty, it was over 10 years ago but i’m still smiling and having goose bumps thinking about it. I remember that Udaipur was alike being in the Aladin Disney’s movie. All was white marble all over town with stunning temples and the Maharaja’s palace across the lake. One of those places on Earth where you feel you are in the middle of a fairy tale. Your own fairy tale. People were also extremely friendly there. Pushkar is 5h north of Udaipur. Small town on top of a mountain, surrounded by dry lands and with an artificial lake at its center. A “Mystical vibe” is reigning up there. It is a sacred place for some Hindus, being the town of Brahma. It’s has a religious pilgrim and many Hindus are doing it once in their life. The town is small and colorful, with many religious ceremonies around the lake. Camel’s tour in the surrounding are also 2/4h well spent. Somewhere in September or October, it is a very famous Camel festival, if you can pop in during this time of the year, i’ve heard loads of goods about it. Jodhpur is also very spectacular.
So many places have impressed me there, but one more that i really would like to specially recommend is a stay in Varanasi (Benares). Big population, big “melting-pot”, very religious. All kind of energies are crossing there. It is heavy but wonderful. Along the Ganj river where some Hindus come to die, the old town (Benares) is full of narrow streets and colorful buildings, where you’ll meet people on the path of their faith. I’ve realized i’ve repeated myself and mention a lot of times on this post about India, the meaning of “energy”, I guess it is what i get out the most of travelling, and India gives a good understanding of it. With my words, i suppose, Varanasi is kind of the hearth of it in somehow. I would recommend doing it during festival’s season.
As understood, “Mama” India is magical and I always recommend people doubting it to go once there. The common saying about India ” you love or you hate it” is quite true, in my opinion, you’ll never stay insensitive to the place. I love it, I hope you’ll do too. South and North are very different, and pretty much every where you’ll go will be. For example, even between Udaipur, Pushkar, and Jodhpur, which are in the same State, and not very far from each other (for India’s scale), are super distinctive, each one owning is own faith and soul. But every where you go is interesting, colorful with different souls gliding in the air. Still for me, the heart of India as said is Varanasi. Some places like Calcutta, Agra, Rajhastan (and many others) have a strong soul for Westerners, for people looking to a lighter visit. Kerala State and south West India has a very peaceful vibe and an easier energy to approach. Super friendly people down there. The Blackwaters is a stunning region to visit.
Food is more than great, very rich, and very different between North and South but everywhere it is yummy.
One last tip, to check ahead, but it was a time when the Dalai Lama, whose birthday is on the 4th of July, was greeting people to his temple in McLeod Ganj, for lesson in the morning and in the afternoon, two weeks prior to his birthday and tow weeks after. Being there, in his temple with him few meters away is one of the strongest memory i will cherish of my life. It was nearly 15years ago and i’ve been told the town changed a bit, but this place was marvelous, with a serene vibe floating all over. Being there, or in an other place with strong Buddhist culture, try out one of their traditional dish, the “Momos”, a a succulent steamed veg rolled pancake to deep in various sauce. One of my personal world favorite dish.
Go go Go to India !
Note: I had some misadventures with my camera there, and unfortunately (for me) i have very few photos of India.