We’ve all stumbled across the standard travel photos of elephant rides, religious temples and colourful harem pants, as they are in full blossom all over our social media feeds. Of course, these are all great experiences that any person with a bit of wanderlust in them would want try. However, to do it a little bit differently, why not do it in India?
With wild nature, majestic architecture and a range of interesting cultures and beliefs, India will not fail to live up to any expectation you may have – and then some. As a large country, it has a vast diversity of cultures, lifestyles and adventures, marking each place as individual from the other. Whilst the North is rich on tradition and history, the South gives you a more laid-back, modern take on the Indian life. If you decide to go traveling through the country, this is something you are bound to notice.
Starting off in the North, only a five-hour train journey from the old fashioned and traditional, yet hectic capital New Delhi, is a city called Agra. This is where the world famous mausoleum the Taj Mahal, is located, making the city bustling with tourists, minibuses and souvenir-sellers. Make sure to get a photo of the majestic Taj Mahal during the hour of sunset, visit it’s sister temple Agra Fort and have a taste of authentic Indian cuisine (nothing like your average take-away). However, remember to always dress appropriately (cover your legs and shoulders) and to keep a close eye on your belongings at all times, as Agra is also well known for pickpockets.
A four-hour train journey South from Agra, lies the beautiful city of Jaipur. Yet again, this is a city which is famous for its great history and majestic buildings. The biggest tourist attraction is Amer Fort, a large palace located on the top of a hill decorated in mirrors and drawings that could make you walk around the grounds for days. When you’ve had enough of sightseeing, be sure to visit the markets in town. Here you will be able to get hold of colorful travelling trousers, decorative carpets, beautiful ornaments, spices and jewellery at a dangerously good price. Remember to haggle though, even if it is just over 20p.
As you make your way around Jaipur, you will see Indian traffic at it’s best (or should I say worst?). You know those YouTube videos you’ve seen – yeah, it’s just like that. Motorcycles carrying families of five, busses so full that people are virtually hanging off, camels and semi-functioning cars are all making their way round the carefree cows strolling in the middle of the roads. This commotion is in one big unity of honking, ushering and starting the vehicle (or animal) up again. Even though your first encounter with the Indian traffic might be a bit daunting, you will soon find yourself impressed by how the Indians make sense of the chaos.
When you’ve had enough of the cultural and historical stuff, it is time to head down to Goa. Think of it as the Magaluf of India. Located at the West Coast of India, it is the perfect place for quality time in the sun with a good magazine and a cocktail. You can even bring your snorkeling mask and go for a magical adventure around the tropical waters of South Goa, where you can explore colorful fish and corals. In the evenings there are lots of both Indian and more Western restaurants to check out, as well as nightclubs.
As a last stop on your list, the state of Kerala is a ‘must’ to visit. The state is known for its long beaches and the network of canals, called the backwaters. A seat on a boat going through the backwaters, followed by a night spent living on one of the islands the backwaters runs by, is an experience of a lifetime. The nature is as mind-blowingly green and fruitful, as the people are warm and welcoming.
So why not be a little bit different? Why not visit India? With a culture so rich, a nature so beautiful and architecture so breathtaking, you are bound to experience moments that will not only look good on your Instagram, but will stay in your memory forever.