HOLD YOUR BREATH, literally.
I’ve always been a bit hesitant to travel India because I’ll admit, the media doesn’t necessarily shine a positive light on it for female travellers. But, I ended up exploring India for 3 weeks in 2017 and I’m so happy I did it.
India is a place that heightens all of your senses. I don’t think you will every be ready or prepared to go to India, you just throw yourself at it and take everything it gives you. You will smell, see, hear and taste things you’ve never experienced before. It’s a place that challenged me as a traveller. At that point, I was getting very comfortable in my travels. I did a lot of Europe and Southeast Asia and to be honest, when you’re used to travelling these areas, they all start to feel safe and familiar.
But India was different - it was a shock on all levels. My 3 weeks were filled with ups and downs (I was SO ready to leave by the end of it). BUT, that being said, I wanted to write about some of the coolest experiences I had while in India. Here are my top recommendations of ‘must do activities’ if you decide to go:
1. Take a cooking class. I love cooking and after some research, I discovered Nimi’s cooking class in Munnar. The food changes from region to region and Nimi specializes in Keralan cuisine. She teaches in her own home kitchen which is a beautiful outdoor kitchen fully equipped with every Indian spice you can think of. We got to learn about all the difference spices, made a few variations of curries and of course, ate everything we made in the end.
2. Go tiger spotting (or any animal spotting). We really wanted to see a tiger on this trip and to be honest, it’s usually a hit or miss. Because the parks are so vast, it came down to luck and how good your guide is. We went to Rawthanbore National Park and did two excursions where we finally saw a tiger sitting in the water…it was absolutely breathtaking and unreal, the tiger is a beautiful animal and the stripes were so perfect that I thought it was just a costume.
3. Eat. Specifically Garlic Naan. There is nothing better in India than to dip crispy, garlicy naan into any type of curry (I’m surprised, I actually didn’t take any pictures of naan). This is coming from a person who is OBSESSED with bread. Being a staple in Indian cooking, you can get garlic naan or just plain naan from anywhere and it’ll satisfy all your carb-based needs. The curry in India is so different to what I know from the Western world that it deserves an apology. I never really enjoyed Indian curry until I had real Indian curry in India. For fine dining, I would highly recommend Indique in Jodphur (pictured below with a beautiful view of Mehrangarh fort) and Indian Accent in Dehli.
4. People watch. This was one of the most interesting aspects of India for me - watching the people of India among different regions, cultures, classes and ways of life. Get a chai or lassi, cool off and embrace the organized chaos.
5. Temple hop. There are so many different religions in India. I remember standing on a street in Dehli looking at four different temples for different religions all next to each other. It’s amazing to see all these diverse backgrounds peacefully co-existing.
6. Last but not least, visit the Taj Mahal. I can honestly say the Taj is one of the most impressive structures I’ve ever seen. Of all the photos I saw, nothing compared to seeing it in real life. I would say this needs to be on everyone’s bucket list. Go early to catch the sunset and avoid the crowds (jk, there’s always crowds).
A little Reality vs. Instagram below… haha!
The last thing I thought of doesn’t necessarily make the cut because it’s something to do at your own risk…and not everyone will love it, ha! Getting in any type of moving vehicle whether it’s a bus, car or tuk-tuk. I’ve been in all three and it’s always an adventure - a near death adventure. Believe it or not, among all the chaos, India does a common road system that everyone follows but it’s their own system. Basically, you drive at top speed until you’re ready to overtake another vehicle and once you’re there, you honk a bunch of times to warn oncoming traffic you’re going into their lane. There were so many times I thought “This is it.”
This is only touching the surface of my three weeks in India. Everything there is so stimulating if you feel like you need a new travel challenge, try India - you won’t be disappointed!