There are reasons why India is called a “Subcontinent”. This is a country with over 1 Billion people, with different varieties of landscape and culture. There is so much to see and do that it is hard to believe that all of it can be packed into one country. It is a place that is truly an assault on all the senses. There are few places in the world that can match the energy of India and even fewer that will leave such a lasting impression on a traveller . We were lucky to be able to spend an entire month travelling through the country, going from South to North. This month left us with countless memories and here are a few of the reasons for why you too should also visit India.
1. The Energy
In India, it feels at time like everything is moving at a million miles an hour. The constant traffic jams, the never ending barrage of honking horns, the overcrowded streets, the smells and the delays that you experience on every mode of public transportation. All of this can take a toll on any traveller. But this was something that something that I missed after I left India. It is truly an energy that is unique to the country and must be embraced with open arms. Learning to go with the flow will greatly enhance your experience in India.
2. The People
The people of India were some of the most kindest people we met throughout our travel adventure. Every time we visited a local restaurant, we were greeted with welcoming smiles from everyone. There were also numerous times where we were lost or unsure which train we were supposed to take but the locals would go out of their way to ensure we reached our destination. And who can forget the classic ‘Indian Head Bobbing’ ?
3. The History & Architecture
We couldn’t help but marvel at all the absolutely spectacular buildings and unique architecture we saw all over India. Besides the obvious Taj Mahal (which is a reason to visit India by itself), a few of the highlights were:
- The Mysore Palace (Mysore, Karnataka) – A lavish palace with beautiful courtyards and stunning paintings.
- The Amber Fort (Jaipur, Rajasthan) – Diana and I actually debated about whether this place was in fact the most beautiful building we saw on the trip. Easily the most gorgeous fort in India (we thought it was better than the Red Fort in Delhi and the Agra Fort). We highly recommend getting a guided tour.
- The Gateway of India (Mumbai, Maharashtra) – Ok, maybe this one is on the list because I am such a huge fan of the novel Shantaram but there was just something about this place. The location, which is in the centre of perhaps the busiest and most energetic city in India, the Taj Hotel in front of it and the Arabian Sea behind it, just make this place one of the most photogenic and memorable places we visited in the country.
- Old Delhi (Delhi) – Old Delhi is the area in Delhi which holds so many monuments, we couldn’t just pick one. From Humanyun’s Tomb (the building which was the inspiration for the Taj Mahal), the Jama Masjid and India Gate, a tour of Old Delhi is not to be missed.
4. The Food
We were lucky that we got to experience both South and North Indian cuisines. The two cuisines vary greatly in flavours and ingredients. South Indian cuisine is vegetarian’s paradise. We couldn’t get enough of the Masala Dosas (we ate one at least once a day), Idlis and the coconut curries. Some of our favourites were the masala dosas in Mysore and the Spicy seafood dishes of Goa. North Indian cuisine is known for its creamy curries and tandoori flavours. My personal favourites were the Rajasthani Thali’s, I had in Jaipur and Udaipur. In my opinion, out of all the countries we have visited in our travels, India easily had the best food.
5. India is Cheap, Cheap, Cheap
We found India to be even cheaper than South East Asia. You can enjoy good accommodation, have huge meals and enough money for sight seeing all for about $20 USD a day. Travelling between states can be pricey but not if booked in advance. The Indian railway system is incredibly cheap when considering the distance travelled. Flights between cities are also super cheap if booked in advance. We spent a month in India but we were only able to see about half of the country. India is cheap enough to spend multiple months exploring. I will write a separate blog post of how to save money in India.
There are so many things to see and do in India. Make sure to check out our complete guide on where to go in India too!