India is now a collection of wonderful memories to me. I left the country around 2 months ago and still can’t seem to get it out of my head. I followed my good friends advice to “Soak up the colours of India with my eyes and hold them in my heart forever.” I have made some amazing new friends, taken more photos than I ever dreamed of and I have fantastic memories that I will cherish forever.
As our time in India was coming to a close I felt really emotional leaving such an wonderful place behind. I realised that despite all of the challenges we had faced, I had grown to truly care about the country and the people who live there. Here are a few of my favourite things about this incredible country which I scribbled into my notepad as we traveled towards the airport en route to Thailand to continue our adventure.
Here we go, in no particular order…
India is the birthplace of Yoga, and yoga is said to be India’s greatest offering to the world. I couldn’t agree more. I absolutely fell in love with it during my time in India. I had practiced yoga on and off for a number of years but that was nothing compared to experiencing the real thing with some utterly inspiring yogis. Everywhere you go in India there are yoga classes available. The quality of the teachers varies hugely but when you find a true yogi, you’re in for a treat! We found 3 yogis on our travels and I cant wait to go back and revisit them!
All over this vast land, which seems to be impossibly full to the brim with people, there are children. Children who are so excited to see our white faces passing by. They smile at you, wave at you and some are even brave enough to come and say hello. All of them want to know where we’re from, what our names are and what we think of their home. Its so refreshing to speak to these kids who are full of excitement and wonder about us and where we have come from. We stand there in amazement at their world and they seem to imagine we have come from another magical world. I guess our two worlds are so very different that its nice to meet and be excited to talk to one another.
Colourful, elegant and beautiful. Of all of the thousands of women I’ve seen dressed in this traditional way, I don’t think I ever saw the same outfit twice. Such a variety of colours, shapes and styles. These women going about their normal days doing usual chores like cleaning, shopping and cooking. All brought a beautiful elegance to an otherwise mundane task taking place on a dirty street. Seeing a group of women dressed in saris is like looking at a walking piece of art.
The Tuk Tuks
Always a hoot! Some people aren’t fans, but I love how close to the action you are in a tuk tuk. Overtaking, undertaking, beeping horns, stopping at the traffic lights and saying hello to the people in the next door vehicle. The smell of the dusty polluted streets with a hint of incense and spice accompanied every journey. You can’t experience all that in an air conditioned car.
Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. They’re cheap as chips, I’m talking pennies to travel for hours and hours. Psychedelically decorated inside with flashing lights, pictures and stencils. Then there’s the music. From what I could tell, the customary ‘drivers choice’ applied just as much to Indian drivers as it does to drivers back home. We heard everything from dub step to keyboard demos, 80’s flashbacks and some local radio stations thrown into the mix. Then there was the method for filling up the bus which involved the bus conductor repeatedly shouting the final destination out of the window as the vehicle slowly crawled around the streets until enough people were on board that we could set off. Much more fun then a rigorous bus timetable I think.
There are so many creatures absolutely everywhere; birds, snakes, lizards, geckos, king fishers, dolphins, jumping fish, one armed crabs, butterflies, exotic birds, stalks, eagles, elephants, cows, cats and dogs. There is no need to visit a zoo (and please don’t because the enclosures are far too small). Just by looking out of the window you can see more of mother natures creatures then I would in a whole month back in temperate little old England (I do love British wildlife too, but its very exciting to see an exotic alternative!)
As a holistic health and well being junkie, being in the land of Ayurveda was a real treat! Massages, reflexology and shirodhara are offered in every town for an incredibly reasonable price. There is also an array of Ayurvedic health centres, retreats and spas. We were lucky enough to stay in one while I learnt some new massage skills to add to my repertoire! Ayurveda which translates as Ayur (life) and Veda (knowledge) is basically just that, a complex system of healing the body and maintaning health through balance. Its using all of the principles I love such as individuality, herbs, nutrition and bodywork. If you ever go to India, you must experience some aspect of this magical medicine.
My favourite beach was totally deserted apart from us and a few guys sitting round drinking water from coconuts and some fishermen preparing their nets. There were also loads of crabs just by the breaking waves. I tried desperately to get some good snaps of these cute crustaceans but the waves kept chucking them around before I could zoom in. We also sampled some lovely more touristy beaches, lined with beach restaurants where your feet are still in the sand as you tuck into some fresh seafood. The water is warm and the swimming is good. When we stayed in a beach hut and as I stood on our front porch I saw a dolphin swim past in the shallow water.
The Outrageously Cheap Prices
Rupees, rupees, rupees. I think the sound of the Indian currency has a real ring to it. We stayed in a hotel where two tortoises lived out on the sun terrace, one named, dollar and the other named, Euro. Apparently tortoises bring good luck so I can understand why the owners chose those names! Well compared to the pound the rupee can take you a long way. There are roughly 100 rupees to the pound so currency conversion is a piece of cake, and you can certainly have you cake and eat it in a place like India. Food, clothing, travel, entertainment, souvenirs are all outrageously cheap. So you don’t need to save for forever to have a dream trip. Just get yourself over there and you’ll see how cheaply you can live!