India is mental but, I love it

taj mahal
Taj Mahal sunrise

Whenever I talk to people about travel, India often comes up as somewhere I have visited. With that I always get the question “What was it like?”

It’s the one question I really struggle to answer because India is so different to anywhere in the world and that’s why it’s so unique.

My first day in India was off to a rocky start but it grew on me, I learned to like it more and more as each day would bring new and utterly different experiences. So I feel as though I should do a quick recap of some of the lows, highs, funny and interesting times I had.

Where an elderly women sat each day, Pushkar

Right from the get go my arrival was far from welcoming as I got ripped off and sent on a wild goose chase just trying to find my first destination. Frustration and disappointment were just a few of the feelings I had to cope with initially.

I can tell you now, I am still relieved that I even made it out of India alive, especially after some of the driving I experienced, Wow! When I took my very first bus ride in the country, never before had I clung to a seat headrest with such terror and fear for my life. The rickety, overcrowded and dusty old (and I mean old!) bus placed images in my head similar to the way they used to transport criminals between jails back in the 70’s, as the window bars clunked and clanged.

Every time I heard the brakes shriek my body became taught, bracing for a deathly

random scooter in Jaipur

collision as each passenger was pushed forward in their seats due to the force of the bus eagerly slowing down. In the distance through the dust of the road, headlights became so close only to shave past us. The sense of relief calmed me and sent my blood pressure back to its normal rate. That was until 10 minutes passed when history repeated and it happened again, this was consistent on every bus, all the way through India as I risked my life getting around by their local buses.

Now, as if the buses weren’t enough, I endured the culture shock of a lifetime in the Holy City of Varanasi which was quite uncomfortably disturbing. There was also the restaurant I simply had to walk out of in pure disgust. Never have I or would I normally do this, but in this case it was too repugnant not to.

You are now probably thinking India is somewhat unappealing and a place you may never wish to visit, especially after reading some of the hick-ups I’ve had. But these experiences helped to add to the fact of why I like the place, that and along with everything else it has to offer.

Golden Temple Sunset
There are so many hidden gems in India like Pushkar, one of India’s oldest towns with such a laid back vibe that you could easily lose track of days. Or Amritsar, wherethe amazing Golden Temple is located in the North of Punjab. India is also home to one of the 7 wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal which is nothing but incredible.These are just a few of the amazing places I was lucky enough to visit and that was barely scrapping the top. I have many more places to come back and see “inshallah”. Inshallah, is what the muslims would say in India, which means god willing or in due time.

Playing by the slums with these kids in Amritsar
Fortunately for me and other budget travelers I can spend more time there than most places because the cheapness of it all. Being one of the cheapest countries in the world, I struggled to spend more than AUD$20 (around 1,100 Rupee)per day.For your basic guest house you would pay anywhere from 250 Rupee to 800 Rupee. Meals in most restaurants would not be more than 150-300 Rupees for a main meal. Transportation via, well just about anything is surprisingly cheap, especially the trains which can take you very long distances for next to nothing, depending on what class you choose.

So from everything that happened throughout my time in India, it has shaped me to love the country for everything it offers.

Have been to India, what did you think of the country? And if not, what’s stopping you?

  1. Dave Briggs
    • Jaryd Krause
  2. Melissa Auffredou
    • Jaryd Krause

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