India has completely blown my mind. It is insanely different to anywhere else I have travelled and boy do I love it! The food is delectable, the people are incredible and the driving is absolutely nuts! India I love you!
Let me start with Delhi – there is so much happening at once as you walk down the packed streets that it becomes hard to concentrate on one thing at a time. You will have a Tuk-Tuk passing on your right, a cow passing on your left and also someone walking by on the street asking you if you want a ‘selfie’ whilst 10 horns beep simultaneously. It’s a punch to the senses but almost like some kind of addiction at the same time. I found that there are two main sounds to the city, by day it’s the horns of the traffic and by night the stray dogs barked all the way through, it wasn’t until I went to the massive Akshardam Temple where It was so silent it almost felt eerie after spending two days in the hub of the city. Aside from the 100+ decibels of constant traffic noise, I rate the city of Delhi pretty highly just for its complete craziness. I feel like my first few days in the country were spent sniffing a giant line of cocaine. Whoa! I have now joined my tour group and will be heading off into the desert.
Due to increasing riots around the country, all trains were cancelled on the day we were booked to take an overnight sleeper from Delhi to Bikaner. The alternative? A 16-hour bus ride taking us 400km off route in order to avoid riot activity. In all it was a very interesting journey driving through the desert passing rural villages. We arrived to Bikaner and headed out in Tuk-Tuks to the dusty plains where our camels awaited. My trusty steed was named Ruji, but I preferred to call him Diego, after all he did have a black Mohawk and a few tattoos. After a slightly terrifying but fun camel trek into the dunes we made it to the campsite where we were spending the night, it was beautiful to see an amazing sunset and full moon amongst the stars. The evening was spent devouring a delicious meal made by the Cameleers and drinking with locals around the campfire. It was magical!
Next stop on the list was Jaisalmer, A ‘small’ city for India in the dusty desert of Rajasthan only 150km from the Pakistan border. Jaisalmer is also known as the golden city where all the buildings are made of sandstone causing a stunning golden gleam under the suns light. Perched on the top of a hill overlooking the city is the impressive Jaisalmer fort, which is home to a quarter of the city’s population. Walking around the fort you can see the palace and many temples tucked amongst the tight crooked streets. Definitely worth a visit for the local crafts and colorful fabrics which are famous for the state of Rajasthan and made in the surrounding villages.
Tomorrow we are headed to Jodhpur and will be taking a local bus, transport in India runs on ‘Indian Time’, which doesn’t take long to work out. As a general rule I add on an extra hour of travel per 3 hours of estimated travel time. Everything runs slow in this country and you just have to let go of any expectations and appreciate the outcomes. There isn’t much sense of urgency particularly when ordering food and drinks and its best to really expect the unexpected. All the food I have had here has been incredible, from curry breakfasts to curry lunches and curry dinners, delicious! I have been trying to branch out as much as I can with the food and try something new every meal, but sometimes its hard not to go past my favourites – currently Kadai Paneer. I have also been trying to eat the local specialties because these are always the best dish that each restaurant offers. Unlike many people’s expectations including my own, the food so far in India hasn’t been very spicy and I find myself often asking for the ‘spicy’ option. Kingfisher beer has become a daily ritual and some of us braved the local rum at the low cost of £3.50 for a liter.
So far India has impressed me on all levels, I am looking forward to heading to the next few cities, trying many more delicacies and having a blast!