January 15, 2020
1. Riding a tuk tuk in Delhi
Sometimes it’s about the journey, not the destination. This will be quite a ride – hold on tight and feel the breeze in your hair as the driver dodges in between motorbikes and other tuk tuks in the crazy traffic of the Delhi streets.
2. Bargaining at the market
It’s not a fixed price – whatever the shop owner tells you is higher than what they
expect to sell it for. You’ll hear them bargaining with both locals and visitors as you walk through the market stalls. Finesse your negotiation skills and you’ll leave the market with a full bag of awesome textiles, accessories and souvenirs for great prices.
3. The Taj Mahal at sunrise
Get there early to beat the crowds and experience this spectacular mausoleum in the cool morning air. Built in the 1600s, it is considered to be the greatest architectural achievement in the whole range of Indo-Islamic architecture. There are no words to describe the awe-inspiring feeling you get when you’re walking around the complex as the sun rises in the sky.
4. A morning Masala chai
When in India, forego your morning cup of coffee in favour of a sweet Masala chai tea, made with a generous amount of milk and sugar. Many Indians are self-proclaimed “chai addicts”, indulging in this hot drink multiple times a day and can’t imagine starting their day without a cup of chai.
5. Celebrate Holi in Mathura
The city of Mathura is believed to be the birthplace of the Lord Krishna, making it a special place to celebrate the festival of Holi. The festival is celebrated for a week here, giving you the opportunity to visit multiple temples, enjoy the music and throw colours (don’t forget to wear clothes you don’t mind ruining!)
6. A nature drive in Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore National Park is one of the biggest and most renowned national parks in Northern India. It is a former royal hunting ground and is a prominent heritage site due to the ancient ruins found inside. Hop in an open jeep that will take you on a relaxing drive through the park, giving you the opportunity to spot monkeys, crocodiles, summer deer (and tigers if you’re lucky).
7. Explore the Pink City from the streets and from above
Jaipur, in the state of Rajasthan, is known as the ‘Pink City’ and you will understand why as soon as you arrive. All the buildings in the old part of town are painted a terracotta-pink colour. Pink is the colour of hospitality and you will feel welcome as you wander the streets, shop for textiles, explore the historical forts and palaces, and indulge in traditional Rajasthani food. The best way to start exploring Jaipur is with a serene early morning hot air balloon ride.
8. Spice up your life and try traditional dishes
A big part of experiencing a country is trying the food. India has so much to offer, and we typically opted to order a few dishes for the table to share, allowing us to try as much as possible. Some of our favourites included palak paneer (cottage cheese in a sauce of spinach and spices), dal (spicy lentil soup), aloo gobi (vegetarian dish made with potatoes, cauliflower and spices), and of course – garlic naan.
9. Learn about religions
In a country as diverse as India, you can expect to encounter people who practice various religions. Hinduism is dominant, with almost 78% of Indians identifying as Hindus and many beautiful temples across the country. You can also visit Sikh gurdwaras, Muslim mosques and Christian churches. The opportunities for learning about religious practices are endless.
10. Enjoy a mouthwatering meal, and listen to the story of acid attack survivors
Nestled on a quiet street in Agra is the Sheroes Hangout Cafe - a restaurant staffed by victims of gender-based violence: acid attacks. While the women here may feel outcasted from society, Sheroes provides them space to reclaim and rebuild their lives in company of other supportive women. The food here is delicious and the stories are deep. A must-stop in Agra.
India will strike all your senses and make you feel every emotion. The daily experiences keep you fully present in the moment. It can be said that there is no other country quite like it. If you’d like to explore this wonderful place with us, check out the Road to Rainbows trip departing in March (you'll get to do each and every one of these things!)
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