India – what to expect and what you need to know
Everyone should tour India once. That’s what I told a customer when she was interested in a trip to India. And indeed. My stories and experiences convinced her. After the tour, I spoke to the customer again on the phone and she provided me with various articles about her trip to India. Thank you very much for that!
Welcome to the travelogue India. India – the land of contrasts, colors and emotions. The first time in India is always something very special. Which aspects of India surprised you? Which places are etched in your memory forever? And what were the best moments? You can read the answers to these and other questions in the following interview. Have fun!
It was your first time in India. How did you prepare for this country?
To be honest, not very intensive. We traveled with the tour operator Terralaya Travels and Helen Kämpf took care of our entire tour. Of course, you already have an image of India in your head because you know that it must be particularly extreme and intense. You can read more about the 10 preconceptions about India here.
Briefly describe your itinerary.
We first spent a few days in Delhi. From Delhi, we took the express train to Agra and then continued by train to Jaipur. We stayed two nights in Jaipur so that we had plenty of time for sightseeing. From Jaipur we took the plane back to Delhi and then flew to Bagdogra. From there we were picked up by car and taken to Sikkim. We spent three wonderful days at the Bamboo Retreat (Bamboo Retreat Sikkim journey) with a visit to a village of the original inhabitants of the region, Buddhist and Tibetan temples and lots of massages. We spent one night with a family in a small village and then drove on to the tea country of Darjeeling, where we stayed in a wonderfully preserved colonial-style hotel (Tea Country Darjeeling) – with a fireplace in the room and a hot water bottle in the bed. An incredible tour with indescribable, beautiful and colorful moments.
What was the best moment of the tour?
It is very difficult to say, the quietest moment I had was in the Lotus Temple in Delhi. (6 Tipps für Delhi) I like life in the old city of Delhi, Jaipur has some highlights, especially the monkey temple. In Sikkim, the landscape is easy to describe. I think the walk through the tea plantation was the most beautiful moment for me. And in general, there was always an endless sea of bright fabrics and colors.
What was your most emotional moment?
The Sikh temple in Delhi. Every day, 25,000 people are provided with food there. And free of charge. Everything is financed by donations and volunteers. But the way this is lived and implemented there in this temple, so pure – that touched me deeply. Seeing how grateful and humble the people are, both those who are given food and those who volunteer there, how it can work if you just want it to and how little it takes in the end, moved me to tears.
India is the land of stories – of interpersonal stories. Can you tell us one?
I would actually stick to my story from the Sikh temple. More humanity, more good vibrations and more human-for-human is not really possible.
It was easy to see how the people there – seemingly free of all earthly desires, dogmas and social hierarchies, such as the caste system in India – are there for each other, doing something, giving their time and energy to help others, getting involved in the community and contributing a little to making someone else’s life better.
You can’t really travel to India without a bit of spirituality. Have you been to yoga? Meditating? In a temple?
Unfortunately, yoga and I don’t go together. Haha … you’d be on the floor laughing if you saw me doing yoga.
For me, the prayer flags were a wonderfully colorful sight that can only be experienced in India. Whether around temples, on mountain passes and peaks or even on houses – the colorful prayer flags fly everywhere and radiate a mystical attraction. (mehr zu den Gebetsfahnen)
What fascinates you about India?
The people. On the one hand, this incredible mass of people. That was very impressive for me. How so many people live their everyday lives together, without ever having the chance to be alone. But also the religiosity and spirituality deeply rooted in society. But sometimes also blind, submissive submission. That is so different from our western world. And another one hundred percent increase compared to other Asian countries. That totally fascinated me. There is an almost inexhaustible number of gods and deities that shape life in India.
India: What kind of animals did you see?
Piles of dogs, everywhere in India. But they are part of it, are fed and serve to guard the people. Then cows in the most absurd places. On the “highway”, in the temple, on the traffic circle, at the market. Easy, everywhere. Cows are also allowed everywhere because they are sacred. And donkeys – otherwise monkeys, peacocks and a few cats.
Describe it in three words. India is …
… colorful, vibrant, breathtaking!
What was the best thing about this tour?
The Taj Mahal. A sight to behold in all its grandeur and you can feel the love of the building. The grounds and view of the Red Fort and of course mega delicious Indian food.
Travelogue India: What did you learn in India?
Everyone should tour India. The people are very open, you can feel their joie de vivre and openness.
Travelogue India: Three things that made you happy on your tour?
- The food and drinks
- The colors
- The temples and buildings
- and a fourth point: people