I have been following Elle on her travel blog and I have to say I have been really inspired by her enthusiasm. Ellie from Germany has traveled to many countries including India. One of her experiences was sleeping in a fort in Rajasthan which I think was amazing. She has been kind enough to share some of her experiences of her travels in India.
The interview with Elle
When did you visit India?
I first visited india in 2006. I loved it so much that I re-visited a different area a year later!
Which parts of India did you see?
On my first visit I toured Rajasthan. It was incredible, and to this day I find it hard to believe that there is an area in India more beautiful than this state. I started off in Delhi, then visited a few villages such as Bundi and Bharatpur, staying in forts and traditional houses. I also visited the larger towns and cities such as Jaipur and Jaisalmer. Jaisalmer is where I had an incredible time taking a camel safari in the Thar desert!
On my second visit I toured the golden triangle, taking in the famous sights such as the Taj Mahal. Then traveled up to Himachel Pradesh. This was an amazing area where I visited Shimla, Dharamsala and Manali. During these visits the amazing mountains were constantly in view.
What was your first impression of India?
I clearly remember my first impression of India. I saw the chaos, the culture and the uniqueness – and I loved it!! I was in love. Within a half-an-hour ride from the airport to the hotel I saw cows in the road, whole families riding on mopeds and had a few near misses on the road. When visitors first arrive in India, they are shocked, nervous about the culture shock; I expected to feel the same. However, I didnt; I just loved it. I thrive on visiting countries very different to my own, and India certainly is.
What would you advice someone travelling to India?
Prepare, prepare, prepare! You need to be familiar with the culture and customs before arriving, so it will lessen the shock. So read as much as you can. Visit forums, read blogs like this one and get a good guide book.
What souvenirs did you buy?
My one regret was that I didn’t buy enough souvenirs! I travel very light so I find it hard to buy things along the road. I did manage to buy some traditional rajasthani clothing though. I just felt a little out of place wearing it in the middle of London City!
Which items would you never travel without to India?
I am going to be predictable here, and have to say a camera. I say this as India has to the best country in the world for taking photographs. There is always something going on in India where you just have catch it in a photograph!
Did you try Indian food and what did you think of it?
Truly amazing! Growing up in England I was very familiar with Indian cuisine to begin with, especially the hot and spicy food. What I loved the most was the street food in India.
Did you find India hot?
I traveled in November so it was not hot during that time. Certainly Rajasthan was a little hotter, but it was bearable.
What did you think of the Indian people; honest answer please?
I love the indian people! The only negative is that it can sometimes be uncomfortable for single females traveling in the country as you will constantly be stared at. There are unfortunate stories of females being groped in crowded areas such as trains. Just be sure to stand your ground. That is the only negative that i can think of the rest is positive as indians are incredibly warm people.
What was your worst experience of India?
I wouldn’t say that its a bad experience, more of a memorable experience. It was watching the guards parade at the gates of the pakistani/indian border. I followed the crowds to the gate and ended up almost getting crushed. A lovely indian man grabbed my hand and managed to pull me out. It was an interesting time, for sure!
What was your best experience of India?
Wandering through the villages of Rajasthan, seeing the traditional way of life and wonderful children. I loved seeing the children play and look so happy. They have so much less than we do, but are so much more happier.
Did you see beggars and how did you deal with them?
People respond to beggars differently. I gave very little, what I did give was useful items such as pens for the children.
What modes of transport did you use in India? What are thoughts on them?
I traveled by bus and train, both modes were excellent. The experience of traveling on indian trains are amazing. Its a very cultural experience.
Please give your best tips for travelling to India?
Allow enough time to travel through the country. Give yourself a few extra days for possible missed transportation connections, or even for sickness.
Finally, would you visit India again?
Most definitely! I would like to visit the East or Southern India next time.