My top 8 unforgettable moments in India

Manuela, my friend from Colombia describes some of her best moments of her stay in India. Those who don’t remember who Manuela is, well she’s a girl from Colombia who decided that she wanted to live in India. You can read about her arrival here and about her adventures in Chandigarh.

India for kids

By Manuela

Last Tuesday, I celebrated 8 months of living in India. 35 weeks of adventure, traveling, cultural shock, color, noise, chaos, mountains, temples, food and friends. 244 days of invaluable lessons of life and personal growth that I’m never gonna forget and are defining what the rest of my life is going to look like. That day was also my father’s birthday, the big number 50! And on Friday, my College Graduation, which I didn’t attend either. So, as happy as I am living my Indian Dream, I’m also sad for not being there… And a little homesick!

To cheer me up and reminding myself why I’m here and not there, I decided to write a ‘tribute post’ to these challenging and absolutely amazing 8 months.

Here is my top 8 of unforgettable moments in India

1. First on the list is my first Indian Wedding Function, with all the fancy outfits, sparkling decoration, buffet food, open bar, Punjabi dancing and beautiful traditions. This is a highly recommended experience for every traveler in India and deserves a whole separate piece of writing!

Indian Wedding
Me at an Indian Wedding. Guess which one am I?

2. The day I acted in a play at work. With ‘Bollywood Dancing’. IN HINDI! It was one of the most stressful days of my life; bathed in the sweat of anxiety, with that nervous tingling in my hands and rehearsing my 4 lines and dance steps for 2 days. There were loud laughs, misspelling mistakes and my face was never that red, but it was totally worth it and I got to watch Iron Man for free! 😀 … The core of the story are the priceless moments I spent sharing and getting to know my co-workers at Twillion, whom I now miss so much!!

3. Horseback riding in Kufri. I love horses, mountains and snow. Shimla was absolutely breathtaking, the international crew more than great and the sunset simply perfect! It was like going to another country for a couple of hours while still being in Magic India. Contradictory and hard to explain! As most of my experiences during this trip.

Horseback riding in Kufri
Horseback riding in Kufri, India

4. HOOOOOLI!!! It was the best cultural experience/Holiday/PARTY of this year so far! Me and my friends went to Jaipur and spent the day throwing colors and dancing with local and ex-pats groups while sightseeing in the Pink City. Holi is becoming a worldwide celebration, but there’s nothing like living it in the traditional way, surrounded by the ancient stones of forts and palaces with their unique architecture mixing Rajput, Indian, Mughal and European styles. Colors, friends, music and bhang make this a MUST DO Indian experience.

Playing Holi in India
Playing Holi with friends in India

5. The day I was slapped by a stranger in a bus. Yes, it happened to me on a local bus going from Delhi to Chandigarh in a hot Sunday afternoon. It was definitely NOT a pleasant experience but is certainly unforgettable! There is a LOT to say about the controversial topic of how safe is India for women, and the world is in general! But I’m not gonna dig deeply on it right now. Let’s just say that I’ve felt ‘harassed’ and disrespected in various occasions on this trip, but I still love and recommend this country to all my female friends. Yes, you have to be extra cautious, but the number of incredibly good people you’ll bump into is way larger than the number of ‘bad ones’. I’ll tell the story in an upcoming blog post and you’ll help me find out the fails in my plan, advice our traveler readers and think about reasonable ways to help solve the problem.

6. The day I had the Dalai Lama so close to me that I could spot the wrinkles in his little, kind eyes. Yes, I’m a fan! It may sound like a cliché moment of excitement but the unexpected nature of the encounter makes it a story to tell; I was visiting McLeod Ganj with my boyfriend on June, and when we went got to the Tsuglagkhang Complex, we realized he was giving a public teaching that day! The place was packed and we were not registered but somehow managed to convince a guard to let us see the place for a little while. With no camera, cellphone or iPod to register the moment, you’re forced to believe in my word and what happened next: we were about to leave when another guard stopped us right at the exit point, because his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was about to enter the place. I mean, we were THERE! The first on the list, and without even knowing about it. It was a really cool experience, perfectly concluded with a visit to the Tibet Museum about the Chinese occupation and their exodus to India. A lot to think about!

7. Paragliding in Manali with my American and Korean female friends who were afraid to come to India and now want to come back. One of the best things in life is making friends all over the world. The best thing after that one is meeting them in another point of the globe and feeling like you just saw them the day before! I’ve enjoyed each and every place I’ve visited in India, but Manali has a special place in my heart; the vibe of the visitors hanging out in the cafes, the food, the temples, the Full Moon parties and the waterfalls made the place a little backpacking paradise. The best of the best: flying over trees and hills of all tones of green.

Paragliding in India, Paragliding in Manali
Paragliding in Manali, India

8. The first time I got sick. During almost 8 months I bragged about having a ‘princess face and a homeless stomach’ (L-O-L!) Meaning I could enjoy all the flavors and dishes of India without a problem. But the day finally came and after a lovely Sunday of wandering around the streets of Chandni Chowk and overindulging in Street Food Delicacies, the famous infamous Delhi Belly hit me hard. VERY HARD! And during three days I laid on bed, unable to digest any food, missing my mom’s special chicken soup for sick days and her hugs more than anything. But I also used those 72 hours to go through all my pictures, videos and blogs, and think about how much fun I’ve had, how many new friends I met and how much I’ve grown as a person and as a professional.

My final conclusion was simple and wise; being abroad, in a country far away from home both geographically and culturally, is the biggest adventure of your life, and also the best life school! Of course there will be tears, and fears and hard moments, but the new memories, people in your life and spiritual strength, will definitely PAY OFF!

I’m sure many of you have lived/are living the same experience. How is it going for you?? And for those thinking about starting their own adventure there’s one last word: take a leap of faith and jump in! I can guarantee you won’t regret it! 😉

55 thoughts on “My top 8 unforgettable moments in India”

  1. Hi Manuela & Shalu,

    It seems like you surely did have a good time while your travel around India! 🙂

    Sorry about the slap incident during your bus ride, must be pretty bad! I liked your other pictures of visiting all the other lovely places, and seems like you had an awesome time indeed. Good to see you moving around and having fun. I do hope you plan seeing other places around too, because there are lots more to see as yet.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice weekend, both of us 🙂

    • Hi Harleena
      Manuela is certainly having a lot of fun in India and making the most of her visit. Its nice of her to share her story with us. Thanks Harleena for your comment and sharing it too.

  2. Amazing!! article sharing a roller-coaster ride of 8 months in Incredible India. First of all Congratulation to survive through out this journey full of adventures, fun, spirituality, love, emotions and craziness ….I am glad to be a part of it with an out of the box writer and a crazy traveler.
    Yes!! its just the beginning of the story get ready to experience more. Best of Yourself 🙂

  3. Super. I liked the paragliding pic in particular – would love to have that experience myself! I am afraid of adventure sports, but I feel that I will overcome the fear one day. Have a great time 🙂

    Destination Infinity

  4. This is incredible how much India has to offer in terms of sightseeing and activities. I really want to participate in Holi one day, it’s an amazing party!!

  5. Hi Manuela !
    After reading all your experiences in India am sure that you had a great time here . You and Shalu together have made me aware of some magnificent places in India that i had never heard of . Thanks for sharing all your experiences with us .


  6. Anyone can be speechless after reading this post Because. Any one can fell down in memories ! Life is really Beautiful, Which most of time make us happy. India is really Beautiful & colourful country. There are many things to do in India & those makes unforgettable moments with India.

  7. I saw ‘Holi’ in an episode of the Amazing Race. Some contestants were really pissed at the whole thing – probably due to the stress of the race.

    The way you describe it, seems really fun.

  8. Nice to read your experience. In india there are many varieties it may be language, culture, dressing style, or food. This is the real india thanks for sharing ur experience.

  9. I liked you holi moment very much . I hope that you enjoyed a lot with your friends 🙂 I also love this Indian festival with full of colors and joy .

  10. Incredible experiences! India is definitely an intense country. Being an Indian myself, I don’t find it very challenging to deal with people here in general, but i can understand the plight of foreigners. I hope our guests are respected and welcomed with love. I agree that there many good people also. So all in all, it’s a nice experience to travel in India.

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  12. You look so young Manuela to be making that “leap of faith” — but I do congratulate you and happy to see that you seem to be having a grand time despite the occasional drawbacks and negative experience that you mentioned. I congratulate you for being courageous and open-minded; it takes a lot of maturity to appreciate the real beauty of a place (or anything for that matter) as a whole despite its imperfections. Enjoy your stay in India.

  13. Nice to read your experience. In india there are many varieties it may be language, culture, dressing style, or food. This is the real india thanks for sharing ur experience.

  14. lol… Delhi Belly? Sounds like the Montezuma’s Revenge you can get in Mexico. I’ve had that after tasting the best fresh salsa of my entire life.

    Your 8 month experience looks to have been amazing. I’d still go to India despite females getting harassed as I know how to take care of myself. I’ve even walked about Bogota, Colombia and Mexico City too!

    Thank you for sharing your awesome experience with us. 😀

    • Hi Nile
      Bogota, Colombia and Mexico City sounds interesting. Not been there though. I am sure you will be fine in India too. If I am correct, you are learning karate which will come in handy if required.
      Thanks for your comment.

  15. when i first visited your site i thought what a stupid site but when i dig and read it i found that it contain very useful and quality content .
    Hats off to u……
    i have bookmarked your site……whenever i will plan any tour i will visit your site first

  16. Talk of India and now am thirsty of seeing Punjabi dance, taste the Indian delicacies, wear their jewels and see their awesome creative decorations. It is true people fear going to India even when an opportunity come thinking there is racial discrimination but it is the opposite and wonderful working with them. Thanks Shalu for sharing ~Anetta

  17. Thanks for sharing your unforgettable moments in India – both the good and the bad.
    “……but the number of incredibly good people you’ll bump into is way larger than the number of ‘bad ones’. Very true. I’m glad you pointed this out.

  18. once i very first visited your site when i imagined that of a stupid internet site but once i search and go through it i discovered which it consist of invaluable and top quality written content. A terrific way to away from to u…… we’ve book marked the site……whenever let me program any visit let me visit your site very first.

  19. Hello Shalu,
    Exactly attractive tour, I never tested it before but now I can’t stop and sitting in my chair. Because my heart is going that places which you visited.

    Nice experience sharing to us. Please continue…

  20. Hi Mam,

    I read all the things but on a negative side, why you get slapped? it doesn’t happen daily to visitors.

    Getting sick is very common for visitors from other countries they have to stick with hygienic food that doesn’t found everywhere in India.


  21. Some great experiences! Cheers to Manuela for being so brave and open to new experiences! Hope your journey continues to be amazing 🙂

  22. I also stayed in India for 3 years, my best moments are the time I traveled by bike in Goa, the time in Kerala and a wedding in Poona, that was an amazing wedding.

  23. Hi Shalu,
    In Your top 8 of unforgettable moments in India,
    I liked Your First Experience. Indian Weddings signify much more than decorations, fineries, entertainment, wedding planners, mehndi walis and flowers. First and foremost it is the union of two like-minded hearts. I Hope You Enjoyed Wedding Celebration In India


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