It’s been a while since I’ve been travelling in India. It’s one of my favourite countries – a country of extremes and a country of cliches. Yes, I love it and hate it at the same time. Yes, I did get Delhi Belly. No, I did not ‘find myself’. But I did find a destination that will keep me enthralled and wanting to return. So many of you lately are asking for more of my India travel stories on my blog, and I would hate to disappoint, so here goes…
We never made it to Delhi Train Station!
We grabbed a tuk-tuk to Delhi train station, without releasing the problems that would comarise from simply saying ‘yes, it’s to buy our tickets!’ I saw the road to the train station….we passed it….we went another way! It was a combination of being both perplexed and entertained when we ended up in the back of someone’s house in Paharganj! Well, the Chai tea came out and the taxi driver introduced us to his cousin – ‘He is travel agent!’ The travel agent cousin then proceeded to try to sell us a £400 trip around the Golden triangle!!!
Well we listened, had a laugh and a joke about the fact that we were students and just going to get one train! They quickly tried to sell us the bus ticket for one bus journey to Agra, which we politely refused! We figured that it was easier to finally book through our youth hostel, rather than all of the rigmarole of getting lost or touted to in Delhi!
Sometimes in India you just don’t end up where you want to go!
My ‘Shop is here!’ ***Holds up Briefcase!***
I remember sitting in a lovely little cafe near to the Taj Mahal to recover from the heat and the beauty pf the Taj. We were getting kind of used to people taking an interest in us, staring at us and also coming to chat. So when a guy sat down at our table, we engaged in the usual conversation.
‘Where are you from?’
‘What do you do in India?’
‘Travel and learn Hindi!’
‘Aha! Mere Dukhan yahan hai!’ translating to ‘My shop is here!’
He pulled out his briefcase at the same time and we looked in amazement as several rows of perfumes appeared! I was strong enough to say no thank you! My friend bought very overpriced scent of Jasmine!
A shop can appear from anywhere in India – even a brief case!
The Journey from Delhi to Agra
We finally found the bus from Delhi to Agra – thank God I wasn’t travelling solo on this trip – I don’t think that I would have ever found it on my own! It looked a little….primitive to say the least. Our bags went underneath…for an extra fee of course, and we thought that sitting near the front was a good option….
Just half an hour into the journey – a ‘rather large woman’ shall we say – sat on my knee. I was too polite to say no of course, and thought it would be just for a few minutes. Half an hour later and she was still sitting there. My friends giggled at me as my legs started to go numb.
Ah well….could have been worse. We could have been on the bus coming in the other direction. They were so jam packed on that bus like sardines that there were even passengers on the roof.
A look of horror came across my face when this bus approached a tunnel. Those unfortunate enough to be on the roof all ducked, and as far as I know successfully came out the other side!!!
Travel by Bus in India is sometimes not quite what you would expect!
There’s Never such thing as a FREE Tuk-Tuk
We were so pleasantly surprised by the offer of a free Tuk-Tuk when we disembarked in Agra. But of course, there is no such thing as free – everything comes with a price. The price of this was to be taken to his brothers shop, his cousins restaurant and his friends scarf shop. We thanked him and walked on when we realised we wouldn’t even get to the hotel that we had pre-booked. There was a very disappointed brother in law somewhere in Agra!
There’s NEVER a such thing as a FREE TUK-TUK!!!
A Shitty Day in Jaipur!
I explored the centre of Jaipur with my friend Dan – we were checking out the amazing astronomical sculptures of Jantar Mantar. I thought I needed the loo, went in – nope – far too smelly and squatty potties! I can wait, I thought.
Anyway, literally 5 minutes later i realised that nope, I could not wait.
I rushed back in and to my horror, saw that the previously empty toilet was now rather full. The ladies saw the look on my face, and stepped aside to let me to the front of the Queue and use the toilet. How gutted was I when I realised that the door was broken off. I had no option but to allow the diarrhoea to exit, whilst being watched by 4 women in very beautifully embroidered saris!
Trust me….if you go to India, Delhi Belly will hit!
How beautiful that we were presented with a flower and a free guide at the Brahma temple in Pushkar. Hadn’t we learnt our lesson by now…..?
It ended up being part of a Pooja down by the lake, which is all well and good until the rip off prices commence! My friends and I were separated from each other on the ghats (holy steps down to the lake) because ‘karma is individual’
A ceremony then began, which was all well and good until I was asked for 5000 rupees as a religious offering for the Brahmin! I laughed at that, and then received some bad juju about my family. I laughed that off, offered 70 rupees, which was about £1 and then we were done!
Don’t accept any flowers or wood – or anything at all for that matter – from strangers in Holy cities. Religious ceremony scams are rife!
Please Hold my Baby!
One of my fondest memories was the family who insisted that we hold their baby at Jama Masjid in Delhi. Of course, the baby was so cute, we couldn’t refuse. Then, out came the camera and suddenly we were surrounded by the whole family who wanted to be in the picture with their ‘British friend!’
I hope that you enjoyed my top India travel stories. If you have any India Travel Stories of your own, please share them in the comments below – I’d love to hear more!
Go with the flow and enjoy being photographed with random Families!
India Travel Stories – What to Pack for India
Consider packing conservative clothing and a shawl or headscarf for women if you would like to visit religious places. Some comfortable sandals work well in India as it can be hot so they will let your feet breathe. It can get extremely hot in some parts of India and so sun cream is essential.
It’s a good idea to pack conservative clothing for India. Avoid short skirts and low cut tops or spaghetti straps. Comfortable trousers and linen tops are great. Long skirts and Maxi dresses also work really well and are comfortable with the heat. Comfortable loose cotton or linen trousers are perfect. Don’t forget your sunglasses, and pack your prescription sunnies if you have those!