Having completed a 10 day tour of Delhi, Rajasthan and Agra, I can safely conclude that India is not an easy country to travel in. From being headbutted by a cow to shouted at by ‘holy men’ the trip was far from uneventful. At the same time, it was filled with extraordinary experiences that I never expected when planning our trip. The following are the highlights of our tour:
Delhi is blooming crazy and hot and hectic and I can’t imagine anywhere like it. Our first day was spent frantically holding each other trying to cross roads while avoiding random men who constantly tried to talk to us as we desperately searched for an ATM. We were not impressed. However returning to Delhi after a over a week of touring was a peculiar homecoming, like returning to a parental home after having moved far away. It felt like a right of passage to once again locate an ATM in the midst of Delhi’s main bazaar, but this time strolling confidently as we had begun to understand the flow of Indian life.
A Camel Safari in Pushkar
Pushkar is everything Delhi is not – serene, sacred and bountiful. While there we had the chance to ride camels into the desert and our guides cooked an Indian dinner over an open fire. We slept under the stars with nothing above our heads and felt so so lucky. It was also an eventful experience. In the morning one of our group went for a walk and failed to return for several hours. I can only describe what commenced as a full on manhunt across the desert as we ran around calling his name. Don’t worry, he soon turned up but it was quite a morning.
Rajasthan national park
‘Some people go on five or six safaris and never see tigers’ – this is what we were constantly told. So, having only one night in Rajasthan and only enough money for a single safari trip, we did not rate our chances very highly. Nonetheless, we optimistically found ourselves onboard an open bus entering the Indian jungle. It was only ten minutes later that we heard an exclaimed ‘yes’ from our driver and saw a mother tiger and her two cubs. Once again, we felt so so lucky. Seeing tigers in the wild is something I never thought I would have the chance to do.
Other memorable moments from our India trip:
1. Being headbutted by a cow
No joke. I was walking down the street, minding my own business, when a cow going the other direction trotted over and bucked me under the arm. Safe to say, I screamed and ran. My fondness for cows quickly decreased after that.
2. Holding Indian children
We had been warned that many people were interested in foreigners and we soon became used to people constantly taking pictures of us. It seemed a different level altogether though when a small infant was suddenly thrust into my arms while the terrified child’s parent whipped out their camera. I don’t know who was more scared – me or the child.
3. The Taj Mahal
A trip to India wouldn’t be complete without seeing this particular wonder, so visiting the mausoleum on our last day rounded off our trip nicely. It was huge and beautiful and altogether extraordinary. The cherry on the icing was our tour guide who was what I can only describe as very extra when it came to photo taking, making us hold a variety of strange poses at various points throughout the tour. Thanks to him, we have plenty of pictures to remember our visit.