I traveled India with my sister in July 2013. Now being British-Indian, I was even shocked this was my first experience of India in my then 22 years of life! Nevertheless, I was keen to explore this amazing country in all its glory!
THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE
We embarked on the famous Golden Triangle tour, which comprised of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. After a long flight from the UK, including a stop over in Dubai, we landed in Delhi. It was a massive culture shock, in the sense of it being incredibly busy and in some parts, quite run down. However, there was something about the place that was just magical and mesmerising! Something just drew me in, from the warmth and friendliness of the people, to the fact wherever I looked – there was just something crazy happening! It felt humbling to be in India, with my heritage being Indian, it was nice to be ‘home’ in a way.
My first memory of Delhi was when my sister and I had left our hotel for the very first time and were attempting to cross a very busy road (it was fair to say we were scared!). It was jam packed with cars queuing bumper-to-bumper, car horns constantly beeping and locals just glaring at us – mainly because we were being typical girls, squealing and holding hands! The two places I would recommend visiting in Delhi would be:
JAMA MASJOD MOSQUE
It is one of the largest mosques in India and features truly stunning architecture. When in the grounds and up close to it, you can appreciate the hard work and effort that has gone into creating such a beautiful building.
GURDWARA SIS GANJ SAHIB
This Sikh Gurdwara is one of nine in Delhi. It’s on a busy street in Delhi, but once inside, it is so peaceful and calming. The décor is lavish and it’s a really relaxing place to be.
The slums and generally exploring the streets was also a great way to get to know Delhi. There was always something interesting catching my eye including snake charmers, general traffic, exposed electrical wires and random animals (cows) in the middle of streets.
Next we drove to Agra, which took four hours by bus. There we visited the Baby Taj, which again was another building of beauty. It made me even more excited to see the real Taj Mahal!
The next morning we woke early to see the Taj Mahal in all its beauty at sunrise. It was so different to seeing it on the TV or on a postcard. It was huge and the detail that had gone into creating it was simply breath taking. I really love the whole story behind the Taj Mahal – to me it symbolises true love - ahhh!
The final stop of the Golden Triangle tour was Jaipur AKA the Pink City! The most obvious attraction in Jaipur was the opulent City Palace complex, which housed numerous museums and architecture. We also saw the Amber Fort, where we rode elephants and again took in the amazing architecture which was on offer.
We also did many other things during the Golden Triangle tour which weren’t photographed including:
A developing city. We visited a small village there, which was very humbling. Everyone was so welcoming and lovely.
A city which served as the capital of the Mughal Empire.
CHAND BAORI IN ABANERI
A step-well and one of the oldest landmarks in Rajasthan.
Next we took a flight to Mumbai. We were keen to explore another amazing Indian city. The places we visited included:
THE DHARAVI SLUM
Amazing to see the community they have created. It made me thankful and grateful for what I do have back home. Despite them not having a lot, they always had a smile on their face!
An open-air laundry. This was a pretty cool site to see! It’s where all the hotel and hospital laundry is washed and aired to dry. A very efficient system going on!
THE TAJ MAHAL PALACE HOTEL
A true beauty of a hotel, architecturally gorgeous and a true gem of Mumbai!
GATEWAY OF INDIA
Across from the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, I felt they both complimented each other with their stunning designs.
MANI BHAVAN GHANDI MUSEUM
This is where Ghandi used to live. It was transformed into a museum dedicated to all things Ghandi including his work, possessions and photographs of him.
Our final destination in India was Goa. Now travelling to Goa during July was not the most sensible thing to do, purely because of the monsoon rainfall. As a result of this, there were literally no tourists around and the beach was out of bounds! We stayed in the most gorgeous hotel ever (treating ourselves to a little luxury) called the Sofala. During our time in Goa, we visited the Sahakari spice plantation, which was very exotic and humid. We also visited the Dhudsagar waterfall, which was an absolute amazing adventure to get to. We could only drive up to a certain point, as the streams had overflowed because of the monsoon rainfall. Instead, we took a motorbike for the remainder of the journey. To sum up the adventure, it consisted of a life jacket, off road motor biking, driving through a Goa forest, rainfall coming down hard, mud everywhere, in and out of water/streams, walking through hip height water and finally walking along a railway track to get to the waterfall – an amazing experience which was certainly worth every moment!
2.5 years on and I still think India is one amazing country! I have only travelled a tiny fraction of this huge country and I would love to go back to explore more! If you are thinking of going – GO!!! You won’t be bored and it will be an amazing experience!
Please note, at the time I didn’t even think to buy a proper camera to take decent photographs of my travels. Therefore, please excuse the quality of some of the photos as they were taken on my old iPhone 4.
The Golden Triangle tour of this trip, consisting of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, were organised through STA Travel. The rest of the trip was self organised.
All statements and recommendations are purely my own opinion. I have not been paid to feature or advertise any product, brand or service in this post.