Before I travelled to India everyone said it was a country that you either love or hate, but I think I left feeling somewhere quite in the middle. There were elements of India that enchanted and inspired me, but equally there were other parts that frustrated and overwhelmed me. It’s a dizzying place that I will never forget and it has undoubtedly left a huge impression on me.
There were many things about India that I really didn’t like and perhaps those are things for a future post, but here I wanted to share my favourite things about India with you…
India is such a colourful country, there’s bright colours everywhere! The trucks are decorated with bright colours, patterns and sometimes they even have garlands hanging from them. I definitely thing it should be a rule that trucks in Scotland are decorated now too; way more interesting than a boring black truck!
By far the most vivid colours I saw in India though were those adorning women’s saris and traditional Indian suits. These bright, embellished saris always stood out and made the women look effortlessly elegant and vivacious. It made my dark clothes look dull, drab and totally boring in comparison.
Eating Indian food in India is NOTHING like the Indian food you get elsewhere in the world. The Indian food that I’m used to in Scotland is heavier, greasier and way more unhealthy than actual Indian food in India. I couldn’t get over how delicious the dishes were once I got to taste the real thing!
Every region of India has it’s own specialties and culinary traditions and the dishes I tried in Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Shimla were all quite different. I found my favourite dishes were in Shimla, in the Himachal Pradesh region in the north of the country. I adore spicy food and the the people of Himachal Pradesh generally create dishes that are very spicy and full of flavour. Delicious!
India has some of the most wonderful architecture I’ve ever been lucky enough to set eyes upon. There are the ultra-famous sites such as the Taj Mahal that you expect to be entirely stunning and then there are the others that you’ve never heard of before but are utterly jaw-dropping.
I visited some historical sites with magnificent architecture throughout my time in India and even managed to squeeze in visits to nine of the twenty UNESCO World Heritage Sites that exist in India. I think my favourite was the Qutab Minar, that you can see above. I had never heard of it before, didn’t know it existed and I was wholly unprepared for what I found there.
The Qutub Minar is surrounded by other ancient and medieval ruins and structures and is constructed of red sandstone and marble. It is a stunning Islamic monument and is covered in Arabic inscriptions from the Qur’an. It’s absolutely breathtaking and it can even be clearly seen from the plane when flying into nearby Delhi Airport.
India is wildly chaotic and it was something I both loved and hated during my all too brief time there. Roads in India have drivers weaving in and out of the non-existent lanes, swerving cows, monkeys, goats, camels, dogs and people who wander across the roads seemingly at random. Drivers also always seem to wait until the last minute to brake and definitely miss accidents by inches all too often. Indian drivers also LOVE to beep their horns and most of the time it seems as though they’re doing it entirely at random. I’m a girl who loves to drive but I certainly wouldn’t like to give it a bash in India…I think I’d be off to the nearest hospital within a few minutes!
Each of the cities I visited were absolutely frantic, noisy, hectic and utterly chaotic. The crazy amounts of manic traffic, horns blaring, people shouting, animals wandering and the lack of co-ordination of it all just make the cities so tumultuous. When I was in the right mood for it I loved it.
I took a rickshaw ride through the packed streets of Old Delhi and was absolutely fascinated by the sheer chaos of it all. I enjoyed it for a short time but I’m a country girl at heart and I need the peace, quiet and tranquility of nature.
Have you ever been to India? What were your favourite (and least favourite) parts?