India: Rags to Riches, and everything in between!

The exquisite, Taj Mahal…

Ahh India, what an experience you’ve always been. On two separate visits to India, thus far, I’ve witnessed some of the most abject poverty I’ve ever seen, and I’ve witnessed some of the most opulent riches.

The beautiful henna’d hands of an Indian bride
Back alleyways of Varanasi, wood piled up for funeral pyres

India is a diverse and interesting country (sub-continent, some would say) with lush forested regions in the south, and busy, chaotic cities in the north.

Southern India
The streets of Jaipur, the Pink City in Northern India

Regardless of the areas you choose to visit in India, you will encounter friendly faces, amazing food, diverse socio-economic standards than you are used to, and a requirement to embrace the good with the bad, similar to any country you may visit!

Amaazing naan bread and curry
If you’ve never had Indian Thali (like a tapas or mini portions), I highly suggest it as a way to test flavours and temperatures of different dishes.

HOW TO STAY:

On the two occasions we’ve been, once we did a “grassroots” type of adventure-travel tour, and then we tried the luxury travel version. Both types of travel have their pros & cons, like anything, but we did find the peacefulness and cleanliness and Western-style facilities of the luxury properties to be a nice refuge after the day’s touring through chaotic & filthy streets. There’s no way to say it more honestly, some streets in India are garbage strewn cesspools, and that is just the way it is, so it’s nice to end the day in upscale, quiet accommodations. Again, there’s something for everyone, so judge accordingly, we can help guide you to tour companies that are fairly priced, and good value for your money, no matter your desired budget.

If you’re considering properties to stay at, we had the great fortune to stay at an exquisite hotel near Jaipur known as Samode Palace, a 300-year old royal residence that is intimate, unique and authentic.

Interior Entryway to Samode Palace

Samode Palace, built in the 16thC as a Rajput fort, later came to be used as a palace for Rajputs hierarchy and to this day, continues to be run by ancestors from the original hereditary owners.

The hotel has two amazing swimming pools, one for couples only, located on the rooftop and a larger, but no less intricately designed family area pool. Dining at the hotel is phenomenal and they often have nightly entertainers while you dine.

Samode Palace – Jaipur, India
Again, with the Thali ❤️

LOOKING FOR A GUIDE?

Of course our business is travel, but we like authentic experiences in every destination we visit, and almost every country we’ve been in, we have met and become long-time friends with the more stellar and engaging people who help us learn their country, and what makes it special.

Tour guides can truly make or break your experience in a country, and India should be proud to know it has people that truly embrace and share their love of their country with tourists – such as our friend Dheerendra Singh below!

Our friend, and a truly phenomenal guide in India, Dhreeendra Singh. Let us know if you would like him to help you in India!
Ladies in their beautifully coloured saris in the streets of India

COWS, COWS, EVERYWHERE!

Cows are considered a holy animal in India (surely you’ve heard?) and as you drive through the cities, you will frequently see many cows roaming the streets freely. Not only will you see the holy cows, but of course where there are cows, there is cow dung, so you will SMELL the cows too! Be prepared for this reality. It is often very smelly, especially on hot days in the dead of summer!

Streets of Jaipur!

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL:

We found the best months to travel, given we are used to cooler North American temps, to be between November-March. Outside of these months we found the heat unbearable, and bear in mind we LIKE the heat and didn’t find it terribly hot in Egypt with 50* Celsius, UAE with high 40’s, and Africa with mid-40’s, so plan your travels accordingly based on your preferences or dislikes for heat)!

Holy Gai! (Holy Cow)! 😁

I’m not going to lie, I find it a culture shock each time I’ve travelled to India, but once you get past the initial grumblings in your belly, and dig deeper, you will begin to witness all the beauty, joy, life and death that encapsulates travel to, and existence in, Incredible India!

Sunrise over the Ganges

Interested in travel to India? Please feel free to ask us for assistance with your dream trip to India. Please feel free to contact Us.

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