In the end of 2017 I finally decided to travel India by myself. I have travelled as a female solo traveler several times before, but I have to admit that travelling India alone made me a bit nervouse. In this post I want to show you my insight of India and what made me falling in love with this country.
India – WHY?!
But let’s start from the beginning. This article will be about my personal experiences in India, if you want to know about how to travel India as a female solo traveler check out my article “how to travel India- as a female solo traveller”
I was thinking about travelling India for a while already, especially as one of my best friends (I met him during my trip to Singapore 5 years ago) is an Indian. I always loved listening to him when he talked about his home country. Okay I admit sometimes he got on my nerves but in general it fascinated me how proud he talked about his diverse culture. I guess that there is no traveler in the world who hasn’t an opinion about this country and hasn’t thought about travelling India or not.
For myself I think that real travelers are always get pulled to their destinations. There seems always to be a bigger reason why you end up somewhere or why you choose a destination to go to. After a rough 2017 and a lot of stuff happening in my live which triggered my anxiety, I woke up one morning after just returning from Nicaragua and decided to finally buy my ticket to India.
Gosh I was excited! With my ticket in hands I told everyone about my upcoming trip and my plans. Guess what, everyone had an idea about how I will not survive this trip (literally they told my I would die from food poising or getting raped and then die or all together)
For sure I didn’t listen to all what people said, did my research agreed with my Indian friends to meet them at their family’s places and started my trip all around India. I would have never expected what was coming towards me in the next 6 weeks!
How India welcomed me – removing the stigma
When I flew to Delhi I had a 8 hour stop over in Dubai. As I have spent enough time on airports in my life I got myself a stemp in my passport, jumped in a taxi and spent the time on the beach.
When I was back in the airplane a young guy sat next to me. As I figured out later, he was from Varanasi living in Dubai now and on his way to visit his family. After 4 hours of constantly chatting, we landed in Delhi. On the airport he waited for me to get through immigration and helped with my backpack. He asked me where I was going to stay and was kind of worried as my hostel was on the other side of Delhi and it was already dark.
He didn´t waited a second but called his cousin to get us from the airport and insisted on bringing me to my hostel. If I would have known what a journey this would become, I would not have burdened him with all the inconveniences.
It took us 2 hours to get to the area where the hostel was supposed to be, than it took us another hour and several phone calls to find the hostel. It was already after midnight and the poor men had to drive the same way back now. I couldn´t thank them enough for guiding me as I am sure without them I would hardly have found the hostel by myself in the middle of the night.
Anil if you read this THANK YOU SO SO MUCH!.
Hospitality in India
This hospitality followed me around India. With this one story out of many I want to remove at least a bit the stigma a lot of people have in their heads about India and it´s people, especially men.
There are evil people out there as everywhere in the world, but the majority of men and women are incredible kind, caring, interested and polite. The hospitality of Indians goes beyond any limit. They know about their bad image and most of them try to proof you different. Please don´t let the picture the media are printing in our head about India prevent you from exploring this beautiful country if it urges you to go there.
My overall experiences in India
India was one of a kind of experiences. Starting with Anil I meet on my flight from Dubai to Delhi and who made sure afterwards for the whole 6 weeks that I am fine (thanks to Whatsapp).
It followed by uncountable amazing people from all over the world I met during this time and who all seemed to have a bigger purpose why they came to India (one of the most asked questions were definitely “Why did you come to India?”).
Not to mention the endless train rides with interesting discussions with Indian people and stunning scenery passing by while sitting on open train doors. This chats in the trains sometimes lasted for hours and taught me more about India, myself and the world than anything had ever before. I don’t know why but sometimes I had the feeling that Indians know and understand something, what keeps hiding for us foreigners.
The citys were restless and on one point I was fascinated by them and the next moment they made me crazy. Driving a car in Indian streets by myself made me believe that there is nothing in the world I can not accomplish.
Agreeing to all the invitations I got from Indians to their homes (including one wedding) gave me an incredible view into a way of living and believing in live, I have never experienced before. Participating in religious ceremonies and opening myself to the spiritual influence of it, showed me one more time that live is way more than your own scope.
The people you will meet in India
Some of the people I met were more of the sort “the normal buddy you meet on the roads”. Others had a big impact on me and helped me to see things clearer.
It seemed that most of the travelers come to India to find answers and to find a way to handle all the things life throws on them. Everyone had their own way how to embrace India and its influences. I for myself understood quite fast that if you want to experience India, you better take everything that is coming your way as it is and don’t start to fight it. Sometimes a quiet “Well this is India” is enough to explain yourself why things go the way they do. All this people in India showed me that everyone has his/her baggage on their shoulders but that with being just a kind and open person, all the weight on your shoulders is getting so much lighter.
In India everyone finds his/her way. I learned this while travelling long before, but India put this insight into new perspective. When I came to India my life was turned up side down, but all the people and things I met and experienced helped me to put everything back in perspective.
Indian city life – my love/hate relationship
India is full with impressions. All your senses will constantly are working. You will smell and taste things you never smelled and tasted before. You will see and hear things that are totally strange to you but in this circumstances seem normal, you will see and hear things you would not have ever even imagined.
Arriving in Delhi and experiencing Amritsar afterwards, the restless and super busy life in the cities of India, first amazed me and than made me tired quite fast. In indian cities live never seems to pause.
It is loud and busy all the time there are so many people and animals husseling in a chaotic way that even the most experienced traveler will ask in his memories for another example like that. I always love the dynamic and busy style of big cities and as I already have experienced a lot of Asian metropolis, I thought nothing can shock me anymore. Like so often, India taught me the other way.
There are endless shops and street stands, crowded streets with constantly honking cars and all sorts of other vehicles in it, including uncountable people and some animals. Beggars in very bad physical condition, living on the streets, sitting on the hills of garbage while obviously very rich people walking over them. I am not kidding when I say OVER. All of this sounds now totally horrifying doesn’t it?
It isn’t (at least not all of it)! This shows you a so colourful world, with so many good food and drinks. It makes you meet so many people, seeing so many different smiles, hearing so many different stories. You will experience so much things, you will have never seen, felt, heard, tasted or smelled before. If you are a junkie always chasing the big and different experience, Indian cities are for you!!!!
Keep calm and love it
On the other side there is the calmness of the religious ceremonies held everywhere. The calmness of the nature ,for example in the Himalayas or the desserts. The calmness of the spirituality you meet everywhere and the calmness of the temples. Sometimes in India even if the country itselves never pause you have to pause for yourself.
After embracing Indians craziness for almost 2 weeks I was desperate for some down time. As always in India, when you search for something you will find it. For me one of this moments were when I reached Rishikesh. Experiencing the nature on the foothills of the Himalaya and the river Ganges gave the opportunity to clear my mind.
Chai tea – the door opener to society
Then there is Chai tea. Nothing in India opens you more the doors to the Indian life than Chai tea. You can find it everywhere in different variations. I promise you even if you really try hard you will never enjoy a Chai tea by yourself without hearing someones stories in between.
Cows – living the best life
Last but definitely not least, COWS: Cows are everywhere, but let the pictures speak for themselves:
Cows are the most holy creature in India – and they know that. It means luck when a cow is doing her business in a circle of a meter around you. As often as this happened to me, I am supposed to be the luckiest person on earth. That´s why you should always wear closed shoes while walking around. I promise you, you will step into poo!
In India there is even a government department taking care of the rights of the cow. Not so much effort is put into the rights of females in India unfortunately.
The cows know about their status and that they can do whatever they want without any consequences so better be nice and polite to them 😀 😀
My message about India
As you can see I am amazed by this country and felt deeply in love with it. Not everything is perfect in India not at all. India has huge problems and ignoring them would be the wrong way to travel India. But India is not just her problems.
The diversity is what does the trick for me. Everytime you will experience things that you don’ t understand or that you easily think are horrifying or crazy. There will happenings occur on your way that you want to change immediately but you simple do not have the power. There are enough articles in the Internet about how dangerous and horrible India is, that I don’t see the need to go much deeper into this.
I want to show people that this part of the world has a much larger good side than the communicated bad side. I will never encourage anyone who doesn’t have the feeling that india is pulling you, to go there. Therefor India is to much and to difficult.
But if you have the feeling that your way through life is leading you to India, don’t hesitate to go there the minute you feel ready. I met all types people along my way through India. Being well experienced travellers or on their first backpacking trip, being teenagers or being in their sixties, being poor students or being rich managers, travelling with a plan or without a plan, travelling with someone or solo.
Among all this people there were one thing all of us had in common. We all had a reason why we ended up travelling India. This made the travel community very strong on the one side on the other side that made it for everyone easier to find their ways. India is mirroring you behavior as no other place. If you are full of prejudice and negative vibes, India will give you these. If you are free, open minded and full of positive vibes, India will give you these.
Just be open, kind and especially keep your prejudice at home and everything will work out, even in India!
If you have any more questions about my India experience please feel free to contact me. If you have questions for your own trip don`t hesitate to contact me as well. I am glad if I can help people to travel.
Get lost, but don’t get hurt!