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touring | india | 2017

April 19, 2017

'my indian adventure is a tale of my time in rajasthan & northern india. a total attack on the senses. sights, sounds & experiences that are only seen to be believed. 1 month in india was totally life changing for me....

 

delhi

 

i arrived in delhi on a 10hr flight from tokyo wary eyed and very tired. new delhi is airport is really amazing and one of the best in the world. immigration has a lot of red tape as everywhere in india but i got through with my online e visa (its now been extended to 60 days). i grabbed my bags an took the metro to delhi central station, its costs around $1 for the 30min trip. 

 

I stayed at the zostel next to delhi station. its not the best in delhi but its very convenient as i was taking a train the next day. after dropping my bag off i got around to exploring the city. delhi is massive so you can either choose to use the metro system for around $0.30 over ride or like me take uber share as its only 50r ($0.75) anywhere in the main city and the air-conditioning definitely comes in handy as it was 35c that day. 

delhi is not known to be the most amazing city in the world as its very crowded and dirty. its a place migrant workers come to from the poor surrounding states to work. You will experience poverty and desperation on a level that you cannot imagine coming from the western world. 

 

the next morning i had a 'morning food tour' booked with delhi food walks. It was one of the best food experiences i have ever had and a must in delhi. the places the guide took us you would never be able to find as a foreigner. after the food tour i had a little time just chilling and then made my way to the fort as its one of the most famous places in delhi to visit. 

 

nota: their are lots of scams and people trying to rip you off in delhi. the main one is that the area is not safe and you should not go there, just ignore them and take the route that you intended it a little annoying that people would go out of their way to deceive you but in delhi it seems the norm people just want to make a quick dollar but i do find that most people are honest just people carful of people coming up to you on the street they seem friendly and just want to help you but in my experience they always have a motive. if you want to meet truly good delhi people then use the couchsurfing website or app and check the reviews. 

 

So thats really all i can say about delhi as i only had 48 hours there but it was an experience for sure. 

 

my recommended places to visit

  • old delhi (experience the sights and sounds of the real delhi)

  • qutub minar

  • lotus temple 

  • arkshardham temple 

  • india gate

places to eat

  • blue tokai coffee (far from the business)

  • street food (amazing food tours with delhi food walks

  • food is everywhere and most places are great 

  • local chai man (tea is life in india)

how to get around

 

- metro: one of the cheapest in the world

- uber: 50r for shared anywhere in the city a must on hot days

 

where i stayed

 

zostel (close to the train station) zostel is a chain and generally good quality in my experience 

 

 

length of stay

  • i only stayed 48 hours as it was to crazy for me. remember that this is a working city not really set up for tourists in some ways.

 

agra & vrindavan (holi festival)

 

I made my way to agra from delhi on the early morning train. they have so many departures during the day. the trains are amazing in india but complicated please read full details at the bottom of the page. 

 

I woke up at 5am on the friday to get to the gates of the taj by 6am. be aware that you should buy the tickets online before hand. take no bags or other items with you apart from money, phone and camera without the bag as they are very strict and you will not be allowed in. I was one of the first in the queue and i would recommend you go at this time as you can get a few good pictures in the morning sunlight before tens of thousands of people descend on the monument. about 1 hour after sunrise you get the peak amount of people in the complex. the taj has been on my bucket list since i was young and it did not disappoint the scale and grandure is on an epic scale take your time and stay for a good few hours to take it in. it costs 1000r to enter. 

 

now on to 'holi' festival. i made my way with some people i met to vrindavan one of the main towns of the holy festival. we arrived to tens of thousands of people in the street throwing colored powder all over each other as is the tradition. the temple where the majority of people where celebrating was electric a total attack on the senses and something that is totally unforgettable. the main festival is on the 12th march there and 13th in other cities around india. this was the place were i got the photo of a lifetime a young man covered in colour (see below)

 

 

jaipur

 

Its one of the most visited places in northern india as they have a lot of attractions that are very interesting to travellers its a busy city but not on the scale of delhi. i arrived on the early morning train and headed straight to the hostel, again staying at zostel its in a great position and has an amazing food walk that i would recommend. 

they have a few main attractions in jaipur. the fort and the hawa mahal are the most famous but i would say that my favourite place to visit was the monkey temple you can book through hostels to get there its a great way to see families of monkeys. they have whats called a combination ticket that can get you into 8 different attractions around the city its only 1000r for 2 days and can save you a lot as each attraction is 500r it can be bought at all the main attractions. 

 

i also would like to give a special shout out to the juice shop. i was felling very run down when i arrived to jaipur after 9 months of travelling so i decided to take their 3 day juice cleanse. i can honestly say that i felt huge benefits from day one i felt like i had a lot more energy and just generally lighter in body and mind. its around 1700r for 8 juices per day for 3 days so its more than 70% less than what you would pay in the west. 

 

pushkar & jodphur 

 

pushkar is a small hippy town thats on a sacred lake in rajasthan west of jaipur halfway between jaipur and jodphur. It super quiet compare to the city as cars are not allowed in the centre. it has a relaxed vibe although very touristy atmosphere. the temple at the top of the hill and the lake are the main attractions but this is more a place to relax and chillout so take a few days to enjoy the bliss of no car horns. 

 

jodphur is a larger city comparable to jaipur that has one of the most beautiful and famous forts in the whole of india. it set on top of a large cliff and looks like a bond villains residents. jodphur does not have a hugh amount of things to see but go by the stops hostel and take their ,well tour'. this is a tour of the water wells around the city it sounds strange but its something magical. 

 

my recommended places to visit

  • the fort 

  • well tour 

places to eat

  • clock cafe

  • street food

  • stops hostel

  • honey and spice pushkar (health food restaurant) 

how to get around

 

- rickshaw tuk tuk

- uber: 50r for shared anywhere in the city a must on hot days

- bus to ajmer the main train station is 16r

 

where i stayed

 

stops hostel jodphur: great rooftop restaurant and hostel. they organise lots of tours 

mad packers pushkar: one of the most beautiful hostels in the world. 

 

length of stay

  • pushkar: 3 days of relaxations 

  • jodphur: i stayed for 2 days. its extremely hot here so i decided that 2 days would be enough.

 

the motorcycle journey 

 

 

a journey totalling over 1500km starting and ending in delhi.

 

we picked up our royal enfield classic 350cc bikes from ikerz. these classics are some of the most beautiful bikes on the road in india they are made for this type of journey especially with the luggage rack. 

we left delhi at 8am aiming for amritsar before night fall. if your thinking about a motorcycle trip in india i would advise that you never drive at night as the roads are dangerous enough in the day time. Like most westerners we used google maps to plan a course for us to each city and although it was great for the route in general it was totally out on the estimated time to reach each place by at least 2 hours so when your planning your trip make sure to take this into consideration. getting out of delhi is a nightmare but once out to my surprise the roads are in good condition and mostly traffic free until you reach roadside towns we were easily getting up to 90kms most of the time, after 10 hours on the road we arrived in...

 

amritsar 

 

after arriving just as the sun was setting we checked into the jugaadus hostel. its a really homely and safe place. this place is famous for its tours doing at least five different tours per day in and around the city. we booked the india border tour ( a weird border ceremony with pakistan that is not to be missed) and the evening golden temple tour. the golden temple tour was by far the most fascinating and one of the most amazing experiences of my life. i am not religious but this experience at the temple made me understand the true meaning of belief. sikh faith is one of the youngest religions in the world but i believe one of the most tolerant. anyone is welcome to the temple from all religions, this is unlike mecca were only muslins are allowed to enter and men and women are treated equally here. one of the biggest events there is the food they serve upto 100,000 meals a day all free of charge to anyone and its all done on a volunteer only basis. i cannot stress how amazing this place makes you feel its something that you would have never experienced in your whole life. 

 

mclod ganj 

 

 

this is the outpost of the dali lama. its a small town just above dharmsala where the buddhist monks relocated after they left tibet for india. it a special place and totally different to the rest of india its like being in tibet as most people are political asylum seekers. you can visit the tibet museum and my recommendation is to go on the triund trail its about a 4 hour trek from the town and you see some spectacular views of the surrounding area. we stayed at the om hotel its about 1000r for a 4 person room. make sure to visit moon peak cafe they have the best cappuccino in india.

 

manali

 

we arrived in the late afternoon after another hard day on the bikes around 10 hours but the scenery was amazing on the ride up. it is one of the most famous roads for motorcycling in india from manali to lei only done in the summer. we stayed at the zostel in old manali and its has one of the best view of any hostel i have ever stayed in i think this is the only place you need to stay while in manali. i need to also make a special shoutout to the english bakery on the main road its run by an old man who bakes the best nutella croissants for less than $1.

 

rishikesh