Did you know India has the largest number of post offices in the world with 1, 55,015 branches?

Until now, I didn’t.

It’s just one fact in a million that I want to learn about the Indian Subcontinent that I’ve still yet to visit. A holy grail for backpackers, India will guarantee you the extreme culture shock and deep memories to last you a lifetime. So it comes to no surprise to myself that I yearn to visit this country of more than one billion people and ancient customs including colourful festivals and heavenly foods.

 

 

I’m constantly inspired to visit there thanks to a few travel blogs that I follow. Check out my favourite articles here:

LovePuffin Travels: Varkala: All you need to know

Vicky Flip Flop Travels: 31 Mistakes I Made in India

Two Bad Tourists: Random Things I Saw in New Delhi

The Fly Away American: 20 Things to do in Kochi

So why haven’t I been yet?

It’s already in the works. I’m hoping to go in 2017 (woo, check me out planning waaaaay in advance) so I can save up all of my annual leave from my job to visit this beautiful country. So, until then, I’ll be planning, fine-tuning and discovering new things to do in India.

But I need you to help me as well.

So when I asked around, Southall Travel, India specialists, came bouncing over to help organise my mind with a series of questions especially just for me:

 

1.       India is a well known tourist destination in the world and you have talked about your wish to travel to India. Tell us, what are the interesting things that attract you to pick flight tickets to India?

 

Ah! There’s so many to mention! I could list them all but would I be able to visit them all within a short timescale of two weeks? After all, India is HUGE! It would take days to get from one end of India from the Indian Ocean in the south to the Himalayas in the North. So, I really have to think deeply about where in India I especially want to go.

So. let’s see what top interesting things that attract me to pick flight tickets to India:

  • Bollywood – India meets Hollywood in Mumbai! I have visions of taking part in a bollywood movie that involves lots of energetic dancing and professions of love. (sounds like a night out in London.) Check out my attempt at Bollywood dancing during Diwali (Festival of Lights) in Leicester.

  • Taj Mahal and the Golden Triangle – A staple of the backpacker route in India. You just got to see the grand palace up close built by Shah Jahan for his favourite wife, Mumtaz. My breath was taken away when I watched Slumdog Millionaire at cinema and I just knew I had to visit this place.
  • Snorkelling in the Bay of Bengal – Lush forests cover the Andaman Islands but it’s their corals and tropical fish that interest me greatly to snorkel around. It’s also home to India’s only active volcano. I’ve still yet to ‘set foot’ on an active volcano. So what about this one?
  • Discovering Cuisine delights in Kerala – escaping the hustle and bustle of India’s urban centres, the backwaters of Kerala has scenic villages where you can sample the best Indian dishes. I’ve been recommended to try coconut curries there. Just make sure it’s not a vindaloo!
  • Making my own brand of tea – Everyone knows how much I love Yorkshire Tea but I’ve never really seen a tea plantation up close. Perhaps I could go to Darjeeling or Assam to brew my own brand of tea after being trained. What would it be called? Handsome Rexy Tea?

There’s loads more reasons why I would want to fly to India! What are yours?

2.       Which destination in India, would you like to spend a long time visiting?

 

 

After a lot of thinking, I’ve decided to spend most of my time in Rajasthan for my Indian trip.

Why not bustling Delhi? Why not scenic Kerala? Or simply why not beach loving Goa?

Here’s my reasons why:

  • It is called the ‘Land of the Great Kings’. If that name doesn’t evoke wanderlust for you, then you need your brain checking.
  • It’s pink ‘capital,’ Jaipur is part of the Golden Triangle and a gorgeous place to visit!
  • I would love to try out their popular Dal-Bati-Churma food that is renowned.
  • Their desert festival is held during winter where the people of the desert sing, dance and set up fairs including snake charmers, folk performers and camels.
  • What gorgeous sights would be afforded to me if I hiked up all the way to the Dilwara temples?
  • The Ranthambhore National Park is well known for its tiger reserves and wildlife sanctuaries. Could I spot a rare species?

There’s so much more! Do you know of any more reasons?

 

3.       You’ve been to numerous cities across the globe. Do you miss your home city when you are travelling? Is there any city where you would like to stay forever?

 

After travelling for a long time, you do tend to get a little homesick for your home city. After all, it’s where my family is! I remember when I landed in Cairns, Australia, after travelling for four months in SE Asia, I was duly homesick. It was probably because I had a severely bad case of tonsillitis and I just wanted my mummy to look after me!

See More: Tonsilitis Strikes

But lately, I don’t generally travel for more than a few weeks at a time now so I don’t really get homesick these days? However, I hear the ‘culture shock’ happen in India and within a few days, backpackers are truly missing their home.

Will this happen to me if I tour India? Who knows, we will have to see.

There are five cities outside the UK where I would love to stay forever:

1) Wanaka, New Zealand

2) Ghent, Belgium

3) Grenada, Spain

4) Sydney, Australia

5) Mantaray Island, Fiji.

 

Mantaray Island

 

Just give me a house of my dreams, the love of my life on my arms and a carefree attitude in one of these places and I’ll be content.

 

4.       What top places in India would you like to recommend to other holidaymakers?

 

As I haven’t been to India myself yet, I rely on the opinions of my fellow bloggers and other India specialist travel agencies such as Away Holidays to help me make the decision. I think I can recommend five going from the South of the country to the North:

  • Kerala – Making a strong presence on the tourism scene, I’m very swayed to visit this beautiful stretch of south western India on the Malabar coast. Heck, I could even be putty in the hands of yoga instructors if I could be bended and stretched around. Check out Hayley’s version of her yoga-tastic time there:

See More: LovePuffin Travels – Beginner’s Yoga in Varkala

  • Goa – Okay, you cannot go to India and not visit Goa. When I was still in my corporate job four years ago and reading travel blogs to inspire me to travel, I chanced upon this David Tennant lookalike, Neil of Backpacks and Bunkbeds travelling India or more specifically, Goa. It was a great reading all about his beach-hopping exploits there interspersed with epic sunset pictures. So, quite simply, I knew I had to go there.

See More: Backpacks And Bunkbeds – Beach-hopping in Goa

  • Mumbai – I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again. Bollywood is all the rage in Mumbai. But there are other reasons why you should visit to gain a perspective from the locals there. Dare you to visit a Mumbai Slum?

See More: LovePuffin Travels – Journey Inside A Mumbai Slum

  • Varanasi – As one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, it comes to no surprise that Varanasi is considered as the spiritual capital of India. The River Ganges provides an important part of their culture there and you just have to see for yourself why…

See More: Flashpack At Forty – Varansai: Spiritual India

  • Agra – Of course you have to visit Agra to see the infamous Taj Mahal! Should I explain more or should I let another travel blogger wow you the reasons why you should visit?

See More: The Travel Hack – Top Tips for Visiting the Taj Mahal

 

So what do you think? Do you agree with my answers about India? Where would you recommend I should go?

After all, I’ve got two years to plan!

 

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