After months of saving, planning and talking the ear off people about my travels, it was finally time to pick up my giant orange backpack (which is slowly killing me already) and start my adventure around South-East Asia – something I’ve been itching to do for as long as I can remember.
First up to tick off the list was India. Having been so curious to visit India for so long, I knew it had a lot to live up to. I knew it had so many sides I couldn’t wait to discover. Of course, it did far from disappoint. From its delicious food, incredible architecture, and most importantly, the humblest of people you’ll ever meet, I feel it will take an awful lot for any other place I visit after this to match up to it.
Our first stop was Dehli; a place I’d heard so much, but knew so little about. I’ll never forget my first impressions of Dehli – the smell. Bloody hell it was smelly. I mean EXTREMELY smelly. Like, imagine the worst smell you’ve ever smelt, times it by ten, and you’re not even close to smelly Dehli. Piles of rubbish (along with whatever else) was left to fester and swelter in the sun on every street corner. It was chaotic – even more chaotic than the bullring at Christmas. Yeah I know, hard to picture it. More often than not, you’d find yourself squeezing into the smallest (…and smelliest) space to make way for the odd cow carrying carts through the skinniest of streets. This was when it hit me. This is India.
Madhogarh village, without a shadow of a doubt, was my favourite spot – and a refreshing break from the bustling city. We stayed in Fort Madhogarh – a converted 400 year old fort – overlooking a stunning backdrop. But the highlight of Madhogarh was definitely meeting the village people. Little children running from every corner to pose for a picture, the most beautifully dressed people inviting us into their homes and watching the crafts people going about their daily routine. I’ve never seen so many people, despite having nothing, so happy. It was an incredible experience.
Another place I loved in India was Udaipur. After watching the sunset on the lake, we went to a traditional Rajasthani dance show – and what a show it was. Picture this, a tiny, 71 year old woman dressed up to the nines in the sparkliest sari and jewellery covering every inch of her body. Got it? Ok. Now picture the same woman balancing 8 ceramic pots on her head while dancing on shards of glass – she was a machine.
Looking back, there’s so much of India I still want to see. Well, I guess it’s another excuse to come back. So, until next time India