Now we are halfway through our 5/6 months in India (or at least the blog is, as I am a month behind) Sam and I have ruthlessly selected our 5 favourite places. We’ll check back at the end to see how/if things have changed.
Sam’s Top 5 (by Sam)
Probably the best place to enjoy the Ganges. Although Rishikesh was a sort of spiritual circus and my poor health didn’t afford me the opportunity to partake; the care free atmosphere, natural beauty of its foot-hilled surrounds and saddhu-lined streets bade me forget the horrors of Delhi.
Unlike Mumbai it’s a city that hasn’t lost its old-world feel and social integrity (I’m thinking slums) at the expense of economic progress. Lots of students, book shops and weird Indian coffee houses. Kolkata exudes a very dignified and honest charisma.
This place should be more popular. It’s got it all: an easy going small-town Indian atmosphere, staggeringly beautiful palaces and temples, and a tranquil riverside setting, where you can join most of Orchha’s inhabitants for a laze about in the afternoon heat.
The mystic smiles of the Tibetan people and the simple way of mountain life reminded me that it can all be rather easy.
Still coming to terms with the fact that a place like this can exist. But paradoxically, I left Varanasi with a new lease of life; vowing to return to have another shot at comprehending this incomrephensible city.
Steph’s Top 5
The place has a lovely, welcoming feel, with lots of places to top up on home comforts and immerse yourself in the arty/modern side of India – heightened by the slightly crumbly and colonial mansion lined streets.
So much to see and do; such as being an extra in a Bollywood movie. More diverse than most countries; this modern city is fascinating and also pretty fun.
I had so much fun clambering round the ruins like I was in a fun house. People watching by the river, with ancient towers beside me was the first day I actually started to enjoy travelling India.
The jolliness of the Tibetan and Nepali inhabitants mixes well with the beauty of the mountains. Every day is like Christmas, but instead of Turkey you get momos.
A lovely sense of community and a beautiful beach with a fully functioning (holy) Indian town attached. Secretly Sam’s favourite too and the next place on the blog.