Stop number one on my Asia adventure- India. Looking back I did not give this place enough credit, mainly because it was the first out of five countries I visited and so by the time I had returned home it wasn’t so fresh in my mind. The vibrant colours, kind people and delicious food. If it’s culture you’re looking for India is, without a shadow of a doubt, the place to go. Luckily, during my first few days I purchased a leather bound diary which now brings I all back to me. There is literally nothing more valuable as a travel blogger, reading my diary I am almost taken back to a place, a time, I can hear the beeping cars and smell the fresh chapati. So I wanted to go into more detail about my favourite places in India, mainly because they’re not the cities everyone talks about such as Delhi and Mumbai. In fact, one of the places I’m gonna talk about isn’t even a city, but these are the place I would definitely recommend to anyone who is considering travelling around India. So, in no particular order……
Capital of the Rajasthan state, pink city of India, part of the golden triangle tour, a popular route for sight seeking tourists (Delhi- Agra- Jaipur), this city was one of my favourites because I felt I could really experience all things traditionally Indian. Our day began with a tuk tuk ride to Amber Fort, a palace that sits high upon a hill. I would definitely recommend a tour guide as the history of this place is so extensive. Also, not so far from here you can see the floating palace, Jal Mahal and stop at a local manufacturers. They sell all sorts of amazing traditional Indian wear, Punjabs and Saris, I stocked up on the stereotypical ‘backpacker’ style baggy trousers that cost me about 80p a pair. We then treated ourselves to an Indian massage, my first massage experience. The price is ridiculously cheap, I would have a massage every day for that price. This is definitely something you need to try out sooo relaxing, although, I did get a shock when they asked me to go fully naked, threw me in the deep end ther. Then to end the evening we went to see a Bollywood movie in the Raj Mandir cinema, this was a great experience, the cinema itself is absolutely beautiful, more like a theatre and people cheer and heckle throughout the movie. The movie we watched was called ‘Bajirao Mastani’ an epic war drama, even though it was in Hindi it was very entertaining, especially the dance scenes and costumes.
Pushkar is actually a town, not a city, but I could not miss this place out because it was absolutely adorable, I could have stayed there for a month. We stayed in ‘Hotel New Park’ which was amazing, there was a pool and you could sit and eat your breakfast in the sun with a view of the surrounding mountains. It was within walking distance of a huge market where you can purchase anything remotely related to India, spices, books, bags. The town is fairly touristy, the main attraction being the sacred Pushkar Lake, according to Hinduism a dip in this lake will wash away ones sins. It is a beautiful location with many nearby restaurants and cafes, it should be noted that Pushkar is a city without meat, eggs or alcohol, however, this is not a problem as the alternatives are delicious. I enjoyed many chick pea burgers and plenty of falafel, one of my favourite cafes in this town was ‘Out of the Blue.’ Pushkar sits on the edge of the Thar dessert, we spent one evening here and it was unreal, I would definitely recommend a dessert tour. We were driven out into the dessert and sat crossed legged in the sand at little tables where we watched a performance of magicians, fire eaters and dancers, who ensured we got involved ourselves. We even got to lay dress up in Indian saris and salwar kameez which was such a laugh. A traditional Indian dinner was served, consisting of potato, cauliflower, naan, popadoms, spicy lentils and plenty of rice. The supper was enjoyed in front of a cosy fire with a cup of masala chai in hand, a drink I quickly became addicted to.
Oh this city just stole my heart, it’s no surprise it is largely known as the city of love. This would be the perfect destination for a wedding or honeymoon, the lake, the floating palace, it’s a city with a very magical atmosphere. We purchased a combined ticket for the city palace and the lake palace, you also need to pay a small fee for permission to take photographs. We took a short boat ride across Lake Pichola to the Lake Palace which is absolutely beautiful, with detailed elephant sculptures, water fountains and plenty of surrounding foliage. We ordered some colourful cocktails, which were a little more expensive than standard Indian prices but still cheap and definitely worth the money. When we returned to land we took a guided tour through the city palace, each room is beautiful and unique, fresh pale blue walls, mirrors upon mirrors and hanging chandeliers. In the evening we watched an incredible dance show here called ‘Bagore ki Haveli’ the style of performing was more local to the state and great fun to watch. This city has so much more to offer, cooking classes, art displays, palm readings, it really was a dream location.