India – Sightseeing

Delhi

After our trip we were both pretty exhausted. Miguel was flying out in few days so it made sense to stick around Delhi. Chill out and visit a few tourists sights.

Our favorite area was around Hauz Khas Village. Nice restaurants, gallery, shops and a few parks where you can almost escape the sound of car horns.

However it’s generally best to escape Delhi ASAP!

I decided to complete the golden triangle by visiting Agra and Jaipur then heading south for Udiapur.

 

Agra

Jump on a train and head south to Agra, first stop on the golden triangle. There’s only one reason tourists come here and that’s the iconic Taj Mahal. Although I’ve seen a hundred photos before (all better than my overcast shots) it’s still impressive. Tick!

Strangely as a westerner with white skin I’m also a tourist attraction, with many Indian tourists wanting a photo with me. For some reason they absolutely love westerners. However this celebrity like stardom grows somewhat tiresome after the twenty-something photo.

 

Japiur

Is known as the pink city, as citizens of the old town are required by law to paint their buildings pink. This colour was originally chosen to welcome the prince of Wales in the 19th century.

Here I visited some temples, amber fort and elephant stables.

Highlights were most definitely charming a snake and watching a monkey steal a tourist’s burger!

Nice place but full of scammers. I was twice befriended by gem scammers. The first occasion was fairly elaborate with them spending a few hours chilling out, showing me some sights and generally building my trust.

The scam

Smuggling Gems via Fed-Ex with the victim flying back to collect the parcel of worthless glass. Checked online and its fairly common scam. Guess people are blinded by greed.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

What was most frustrating is having your trust broken. End up treating all the locals with suspicion.

Alas a night train later and I was in Udiapur.

Udiapur – city of lakes

Generally the trains in India are fantastic. But last night was fre-fre-freeezzing. Was directly under the AC, avoid top bunks!

Udiapur is beautiful city, known as the city of lakes from the vast reservoirs that surround it.

City palace museum was so badly done that it encouraged me to setup a trip adviser account to warn others. Majority of the paintings seemed fake, either that or just really bad!

Spotted some banksy style graffiti, possibly inspired by the banksy t-shirts they sell on the market. Squirrels instead of rats 🙂

Went horse riding which was fun, though a little tame and got soaked.

Heading south in monsoon seasons was not such a wise idea, rain poured, nearly continuously for 4 out of the 5 days that I was here.

For me the most interesting tourist site was a dancing show at Udiapur. A traditional dance. Set in an atmospheric court yard.

This type of show was originally designed to impress the king and his guests.
Involving a number of ritual dances and circus like tricks. Such as balancing a ridiculously high number of pots on ones head while dancing. Walking on “glass” etc. Entertaining and a fascinating insight into the past.

Food poisoning for the 4th time, in as many weeks. Now even the smell of curry makes my stomach churn. It’s literally poison. Sticking to tourist food.

Such a shame as I love Indian curry’s back home, and was looking forward to the cuisine.
Hate to say it but the curry’s in England are far superior!

Just seems to be no basic hygiene here. A little harsh I know, but I haven’t been ill once in the next 3 months of travelling.

Train back to Delhi for my flight out to Sri Lanka!

 

Verdict

I found India a difficult country to travel in. Delhi was especially chaotic and unpleasant.
Constantly being harassed by touts, street sellers, scammers and tuk tuk drivers.

Paharganj a backpacking area of Delhi, was one of the worst areas as all the touts and scammers concentrate here to practice their art of cheating tourist. You constantly have to have your guard up and trust no one. Forever arguing over prices that are 10x the going rate. All this makes for extremely frustrating and tiring experience.

Now i’m sure that the Indians are lovely people, it’s just unfortunate that the majority of people you encounter would gladly rip you off at the first opportunity.

As this was my first country I assumed this was just the hardship of travelling and dealt with it.

Only after visiting other countries did I realise quite how difficult it had been. On the flip side, it made everywhere else super easy.

However to put all of this into perspective you have to consider how tough life is here.
The level of poverty is extreme, with thousands of children sleeping rough on the streets.
Society has seemingly failed them and many others.

Life is fierce, leaving little room for human decency.

Us back packers “slumming” it in £5 hotels are millionaires in their eyes.
And I suppose… fair game.

3 thoughts on “India – Sightseeing

  1. Hey mate, Great to meet you in singas – spewing I missed you before you left!

    Great Blog! I’ve added the link to mine in the field above – You’ve got some great shots and it sounds like you’ve had an awesome adventure! I’ve got to get me a motorbike license!

    Keep in touch, add me on facebook too – I’m keen to see how you go!

    Catch,
    Luka

  2. Hey Luke!
    I don´t know if you remember me. We met in Udaipur, went to that dancing show together, wanted to do a yoga class, but you didn´t show up 😀 Well, I just reread my diary I kept back then and found a really funny entry about Udaipur that also included you. I also noted down the address of your blog. So I thought I might as well say hi and ask what you´re up to and how life is treating you? Still traveling the world?

    Greetings from Germany,
    Kyra

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