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June 01, 2017

Incredible India: Colors, Camels and Everything in Between

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Recently, I had the chance to experience a true trip of a lifetime; I spent nine exciting and adventure-filled days on an India tour. It's a country that I quickly discovered holds beauty that I never could have imagined. After having an experience as amazing as I did in India, not only am I compelled to share my stories, I am also determined to encourage my fellow travelers to add India to their bucket lists.

Welcome to part one of my four-part series based on my amazing trip to India!

Upon my return, I was frequently asked, “What was it like?” and “What did you see in India?” The easiest way for me to summarize what I saw and experienced in India is to organize it all into four categories of things that really stand out in my mind: Vehicles, Animals, People and Culture.

Vehicles

Although India is a country known for its congested and chaotic traffic patterns, what really struck me about everyday travel was the variety of vehicles on the roads. I expected to see tuk tuks (aka auto-rickshaws) before the trip, and indeed, there were an abundance of those, but there was also anything from tractors and elephants to pedal-operated carts being used as modes of transportation. It may be hard to imagine, but believe me: you name it, somebody is riding it down the road in India. Oh, and don’t be alarmed by how close other vehicles get to yours – its normal to be just about touching while riding down the busy roads.

Animals

Almost as fascinating as the variety of vehicles, was the plethora of animals. Families of pigs rolling around on the side of the roads, peacocks lurking through farmlands and on the highways, stray cows walking amongst the heavy traffic, monkeys hanging out on the sidewalks...it’s all there and more.

As an American, it’s hard to imagine animals other than cats and dogs co-existing with humans the way they do in India. It was intriguing to me to see that the Indians didn’t even think twice about which animal was beside them. This mutual acceptance between humans and animals was just another thing to admire about their incredibly unique culture and way of life.

 

People

As a country with the second highest population in the world, you cannot drive a single mile without seeing people in India—not even in the most rural of areas. In the urban areas, just imagine people everywhere. In addition to the Indian population, you will most likely encounter many other tourists as you’ll be traveling from one tourist destination to another.

Don’t let being surrounded by people be a daunting thought though; this is a part of the Indian culture and it is easy to embrace and admire as a visitor to their country. Not to mention, Indians are some of the kindest people I’ve ever interacted with. They were more than happy to help with directions, advice, or even a little bit of selfie help, you know, to get the whole Taj Mahal behind you into the picture.

Culture

Learning about new cultures is something I love most about traveling, and India has the most admirable and unique culture that I’ve ever had the pleasure of immersing myself in so far. This category obviously holds countless sub-categories that I could talk for days about, but for now I will tell you that looking at India’s culture from a broad prospective is breathtaking, enlightening and inspiring. Their culture is so powerful! The unbelievable architecture, the flavors, the religion, the COLORS, and the simple way of life were all beautiful and just something you will have to see for yourself!

My most important piece of advice that came from this experience: when traveling to any country, you must forget about any preconceived notions you may have. Travel with an open mind and you will have no problem discovering the true beauty of a destination.

Look for my next post where I explain how India showed me it’s true beauty and defied false stereotypes.

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