" Satyameve Jayate" (Sanskrit) “Truth Alone Triumphs”
This crazy, hectic, diverse, and fascinating country will drive you to sheer madness but at the same time it will fill you with enthrallment and wonder. India is like that good-looking, handsome philandering incorrigible man. He charms and bewitches you as no other has done before. He will make you laugh, make you dance, make you dream. Sadly he will also make you cry and drive you to distraction. This incredible man has two sides, wonderful and wicked. You reach a point where you cannot wait to leave him and when you do, Oh God! you can't wait to go back to him. That is India, magnificent beauty that will take your breath away and sordid squalor that will leave you almost retching. You will keep asking yourself "What the hell am I doing here?" Suffice to say, like me; you will always return!
My very first visit to India was in 2005. I will never forget the day when I told my Brother-in-law that I was going to India. Since he had travelled extensively through this remarkable country, I knew that his advice would be the best anyone could give me. He told me: - "Start with Kerala in the south, a gentle introduction to India and work your way up to the north the real hardcore of this country.” Delhi the capital and known as one of the most polluted cities in the world. Agra where you can visit the world heritage sites of The Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. Rajasthan "Land of Kings “situated in the Thar desert where you have so many splendid and grandiose palaces and sites to see. Udaipur the Venice of the east. Puskar for its fabulous fairs. Jodhpur the Blue city, famous for its many blue buildings and a favourite of the world acclaimed photographer Steve McCurry. Jaisalmer the Golden city and its stunning dunes. Jaipur the pink city, and so the list goes on
I followed his recommendation, and now I am passing it on to all the "First-time travellers to India.
Let me begin at the beginning of this magical adventure and start by telling you more about my backpacking experiences and the places I have visited.
I took the plane from London and flew via Doha where I changed planes to catch my connecting flight. The trip from London was pretty much the same old same and nothing eventful to break the monotony of the six and half hour flight, apart from me gobbling up all the latest films. At Doha, after a delicious cup of coffee in their departure lounge, I boarded the aircraft that would take me to India. Apparently, because I was heading to the said country the plane naturally was full of Indians! I was about to get my first insight into how different these incredible people are to us westerners. As all of you know, when we board a plane, the staff go through the standard procedure of informing you on what to do in the unlikely event of you possibly falling out of the sky! They ask you to turn off all mobile phones and to have your rotten seat in an upright position and fasten the almost strangling safety belt. I was dumbfounded to see that the Indians weren´t taking a blind bit of notice. They were all chatting away to their heart's content on their phones and just ignored the hostess when she repeatedly asked them to switch off. Nor did any of them shut up to listen to the safety demo. They obviously thought the safety belts were there for decoration and no one cared about the position of their seats. I started to fall in love with these people on that flight, what fun to just throw rules and regulations to the wind and do whatever you like! Well, let’s say only sometimes!
I arrived at Cochin International Airport in the state of Kerala, where I had to join a queue so long it took me almost more time to get through passport control than it had done to fly from Doha to Cochin.
Having booked a much-recommended hostel in Kochi or Fort Kochi, I grabbed a taxi and off we went. After a very bumpy ride of an hour and a half and taking in the mesmerising scenery, we got to my lodgings. It was such a lovely sight, with a pristine façade adorned by a profusion of multicolour flowers decorating the entrance and the balconies. The owners were waiting for me. I soon discovered that they were brothers, They were positively delightful and from the very first moment couldn’t do enough to make my stay as enjoyable as possible
This was the start of my journey through Bharat, better known as India.
MORE TO COME VERY SOON!