Blogger: Lauren Lucy Crowley
Ever since I’ve been a child, India has been a place I’ve dreamed about visiting. I’ve always imagined it to be an exotic colourful country bursting with spices, silks and jewellery. It is all that and more… in fact India is possibly my new favourite country! We had a wonderful time exploring and so we’re excited to share our top tips with you!
Eat as much local food as you possibly can: Food in India is simply delicious, despite what people may tell you. Everywhere we went we were served large baskets of delicious garlic naan bread, narante korma that tingled my taste buds, spiced noodles, a peanut masala (my favourite!) and plenty more giant sized portions of traditional local cuisine! #heavenly We were more than satisfied and pleasantly surprised by the local cuisine!
Get traditional clothes custom made for you: Most definitely my favourite thing I purchased in India was my traditional Indian red saree! The textile shops consist of shelves of colourful material stacked from the ground to the ceiling! Material in every shade of every colour you could possibly imagine is available….. understandably it was a tough decision choosing our new outfit! I have honestly never enjoyed getting dressed so much! I draped my bright red glittery saree around myself (doing my best to imitate the way the shop keeper who sold them to us had showed us), and put on my multiple sparkly bangles. I felt like royalty. The locals were delighted we had embraced their culture! When we wore them, people pointed at us and smiled from other cars, crossed over the streets to tell us we looked beautiful, and asked us to be in photos with them so they could show us to their families!
Celebrate Diwali: Diwali is an ancient Hindi festival that is now celebrated throughout most of India despite what religion one may be! This festival of lights is celebrated in October/November each year. With an emphasis on family gatherings, bonfires, flowers, sweets and amazing firework displays… it is certainly a festival not to be missed! We were delighted to be there for the celebrations!
Visit Old Delhi: The streets here are too narrow for cars and so we temporarily changed our mode of transport to a rickshaw! It was an unforgettable experience! The streets were packed with motorbikes , pedestrians and rickshaws it was a complete free for all with no traffic restrictions of any kind in place – the sound of beeping horns coming from every direction was deafening! It was more people than I have ever seen in one place at one time! My nostrils filled with multiple different aromas, there were street vendors lining each side of the chaotic street, and animals wandering along aimlessly, it was actually a little difficult to focus on our driver who was pointing out significant buildings along the way! Most definitely worth a visit!
Experience a ceremony at the Ganges river, Varanasi: Varanasi is often referred to at the spiritual epicentre of India; religion, belief and good karma are very much at the forefront there! Every morning and evening there are multiple ceremonies along the waters edge, with the main one attracting thousands of people! Although there is an option to watch on the river from a boat, we chose to attend on foot (it was a lovely sight to see so many colourful boats pulled up behind us!). We looked on in fascination as five men in brightly coloured clothes stood on a raised platform and performed an array of rituals (lasting about 45 minutes) with fire sticks in their hands to the sound of loud chiming bells and traditional music. The entire place was light up with tea lights… it was captivating! After the ceremony, we purchased a flower tea light on a float made from leaves from a local lady… and made a wish as we sent it floating off onto the Ganges river! The entire evening was such a magical experience!
Enjoy your trip to this wonderful place! x