7 years on from my first trip to India and I’m back but, this time with my 2 best friends, Poppy and Liv. This was the first leg of our month trip around Asia and we had planned to complete ‘The Golden Triangle’ – Agra, Jaipur, Delhi. We booked all of our accommodation through Hostelworld.com, which is a god-send for a variety of budget accommodation and plenty of reviews to tell you all the ins and outs of the hostels… be sure to read the reviews in-detail as they may change your mind!
We arrived in Delhi airport after a long flight and planned to head straight to the railway station and get on our way to Agra. Only we arrive at the station to be told that it’s an Indian national holiday and there are no train spaces for a week… great start. What now? Go to a taxi office and end up booking a private car and driver to transport us around for the next week. Not that we had enough money on us to actually afford this so, it’s day 1 and I’m already using my debit card to save me (I promise our travelling abilities improve as the trip goes on…).
I don’t think Poppy and Liv really knew what to expect from India as it’s such a culture-shock with cows roaming freely and families living in the streets. For example, it’s our first night and there is already plans to ask dads to send a helicopter for rescue from our very questionable hostel ‘Sai Palace’ in Agra, haha! As questionable as it was, not many can say that they’ve stayed somewhere with the balcony-dinner-views of the Taj Mahal!
If I could recommend one thing to do in Agra, it’s to visit the Taj Mahal for sunrise. It is so peaceful and hosts the most incredible views as the sun rises over the temple. The perfect way to start the day.
From Agra, our driver, who ended up being like our adopted dad for the week, was taking us to Jaipur. Cue problem number 2: the motorway is closed for the next few days because of a fire… This then led to some serious off-roading, in a Subaru, through rural Indian villages, fields and shallow rivers. I just remember thinking “Oh my life, this is like going back in time” with the villages built from mud-huts and straw. So, I thought I’d just try and get some sleep to pass the time. As soon as went to close my eyes, I heard “Don’t you DARE go to sleep and leave me awake” and knew from that we were in for an interesting ride…
After the long journey, we arrived in Jaipur, ‘The Pink City”, and it was beautiful! The Roadhouse Hostel was in a great location and we found a great place for food and drinks… Peacock. It’s a rooftop-restaurant with views over all of Jaipur, covered in greenery and whimsical lighting – and the food was delicious! The ‘Hawa Mahal’ and ‘Amer Palace’ were two of my favourite visits whilst in Jaipur as they hosted amazing architecture and colours that the beaming sun just seemed to amplify! Another highlight was an Indian family asking to take a picture with us, which was no problem, until they asked Liv to hold their newborn baby and the look on her face was priceless…
Our final stop was back to Delhi. A few highlights were:
The Lotus Temple
The Museum of Gandhi – This is such a moving experience as you see all of the hardship that Gandhi went through
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib – Everyone was so welcoming to all faiths at the temple and let you experience the music and the rituals … and the food
We ended our time in India at the Piano Man with a few rounds of cocktails and laughs over the craziness of the week! India is just as much of an eye-opener the second time around and I’d encourage anyone to go and immerse yourself in the traditional culture!
“India may be a land of over 100 problems, but it is also a place for a billion solutions” – Kailash Satyarthi
Check back for the next couple of posts for the rest of our trip around Asia!
Hostelworld – 8.6
Hostelworld – 8.8
Hostelworld – 8.9
Peacock Rooftop Restaurant
The Piano Man