India is a country that can hardly be described in words. Not even in pictures. It is a country that changes people.
It is not a cliché, it is true. I think it affects travelers because of the poverty that they can see in it, the dignified and positive way in which the Indians face it, and the religiosity present in every second that is spent there.
If you really want to travel in India, there must be a certain predisposition to adventure since, as you can imagine, public transport is not very comfortable or well organized, but, yes, it reaches almost everywhere.
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My only advice is that you go as long as you can because the country is huge, the transports are slow and especially because the body and the head need some time to adjust to India.
In my case, I think I started to adapt to the country after 2-3 weeks of being there.
I stayed for 4 months and went from south to north, traveling mainly by bus and train. In the northern states, Ladakh and Kashmir, I also hitchhiked. In the attached map you can see the route.
Places To Visit In India
Kerala is one of the most famous places in India. It is on the west coast and, in addition to miles and miles of tropical beaches, it is full of jungles and animals.
Culturally it is also amazing as here you can find Hindu temples, churches, mosques, and even synagogues. It is a state that is considered communist.
You can find backwaters with rivers, lakes, and canals surrounded by vegetation, many people live there.
Hampi is the most popular destination and was once the capital of the Vijayanagar Empire.
Today many of its ruins are still preserved, which are World Heritage by Unesco.
You will notice that the landscape there is brutal and the best way to get to know it is by renting a motorcycle to visit mountains.
I recommend the Monkey Temple, but forgetting to give bananas to the monkeys, I had to run away chased by a few.
The Vicente Ferrer Foundation (Anantapur)
As many of you know, the Vicente Ferrer Foundation is an NGO that works in the State of Andhra Pradesh in India. Specifically in the surroundings of the city of Anantapur, one of the driest and poorest areas in the entire country.
This NGO was founded by the Catalan Vicenç Ferrer (candidate for Nobel Peace Prize) in 1969. It has more than 155,000 members throughout Spain who support and finance sustainable development projects (Agriculture, microcredits, water management, health, and education ).
It employs more than 1800 people in various hospitals, schools, and projects.
We visited the foundation without knowing if they would let us be, and the experience was incredible. They gave us a room, food, and an Indian guide who spoke Spanish and showed us various hospitals, schools, and projects. We spent 3 of the best days of the entire trip.
Impressive the work they do in India. If you want to visit the NGO, they organize trips themselves.
Goa is probably the smallest and most touristic state in the country. If you are a beach or party lover then you should visit Goa.
Goa is also famous for its hippie markets and trance parties.
Varanasi (or Benares)
Varanasi is one of the oldest cities in the world and is continuously inhabited for almost more than 3000 years. It is one of the obligatory places if you want to know authentic India.
Varanasi is a sacred city for Hinduism since the Ganges River passes through it, which makes religion permeate everything.
If you get to the north of the Ghats you will reach the crematoria. There you can witness how the deceased are buried in a ceremony that has been repeated every day for thousands of years.
After burning them, they throw the ashes into the river but some families do not have enough money to buy the necessary wood, so do not be surprised if you see a human half-burned and floating down the Ganges River. This is the kind of thing that takes a while to get used to in India.
Haridwar and Rishikesh
Haridwar is in the state of Uttarakhand. Although here it is clean. You can enjoy the Kumbh Mela Festival as this town is famous for this festival.
A festival that takes place every 12 years and in 2003 brought together 70 million people and is considered the biggest festival in mankind history.
Rishikesh is close to Haridwar, so if you travel through this area it is a good idea to visit both towns. Rishikesh is the mecca of yoga. Ever since the Beatles came here to do yoga, the town has seen more and more foreigners come in search of inner peace every year.
The Ganges River also passes through the town and at this point it is very clean so bathing in it is highly recommended.
McLeod Ganj (near Dharamsala)
When the Dalai Lama had to escape from Tibet in 1959 he came here and since then McLeod Ganj has become the exile capital of Tibet. Mc Leod is a small town on top of a hill and surrounded by nature and mountains.
Here you can get to know the Tibetan culture in freedom and if you are lucky to attend one of the conferences that the Dalai Lama gives from time to time. The surroundings of the town are also perfect for excursions.
Manali is 2000 meters above sea level. Travelers who love indian hashish also called smoke xaras to visit this place mostly. And it is true that many Israelis go there, but Manali is also a good place to go for excursions.
It has beautiful forests around the town and is made up of giant trees with huge waterfalls. There are also several sites with hot springs. If you are interested you can go climbing or paragliding.
Leh is the capital of the state of India, Ladakh. Leh is located at 3600 meters high and can only be reached by plane or from Manali by a road that is only open in summers and which reaches more than 5000 meters high. A brutal, long but highly recommended path.
The city, like the entire state of Ladakh, is primarily Buddhist and more like Tibet than India. Ladakh’s lunar landscapes and mountains are breathtaking and make it one of the best places to hike.
Srinagar is the capital of the famous Kashmir. This city has a huge lake in the middle, full of houseboats where you can stay.
A highly recommended experience is to spend a day in a boat strolling along the lake observing life in it.