In May 2018 we went to India for the third time. This time our plan was to go on a 9000-kilometer (5500-mile) overland journey across India using public transportation. We had come up with a route we planned to take, but no reservations were made upon our arrival to the subcontinent. And now I’m ready to show you what these 4 weeks in India looked like. Where did we go to and what did we see.
It’s not that easy to put a 4-weeks long journey across such a colorful country like India in a single photo story, so I’m splitting it into two parts. And here is the Part 1.
4 Weeks in India, Part 1
We couldn’t get all the tickets we wanted so we had to change our travel plan a bit.
And so in the end our route across India looked like this: Bhubaneshwar – Kolkata – Varanasi – Delhi – Agra – Delhi – Amritsar – Jaipur – Pushkar – Jaisalmer – Ahmedabad – Mumbai – Goa. Mostly we traveled by train, a few times we took a bus and once we booked a private car with driver (for a day trip from Delhi to Taj Mahal).
1. Our Journey Started in Bhubaneswar
Bhubaneshwar is a peaceful, clean and small (small for India) city in East India.
2. Main Attraction of the City Is Museum of Tribal Arts and Artifacts
We aren’t big fans of museums, but we went there. And I must say, that at least the videos you can watch in the main building are very interesting and informative.
We went there after we had found a post office and sent some of our stuff to the final destination of our India trip – Goa. And after we had bought a local India SIM card and also train tickets to Kolkata.
Speaking of a local SIM card. It was Airtel India. We spent about an hour and a half to get it. At first traveling on a tuk tuk from one Airtel store to the next one, at each one of these places hearing the same story, that at the next store they will definitely be able to help us (to sell a SIM card to foreigner). At the last shop we bought it finally – though, it took some persuasion, that, yes, you guys are allowed to sell SIM cards to foreigners.
The SIM was never activated.
3. And Then It Was Time to Move on… to Kolkata
Train station surprised us being much too clean compared to what we had seen before in India.
4. Kolkata Surprised Us
It was much more interesting than we though it will be.
More crowded. More colorful. A city where we felt like we had just traveled back in time. Back to 1950s.
5. In a Way Kolkata Looks Like Mumbai
Mumbai and Kolkata both now are my favorite cities in India.
6. Look at That Bridge… And People Bathing Next to It
7. And That Ferry Taking People From One Coast to Another
By the way, do you want to know how they deal with tickets there?
Well, let’s say not in the best way. You buy a ticket. A minute later it’s being taken from you buy a ticket conductor, who… tears it aparts and throws it in the river. You turn your head and see thousands upon thousands of tickets covering the bank of the river.
8. In Kolkata Contrast is HUGE
9. There Are Beautiful Streets Like This One
10. And Then There Are Old Trams Like This One
11. And Super Crowded Streets
12. Where People Still Manage to Find a Place Where to Sleep, Cook and Rest
Because this street is also their home.
Nowhere else in India or elsewhere for that matter I have seen that many people living on the streets like in Kolkata.
13. Life Is Very Tough For Many in Kolkata
14. You Can’t Even Imagine How Tough
15. Yet People in Kolkata Are Extremely Friendly
16. Many Will Even Ask For a Photo
Whenever they will notice you wandering around with a camera in hand.
17. There Are Panks in Kolkata, Too
We are walking down the street, when out of nowhere runs this guy and welcomes us to India. We compare our tattoos, chat a bit, take a photo and off he goes.
18. And Again Moving On… to Varanasi
In the photo above you can see how non AC sleeper class car (known as Sleeper) looks in India. 5 out of 7 times we traveled on a Sleeper class train.
When there aren’t too many people and it’s not very hot (like it was when we traveled), then it’s not that bad. But the car can also be packed with people. Because everyone who have a general ticket (cheapest ticket without allocated seat) can board this car. And when all the seats are taken people sleep on the floor and under berths.
19. We Arrived to Varanasi Just in Time for the Evening Ceremony
20. And Then We Woke Up at 5 AM to Check Out How Ganges Looks in the Morning
21. Creamations Here Never Stop. Fire Is Burning 24/7
22. Boats Transporting Wood for Cremations
A scene that caught my interest even more. And not just this particular scene. But this all setup how “Varanasi works” and how they perform these cremations here non-stop.
23. In Off-Season There Aren’t That Many People in Varanasi
24. There Are Even Less of Them Walking
25. So You Can Just Walk and Observe the Local Life
26. Not Many People on the Main Ghat Either
27. Boat, ser? Boat, ser?
And also this phrase in the off-season you hear only every now and then. Not constantly.
28. Piles of Wood Next to Wood Shops and Ghats
29. Layers of Varanasi
30. Then You Leave Ganges and the Ghats, Head Into the City And…
And you end up in a regular Indian city. Loud. Crazy. Chaotic.
31. You Turn Back and Head for the Ganges Again
And get lost in a maze of narrow streets.
32. While Once Again You Are Back on the Banks of Ganges River
Delhi & Agra
33. We Came to Delhi
And dust storm came to Delhi, too.
We are out walking to the Old Delhi, when in a split second everything changes. Strong winds are blowing now. Garbage is flying all around us. You can’t see anything. An hour later rain came. And the temperature sharply dropped to half of what if was during the day (when it was crazy hot).
34. Second Try. Going to the Markets of Old Delhi
35. Only a Couple of Metro Stops Away from the City Center
36. Wandering Into the Spice Market
37. Lots of Spices Here
38. Taking in the Atmosphere of Old Delhi
39. Going Further
40. And Further, in Old Delhi
41. We Visited a Few Beautiful Monuments in Delhi, Too
42. For Example, Here You Can See Qutb Minar
An interesting sight. Worth a visit, if you ask me.
43. But Here You See Agrasen ki Baoli
It’s an interesting place in the very center of the city.
It’s a historical step well dating back to the 1100s. Now it’s a popular hangout place in Delhi where to chill out and take some beautiful selfies for Instagram.
44. And Here Is India Gate
45. While in Delhi Often We Felt Like Celebrities
46. Because Many People Wanted to Take a Photo With Us
47. And, Of Course, We Couldn’t Leave Delhi Without Visiting Taj Mahal
Well, yes, Taj Mahal isn’t in Delhi.
Taj Mahal is located in a city called Agra, a few hours ride away from Delhi. We decided not to stay in Agra overnight, but head there at night to arrive to Taj Mahal at the time of sunrise. And to go back to Delhi the same afternoon. Turned out to be a very good decision.
Learn more about the practical side of visiting the Taj Mahal (with kids or without).
48. Early Morning Is Perfect Time for Visiting the Taj Mahal
49. Quite an Impressive, Huh?
50. Moving On to Amritsar
Colorful. Loud. Crazy. This is Delhi we will remember.
Do you have questions about India? Do not hesitate to contact us!
Author: Kaspars Misins
Kaspars is a long term traveler and a travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On We Are From Latvia they share their experience and things learned along the way.