Why is India such an ugly country

Vacation in India? 11 travel bloggers reveal their best tips

India is one of the most beautiful but also one of the most strenuous travel destinations in the world. What do you have to be prepared for? And where should you start in this huge country? Eleven travel bloggers report what you must have seen in India.

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The travelers who have already been to India can be roughly divided into three groups. The first group loves India, the second hates India, and the third group is a mixture of both.

India is the land of contrasts: rich and poor, ugly and beautiful, old and modern. There you will find wonderful beaches (e.g. Goa), huge metropolises (e.g. Mumbai), exciting national parks (e.g. Kanha) and lots of temples (e.g. Madurai) and palaces (e.g. Udaipur).

Some time ago I wrote down 15 tips for your first trip to India. You will get even more suggestions now. Eleven travel bloggers, all of whom have seen a lot of India, answer three questions below. Well, let's go.

All tips for your trip to India

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To the India blog

Vacation in India: the best tips from travel bloggers

The makers of the following great travel blogs answered my questions about India:

  • Travel differently
  • Ani thinks
  • Björn's travel blog
  • City Sea Country
  • Flocblog
  • Glaarkshouse
  • Hello World
  • Reflections of a seeker
  • Travel on toast
  • Globetrotter Mag
  • World nomad

The questions:

  1. Why is India an interesting travel destination?
  2. Whether it's an insider tip or a well-trodden path - what do I have to see in India?
  3. Each trip also includes culinary discoveries. Which dish should I definitely try in India?

Gerhard from Anders Reisen

1.) India is extremely diverse and sometimes you travel very adventurously here. That's what I like about a travel destination. You can experience crazy and great things like the Holi festival (festival of colors) or to be invited by a family to Teyyam. But India also has surprisingly quiet and relaxed corners. And if there is a great railway network in the country, then for me it is the "icing on the cake".

2.) The Indians have already discovered them - they are still relatively unknown to the Europeans: the Andamans. The island chain actually already belongs to Southeast Asia, but is Indian national territory. A dreamy piece of earth for diving, snorkeling and relaxing. Particularly great: there is only very limited or no internet on the islands. After that, I didn't want to go “online” at all.

3.) Culinary it is difficult to speak of India as a whole. Just as the culture and language are different in the states, the menu changes from north to south. With my favorite dishes, I tend to settle in the north. I particularly like palak paneer and dishes with mutton (e.g. Mutton Masala). Those who like to eat vegetarian should try a thali in the south - this consists of rice and many different chutneys and curries.

Travel differently

Anika von Ani thinks

1.) Because it polarizes. Most love or hate India because you can either immerse yourself in diversity or succumb to chaos. That always appealed to me. It is also incredibly interesting culturally, the traditions are fascinating, seem absurd, sometimes repulsive and difficult to understand. It's a country that resonates - its wonderful people, impressive temples, fabulous food. For me just everything.

2.) The Taj Mahal. So far, no other place has blown me away. On no account skip it and think that this is just a tourist attraction that has been pushed to the top! Otherwise, I was very impressed by the Golden Temple in Amritsar, maybe someone would like to spend the night in the temple for free, because unfortunately I didn't do that, but only heard good things.

Must-see tip: the flag parade on the Pakistani border in Wagah. Very entertaining!

3.) I am a vegetarian, so I feel more than at home in India. Therefore I can only recommend meatless dishes, for example I love masala dosa and sweet lassi. My favorite dish: paneer butter masala with garlic naan and saffron rice.

Ani thinks

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Björn from Björn's travel blog

1.) India is an incredibly exciting country. First of all, it has to be said that the country is very diverse with 1.2 billion people, various languages ​​and cultural differences. So it is difficult to talk about the one India. For this reason, travel experiences vary greatly depending on where you are going and in what way.

In retrospect, I was particularly impressed by the great charisma. I was much more aware of the country and its people than in other travel destinations. Bright colors, the clothes, the expressive Bollywood cinema, there is a lot to see here that is not available in this form in other countries.

It is also exciting to see the change in the country. India is on the move. Even if, for example, forced marriage is still widespread and in many places there is no equality between men and women, it can be clearly observed where the journey is going.

2.) I was impressed by Hampi. The place is in every travel guide, but it is definitely something special. There are tons of temples and buildings from an ancient kingdom literally standing around in the landscape. Whether on foot or by tuktuk, discovery is the order of the day. Please do not confuse this with Hampi Island, the neighboring hippie island. Nice too, but just a sideline for me.

3.) India is a paradise for vegetarians. The menus are full of vegetarian dishes, the number of purely vegetarian or vegan restaurants is huge. I really like the many pan dishes and one of the delicious breads. Of course, eating with your hands is also special. But I found it very pleasant with bread.

In India I actually sat in front of a half-full plate for lunch and was happy that there would be dinner later. Just delicious!

Björn's travel blog

Christina & Thomas from City Sea Country

1.) Very simple: India is colorful, more colorful, the most colorful. After the first culture shock has been overcome, the colors of the saris, the buildings and the markets are fascinating. Attention should be paid to doors. Even if this sounds banal or boring: There are seldom such beautifully decorated arches as in India.

2.) Definitely the local vegetable, fruit and spice markets. And of course the Holi festival in March, when color pigments are swirled through the air.

Of course, it always depends on which area of ​​India you are visiting. In the so-called Golden Triangle, you should definitely plan a visit to the “pink city” of Jaipur. Jaipur is best known for the Palace of the Winds.

3.) India has a wide variety of excellent dishes. The well-known naan bread is particularly popular with meals. It's simple, but it always tastes good. A daily (simple) favorite.

At the end of the meal there is aniseed grains wrapped in a colored sugar coating for digestion. Definitely try, but be careful: you either love or hate the taste.

However, a little caution to protect yourself from the infamous Delhi belly is never wrong. 😉

City Sea Country

Florian from Flocblog

1.) For me, India is not just a subcontinent geographically. In India there is a diversity of languages, cultures, religions, foods, landscapes and sights comparable to Europe with a history going back thousands of years. I've been to India four times for a total of 5 months. I haven't seen enough by a long way.

But that alone doesn't make India the most interesting travel destination for me. It is the completely alien way of life and mentality of the residents. Most Indians live from hand to mouth, but they do it with an incredible zest for life and seemingly without any melancholy. I can learn a slice of that as a nagging German.

Of course, the poverty in India is very shocking to us rich Europeans. In India I have found that my own first world "problems" are not worth mentioning.

2.) In South India, the old sultan's city of Mysore is a must, with great day trips to the Tibetan refugee village Bylakuppe and the sleepy, enchanting Jain town of Shravanabelagola. In northern India, the lively city of Amritsar is a highlight, with the golden temple of the proud Sikh and the bizarre Pakistani-Indian border dance.

On my first trip to India I found Hampi in Kanataka and Puri in Odissa to be particularly beautiful, because both places allow a bit of relaxation from the "real India". Ochhra, Pushkar, Rishikesh, Dharamsala and Darjeeling also invite you to take a break from the hustle and bustle of India.

3.) Two delicious dishes that you can find almost everywhere in India are Matter Paneer and Palak / Saag Paneer, i.e. pea and spinach stew with cream cheese.

Otherwise it is very different from region to region, from Non Veg to Veg to Pure Veg. In some areas there is dal bhat with every meal, in others fish. Some tasty tips:

  • Kotthu Roti - Tamil Nadu
  • Wazwan - cashmere
  • Vindaloo - Goa
  • Kulcha - Punjab
  • Bhelpuri - Mumbai
  • Momos - Himalayas
  • Gosht - all of North India
  • Dosa - all of South India

Or just go to the next so-called "hotel" in South India or a restaurant in North India and order a thali, a menu of the day. That hardly ever disappoints, especially the thick curries in South India.

Flocblog

Jen & Peter from Glaarkshouse

1.) Actually, one should speak of numerous travel destinations in India. With almost 1.3 billion people, 29 extremely different states, all possible languages ​​and religions, the culinary diversity and the uncanny dimensions from the ocean to the Himalayas, it is almost impossible to make a general statement about this country. While many say love it or leave it, we have more likely had the experience love it ... and then leave it. Hardly any other country polarizes travelers as much as India. But it is precisely this polarity that makes India a unique country for us. I love it. I dont love it. I love it. We have experienced the perhaps most beautiful but perhaps also the most harrowing times of our long journey in India. We find it important: let yourself be carried away ... join in ... and just accept some things. The following applies to all of India: Look and be amazed!

2.) With the beaches of South Goa or Kerala, the temples in Hampi, the ghats in Varanasi, Bombay, Amritsar or the Taj Mahal in Agra, India naturally offers everything that the traveler's heart desires. We wouldn't go looking for enlightenment in India. The yoga-meditation-spirituality path, which can usually only be found in the tourist strongholds, seems very trodden. There are better places in the world for that.

For us the mountains around Kashmir, the Buddhist Ladakh and finally the unique Spiti Valley (Little Tibet) in the Indian Himalayas were the biggest highlights. A day-long, adventurous journey, which is only possible in the summer months and requires a slow acclimatization to altitude, makes Spiti a quite undiscovered and downright magical piece of earth.

3.) Indian cuisine is perhaps the most diverse in the world. The Pure Veg restaurants are great - probably nowhere in the world you can eat such a varied vegetarian meal. A simple dal (lentil dish) with naan (thin bread) and raita (yoghurt with cucumber) always works. A masala dosa (a kind of crepe filled with potatoes) can be eaten at any time of the day. We are also fond of Indian desserts such as Kheer (Indian rice pudding) or Gaja Halwa (carrot dessert) with cardamom. For those who are undecided, there is always a Veg or Non Veg Thali, as you can fight your way through 5-6 different small bowls in a circle. There is also rice or naan. Yummeh! Oh ... and you get used to the sharpness!

Glaarkshouse

Christina from Hello World

1.) India is just so colorful! I've never seen a country with so many colors. Everywhere there are saris in red, blue, green, purple, orange and every other color, the temples are decorated with smells and the bustling markets offer something for the eyes, ears and nose. It is not for nothing that the Holi festivals are becoming more and more popular in Europe.

2.) Every India classic in Delhi, Agra and Jaipur is recommended - you will certainly not be disappointed. A personal highlight for me was Jantar Mantar. What most of you don't know is the Akshardham Temple, which opened in 2005 - incredibly impressive! I have never seen such a huge and, above all, detailed temple. Here you can spend hours looking at carved walls.

3.) Freshly made naan bread (straight from the clay pot), sipping chai in the middle of Old Delhi, jalebi (sweet picks, delicious pretzel) and omali (a dessert similar to a pudding with cashew nuts).

Hello World

Oleanders from reflections of a seeker

1.) India is a cultural, religious and linguistic melting pot full of contrasts and at the same time a mirror for the traveler. Terrible and wonderful impressions are right next to each other. It is in the eye of the beholder what he perceives. From the mountains of the Himalayas to the fertile, hot plains with all their overstimulation of colors, smells and people of all origins. There is the oriental Rajasthan with its deserts and places of pilgrimage, the seething cities that drive your mind up to thousands of kilometers of coastline and here and there oases of peace and quiet.

The Indians are very curious and open: you get into conversation easily. You will find a concentration of the most extraordinary, most interesting but also craziest travelers who have come to India in search of meaning. But it is not always an easy travel destination that only reveals itself to the patient and can also easily lead them astray. I have fallen in love with this extraordinary country and will not stop listening to the stories of India. Knowing that I can never quite grasp it. Whenever I step on Indian soil, my head starts to shake the Indian way and I feel relieved that this improbable land actually exists ...

2.) Personally, I am particularly fond of the Himalayas - especially Ladakh with its Tibetan culture. Cashmere is beautiful, but also a challenge because of the confused political situation. Himayal Pradesh, Spiti, Kinnaur, Uttrakhand - each of the regions in the high mountains has its own charm. I've never really gotten to grips with cities, but they're always fascinating. I felt most comfortable in Varanasi, but I gave myself a lot of time before visiting the Holy City.

In Rajasthan, I liked Jaisalmer best with its huge sandstone fort. Jodhpur has a very pleasant atmosphere, the visit to the camel market in Pushkar was fascinating. In the south there are some remaining corners around Goa with Kerala, a great alternative with fewer tourists. I can highly recommend Hampi, the ruined city inland, embedded in a bizarre rocky landscape. And finally Gokarna with its rocky coasts and beaches.

3.) Chicken tikka, grilled and marinated in a stone oven, with butter or garlic naan, vindaloo, extremely hot (ginger) fish or pork dish from Goa. Nut curries from Rajasthan with chapati, the Indian flatbread and of course the Indian masala tea with cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaves, pepper and an overdose of sugar ...

Reflections of a seeker

Anja from Travel on Toast

1.) I've dreamed of India for a long time: of the bright colors, the magnificent buildings, elephants and the delicious food. In January 2015 I finally managed to visit this destination.

I have to admit, I felt a little queasy beforehand. Because I've also heard of pushy men, beggars, dirt, noise and the “Delhi Belly”.

It was actually dirty in places and there is a big gap between rich and poor. Fortunately, men didn't press me. That may be because I was on the road for 10 days with a driver and changing guides in northern India (Delhi and Rajasthan). At times, however, I also went out on my own.

2.) The Taj Mahal is probably on the list of all visitors to India - and the visit is really worth it! Even if it rained like in my case.

I also found Udaipur with its lakes very beautiful, as well as the blue city of Jodhpur.
I visited the famous Karni Mata rat temple near Bikaner. An estimated 20,000 rats live there, the visitors bring them food and the rats drink milk from plates. One ran over my foot - that's supposed to bring good luck!

Visiting a Bollywood film in the beautiful Raj Mandir cinema in Jaipur was great. The film was in Hindi without subtitles. But thanks to the expressive facial expressions and gestures of the actors, I understood almost everything. It was a horror movie by the way - I didn't know there was such a thing.

3.) I never get enough of Thali. Everyone has a metal plate with compartments in front of them, and waiters fill it with the various dishes. It's great that I was able to try everything possible. By the way, I tolerated the food well, I was spared the “Delhi Belly”.

Travel on toast

Marianna from Globetrotter Mag

1.) India has an attractive fascination for me, which is particularly fed by the country's extreme contrasts. Hinduism, for example, is thousands of years old and is still actively practiced today. The rural life in India is in complete contrast to the mega cities like Mumbai, where thousands of people strive every day to finally find their monetary happiness. You can literally see this city growing. In India's cities, everything happens very quickly, while in the country you sometimes have the feeling that time simply stood still 100 years ago. Nevertheless, the Indians manage to take their tradition and culture with them into the new modern realities.

2.) I didn't want to admit it myself, but you must have seen the Taj Mahal. You shouldn't skip Old Delhi for the culture shock of your life either, and Rajasthan holds an incredible wealth of motifs from the picture book India. As an insider tip, I would recommend the coast of Maharashtra, which is rarely visited by international tourists. You can see how Indians go on vacation.

3.) Everyone! There is nothing in India that is not incredibly tasty.

I especially like pani puri, street food from Mumbai, but that's not for every stomach. In Old Delhi, keep an eye out for street stalls where small round biscuits are baked on cast iron and flavored with anise. And during the mango season, be sure to drink mango lassi and eat mangoes, only then have you understood that there is no commonality between our imported mangoes and real mangoes.

Globetrotter Mag

Florian from world nomad

1.) For me India is not necessarily one of the most beautiful countries that I have been able to visit so far, but it is one of the most interesting countries that I have traveled through. The diversity of food, landscape, people and culture can hardly be found in any other country. Whether you are in a metropolis like Mumbai and watch the goings-on on the street or soak up some sun on one of the many beaches in Goa. India offers beautiful landscapes and insanely chaotic cities that you should have seen once.

One of the things I like most about India are the incredibly friendly people. Of course, as a European it is not always easy to deal with the poverty on the ground or to have enough self-confidence to cope with the attention and the many looks. Nevertheless, I have never seen in any other country that so many strangers invite me to their home and want to show me their region. So much friendliness and curiosity make it easy for you to take the locals into your heart and make new friends.

2.) I have been to India twice so far, but unfortunately I haven't seen as much as I would like. Since I especially love being on the beaches, I was very enthusiastic about Goa. The small town of Anjuna in the north of Goa was one of my most beautiful places in India. The small hippie village offers a fantastic beach, cool bars, yoga, surfing, etc ... And the area can be easily explored with a scooter. So if you also need beaches, cool bars and a few quiet days, Goa is the place for you.

For the city dwellers among you, I would recommend a visit to Mumbai (Bombay) and plan a few days here. I lived there with a friend for three months in the winter and I really grew fond of the city. A visit to this city is worthwhile just to stand in front of the Gateway of India in the south of Mumbai. In addition, it is essential to take the train through the city once, it is always an experience.

3.) To be honest, I am not a big fan of Indian food, as I generally don't like to eat spicy food and there are hardly any dishes that Indians do without spiciness. But what I could never walk past were the booths that sold Pani Puri. The small filled pockets are more of a starter than a main course and are filled with all kinds of things. Especially in cities, a lot of people walk around with their cars and sell them on the street, if you see one, be sure to try them!

World nomad


More tips about India

Here you can find:

Book trips and tours in India

Of course, in India you have the option of booking tours and activities in local travel agencies. In addition, the first organizers are now gradually starting to offer their programs online. In addition to information about tours, you can also find reviews from other travelers on the relevant platforms. Here is a selection:

  • GetYourGuide: Day Tours, Excursions and Activities in India

Travel blogger surveys on other countries

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About the author

Stefan has been traveling to the countries of Southeast Asia since 2006 and often spends several months there. In 2013 he founded Fascination Southeast Asia and since then has also written several eBooks and books on the subject (including the insider travel guide “555 Tips for Bangkok”). Between his travels he lives and works in Düsseldorf.

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