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11 travel bloggers - their best India travel reports and insider tips

The authors of travel blogs took part. Read her India travel reports here.

Here India is one of the most beautiful and contrasting travel destinations on our planet. Exotic smells, intense colors and an incomparable background noise affect the senses. On every street corner you will encounter overwhelming contradictions and contradictions that the locals seem to take for granted. In India you will experience unforgettable travel moments - cultural highlights, great beaches, spicy food, impressive nature and exciting adventures are waiting for you.

India travel report by Alexandra Lattek - travelingtheworld72.de

Incredible India - the country that is always and everywhere good for surprises. Just like when I visited the Indian Himalayas in Ladakh. For four weeks I was on the roof of the world, where the air is thinner than anywhere else in India. Leh, the main town of Ladakh, is at a whopping 3,500 meters. Traveling through Ladakh is an excursion into another world, instead of a “Namaste” you hear a “Jullay” in Ladakh, instead of Hindu temples you will find Tibetan prayer wheels and colorful prayer flags.

During this month I was supposed not only to climb my first five-thousand-meter peak, but also to meet the Dalai Lama. And even twice. I feel a little queasy when we speed down the infamous National Highway 1D from Leh, which leads from Leh to Srinagar to Kashmir and which is one of the most dangerous roads in the world. Our driver slams on the brakes, a roadblock. A conversation with one of the police officers that we don't understand. A convoy would come by. We stop. An armored black car drives past. Again scraps of words between our driver and the policeman. The Dalai Lama is sitting in the car. He was on his way to a small village where he was to dedicate a temple. My companion and I look at each other, the look goes to our driver. We're going after. Pass the magnificently dressed people on the roadside who have been holding out for hours. Enter the temple grounds and find a place just a few meters from the Dalai Lama. He laughs a lot, tells jokes. In Tibetan, however. That doesn't detract from this experience, we pinch each other, can't believe that we ended up here by accident.

The next day we have another opportunity to experience him at a Buddhist teaching near Likir Monastery. Thousands of Buddhist monks from all over India and Nepal had traveled. A sea of ​​red and orange robes, behind them the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, a scenery and an atmosphere that I will certainly never forget in my life.

My insider tip for India:

Travel on from Ladakh to Kashmir, either comfortably by plane from Leh to Srinagar or by jeep on the legendary Leh-Srinagar Highway. Rent in Srinagar for a few days on a beautiful houseboat on Nageen Lake, where you can finally read the books you have always wanted to read while enjoying a Kashmiri Chai on the boat terrace. For mountain lovers, I recommend a trek in the mountains afterwards. If you want to meet Bollywood stars, choose Gulmarg or Sonamarg. If you like it more authentic, you can stay with a local family in the small village of Naranagh and start wonderful day hikes in the Himalayas from there.

More travel stories by Alexandra Lattek at: http://www.travelingtheworld72.de/kashi-benares-banaras-varanasi-die-heilige-stadt-am-ganges/

India travel report by Bettina Blass - opujek.de

Memories of India: a mosaic of images and smells

I'm standing at a crossroad in Delhi. The pedestrian light jumps to green, but there is no getting through. The intersection is blocked by cars, cyclists, cows and people. Normal condition, I will learn in the coming days. But when I first visited Asia twelve years ago, it was the beginning of my first and only culture shock. They had warned me: “India is different,” said my friend Monika, who has traveled about as much as I have in her life. “It's not going to be a romantic trip,” said Dirk, alluding to the fact that my current husband and I had just been together for eight weeks when we left for India. We were both at an age at which you no longer play: hop or top is the solution, and India would show very quickly whether we worked as a couple.

At the congested intersection in Delhi we still had four weeks ahead of us. A month that should lead us from there over the stalls of Goa, the Victorian buildings in Mumbai and the vibrant Kolkata to the mountains of Darjeeling. There we saw a gigantic sunrise on an icy cold morning. Back from the Tiger Hill Sunrise Observatory we had breakfast - and almost immediately after drinking my mango lassi I had severe digestive problems. Yes, that too is somehow part of a trip to India. We flew on towards Rajasthan, and at the airport I experienced the fainting feeling when a man in his kiosk ignored me for almost ten minutes because he obviously didn't want to do business with women.

I also remember Varanasi as the strangest place I have ever been: the pyre on which the dead are burned burn day and night on the banks of the Ganges. Again and again I would take the boat trip at sunrise because the view of the awakening city is unique: Indians washing themselves just a few meters from the crematorium on the river bank, while the glowing red sun bathes the backdrop of colorful houses in a very special light.

After so many years I realize: I can't name the one, super-great India experience.

The trip as a whole with its people, stories, memories, colors and smells was the most unusual vacation I've had in my life so far.

Not a romantic getaway, no. But definitely a broadening of the horizon.

My tip for India:

I was once told by someone that I did not understand India because I had made several domestic flights and did not take buses and trains very often. I do not think so. I advise you to take a domestic flight if you want to cover long distances in a short time. Because there is a broad middle class and many wealthy Indians who take the plane and belong to this country just as much as those who travel by bus. Getting to know these Indians is no less interesting. They too have a great interest in talking to Europeans. This gives you an additional perspective of the very complex Indian society, which is missing when you are only traveling by bus and train.

More great travel stories from Bettina Blaß at: http://opjueck.de/8-orte-die-beim-reisen-mein-herz-beruehrt-haben/

India travel report by Susanne Helmer - fluegge-blog.de

Before my first trip to India, I had been looking forward to Varanasi the most. At the same time, the holy city had given me a lot of respect: I had read about the chaos on its streets as well as the public cremation of corpses according to Hindu tradition at the Manikarnika Ghat.

Together with three fellow travelers, I made my way to the famous stairs on the banks of the Ganges. On the trip in the tuk-tuk we saw the crazy, deafening traffic in the city center. Wild boars rummaged around in the garbage on the side of the road. As we got out and approached the Manikarnika Ghat on foot, it became quieter with every step and the air became thicker and thicker. Gray smoke hung heavily between the buildings - but fortunately my worst fear that the burning corpses would stink unbearably did not come true.

A narrow path led us past stacks of firewood to a kind of ledge. If we looked down from there, we could see the dead at the stake. I recognized a man. His head and legs peeked out from the fire. To my own astonishment, I was very calm at the sight of it.

Only later, from a rotten boat on the Ganges, was I able to really let the scenery work on me: on the left dark smoke rose, flames blazed, gravedigger handed the ashes of the deceased to the holy river, on the right people bathed in the water of the Ganges, washed themselves with it, even drank it. And by the way, our boat driver said that sometimes corpses that are not cremated for religious reasons float on the surface of the water.

My India "insider tip":

  1. Those who visit the Manikarnika Ghat should also take a boat tour there. A complete picture of what is happening on the ghat is only seen from the waterfront. In addition, the colorful, partly dilapidated buildings on the bank upstream look simply wonderful.
  2. I had never heard of the temples of Khajuraho before. I was deeply impressed by the complex in the state of Madyha Pradesh: There are around 20 well-preserved, extremely detailed decorated Hindu temples from the time of the Chandella dynasty. They were built in the tenth century, making them older than the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia. For centuries the buildings were overgrown with jungle and completely forgotten until a British officer rediscovered them in 1833. The temples are famous today mainly because of the countless erotic sculptures on their walls. Extra tip: In the evenings, there are “light and sound shows” that tell the story of the temples. It's worth a visit!

More exclusive travel stories and tips from Susanne Helmer at: www.fluegge-blog.de

India travel report by Walter Schärer - reisememo.ch

On a three-week tour through India's Rajasthan, it logically turns out that manshave occasionally got to. Since we are in sublimeMaharajah palaces dismount, a clean-shaven appearance is appropriate. Or a full beard. But that is not available within a useful period, so the wet shave should fix it.

In addition, a wet shave in the country is also a worthwhile experience. Whether it's the eternal lathering or good shaving foam: the shave doesn't burn at all! It is presented in a properly equipped corrugated iron container. Under observation by numerous locals. Such a freshly shaved stranger must be an insane attraction ...

After all of this is over, come -again surprise - a head and neck massage to use! The hairdresser's hands are everywhere at the same time: cannot be captured by the camera ...

The price negotiation at the end is a special pleasure, man let yourself be surprised?

The complete shaving story can be found at: http://reisememo.ch/asien/lösungen/die-rasur-meines-lebens

India travel report by Sarah Bergmair - wirunddiewelt.com

Our stay on an Indian farm

Our best travel experience in India was definitely the three-week stay on a farm in the desert. The farmGreen Arts is near Jaisalmer and consists of a couple of acres of land and a couple of cabins. On the farm we had neither running water nor electricity (therefore no internet either). One of the farm's principles was “Let your creativity run free”. There was wood everywhere, hammer and nails, paintbrushes and paint. You could develop artistically and discover your hidden talents, be it building, gardening or painting. For example, we built a herbal spiral and painted tables with colorful mandalas.

That's exactly what we liked there: the slowness.

We also helped the owners in the garden and with the harvest and learned from them how to cook on an open fire. While a life without electricity and running water was unimaginable for us before, we appreciated it all the more on the farm. Everything has its sequence, a lot takes longer and seems more complex, but you experience everything much more intensely. You are fully occupied with one thing and give your full attention to every little activity.

A luxury that you can hardly afford nowadays in the western world. While we get ready for work at home in the morning and sip a cup of coffee at the same time, we sat in the sun for an hour with coffee on the farm and talked to the owners about God and the world. There was no hustle and bustle there, no busy schedule - perfect for switching off!

Because the owner was an Indian, we got an incredibly intense insight into life in India. This is exactly what traveling is all about: spending time with the locals, living under one roof and getting to know and understand the country, the customs, the culture, the customs and much more. We were able to ask all the questions that have always crossed our minds about India. The owners taught us how to make Indian curry with naan bread and the beloved chai. We saw what life in the country looks like and accompanied the family for a day in their work in the fields. The time on the farm was one of the most intense and beautiful and I think we learned more about India in the three weeks than in the remaining 3 months.

India travel reports: Carola Brunnbauer - travellingcarola.com

One thing is one hundred percent certain: Anyone who travels through India comes back with an overabundance of memories in their luggage. The impressions can be overwhelmingly beautiful and at the same time disturbing or depressing.

I claim that India does not leave anyone indifferent.

India never gets boring either, because it is like a hidden object book for all the senses. Rajasthan is a conglomerate of castles, luxurious palaces, temples, hawelis (old merchant houses), heritage hotels, lakes, desert landscapes, national parks, tigers, dromedaries, goats, sacred cows, tuk-tuks, overloaded vehicles, blue, gold, red and pink Cities, noble fabrics, women in colorful saris, flowers, markets, ... It is correspondingly difficult to filter out the supposedly most beautiful travel experience or greatest adventure from all these impressions. Was it the dromedary ride at sunset in the desert, the sunrise in front of the Taj Mahal, the visit to a special school, the dinner with an Indian family, the morning yoga lesson, the train ride, ...?

When I think back to my trip from a distance today, there are two very different experiences that come to mind and which I would recommend to all travelers to India outside of the parallel tourist world, in which one is inevitably quickly caught: a fire ceremony attend and visit an Indian cinema.

The small town of Pushkar is on the one hand a destination for dropouts and hippie tourists, on the other hand it is one of the most important Indian pilgrimage sites and Hindus should come here at least once in their lives. There is also one of the few Brahma temples in the city. The place is essentially shaped by Lake Pushkar and the stairs surrounding it, the ghats. In the Holy Lake, pilgrims from all over India take a bath to wash away their sins. The lake's water is said to be as purifying as that of the Ganges. Fire ceremonies take place every evening in the Brahma Temple and on the banks of the lake. The sound of the conche announces the ritual at nightfall.

At that time, on an October evening, I am standing among many devout Hindus with rose petals in hand on a step of the Varaha Ghat and I am curious to see what will happen. An aarti actually has something magical about it. And even if, like me, you have little to do with religion and spirituality, you can hardly escape the fascination. The monotonous, mantra-like sung prayer, accompanied by cymbals and bells, and the rhythmic swinging of the fire lamps against the night sky let me fall into an almost trance-like state. In the end, all give their offerings to the lake. Thousands of rose petals and candles are now floating in the water.

Another great experience during my trip to India is the visit to the Raj Mandir cinema in Jaipur. The Indian film industry is not exactly known for high quality productions. That's not the point, especially since I can't speak Hindi and will understand only a little. What matters is the overall experience. And it is such a thing, beginning with the atmosphere in the cinema (same same but different), through the families and couples who are in the cinema, to the film. It doesn't always have to be Bollywood. I watch the movie M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story and even manage to catch the essence of the plot despite the language barrier. What is particularly interesting is what is conveyed in the film about everyday Indian life and Indian culture.

More interesting India stories at: http://travellingcarola.com/delhi/

Travel report from Tabea Rienas lichtauf.com

When I look at tourist hotspots, I do it in a slightly different way than one might expect from a “frequent traveler”.When I am interested in a place or a sight, all my senses are on "reception": I hear, smell, feel, yes - literally observe. And: I usually do it very quietly. Because I want - it sounds crazy, but it is a fact - to “disturb” this special piece of earth as little as possible with my presence. And sometimes amazing things happen to you ...

This is also the case in one of the most beautiful temples that I have seen on my trips to India: The Ranakpur Jain Temple near Udaipur in Rajasthan. Far away from the tourist crowd, I wandered barefoot through the incredibly beautiful colonnades made of shimmering white, filigree marble, sat in a quiet corner on a staircase and - watched: The light that fell through the leaves of a tree growing in the temple onto the marble floor ... The Jain monks in their daily activities, their prayers and the blessings that they made available to everyone who was willing in return for a small donation ... All the believers who said their own prayers ... The tourists walking ecstatically from one photogenic corner to the next, to capture a few memories with the camera ...

“WE TRAVEL TO SEEK OTHER STATES, OTHER LIVES, OTHER SOULS.” - Anais Nin

And in the midst of this fascinating, almost unreal scene, I noticed a monk who differed from all others through his robe, but above all through his almost fatherly charisma - it was he who was responsible for running the temple. I looked at him from my stairs, not without a smile, but with the greatest respect: He was surrounded by a good dozen people who all wanted to be blessed and advised by him. The friendliness and patience of this man seemed to know no bounds, he turned to everyone with an infectious smile, he listened attentively to everyone and had friendly words for everyone. And then it happened: all of a sudden, he raised his head and looked me straight in the eyes across the crowd. With a smile he just left his puzzled-looking followers standing there, came up to me and sat down next to me on the steps. "Your aura is beautiful", were his first words to me. I noticed that his eyes not only exuded the warmth that I had seen from afar, but were also a deep blue color - very unusual for an Indian. "My mother had the same," he smiled as if reading my mind. What followed, on this staircase, in this temple, in the middle of Rajasthan, was not a conversation from teacher to student or from “old” to “young”. It was the exchange of two people at eye level who could look into the soul of the other for a few minutes - and thus made friends.

As many impressions as there are on a trip, as many photos as we take so that we can remember everything later ... - there are moments that burn into our hearts. This was such a moment for me.

My personal insider tip for a trip to India is in the heart of the southern state of Kerala: The breathtakingly beautiful waterfalls of Athirapally, which can boast an imposing height of around 30 meters, are only about 30 kilometers from the town of Chalakudy on the Chalakkudy river of the same name near the Sholayar Forest Reserve. Surrounded by wide rock plateaus (wear sturdy shoes!) And the typically lush vegetation of Kerala, this natural spectacle exudes an almost magical atmosphere that should not be missed. Since word of this highlight has not (yet) got around to every travel guide editorial office, you will mainly meet Indian tourists here.

More exciting travel stories from Tabea below: www.lichtauf.com/goa-gluexmomente-2/

Travel report by Julia Schattauer bezirzt.de

Sunrise on the Ganges

It's 5 a.m. We're in a small boat that looks a bit shaky. A young Indian is sailing us across the river. Past people who take the water from one of the dirtiest rivers in the world to their mouths during the ritual morning washing. Past the burning pyre, past workers who do the laundry for the hotels on the washing stone on the bank.

The first rays of the sun bathe the Ganges in a delicate violet light. It's kind of romantic. Despite the dirt, despite the death that is omnipresent here. Varanasi is a special city, perhaps the most intense one that I got to know on my travels through India. This is where people come to die because Varanasi is considered sacred. Here it is possible to escape the cycle of eternal rebirth and go straight to nirvana. A dream for every Hindu.

The old town of Varanasi is a maze of narrow streets. There are shops, markets, hotels, cows and, in between, the corpse bearers. It is not uncommon for you to be sipping your yoghurt drink in the Lassi shop and a corpse wrapped in brightly colored cloths is being carried by just a few centimeters next to you. What sounds so bizarre to us is everyday life here.

Varanasi made me a little uncomfortable beforehand. I had heard too many blatant stories. Strangely enough, I felt comfortable from the first moment. Sure, it's narrow, dirty, loud, but also very special. The Ganga Aarti, the evening ceremony at the Ghats on the Ganges, are even more impressive here than anywhere else. The scenes at the burns are very close to me, but at the same time they fill me with an unusually peaceful feeling.

The sunrise boat trip was perhaps one of the most emotional moments in India. As much as the ferryman's constant spitting and pulling his nose annoyed me, I was annoyed about the rip-off with the offerings - at sunrise, when the river shrouds itself in magical light, then all the resentment is forgotten. Then you know that this is a moment that carries so much weight. That stays forever.

My insider tip for India: Beatles Ashram

To be honest: My tip is not that secret, because many people know about this special place and it is actually forbidden to enter. But in India this is solved pragmatically with a little baksheesh. So here it is: Near Rishikesh are the ruins of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram, where the Beatles spent some time with their guru. Today the ashram is deserted and a playground for Beatles fans and friends of Lost Places. The view from the roofs of the meditation rooms, the so-called "eggs", is particularly great.

More great India travel stories from Julia at: http://bezirzt.de/scent-india-riecht- Indien/

India travel reports: Renate Stenshorn - rausinsleben.de

The temples of Mahabalipuram - ideal for elephant fans

Mahabalipuram, the UNESCO World Heritage Site near Chennai, is the ideal starting point for a trip to South India. We had just landed in India. It is important to take your time and arrive in the country first. Everyday stress needs to be digested so that we can set off on new adventures.

In Mahabalipuram we found a kilometer-long fine sandy beach, wonderful for relaxing. The city is clear and not that big. The highlight, however, are the many wonderful temples such as the five Rathas. Different temple chariots were carved out of hard granite in the stonemason's playground. My favorite as an elephant fan was of course a life-size stone elephant, next to which I had my picture taken.

The coastal temple is said to have been the template for such famous temples as Angkor Wat. In fact, you can recognize the pyramid-shaped roof shape. The Dravidian architectural style was later imitated in many Asian temples. A whole row of stone Nandi bulls frame the Shore temple. You look at me calmly.

You know the large rock relief from many pictures. It measures an impressive 30 X 9 meters, making it the largest rock relief in the world. On the "Descent of the Ganga" gods and heavenly beings contemplate the river Ganges. Lean ascetics pray. The little meditating cat attracts the mice, as also sanctimonious sadhus did at that time. The stone herd of elephants that crosses the relief at the lower edge is particularly lovely. The little baby elephants hide under the mother's belly.

In the caves around we found other artistic reliefs that the visitor should definitely see. We really liked Mahabalipuram as an introduction to a wonderful journey through India. We can only recommend the city.

My insider tip for India travel:

There is still a lot to marvel at around the rock relief. Take a picture with Krishna's Butterball, the spherical rock that looks like it's about to roll down. Go through the narrow crevice on the right. Behind it you will find the Trimurti Cave. The cave temple is dedicated to the three most important Hindu gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

More beautiful India travel reports from Renate at: http://rausinsleben.de/reiselaender/asien/lösungen/

India travel report by Michael Mittau - die-rasende-hummel.de

For me, Varanasi was without a doubt the highlight of my 2-week tour of India. The special atmosphere - I could almost call it aura - that surrounds Varanasi cannot be conveyed by a film, book or travel guide. You have to experience that for yourself on site with all your senses. Fascinating, impressive, moving, strange. Pure culture shock.

Varanasi is the holiest city for the Hindus and one of the oldest cities in the world. It is the most popular pilgrimage site on the Ganges.

reincarnation

Every Indian wants to die in Varanasi. To understand this, let's dive a little into Hinduism: This teaches rebirth, which means: the soul leaves the body and returns to a new body.

This cycle can only be interrupted in Varanasi. Everyone who dies here attains bliss and peace in nirvana.

The ghats

The more than 80 ghats - bathing stairs that reach down to the Ganges - they undoubtedly shape the character of the city. On the first day we stroll comfortably along the ghats and experience everyday life up close.

Religious rituals take place everywhere. Street vendors, priests, sadhus, beggars, cows and lots of bizarre things line our way. At the upper end of the Ghats we see imposing, but badly dilapidated buildings and palaces. I imagine how magnificent and stately it used to look.

While strolling, we pass several burn sites, the so-called burning ghats. With around 200 burns a day around the clock, death is omnipresent here. I recognize that the Hindus are very straightforward about this, and amazingly, I am fascinated rather than put off myself.

Dropouts and business as usual

Wherever tourists romp about, there are of course also resourceful, how should I put it - business people. Everyone does their business here to somehow make ends meet.

We watch two western tourists meditate with a gray, white-bearded Indian. Does he have a yoga certification? Probably not, but here - as in general in India - that is secondary.

Then there are the dropouts from all over the world. We learn that a tourist - to prove that she wants to stay in India forever - tore up her passport in public. Even if it's more of a symbolic character - I think it's funny.

The Aarti ceremony

The Aarti ceremony takes place every evening at the Dashaswamedh Ghat. Here priests and pilgrims pray to Mother Ganga every night. After the ceremony, we get into one of the numerous rowing boats, light floating candles and send them on their hopefully long journey on the Ganges.

Ritual ablutions

On the second day you have to get up early, i.e. 5:00 a.m. In addition to the magical light mood at sunrise, we have the opportunity to observe the ritual ablutions at the ghats on a boat trip.

From the boat we see countless Indian women - wrapped in colored saris - who climb into the Ganges to cleanse themselves from diseases, but also from sins. My camera is busy taking series pictures. Now I know: Just one photo would have been enough to bring the entire scene back to life in my mind's eye.

Conclusion

In my opinion, you don't have to plan more than two days for Varanasi. The city clearly thrives on the magical, spiritual atmosphere. I will probably not visit Varanasi a second time. Nevertheless, I am glad that I was able to breathe this incredible atmosphere. It will be unforgettable.

More moving travel stories from Michael at:http://die-rasende-hummel.de/

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