India as a Girl Alone

Oh India… India is frustrating, infuriating, and enlightening at the same time.  There were moments when I loved it and moments when I hated it and when I loved it but I also feel like it taught me more than any other country.  As the rest of the world slowly morphs into one culture, India is staunchly different.

This was the country I was the most nervous about visiting and probably for good reason. It’s a place you need to be extra careful, especially as a girl traveling alone. I would say India is an interesting place to visit but not a place you go for pleasure or relaxation necessarily (unless you go to Goa).

India is just a little different from everywhere else

This was the one country I really considered doing a group tour of and I don’t think that’s a bad idea at all.  I was lucky in that I stayed at two great hostels and made friends who I traveled with but I think doing a group tour would be worth it, especially the first time.

India is really different and really beautiful.  I’ve heard reports from girls who have hitch hiked alone through India and had no issues.  I heard reports from girls who have told me in all caps, “YOU WILL GET GROPED IN INDIA.”  Both are true here.  There is questionable safety and incredible kindness at the same time.

If you want to travel the world, it definitely should be on the list though, it’s so unique.

Shores of the Ganges

My trip got cut short a bit due to visa issues when I was coming in from Nepal so I missed yoga in Rishikesh, but I did make to the spiritual city of Varanasi and saw the cremation ceremonies on the shores of the Ganges which was surprisingly peaceful.

There was actually a lot to see here.  Some of my favorites were the flower market, getting chai on the streets, and the Blue Lassi.  One of my least favorites was getting sick off paan but the paan leaf market, on the other hand is great.

Varanasi flower market

I also spent some time in Delhi and Agra.  Of course, no one should miss the Taj Mahal.  I remember on the way to the Taj Mahal, I passed a dog that had been hit by a car and his head was gashed open.  He was walking down the road but was obviously not going to make it long.  It’s horrible because there’s not much you can do and yet the poor animal is suffering. A few hours later, I was at a site of the most opulent beauty I had ever seen and sort of shocked with a realization of the type of beauty people can create.  It’s this sort of extreme of life as fragile and beautiful at the same time that you see every day in India.

 

I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would and made friends with some really fun travelers. I would come back again because there’s a lot to see and understand here.  There are so many contradictions and extremes that you really need some time and patience to understand what this country is all about.  But to me, it had a lot of soul.

Indian women at the Agra Fort