Ever been to the Raj (India)?

Discussion in 'Travel' started by TheKing, Jun 28, 2009.

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  1. Anyone ever travelled round India? How fascinating is this place.

    When I see been to, I don't mean dipped your toe by stepping off a plane transferring flights or going to some fancy Bombay hotel drinking and coming home. Or a holiday to Goa.

    I'm sorry that's just not "India".

    I went a year ago for three weeks and couldn't wait to leave the place. Looking back, best place I've ever been to. I'm fascinated in the British Empire so neatly traced the few remaining relics of empire (went to Shimla [google-must] and imperial ruins around Delhi.

    Amazing country, difficult at times but I'd go back tomorrow.
  2. Many moons ago I did some AT for 6 weeks in the old country. I was young and don't think the whole culture thing had set in. Shame that. However I still have a soft spot for all that is Indian now.

    We flew into Delhi and acclimatised for a week and then bussed it up into the mountains near Dehra Dun. That journey was 11 hrs in itself. :cyclops: We trekked for about two weeks, some at such an altitude that breathing was laboured and walking tiresome. A bit lazy really but we had Sherpa’s to carry our gear, mine was only 15. Fitness wasn’t an issue with them as they just got stoned before each leg of the trip and stayed that way throughout. We ended up at Gaurikund which is a holy mountain retreat and birthplace of one god or another. Although it was only 30 miles from Nepal and hundreds from the Pakistan border, it was heavily militarised and we were questioned regularly about our movements (We all had military type Bergen’s and most of us had passport photos in DPM. :roll:

    After the trek, it was back to Delhi and a few days shopping until we went down to Goa via Bombay. 48 hrs on a train moving at 30 mph with no air conditioning. Oh and it was a steam train at that. It used to stop at regular intervals so passengers could stretch their legs but would then just pull away without any warning. We got used to not venturing far from the train.

    Goa was a paradise. We hired some scooters and legged it around the area soaking up the atmosphere. What that really means is; we chilled in all the bars and leached at all the women, who by their Portuguese interbreeding were absolutely stunning. :twisted:

    As it was the late 80's, Goa was still very uncommercialised and the haunt of hippies and dodgy drug dealers, who we met on several occasions plying their trade. We met some Swedish guys & Gals and had a fantastic time with them too. 8) The same can't be said for the 72 hour train journey back to Delhi. As we couldn't purchase tickets altogether, the troopy managed to obtain the eight needed for our party, but they were all separate. So my train journey was sat in a carriage, sharing with 5 others, and it resembling something like the Golden Child plane scene with chicken’s cages, snake charmers and deformed kids all over the place. Oh! By the way, no-one spoke much English either.

    When we got back to Delhi we managed to fit in a day trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal and to celebrate Bonfire night in the British Consulate at the invitation of the Deputy Defence Attaché (DDA). Great bloke and very interesting. Was an Inf Company 2ic in the Falklands conflict. :salut: The invited Indian guests found it highly amusing that we celebrated someone being put to death at the stake.

    I had managed to avoid Delhi-belly the whole trip, which was surprising considering what we ate all over the place, and only managed to become ill on the plane home after evening nibbles at the residence of the DDA before our flight home. That's irony for you!

    I could go on all day but I’ll give someone else the opportunity to bore other ARRSEr’s.

    Ps. We also. Whilst in Delhi, stayed at the Swastika Hotel and drink Swastika beer. The label alone was worth putting on ebay. It would made any BNP member proud. :roll:

    PPS. We even contemplated buying a wedge of hash and sticking it in the Troopie’s bags to see if he could explain that one to Customs at Heathrow. But decided against it, as with his luck he’d not get caught and would sell it on at a huge profit to himself. :twisted:
  3. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    Probly representatives of HM Min of Ag and Fish. They did a passable immitation of stoned Hippies if I recall.

    When I left India for the last time, I was talking to some old Bidi seller on Colva Causeway in Bombay. He said:

    "India is like the snake. One end, sheer beauty. The other, the rattle for survival"
  4. engr172

    engr172 Old-Salt Book Reviewer

    Anyone got any more to add on India?
    I am off to Goa and Kerala over xmas and new year, so looking for some tips.
  5. Never been, but were they the small cigs in a cone?

    Got kicked out of a pub for smoking them :D
  6. I went to keralla this summer. it was absolutely fantastic. What tourist infrastructure there is firmly aimed at the domestic market, in fact we where the only westerners around in a lot of places we went. So dont expect much in the way of shopping malls etc. Great food, great people.
  7. engr172

    engr172 Old-Salt Book Reviewer

    Cheers clanky
  8. My mate and his bird, just returned from a trip to India, bimbling all round the place. They hated it. Found in the towns or even big villages, the sellers were way to pushy, to the point of being nasty, and the big cities stank like a sewer.

    Food was alright though, and up North was better than south
  9. Oh yeah, lets not kid ourselves that India doesn't stink. I found Delhi at times quite nauseating, but overall a beautiful country if can just look past the poverty, caste system, corruption and ability to have 7 people doing one persons job. :D and nineteen people talking to you at the same time.

    Take a decent (cotton) passport.money belt/wallet.
    A box of steri-tabs for the water.
    Take a box of drinking straws and stick loads in your pocket. (Bottled drinks are stored in very dubious conditions, watch the locals they never touch the tops of bottles when they drink)
    Be careful of kind people helping you exchange GBP into Rupees, there's loads of scams about. My friend got ripped off for £40 by a illegal street deal. If you have to and the exchange rate is good, be very careful, these people do it for a living off tourists.
    Take toilet roll, Rural india don't use it.
    If you want to visit loads of places in the same town, find out if you can hire a taxi for the whole day. It might cost a few quid and shared it's not too bad and you get chauffeured everywhere 8)
    Don't always be cautious of people walking by you and chatting. Indians are by nature very friendly and will take any excuse to tell you that their cousin livers in Leicester, he's called Kamal and do you know him? :roll:

    If you get a chance to go into the bush somewhere, take the chance. There's loads of companies that supply porters, cooks etc. We went right up into the mountains and had porters carry our kit and supplies and chefs that would cook 3 meals a day. Bliss! and it didn't break the bank. You can always join a packaged group with others.

    Take plenty of music for the iPod, as a simple bus journey takes a dozen hours or so and probably that again sat around waiting for it in the first place.
    Just because the locals are very poor and uneducated, they're still people. That may sound a glib statement but I've seen trekkers/tourists be rude and inconsidarate to locals. Try all the food and don't be scared to follow the locals into a shitehole selling food. Chances are if the locals got here it's OK. (Our group spent the first week eating in the lodge and at Burger king in Delhi and missed out on loads of opportunites to experience real food!)

    Read up on the blogs etc. and Lonely planet stuff, it'll tell you loads more.

    Overall enjoy yourself. It's a beautiful place but not for everyone. I would go back at the drop of a hat.
  10. Ah India, haven't been back since 1999, so I fear I couldn't add anything that could be of any use or that has already been said, but I'm bent on returning, so please post your experiences!
    I loved the North personally, especially Rajahstan.
    Enjoy your trip!