I recently spent a week in India, most of you who are on here frequently already know this but if you’re here for the first time, this trip was one of my biggest if not THE biggest highlight of 2017. I’ve wanted to visit India for some time, around 8 years ago I was studying in the UK and had made a few India friends who always fascinated me with their tales and stories of the country and culture. Fast forward 8 years and ROCS Travel in Malta offered me the chance to experience India through a train ride from Mumbai to Delhi & it was pure heaven for a week.
So I’ve already shared what it is like to live on a train in India, a post about visiting the Taj Mahal and what NOT to wear to a Safari. There have also been a few videos on Facebook but many of you have been asking me lots of questions so I’m trying to create one post about India, to tell the entire story and answer all your questions.
So the trip took the following route – I left Malta AT 3 pm on a Friday and flew via Emirates through Dubai to Mumbai (approx 7 / 8 hrs Malta to Dubai – 3 hrs Dubai to India). The flight was comfy, I didn’t manage to sleep but watched Wonder Woman and Captain America – hurrah for Marvel! I had applied for the Visa from Malta and there was no hassle at all in the airport. I landed in Mumbai at about 8 am on Saturday (4 hrs time difference in India). I was greeted at the airport and taken directly to a hotel to rest for a few hours. I was picked up 4 hrs later and taken to the train – The Deccan Odyssey. The name of the specific train trip I went on is The India Sojourn Journey. It travels at night whilst you sleep and each morning, you wake up at a different destination.
Vadodara – An important, historical city that houses the important UNESCO World Heritage, Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, the only Islamic pre-Mughal city that has remained unchanged.
Udaipur – The City of Lakes, a very romantic city with beautiful palace built upon lakes
Jodhpur – The Sun City of Rajasthan, also known as the indigo city because many houses are blue, we visited bazaars, a magical fort where we also had dinner and visited a potter and weaver in their actual homes
Agra – The City of Love home to the Taj Mahal and the beautiful Amer Palace.
Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan and the Ranthambore National Park – We visited villages, drank tea in a farmer’s home, went on a safari with some amazing scenery and wildlife and had high tea at a hunting lodge.
Jaipur – The Capital PINK City of Rajasthan, home to the absolutely magical Amber Fort
Delhi – The Capital of India, made up of the new and old part, each one extremely interesting. The Jama Masjid mosque and the Humayun’s Tomb are must-sees.
Each day trip is an excursion organised as part of the train journey complete with guide, hosts etc
It is hard to properly describe India, there are so many different sensations, smell, sound, colour that at times it can feel a bit overwhelming. It’s definitely busy, each place I visited, barring the farmer’s villages on the outskirts was noisy, horns constantly being touted, cars everywhere and lots and lots of activity. It didn’t bother me though, it seems to blend in harmony with their way of life. People aren’t frustrated or angry, everyone is smiling and seems content. Women in the most beautiful sarees are everywhere, carrying groceries on their heads, taking care of the children or tending stalls. It feels that although their traffic and way of life is chaotic, it is an organised chaos that in turn keeps them at peace with themselves and others.
Visting India through this train journey means that I got a taste of different parts of India, with the different cultures that each place has. It wouldn’t be easy to see so many different places using public transport or regular trains. I also was very comfortable and at ease, something which has become important to me due to the ever-increasing stress that is my daily life. I’m generally a person who plans their own holidays from A-Z but the truth is lately I simply don’t have time and this holiday was truly an experience where I could sit back and relax.
What did I do in India?
I travelled in a cinema in the sky
And lived on a train
I saw a wonder of the world
And been on safari
I met some of the kindest people
And tasted amazing food
I had lunch and tea in a palace,
And dinner in a fort
I rode in a TukTuk
And made friends with a cow
I’ve answered these questions many, many times since I’ve been back so I thought I’d group them for those that are perhaps too shy to ask 🙂
Did you experience a culture shock? Culture shock implies a negative experience and my reaction was very positive. The culture is very different, the way of life is simpler, happier, more vibrant, more chaotic and more colourful. None of this was a shock, more a wonderful, mesmerising dream.
Did you experience stomach issues? Nope, we ate either on board the train or at beautiful places chosen by the train journey so I guess it was a lot easier on my stomach than certain street food.
Was the food good? Amazing, 3-course breakfast, 3-course lunch and a 3-course dinner. Daily. There’s a choice of Western or Indian – I chose Indian each and every time – delicious.
Were you ever alone without a guide? No, we had a guide with us at all moments of the trip which I highly recommend as a way to navigate through the large cities and make the most of your time there.
Did you sleep well on the train? Yes, you do feel the train move and start and stop but I personally found it quite pleasant, a bit like sleeping on a boat.
Did you see the Taj Mahal?Yep check out this post here
Was the weather too hot? Surprisingly (I didn’t realise before I left), it was actually quite cool especially in Jaipur and Delhi, the north of India gets quite cool in Winter actually.
Did you take these photos? No, all credits go to the hubby Kurt Paris who was my partner in crime on this trip.
All Photos by Kurt Paris
India Sojourn Journey via ROCS Travel