All posts filed under: India

Pushkar – India’s Hippie Oasis

In the mountains of Rajasthan there lies a small but very holy town by the name of Pushkar. In Hindi ‘push’ means ‘flower’ and ‘kar’ means ‘hand’. The town is home to India’s most holy lake where each year thousands of hindus make a pilgrimage to the sacred waters. Legend has it that the lake was formed by the tears of Lord Shiva who was distraught after the death of his wife Sati. When Sati died Shiva cried so long and so hard that his tears created two holy lakes (in Pushkar and Ketasha – which means ‘raining eyes in Sanskrit). While visiting Pushkar it is possible to take part in a ceremony at one of the 52 ghats surrounding the lake. I obviously took part in such a ceremony at sunset (when in India…) where a holy man leads you in a series of chants and offerings, sugar, rice, pigments and flowers symbolising health, love, prosperity, for good karma. The experience was awesome, especially in such a picturesque setting – I honestly found myself …

The Day We Ran Over a Cow and Almost Got Stranded in The Middle of The Desert…

In India getting the train is all part of the experience, they love a good train, and it’s the easiest and cheapest way to cross the country. So they’re pretty much unavoidable if you’re a backpacker like me and you’re on a budget! Luckily, I love Indian trains, there’s a sense of excitement about getting on one – Will it ever arrive? Will it stop midway through? Will it breakdown? Have you seen the Wes Anderson film The Darjeeling Limited? If not, see it, it’ll make you want to ride an Indian train. My first experience on a train in India was uneventful as it was a sleeper train so it was mostly sleeping that I was doing, but my second Indian train was certainly an experience… To get from Bikaner to Jaisalmer it’s a 5 hour train ride (or 6, or 7, or 8) on a local train – the kind where people hang out of the doors when the train is going and people wander up the aisles selling samosas. On this train …

Hotel Bhairon Vilas, Bikaner

I love a good hotel – I stay, I lay, I unpack and I snap. This one’s a bloody great one too so read on… The hotel Bhairon Vilas looks, to the untrained eye, like a palace, elegant yet totally homely, the ancient residence is crafted from the red sandstone native to the town of Bikaner in the north of India. It’s literally the most beautiful hotel I have ever stayed in… period. The owner Harsh is one cool character, an Indian man in his early forties, he rocks (with aplomb I might add) a handlebar mustache., salt and pepper ponytail, a serious amount of silver bling and an old English tweed smoking jacket. He looks like a cross between a pirate and a Bollywood heartthrob. I met Harsh holding court in his bar, which looks like a 19th century Opium den – the dark walls lined with all manner of curiosities (many of them family heirlooms) – and he told me that the hotel is his ancestral family home, built by his great grandfather. …

colourful indian houses delhi

48 Hours in Hauz Khas, New Delhi

My mate Akash told me that I had to visit Hauz Khas Village when I came to India, so I did and here’s what I found… GETTING THERE Get the Metro (yellow line) to Hauz Khas metro station, this cost me just 18p each way. Then get a tuk tuk as the walk is a little long, and not a particularly scenic one. Don’t pay more than 50IR to get to Hauz Khas village. If you must walk, just follow the road round to the left and I reckon it’d take 30 – 40 minutes. EATING The street food is plentiful and varied here, each district seems to have different dishes (so try them all). The prices are very cheap but go to the busiest stalls, they’re busy for a reason. And watch how much the locals pay so you don’t get given the tourist (higher) price. If you fancy something familiar there’s peri peri chicken, burger joints, pizzerias and crepe shops in Hauz Khaz, there is a definite European influence here, plus it’s one …

India – My First Impressions

So I’ve spent my first 24 hours in India and I feel like I have been here a week already! A lot has happened, but I’m glad I dived right in. On the flight here there was a man being deported back to India and he was not happy about it – so there wasn’t much sleep to be had due to all his screaming. Ah well! It’s not too long a trip. e-Visa At New Delhi airport, if you’re from the UK, you’ll have to get your e-Visa… which takes ages. They take your fingerprints and retina scan you but either the machinery wasn’t working or some people have very faint fingerprints as it was taking up to 15 minutes for some people thus making the queue about an hour long. When it came to my turn it took 2 minutes… I have very pronounced fingerprints. The Metro I decided to get the Delhi Metro to where I was staying instead of a taxi as I prefer public transport when travelling alone, it feels safer, also …