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Traveling in India, not a country but a continent

Traveling in India is not a traveling in a country, it's traveling on a continent. After spending a year I know one thing: you spend a lifetime in India and still have places not seen. Now that may seem obvious with a huge country as India. However, there is so much to see, so much to experience. Only visiting the country made me realize how lucky I was (in some ways) to have been born in Holland, and how much in Holland we also have lost.

India, Hampi Karnataka
The temples in Hampi, Karnataka

The problem with writing about India is of course where to start. What to tell, and what to leave out. Therefore I have decided to tell you only about my own travels in India. I have skipped areas, I have been places others won't go easily. But I had time, so why not.

Near Jaipur, Rajasthan, Jaigarh Fort temple
Near Jaipur, Rajasthan

The journey starts in Delhi and from there it goes everywhere in this magnificent country. But beware, India has many faces and the first face when entering the country might not be the most beautiful.

With over 1 billion Indians, many living below the poverty level, the heat (or cold, in the north) and the different food, it may take some time to see through.

However, once you see through, India is a beautiful fantastic country with beautiful and friendly people. And no place is the same to another. I have many sweet, bitter, weird and great memories of India. So, where will I take you?

Monks in a monastery in Sikkim
Traveling in India brought me to some interesting
places, here monks in the Rumtek monastery in Sikkim

I have been extensively traveling in India: the north-west with Kashmir (with Srinagar and Dal Lake), Ladakh with it's main city Leh. Himachal Pradesh was one of my favorite areas to travel with Shimla, Dharamsala, Dalhousie, Rishkesh and Manali.

I went to the north -east with Kolkata (Calcutta). Sikkim is an interesting destination, very Nepalese/Bhutanese/Tibetan influenced. I had a great two day adventure into north Sikkim with 2 Indian families.

People in Rajasthan

People in Rajasthan

The Seven Sisters with Phuntsholing and the border with Bhutan are worth the effort to travel. Through Assam, with Guwahati, Sibsagar and Shillong I went to Agartala and continued to Bangladesh.

Through Bangladesh, I came in Kolkata (Calcutta, if you like) and took a ferry to the Andaman Islands. In the central area, I visited Agra with the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, Khajuraho, Gwalior (and the majestic fort), Varanasi and Bodh Gaya. Further south I was in the Islamic province Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mysore. In Tamil Nadu I was in Ooty (wrong time of the year), Mahabalipuram and Chennai (Madras), where I arrived by boat from the Andaman islands. North of Bangalore I went to the famous Hampi ruins too.

Dal Lake Srinagar, Kashmir
Traveling in India. my first visit to Dal Lake Srinagar, Kashmir

Further north I visited the Ellora and Ajanta caves near Aurangabad (which also has the so called "Baby Taj or Poor Mans Taj").

And of course I spend a long time in Rajasthan, one of the most colorful provinces in India visiting Jaipur (the pink city) with the magnificent Amber Fort, Jaigarh Fort and the Jal Mahal palace. In Rajasthan I also went further to Pushkar, Udaipur, Jodhpur (the blue city), Jaisalmer (the golden city), where I went on a camel trek and Bikaner with the Karni Mata Temple. From Bikaner it's easy to travel to Amritsar with the famous Golden Temple of the Sikhs

But I have never been to the whole west coast of India, no Mumbai, Pune, Kerala, no Trivandrum. On the east coast I saw only Kolkata (Calcutta), Chennai and Mahabalipuram. So there's still a lot of white on my traveling in India map.

Rotan Pass to Leh in Ladakh  Hyderabad
: On the way into the Kashmir Valley
Right: in Hyderabad

Still after being a year in India it was not the monuments, nor the food that made the most impression on me, it were the people. When you are a long time on the road the thing that really matters is who you meet. And where I met amazing people, sometimes people who were so poor they had hardly anything to eat and still willing to share that little bit. India has changed my way of looking at life itself, it made me a little wiser, and much more stupid.

Some of the poorest people I have ever met, and yet, they wanted to give me some of their flowers: Chennai
Some of the poorest people I have ever met, and yet, they wanted to give me some of their flowers: Chennai

My only regret was that I didn't stay longer, but then again, I can always continue traveling in India.

Here are two pages with just photos of Ladakh and Kashmir:

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North & Central India

South India


Kashmir & Ladakh

Himachal Pradesh

North East India

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Taj Mahal

Maybe with the exception of Angkor, Machu Pichu and Borobodur, there's no place with such majesty as the Taj Mahal:

Taj Mahal

More about the Taj Mahal

and a little Taj Mahal Magic

Bodh Gaya

Few places I visited had a more international character as Bodh Gaya, the town where the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment.

Mahabodhi Temple

It is still one of my favorite place in India

Bodh Gaya

Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh is up to date once of my favorite areas in India I have traveled. Maybe it was because it was more laid back then some other hectic places, maybe it was the mountains, I can't really tell. But I can tell this, I would love to go back:

Himachal Pradesh

The temples of Khajuraho

The temples of Khajuraho belong not only to UNESCO's World Heritage, they are also some of the most beautiful and vivid ancient examples of sandstone carving.

temples of Khajuraho

The temples of Khajuraho