In the summer of 2012 I traveled to India with my youngest son. We spent almost a month in India in the heat of July and by heat I mean hot! I would not recommend July as the time to travel to India if you cannot deal with the heat. If you can then it is perfect. Tourism is at a low point at that time of the year so we were not dealing with crowds of tourists. I cannot imagine traveling in India when you might have the crowds of tourists an top of the already chaotic and frenetic pace of live India moves at. It is full of wonders—both of places and of people. The hardest part of working in India as a photographer is trying to find a place where you can stop and take a photo where you are not in someone’s way. It seemed like everytime I stopped to take a photo there were 20 people behind me that I was blocking. Indians are polite but pushy in that they do not get angry if something gets in their way and start honking their horn or yell at you but you need to be ready for them to squeeze past you even when it seems there is little chance of getting by.
On the roads the drivers drive by sight and sound. The horns are honking all the time but it is not out of anger but simply to say “pay attention I am right next to you” or “I am passing you”. The system works well but makes for rather loud travels but there is really no better way to experience the streets of Dehli than in a tuktuk as the world swarms and rushing around you.
Dehli is a massive city but getting around is easy as you can hire a tuktuk anywhere and to go just about anywhere. The hard part is trying to tell the driver where you want to go. Also agree on a price before you go.
We spent a couple of days in Dehli, trying out our skills at taking the metro, seeing the zoo, visiting the Modern Museum of Art (near the zoo), getting lost, and sort of enjoying the process of getting back to our hotel. The best part of India is you can sleep cheap, eat even cheaper (but the food is oh so good), and get around for next to nothing.
After Dehli we traveled by plane to Udiapur (which as a beautiful new airport)—the city in which we spent the majority of our visit. This city sits on the edge of a large lake and is one of the most beautiful cities in India. A lot of people travel here for their weddings. Out in the lake are ornate palaces. On the edge of the lake in town is the royal palace—half museum and half residency for the current royal family. (add in links to the various places)
The city is large but small enough to get your head wrapped around it in a couple of days. Most of the sites are within easy walking distance. We stayed at the xxxx hotel (add in link) and walked into the main part of town each day. Shopping is something you can’t avoid in a place like this and we enjoyed getting to know some of the shops.
After Udiapur we took an overnight train to Jaipur. I would strongly encourage everyone to travel by train at some point in your visit to India. The cost is next to nothing and the experience is worth every cent. You purchase your ticket in advance. When you show up on the day of your trip you look for the train car that has your name on the list of paper taped to the outside of the car. The company prints out the names and simply tapes it the car. We went all out getting an air-conditioned sleeper car for the trip. The trip was smooth as silk with the only hard part was getting off the train when we got to Jaipur—the crowd pushing their way onto the train was intense and you had to fight your way off the train.
We hired a driver and a car for our time in Jaipur (with a side trip to Agra) and met the driver at the train station. Our driver was fantastic. He took us everywhere. The cost was really so inexpensive and was definately the way to go.
Jaipur is a much larger city and intense. The noise outside the hotel started early in the morning and was loud. I realized why after realizing that our hotel was across a square from the bus station. Buses in Indian annouce themselves with what else their horn but not just any horn. Every bus has a unique sound—sounds of elephants, boat like horns, anything and everything you can think of. And they do annouce themselves forcefully. India is loud!
We took a side trip to a number of locations—Monkey Temple, xxxx fort, and Pink city and sun dial place.
The trip to Agra is something that you cannot miss if you are in India. We arrived in the city just as the monsoon season was starting. It was raining so hard the driver thought that the Taj Mahal would be closed and he was right. Late in the afternoon the rain lifted and we were able to visit the site. We also saw xxxx.
Our driver took us back to Dehli and our hotel for our flight out early the next day. We tipped him with all the rupees we had left.
My camera was on and never collected any dust from the moment we touched down to the moment we left.
No matter what I am going back. There is just so much more to see.