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The best places to go off the beaten track in India – Lost With Purpose

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The best places to go off the beaten track in India - Lost With Purpose

Up to date in 2020: An inventory of my favourite off the overwhelmed monitor” locations and experiences in India, chosen after greater than a 12 months of journey across the nation. Take a look at these locations in the event you actually wish to dive deep and go off the overwhelmed monitor in India.

Reality: India is very large.

Although some individuals make it appear as if India is a rustic that may be “finished” in a matter of weeks, the reality is that exploring India would take lifetimes. After greater than a 12 months—and hopefully extra to come back at some point—I’ve solely coated a tiny fraction of this majestic nation.

With a lot to see and do, it’s onerous to determine the place to journey in India! Though many individuals keep on with the tried and examined locations—suppose the Golden Triangle, Goa, and the Hummus Path—there’s a lot extra to see in India past textbook vacationer sights.

Extra importantly, India turns into way more rewarding (and far much less stuffed with rip-off artists) while you go away the well-beaten path and immerse your self within the myriad experiences it provides.

Under are just a few of my favourite locations to go off the overwhelmed monitor in India, that can assist you journey past the hordes of sketchy tour touts, selfie squads, and stoned overseas hippies.

After almost one year of travel in India, there are some destinations we just can't get out of our minds! These are some of our favorite off the beaten track destinations in India, from South India to Northeast India, including a map of destinations for your trip planning!

Index

Kannur, Kerala (South India)

Fire kutti theyyam ritual in Kannur, Kerala

Theyyam in Kannur: an otherworldy expertise!

This dusty market city in northern Kerala does nothing to impress. However within the villages surrounding Kannur, an historical ritual takes place for a number of months a 12 months: Theyyam.

Theyyam is likely one of the most spectacular rituals I’ve seen in India. Mentioned to predate Hinduism, chosen males channel historical deities by way of costume and dance. As soon as a dancer’s (elaborate) full make-up and costume is full, he loses consciousness, and turns into one with the god.

It’s an otherworldly ritual—one you positively don’t wish to miss.

Learn extra: Theyyam, a dance of gods

A night of fiery Theyyam dance in Kannur, Kerala is one of many top off the beaten track sights in India.

Bijapur and Bidar, Karnataka (South India)

Best destinations off the beaten track in India - Ibrahim Rauza mausoleum through an archway in Bijapur, Karnataka - Lost With Purpose travel blog

The Ibrahim Rauza mosque and mausoleum in Bijapur.

Most vacationers bus it to Hampi or the Konkan coast, giving little or no thought to the remainder of Karnataka. However within the northeast nook of the state are two cities that historical past fiends are certain to drool over: Bijapur and Bidar.

Massive onion domes dot their skylines, Islamic historical past comes alive within the multitudes of madrasas, mosques, and shrines tucked away all through each cities. Neither are notably fashionable with overseas vacationers, and locals are glad to have a chat or a cup of chai. By far a few of my favourite locations in Karnataka.

Learn extra: 7 off the overwhelmed monitor locations in Karnataka

Exploring crumbling arches in Bijapur, an epic off the beaten track destination in Karnataka state, India.

Kalna, West Bengal (East India)

108 Shiva temple in Kalna, West Bengal, India

The beautiful 108 Shiv Mandir in Kalna is made up of two concentric circles of 108 tiny temples. How cool is that?

There’s one million causes to like West Bengal—I’m admittedly a bit biased as Kolkata is my favourite massive Indian metropolis and Bengali meals is to die for—however past stuffing your self stuffed with fish and rice, riverside terracotta temples are one draw to the japanese state.

Although scores of temples dot the riverside, not all are simply accessible not simple to search out. Nevertheless, Kalna is a picturesque temple city on the banks of the Hooghly—the decrease Ganga river—and it’s packed to the brim with examples of Bengal’s well-known terracotta structure. About two hours’ drive from Kolkata, the city hosts an enormous temple complicated. The complicated consists of one of many extra distinctive temples I’ve seen in India: the round 108 Shiva Temple.

If you wish to begin branching out into West Bengal, Kalna is an efficient place to begin.

Lalji terracotta Hindu Temple in Kalna, West Bengal, India

Hyderabad, Telangana (East India)

Best off the beaten track destinations in India - Char Minar during nightly traffic in the old city of Hyderabad - Lost With Purpose travel blog

The well-known Char Minar in Hyderabad’s previous metropolis.

Though most of Hyderabad’s famed royal historical past is now misplaced to the ages, town is a heaven for foodies and historical past aficionados alike.

A separate kingdom till 1948—Hyderabad’s Nawab was the richest man alive throughout its glory days—a stroll round its previous metropolis will take you previous crumbling haveli mansions, palaces transformed into authorities buildings, and what’s fairly probably the tastiest non-veg meals you may sink your tooth into in India.

Learn extra: The place and what to eat within the Previous Metropolis of Hyderabad, India

A view of the buzzing market around Hyderabad, India's old city from the top of the Charminar monument.

Bundi, Rajasthan (West India)

View of blue houses from the palace in Bundi, Rajasthan, India

“Brahmin blue” homes, minus the effort

Positive, Bundi may be one of many extra “touristy” locations on this checklist… however in comparison with different vacationer spots in Rajasthan—suppose Jaipur, Udaipur, and so on.—Bundi sees hardly any vacationers.

And therein lies the nippiness. You’ll be able to weave your manner by way of tightly winding alleys, have chats with type Rajasthani individuals who aren’t simply out to promote you one thing, and revel in a quiet palace stuffed with a number of the most spectacular frescoes I noticed in Rajasthan. You’ll really be capable of take pleasure in them, because you received’t have two thousand individuals urgent up in opposition to you to share the views (I’m taking a look at you, Udaipur).

Don’t be afraid to make the trek as much as Taragarh fort for epic views over town… however do be cautious of the quite a few monkeys lurking on the prime. Protip: convey a stick. An enormous one.

Fresco paintings on the ceiling of a palace in Bundi, Rajasthan, India

Palitana, Gujarat (West India)

Our favorite off the beaten track destinations in India - Sunrise over Jain temple tops in Palitana, India - Lost With Purpose travel blog

Dawn over the 1,000+ Jain temples of Palitana.

Palitana is house to one among Jainism’s holiest of pilgrimage websites, and becoming a member of throngs of religious Jains on a part of their pilgrimage remains to be one of many highlights of my time in India.

There’s nothing fairly like zig-zagging your manner up a mountain earlier than the morning time with lots of of pilgrims, then watching the solar slowly rise over a mountaintop coated with greater than a thousand temples… actually!

Learn extra: 1% of a Jain pilgrimage in Palitana

Temple doors opening to sunrise over the Jain temples of Palitana, Gujarat state, India. The perfect off the beaten track destination for your India trip!

Rani Ki Vav, Gujarat (West India)

Our favorite off the beaten path destinations in India - Rani ki vav stepwell in Patan, Gujarat - Lost With Purpose travel blog

The insanely nicely preserved inside of Rani Ki Vav.

Rajasthan is known for its stepwells—broad wells constructed so individuals might extra simply entry water—however I discovered the stepwells of Gujarat much more spectacular. It helped that they’ve far much less Instagrammers posing on their stairways.

Rani Ki Vav, exterior of Patan city, is the nicely to finish all wells. Regardless of being 900 years previous, the stepwell is in wonderful situation; it was misplaced underneath a overlaying of sand for lots of of years. For sure one of the crucial spectacular artistic endeavors and structure I noticed in India.

On the lookout for extra stepwells? Take a look at Sid the Wanderer’s article on Adajal stepwell in Ahmedabad.

Carved details in Rani Ki Vav stepwell, one of India's most beautiful stepwells in Patan, Gujarat state.

Diu, Gujarat (West India)

Best off the beaten path destinations in India - Colorful haveli on the streets of Diu island - Lost With Purpose travel blog

Vivid havelis on the slim streets of Diu.

I’d be chill with mentioning each place I visited in Gujarat, from Laxmi Villas in Baroda to the Patola workshop in Patan. However Diu was one thing particular.

The small island, technically administered from Delhi, was a Portuguese colony. Portuguese identify plates grasp on homes the place Indian and Portuguese types intermingle seamlessly. And in contrast to the island’s extra well-known beachy and colonial cousin Goa, only a few vacationers make it to Diu.

Orderly streets, recent sea breeze, and a wholesome splash of shade—what extra do you have to calm down and recharge after extra hectic travels on the mainland? The truth that beer is tax-free helps, too 😉

Blue skies over a Portuguese church on Diu island, India. A great off the beaten track destination in India if you're looking for a bit of comfortable rest and relaxation, and the perfect Goa alternative.

Gangotri, Uttarakhand (North India)

Gomukh glacier, start of the Ganges/Ganga river in Uttarakhand, India

On the way in which to Gomukh glacier, begin of the Ganga (Ganges) river in Uttarakhand.

Everyone knows in regards to the well-known Ganges River—referred to as Ganga in India—however the place does the Ganges really start?

A number of tributaries feed in to what in the end turns into the Ganga, however there’s one particular supply that folks imagine is the beginning of the life-giving river: the Bhagirathi river. Trickling out from the bottom of Gomukh glacier in Uttarakhand’s mountains, the icy chilly water is crystal clear and clear sufficient to drink. All through the years, scientists and sailors alike have been fascinated by the water from this supply. Sailors favored it as a result of it was drinkable for months after assortment on the supply, whereas scientists are intrigued by its seemingly antibacterial properties.

Whether or not you wish to sip from the beginning of one of many world’s holiest rivers, or just take pleasure in a surprising however manageable mountain trek, you’d be onerous pressed to discover a extra appropriate journey in your travels in India.

Learn extra: Trekking to the beginning of the Ganges River

Female traveler trekking to the start of the Ganges (Ganga) river from Gangotri, Uttarakhand, India

Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh (North India)

Top off the beaten track destinations in India - A colorful temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh - Lost With Purpose travel blog

Bursts of shade in Ayodhya.

Thought of the birthplace of Ram, and seared into historical past by the destruction of the Babri Masjid, Ayodhya holds a particular place in UP politics and Hindu nationalists’ hearts. Most vacationers skip Ayodhya in favor of its well-known neighbor Varanasi, however I loved Ayodhya way more.

Not solely is it the birthplace of Ram, it’s additionally the birthplace of a number of Jain holy males. As soon as a part of the Mughal Empire, the slim aspect streets of Ayodhya are a feast for the eyes, overflowing with temples, shrines, and complex latticework.

The ghats aren’t as spectacular as these alongside the river in Varanasi, however the calm and pleasant individuals greater than make up for it. It’s additionally nice to stroll round with out faux babas harassing you for images and blessings each few meters.

Need extra India inspiration? These are the 3 most beautiful states in India, in response to The World in My Pocket.

Loktak Lake, Manipur (Northeast India)

Our favorite off the beaten path destinations in India - Pastel pink sunrise over Loktak Lake in Manipur - Lost With Purpose travel blog

Pastel sunrises over Loktak Lake.

I struggled to slim down my favourite locations in Northeast India—all the things involves thoughts! However by way of the indecisiveness, Loktak Lake shortly rises to the highest.

Spending some peaceable days on the shore of Loktak Lake is a should for anybody wandering to the northeast. You’ll be able to sit and watch fishermen and -women navigate between the floating islands of crops—referred to as phumdi—of their picket boats. Learn a guide to the sound of buzzing dragonflies and recent fruit falling from the bushes. Admire the seemingly limitless number of flowers rising across the peninsula jutting into the lake.

The lake can be house to the world’s solely floating nationwide park: Keibul Lamjao.

Learn extra: Why you have to go to Loktak Lake

Sunrise over Loktak Lake, a peaceful offbeat destination in Manipur state, Northeast India.

Majuli, Assam (Northeast India)

Top off the beaten track destinations in India - A fisherman and boat in Majuli - Lost With Purpose travel blog

One in all many fishing boats (and fishermen!) discovered on Majuli.

Reality: I really like Majuli. I’ve been there a number of instances—it was my secure house after a complicated breakup on the highway—and I’m constructive I’ll be again once more at some point.

Majuli island, set amongst the flowing waters of the Brahmaputra river in Assam state, was as soon as the world’s largest river island. Sadly, it’s quickly eroding because of elevated floods from local weather change and different exterior components.

Regardless of its disappearance, the island remains to be wealthy in each tradition and nature. Its completely flat and luxurious community of filth paths are excellent for bicycles, and you may simply whereas away the times visiting the quite a few satras (Hindu monasteries) scattered throughout the island. Every satra makes a speciality of an artwork type—comparable to masks making or dance—so that you don’t have to fret about becoming bored.

Learn extra: Majuli, India’s disappearing island

A traditional hand painted mask at one of the many Vaishnavite satras, Hindu monasteries, on Majuli river island in Assam, Northeast India.

Mechuka, Arunachal Pradesh (Northeast India)

Top off the beaten path destinations in India - Mountain vistas in Mechuka, Arunachal Pradesh - Lost With Purpose travel blog

Regardless of the place you look in Mechuka, you’ll be greeted by views like this!

Mechuka was my ultimate cease in Arunachal Pradesh, and a extra becoming finish to my Arunachal journey couldn’t exist.

The Tibetan city is ready in an idyllic inexperienced valley on the base of the mountains dividing China and India. There are breathtaking views in actually each path, and loads of strolling paths moving into no matter path fits your fancy.

I by no means had plans in Mechuka. As an alternative, day by day I merely picked a path and saved on strolling by way of hill and dale till I used to be too drained to proceed… and the mountains by no means dissatisfied.

Learn extra: The final word information to backpacking Arunachal Pradesh

Running through the epic vistas of Mechuka, a mountain town in Arunachal Pradesh, Northeast India. One of the most beautiful and off the beaten track destinations we've visited to date!

Map of off the overwhelmed monitor locations in India

Satisfied to move out your door as soon as extra? Use this map to plan your off the overwhelmed monitor Indian journey! Click on on the map to view an interactive Google Map in a brand new window.

Did I miss something? Do you might have a favourite off the overwhelmed path vacation spot in India? Inform me within the feedback!

Feeling the love for India? Yo—me, too. Right here’s why I fell in love with India.

The most effective locations to go off the overwhelmed monitor in India – Misplaced With Function

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Why I fell in love with India – Lost With Purpose travel blog

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Navigating the streets of Bangalore, India by public bus - Lost With Purpose

People said I’d either love it or hate it, and they were right. After more than a year backpacking all over the country, I’ve fallen in love with India.

 

“You’re going to love it. It’s absolutely mental and there’s nothing like it in the world.”

“Everyone either loves or hates India. There’s nothing in between.”

“India is disgusting. Everyone just wants your money, the streets are filthy, and the men are so creepy.”

Before setting foot within India’s borders, I’d heard it all… and had no idea what to expect, aside from cows, crap, and creepers.

Why we fell in love with India - A cow eating trash in Leh Ladakh, India - Lost With Purpose travel blog

I was afraid India would be a land of cheats.That my only company would be hippies on spiritual quests to find themselves. Or that the country, built up in my mind by thousands of romanticized books, movies, and stories, could only fail to meet expectations.

Oh, how wrong I was.

Incredible India indeed

Though I did encounter cows, crap, and creepers, I also found a country more incredible, curious, and complex than I ever could have imagined.

That’s not to say all of my time in India was incredible in a positive way. There were plenty of days when I hated the country (generally coinciding with excessive honking and lazy hotel receptionists), when it broke my heart (hello, stray dogs and child beggars), and when it challenged my body to no end (if I never ride in a packed Sumo again, it will be too soon).

But for every irksome honk and apathetic receptionist, there were a hundred more instances where India, its people, and its cultures opened my eyes, took my hand, and challenged my understanding of the world.

Here’s why I fell in love with India

The food.

Why we fell in love with India - A banana leaf South Indian rice plate in Varkala, Kerala, India - Lost With Purpose travel blog

A drool worthy endless rice plate (leaf?) in South India.

Fact: I’m a glutton. I f*cking love eating. (Probably a side effect of growing up in the United States.)

I’m happiest when I have new foods to try. Ideally sweet, ideally in large quantities. And in India, I’m one of a billion of such people.

There are thousands of different foods and sweets in India. From crispy dosas to endless thalis, Goan pork sausages to Manipuri grilled fish, buttery kulchas to hot kathi rolls, sticky ladoo to chilly kulfi falooda, India’s food game is on a completely different level.

Ask a local what’s good in their city, and it’s almost guaranteed they can—and will—run down a list of at least 10 things you’ve never heard of but absolutely must try.

Crispy fried snacks in Ahmedabad, Gujarat state, India.

Fried snacks in Ahmedabad, Gujarat

A tiny blue hole-in-the-wall fried snack stand in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

A hole-in-the-wall fried snack stand in Kolkata, West Bengal

You might not realize it at first.

Many people think India’s a land of vegetarians, despite meat being widely available in most states. Tourist restaurants serve the same generic crap everywhere: butter chicken, masala something, malai kofta, bland biriyani, aloo gobi, mango lassi. Foreign tourists are averse to trying street food or hole-in-the-walls for fear of getting sick. My stomach heart wilts at the thought.

Why we fell in love with India - Pav bhaji cooking on the streets of Mumbai, India - Lost With Purpose travel blog

Mumbai (Bombay) is famous for its street food, and pav bhaji reigns supreme on the streets. If you’re worried about getting sick, just follow the crowds for the best—and most reliable—street eats.

Don’t fall into the trap! Be bold, eat out, ask around, carry Immodium or Pepto Bismol for dire moments, and be ready to dig in whenever you see a crowd gathered in or around an eatery. Oh, and don’t expect to lose any weight while in India. Quite the opposite.

For all the ladies heading to India and not sure what to wear, check out this useful article by Year of the Monkey on what to wear in India!

 

Why we love India - Camels during a parade for Shiva's birthday in Bundi, Rajasthan state, India - Lost With Purpose travel blog

Colorful camels leading a parade in honor of Shiva’s birthday in Bundi, Rajasthan

There is always something going on.

Thanks to a population of 1.3 billion people, and the fact that almost every major and minor religion exists within India, there is always, always something going on.

Every other day is some kind of religious holiday. There were periods of time where I saw at least one parade a day. Someone is always banging drums or walking camels or dusting a landfill (???) or smoking chillums or blasting music.

Why we fell in love with India - Parthasarathy procession during Diwali in Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India - Lost With Purpose travel blog

A godly procession on the streets during Diwali in Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Why we fell in love with India - Crazy colorful man in Hyderabad, Telangana - Lost With Purpose travel blog

I have no idea what is going on here.

As long as you’re willing to wander—and it’s not too late at night—there is always something curious happening on the streets of India.

Heading to India? Check out these travel tips for India by a local!

Mountains in Mechuka, Arunachal Pradesh, India

It’s hard to get more off the beaten track than the mountains and hills of Arunachal Pradesh

It’s super easy to get off the beaten track.

Contradictory though it may seem to the crowds flooding the Taj Mahal or the palaces of Rajasthan, it’s super easy to leave mass tourism behind in India. Despite the country’s massive size, people stick to the same few places.

Package tourists zip to Agra and race around the Golden Triangle. Dreaded hippies and stoned Israelis migrate between the beaches of Goa and the mountains of Himachal Pradesh. Aspiring yogis and Buddhists head to Dharamshala and Rishikesh. Self-proclaimed spiritual gurus get lost in Varanasi. Indian families head to the mountains in summer, only emerging from their cars for photo ops.

Tourists with cameras at the Taj Mahal in Agra, India.

Clusterf*ck at India’s most famous destination: the Taj Mahal

That’s not to say the places I mentioned aren’t worth your while (protip: they are), or that these generalizations are always 100% true, but after you’ve explored a bit of India, I think you’ll find yourself nodding in agreement.

Why we fell in love with India - Laxmi Vilas palace in Vadodara (Baroda) Gujarat state, India - Lost With Purpose travel blog

Compared to the claustrophobically packed palaces in Udaipur and Jaipur, the Laxmi Vilas palace in Vadodara, Gujarat had approximately 4 other people visiting it at the same time as us. Plus, the ticket—cheaper than any of Rajasthan’s palaces—included an audio guide, real cappuccino, and a pastry. Snap.

India has enough to offer to last a lifetime, far beyond the main sights frequented by the masses and immortalized by glossy postcards. If you’re open to exploring off the beaten tourist track, it’s possible to go months without seeing foreign tourists. Or any tourists, for that matter.

Read more: My favorite destinations off the beaten track in India

 

Reasons to love India - Mahabat Maqbara in Junagadh, Gujarat state, India - Lost With Purpose travel blog

The Mahabat Maqbara in Junagadh, Gujarat

There is something for literally everyone (except germophobes).

India has temples and palaces gilded and golded and carefully crafted enough to make even the most jaded history buff feel something in their pants.

Colorful Kapaleeswarar Temple in Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India

Kapaleeswarar Temple in Chennai, Tamil Nadu

From islands in azure waters to sprawling rainforested hills to soaring Himalayan mountains, the country’s landscapes are sure to titillate the boldest of outdoor adventurers.

Why we fell in love with India - A green village in the Sham Valley of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir state, India - Lost With Purpose travel blog

One of many stunning villages in the Sham Valley of Ladakh

India’s rich culinary scene can tickle the pickiest foodies’ taste buds, and the country has more arts, dances, and colorful traditions to overwhelm the most cultured traveler.

Why we love India - Theyyam in Kannur, Kerala state, India - Lost With Purpose travel blog

An otherworldly Theyyam ritual in Kerala state

Tea aficionados can sip locally grown golden brews in West Bengal, hash connoisseurs can smoke hand rubbed cream in Himachal Pradesh, and textile buffs can get lost in the intricate weaving traditions of Gujarat.

Why we fell in love with India - Patola weaving in Patan, Gujarat state, India - Lost With Purpose travel blog

Patola weaving in Patan, Gujarat

There’s something for almost every kind of tourist in India. The only thing you won’t find en masse is cleanliness. So, germophobes, you should probably stay home. Or, y’know, bring a lot of hand sanitizer.

Muslim girls taking a Christmas selfie in Kolkata, India

People of all religions enjoying Christmas in Kolkata

It’s the most diverse country in the world.

Okay, okay, that’s not an official metric. I admit it. I have absolutely no idea how one would objectively measure a country’s diversity anyway.

Even then, I’m still comfortable saying India is the most diverse country in the world.

The area used to be a collection of kingdoms and tribes before uniting under the Indian flag.

There are at least 1.3 billion people officially living in the country who collectively speak hundreds of different languages—drive for two hours in any direction, and a new language will fill your ears upon arrival.

Hindus are the majority, but in India, you’ll still find every religion under the sun: Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jews, Jains, Zoroastrians, Bahais, Christians, and a scattering of pagan religions. You’ll find Portuguese, Persian, Bangladeshi, Tajik, French, Nepali, Afghan, and Tibetan people living within India’s borders.

Travel across the country and you can watch everything gradually change, from the patterns on women’s saris to the alphabets on road signs.

Why we fell in love with India - Golden Buddhas in Bylakuppe, Karnataka, South India - Lost With Purpose travel blog

Massive buddhas overlooking the “Golden Temple: in the Tibetan enclave of Bylakuppe in Karnataka, the second largest Tibetan settlement in India.

If you have reason to believe another country is more diverse than India, I’d love to hear it.

 

Why we fell in love with India - Getting a shave in Junagadh, Gujarat state, india - Lost With Purpose travel blog

A friend’s favorite budget travel trick: getting straight razored for less than US$0.50

You can live on as much or as little as you’d like.

India has a reputation for being an extremely cheap country to travel in.

I’d heard stories of $1 rooms, riding roofs of trains for free, and eating for pennies… but upon arrival, I found that’s no longer the case.

Tourist restaurants, accommodations, and services can be quite expensive compared to options catering to locals, luxury tourism is very much established in India, and drinking is taxed quite heavily in most states.

Why we fell in love with India - Tour of Sula Winery in Maharashtra state, India - Lost With Purpose travel blog

Contrary to international perceptions, India isn’t all poverty and strife! This is a tour of the chic Sula winery in Maharashtra, whose wine scene is developing rapidly.

Though $1 won’t buy you a room anymore, India can still be a budget travel destination.

You can ride a train across the country for more than 24 hours for less than $10. There are passable rooms to be found in some cities for less than $3—even cheaper if you’re chill with cockroaches and mysterious stains. You can fill your stomach for less than $0.50, as long as you’re down with overdosing on puri sabji, rice and dal, and deep-fried everything.

Why we fell in love with India - Street food at night in Old Delhi, India - Lost With Purpose travel blog

Take to the streets when it’s time to eat, and I promise you, your wallet will rarely hurt.

Alternatively, you can live it up in the lap of next-level luxury. Whether you want to dine like a maharaja over Udaipur’s lake at the insanely decadent Oberoi, or schmooze over imported liquors with pasty pale socialites on the rooftops of Mumbai, if you have the money, anything is possible in India.

Selfie with Indian girls in Assam, India

Getting sucked in for a selfie with a group of girls I met in Assam

It’s incredibly easy to connect with people in India.

Forget the stereotypes of cheats and scam artists and rapists; they represent about 0.000000001% of the population.

The vast majority of Indians I met in my year of travel were incredibly helpful and welcoming. What was most remarkable to me, though, is how easy it is to meet and get chatting with people in India.

Falling in love with India - A duck salesman in Kohima, Nagaland state, India - Lost With Purpose travel blog

“Hello madam! Look!” he said, grabbing a duck scuttling at his feet.

Because of the British occupation up until 1947, English is widespread throughout the country. Not every Indian speaks English, but hang around long enough and it’s almost guaranteed that someone who speaks English will emerge to ask you what you’re doing.

Many Indians are forward, and have no qualms with approaching you out of the blue for a little chat.

Reasons to love India - An Indian aunty in Dibrugarh, Assam state, India - Lost With Purpose travel blog

This aunty was one of several who approached us to ask us why I was walking around… despite speaking no English! With the help of a random English-speaking passerby, I learned she just wanted to know why I was walking away from the tourist area, since outsiders never walked through her neighborhood.

There wasn’t a single train ride where I didn’t chat over chai with the people around me for at least 5 minutes. Even when traveling in places where English was uncommon, people were always happy to help me find my way with smiles, pointing, and a dash of head wiggling.

There are a million things you might find difficult or trying in India, but I assure you: concerns about meeting locals should be the last of your worries.

 

Why we fell in love with India - Mullick ghat flower market in Kolkata, West Bengal, India - Lost With Purpose travel blog

Quintessential India at the Mullick Ghat flower market in Kolkata.

Challo to India!                                                                      

Though I’m no longer in India (for now), my Indian experience is far from over.

To all my Indian friends and acquaintances who made my stays so memorable, I thank you, and hope our paths will cross again one day. To all of you from abroad considering a trip (or three) to India, I hope this has dissuaded some of your fears, or inspired you to explore India that much more.

Until next time, India.

 

Want more India adventures? Don’t miss my India archives with all of my stories and India tips from the road.

 

Don't listen to the naysayers! After 9 months of backpacking, we've fallen head over heels for India. Traveling in India is a wild ride, and we can't recommend it enough to other travelers and backpackers. Read on to learn the 7 reasons we loved backpacking in India.

 

Yay transparency! There are affiliate links in this post. If you buy or book something using my links, I make a bit of money at no extra cost to you. The money may or may not be spent on kulfi.

Why I fell in love with India – Lost With Purpose travel blog

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