I have been harassing Edouard for a long time to visit India! He didn't want to come but we finally agree that the world trip is a good opportunity to discover this country with multiple facets. We expected palace, colours, good food, poor people it is actually a good summary of our 3 weeks in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh
If I had to describe Indian culture in 3 words, it would probably be: noisy, colourful and unique!
India is a country with a very strong culture. We could see the differences when going from a state to another. India is a big country with many people. It was quite rare in the North to feel alone in the street, there are always many people pushing us. We could also see a lot of inequalities with the casts. Some Indians are very comfortable and travel around the country, visit good restaurants and some are very poor and will never move from their home town.
Despite a lot of Indian tourists, it was the low season. We didn't see much Western people. That's probably why so many Indians asked us to do selfies with us. All the time, everywhere, every type of Indians!
Finally, there are a lot of Muslims in Rajasthan and we actually found a lot of similarities with Morocco! But discovering India was unique and nothing like any other countries we visited in the past.
The first part of the trip was in the imperial cities and we visited lot of palaces. The architecture was always very impressive with lot of details. Our first stop in Taj Mahal will stay in our memory for a long time. It was like a dream coming true for me. In Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, cities are very intense: we could hear horn all the time and drivers definitely don't drive safely. It could be tiring sometimes. But we also found some more quiet spots to just enjoy the current moment and realise how lucky we were to travel around the world.
We enjoyed spending some time in Jaisalmer, in the desert. That was a great stop far from busy cities of India. Doing the camel safari was incredible!
Finally, Varanasi was indescribable! We come here more for the atmosphere than the landscapes. But still, sitting gown on the ghats watching people taking a bath was unique.
We have always eaten very good food and haven't been disappointed. The Indian food is made with lots of spices and that makes it delicious but sometimes very hot! After a month, we got use to it and we actually always forgot to ask no spicy.
Usually we ate rice with a curry, along with one type of bread. You have so many, naan, paratha, kulchi, chapati... Each one has its own taste. The biryani is a fried rice mixed with vegetables, very good.
It was not hard to eat vegetarian! we actually saw very few restaurant offering meat.
Vegetarian, tasty, cheap, that made Indian food really enjoyable for us!
We tried every single transportation options during our trip in North India. Thanks to my family, we even had a driver at the beginning of the trip. It was really good to have someone going anywhere, anytime.
We also took sleeping bus and train for overnight trip. Both were good and quite comfortable. The train is an experience to be lived in India! We were next to local families and the atmosphere was nice.
We took many tuk tuk to travel within the cities. It is easy and cheap but don't forget to negotiate and reduce the price by 3 at least!
We were lucky to visit North India outside the high season so we could negotiate most of the time. We spent AUD$97 per day for both of us without international flight tickets and some gift (5 nights in great hotels, driver during 3 days, the camel safari). It is quite high and you can spend much less. But remember that we also celebrated our birthdays during that period and this includes massage and great restaurants :)
In summary, we liked the Taj Mahal wander, the camel safari, the atmosphere in Varanasi and we didn't like the extremely hot and humid weather in Jodhpur & Varanasi, people insisting all the time for us to put reviews on Tripadvisor for everything, the atmosphere in Varanasi :)
Watch the video below of 3 weeks in North India.