Why do I love India? I fell in love with India a long time ago. I think it had something to do with visiting a neighbour’s house as a child, seeing her Ganesh shrine set up in the front room and hearing sitar music as she wafted about the house barefoot, jingling and dazzling in ankle bracelets and saris, in our small, grey, Welsh town.
Later in my life I discovered Indian food, eating and cooking it, and started reading voraciously about all things Indian. I HAD to go there, to see and experience India with all of my senses.
India is my favourite travel destination. We’ve visited many times with kids and without. We’ve been tourists and travellers visiting India, exploring, seeking the great sites and the incredible diversity.
India is my favourite destination, but it’s not an easy destination.
India Can be Challenging
Even for me, an Indiaphile, travelling in India can be challenging. Sometimes I have moments when I hate the place, the scrums of queues, the filth and squalor of some train stations, the mistreatment of human beings, the craziness that is all around you.
Most travellers in India swear they will never return at least once during their trips, it’s normal. You sometimes get the feeling that many see you, the foreigner, as a money-making opportunity, someone to be ripped off.
I can’t put my finger on exactly why I love India, colour always springs to mind, but it’s also the history, splendour, spirituality and diversity of the place, from the beaches of the south to the incredible Himalayas.
I think it’s just so different to a British norm in every way, climate, wildlife, people, traditions. I think that’s why I travel, to find the different.
The positives of travel in India far outweigh the negatives and keep me wanting to go back for more, often within hours of leaving. I know some people just won’t go there. I wish they would, to see for themselves what it’s really like and challenge their preconceptions.
India is a huge country of enormous regional variation, you should be able to find what you’re after somewhere.
I Love India so Much I’m Taking My Children
Next year I’m taking my young children travelling around India, it makes me a little nervous, but I know India well enough to feel fairly comfortable with our decision.
We’ll have to scale it down, not take on the whole country as we have done before, maybe upgrade from 2nd class non AC to an AC sleeper carriage.
We’ll pick a few highlights, certainly Kochin, Goa and the Kerala beaches, they would be easy with children. Maybe Rajasthan and most certainly the Taj Mahal. I’ve been to India several times and never seen it.
If the going gets tough weary travellers can retreat to Goa, possibly my favourite part of India. Certainly the easiest part for us delicate Westerners to take on. It’s a beautiful place to chill out and just soak it all up for a week or two. I’m a sucker for Anjuna Market.
This is what I love about India, summed up in photos by a brilliant and gifted photographer, Gaurav Kataria. This is some of what you see as you make your way around the country, things that were weird to you become normal, beauty is everywhere. I hope you enjoy Gaurav’s photos as much as I do.
My Mum says I should have been born Indian. She thinks I’m weird to love India so much. What do you think? Love it or hate it? If any of you have travelled India with your children I’d love to hear any ideas, favourite places for children, tips on making India easier on us. I need all the help I can get to plan our first family India trip.
UPDATE: We have now spent our first month travelling around India with children. It was an amazing experience, but as expected, we had a couple of rough patches. We’ll be back for more Indian explorations later. If you’d like to read our India travel blog, start here with Arriving and Adjusting or maybe read about stunning Fort Kochi or relaxing in Beautiful Kovalam.
For more on India, visit our India Content Archive or our India Travel How-To page
If you would like to see more of Gaurav Kataria’s work, click the link for his Facebook Page.
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Wednesday 20th of September 2017
I love India forever and the experience I had in India will always make me happy. The people were so kind and welcoming. I met this couple who treated me as their family and I love them dearly. This time I am getting ready for my second trip to India and I hope to see more and learn more about this place I fell Inlove to...
Sunday 29th of March 2015
9 years ago I backpacker around India with 3 kids aged 5, 6 and 9 and adored it. We all did and I had been yearning to go back. I finally did last year, with my 3 year old. Unfortunately this time we hated it. The filth and piles of garbage and human excrement, building rubble. The fact that everywhere we went at least one person tried to rip us off. The stench, pollution, the dead guy covered in flies outside Ajmer rail station, the middle aged, nicely dressed lady taking a dump in the garden outside the Taj Mahal, it was all too much. The final straw was the skin infection that turned my 3 year olds face into a weeping mess and following a local doctors advice, we got out of India as far as we could. Our planned 2 months cut to just 2 weeks. I was devastated at how things had gone in what I considered for so long to be my spiritual home and the place I dreamed of living in. Now I doubt I will ever return to India . I certainly will never take my children there again.
Monday 30th of March 2015
Well, I really didn't need to read that when we're flying there in 3 days! Sorry your dreams were shattered Siobhan. I must admit, I would never take a child so young and I'd be very selective about which places we'd visit. Fingers crossed we find a way to make this a fun trip. If all else fails...head to Goa!
Tuesday 15th of October 2013
Why every tourist escape NE India. It is such a beautiful all over totally different place than mani India. Visit the place you would love it.
Wednesday 25th of September 2013
We're nearly ready to head off with our kids (I was hoping you'd got there first :) ). Kerala looks like a fantastic corner to explore - the south of India is basically unknown to me - and it's a shame we won't really get around it this time. We're mainly going to be around Bangalore, but with a quick side-trip to Malpe Beach.
Thursday 26th of September 2013
hi B, since u r going to malpe beach, i would recommend that you also go to Thottam beach. it is just a few km's away & a nice secluded beach which i m sure u would love! Let me know after u go there.
Thursday 26th of September 2013
India will be next year for us now B, time flies, only 5 countries in our first 7 months. I think you'll be absolutely fine in Kerala nd Goa, they're pretty easy and both are lovely.
Tuesday 3rd of September 2013
Next year (winter 2014/2015) is when we hope to be in India too! I am wishing to go to Thailand first for a month since it will be almost 10 years since I have been there, then over to India. Thinking somewhere in the south like Gokarna since I know the area a bit first and see how it goes. I would like to stay a month or more in one place this next trip, not move around so much like I've done in the past. But so many places to choose from its so hard to pick one! I have yet to visit many of the famous "touristy" places in India and maybe some this trip would be nice? My dream is to be able to visit (maybe even live 1/2 the year) India once a year, so I've been searching out how to make this happen.