Why Love India?

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India Why do I love India?

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.

Why love India
I fell in love with the idea of India before I’d even visited. This photo is from my first independent visit to India in 2001. I’d visited twice before on package holidays.

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.

tiger why do I love India

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.

Why do I love India Varanassi

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.

India sadhu

India camel
Cremation Varanassi
Pushkar camel fair
Ganges
ganges ghats

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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About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

21 thoughts on “Why Love India?”

  1. 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…

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  2. 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.

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    • 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!

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  3. 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.

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  4. We’re nearly ready to head off with our kids (I was hoping you’d got there first ๐Ÿ™‚ ). 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.

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

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  5. 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.

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  6. Hi,

    I just found your blog and am enjoying reading it! I too am planning a trip to India hopefully in the next 2 years with my toddler. I also have LOVED India forever and have been backpacking there a few times, but that was before kids! The last time I was there in 2009/2010 I knew that the next time I would be back would be with kids, so I talked with as many traveling families I could asking them about what its like with kids. Many said the the south is much easier with kids, places like Goa, Kerala, etc… I meet families staying at Kudlee Beach (near Gokarna) that loved it there because of there being so many other families and the endless beach play for kids. In Rishikesh, Mama’s Guesthouse (call ahead to reserve a room) up on the High Bank is recommended for families with kids. The Mama that runs the place is the sweetest. Some other things that were told to me is to try and avoid long travel, so many families ended up flying around India vs. bus or trains for the long trips. Also to just stay in one place longer, which is what I hope to do!
    I will be following you on your trip there!
    Have FUN!!!

    -Nicole

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    • Hi Nicole, nice to make contact! That’s exactly what we were planning to do, fly into Cochin and make our way up to Goa. If it’s all going well we’ll venture further. It will be next year now, we’re booked right up to Christmas for this year. Hope you make it to India with your little one and let me know how it goes!!

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  7. I too have been in love with india for a long long time… when i told my family i was taking my children there they told me i was crazy… and when i first stepped off the plane i found myself inhaling deeply and admit it crossed my mind probably was!! But then we learnt/remembered(perhaps them more easily than me…. mother/child/child/mother) to exhale slowly together and the journey was sublime…such a blessing, individually and together! on a practical level… take 3rd class non a/c… most colourful and supportive carriages by far.

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  8. nice to know that u love India in spite of – “the scrums of queues, the filth and squalor of train stations, the craziness that is all around you. There can be a constant feeling that many see you, the foreigner, as a money making opportunity, someone to be ripped off” trust me, we are a work in progress & very soon we shall overcome these negatives. have u done the trip with children? would love to read about it.

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    • Thanks for the comment Robert. I’m left wondering if you disagree with me or not. I’ve spent months of my life travelling around India by train, I’ve seen and experienced many things that would distress your average Western tourist, for that is what we are, we are not Indian, we aren’t used to the way the country runs, it is different on every level. Are you saying the train stations are not squalid? Yes I love India, I always have, I haven’t taken the children yet, I am a little nervous about it, but we’ll give it a go next year.

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      • Alyson, as an Indian i have done my best to get away from the squalor and the filth in India. As I get older I am trying to understand what the country really means to me but its difficult to get over some of the obvious challenges. I enjoyed reading your take on india. Could I ask if you think you would still love India if you had to live there

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        • That’s a good question Shoba. I can’t answer that as I’ve never tried. We have considered spending a few years there, my husband could work in one of the big hotels in Goa, I think we’d enjoy that. We thought we’d like living in Australia, turns out we don’t, but we’ve given it a go, done our best to make it home. There is no harm in trying new things and finding they weren’t what you expected.I think I’m a perpetual traveller, I really don’t like staying put for long.

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  9. I love it too! And you captured precisely why. When you are not overwhelmed and frustrated you are amazed – at the vibrancy, the beautiful chaos, all of it. For me it was kind of summed up in the color of the saris – like no colors I had ever seen before, as if they washed their clothes in dye. I’m sure your children will have their eyes opened even farther with this trip. Great post and beautiful pictures!

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  10. I would so love to go to India. Went to the British Library and there was a wonderful exhibition about the Mughal occupation. Fascinating!

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  11. I am going to Jaipur in March for the Holi Festival and I am beyond excited! I cannot wait to experience India and all that is has to offer and to expel any myths that people who are afraid to travel there have ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • You lucky thing! Jaipur is just incredible, Rajasthan is incredble generally, and Holi will be so much fun. We were travelling by train for Holi last time, 2nd class non a/c. We were covered in colour powder from people throwing it in through the windows. It’s all a bit crazy! Have a brilliant time and thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I hope to find loads of brightly coloured photos on your blog when you get back!

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