GENDER INEQUALITY ISSUES and several high-profile rape cases have distorted the perception of India in the media. The result is that some potential travelers are choosing to bypass India in favour of less infamous destinations. As a long-time traveler to India, I think this is unfortunate. I know many, many travelers, including lots of female solo travelers, who love to travel in India.
Without taking away from the brutality of these incidents and need for societal change, India is much, much more. It is a fascinating, life-changing travel destination. And, like me, many, many travelers to India will tell you it was their most memorable, most transformative, and most remarkable trip. Here, some of them share their stories.
1. Carefree spirit
Andrew Adams is a travel, wedding, and lifestyle photojournalist with a passion for South Asian Culture.
I love travel in India because…I have learned to appreciate the simple things in life. This little boy with his rucksack slung over his shoulder, is a great reminder. It was my first trip to India, it got off to a rough start, I was sick, run down, and new to India. This brief encounter, his carefree spirit, completely changed my outlook that day and set the tone for many more wonderful adventures to follow!
Amy Gigi Alexander is a traveler, writer, explorer, and believer in goodness.
I love travel in India because : in a small village, on the edge of nothing, I found myself on a rooftop with dozens of women in their best saris, holding their babies, waiting in line to have me take their photo for the first time. And months later, when I returned, we all sat on that same rooftop, giggling over the photos I had brought them until it was dark outside. Sisterhood.
Amy Gigi Alexander
3. Storytelling stones
Anuradha Goyal is the author IndiTales – a travel blog from India.
Where else would I find even stones telling stories and telling them since ages, creating a continuous civilization for us.
4. A billion smiles
Prasad NP, better known as desi Traveler is a travel writer and photographer who wishes he could travel more than what he does now.
I love travel in India because it is a land of a billion smiles.
Prasad NP, desi Traveller
Prasad NP, desi Traveller
5. God in a cow
Nisha Jha is a passionate traveler, keen observer and a student of life. Loves Street food and dancing in the rain. She blogs at Lemonicks where she writes about her sweet & sour stories of her journeys.
I love travel in India because … Only in India I get to see physical evidence that God is omnipresent and in every form; be it a stone, a tree, a cow, a person possessed by spirits, the small shrine in the middle of crossroads or even autorickshaw meter!
6. One minute friend
Kim Hammer travels India and Indonesia to hand-select textiles and other artisan-made objects of beauty.
I love traveling in India for what I call my #ekminutedost, my “one minute friend!” A mid-winter visit to a Buddhist-run school in Leh, Ladakh becomes a cultural exchange and offering of kindness.
7. A learning experience
Jeremy Parkinson is a 43 year old Radio Producer/Presenter from Auckland, New Zealand.
I love travel in India because every visit is different, every experience unique. Travelling as a family showed us the value of shared experience. India taught us about each other, and about cultures vastly different from our own. When our youngest is a little older, we will be back.
8. Peace and adventure
Rachel Jones is an American who left a career in nursing to live on the beaches on Goa, India two years ago where she is now a Thai masseuse, candle-maker, and travel writer at her award winning website Hippie in Heels.
I love travel in India because each day you step outside is an adventure. You can’t guess what awaits you. But, at the same time, India has wide-open quiet spaces that many don’t travel to. You can find your peace in nature. You can have it all in India!
Rachel Jones, Hippie in Heels
9. Spontaneous celebrations
IndiaLens is a senior IAS officer who loves travel and photography.
I love to travel in india because here it’s a celebration always. It’s full of colour and diversity. It’s like a mountain valley in spring when the land explodes with life in myriads of hues and colours. The beauty of India lies in the spontaneous, un-manicured experiences you get while travelling.
10. Nowhere like it
Nicholas Kenrick is a keen travel photographer. He has traveled the world many times, and his camera is his way of remembering the amazing experiences that he is grateful to receive.
I love travel in India because there is simply nowhere like it … the people and the culture and the food and the ancient history … I love how my friends call me ‘ Uncle ‘ and I love the respect shown to elders . I love Bollywood movies and the songs; I heard them so many times from a cheap radio at every corner or shop or chai stall. I love the train network and the service and the tiffin tins and the cries of the vendors … and I love how India is called Mother.
11. Diversity and connection
Supriya Seghal is still deciding which city to call home; travelling for more than 250 days in an year can do that to you! Though, if there was a city she would want to park herself forever in, it would be Varanasi.
I love travel in India because there is no country which encapsulates diversity so perfectly. As the only non-local audience at a village, located deep in the inland forests of Bekal in Kerala, I feel equally connected to a Theyyam artist imbibing the role of Goddess Bhagvathi, as anyone else in the village. We are distanced by nothing. Not language, caste, creed or regionality.
12. Eternal, inexplicable
Danielle Winter is from New Zealand, currently lives in Germany and calls New York City and India home. Her art emanates from the photos she takes while on pilgrimage in India.
I love travelling to India
Because in her quiet and in her chaos
I find a depth of experience that is unparalleled,
because in this vastly entangled place the inexplicable happens,
I find myself small, yet eternal
and while marveling at the ingenious joyful response to life that is the essence of this mystical land and her people,
I discover that same response awakening in me.
13. Home and family
Gaurav Bhatnagar is a Software Engineer turned professional Travel Writer. He writes at The Spunky Traveler about Rural and Responsible Travel, and is an entrepreneur at The Folk Tales.
I love travelling in India because wherever I go, I can find a family and a home.
14. Soulful simplicity
Because the simplicity and quietness of rural life is striking and unpretentious. And in villages across India, I’m in awe of expert yet humble artisans, soulfully engaged in arts that have been passed down from generation to generation over thousands of years.
15. Anything can happen
I love travel in India because anything can happen. A quick lunch with friends in a Jaisalmer restaurant can be transformed into a two hour session of watching black and white Bollywood movies with Jake, the restaurant’s owner, and listening to the stories of his life while tears of lost memories rolled down his cheeks.
16. Sensory overload
I love travel in India because… You never know what adventures you will find – or more like, will find you — when you head out in the morning. No matter whether it’s a street market, festival, temple, or something else, you do know that your day will be filled with sensory overload of colours, humanity, sounds and smells.
I love to travel in India because it is my country and it is incredibly colourful!
18. Modern and traditional
I love to travel in India because of its mix of traditional and modern cultures. In India one can find festivals and communities that remain authentic, while at the same time its modern cities offer world-class food, art and accommodations.
I love India because of the relationships India has afforded me. My experience has been and continues to be one where the relationships I have established are educational, collaborative, humorous, familiar, friendly and most important based on a mutual respect. The joy, support and insight I have learned from these relationships has not only enhanced my relationship with India, but has been the basis of my personal growth.
Melanie, Mystical India
20. Colours and sounds
Janice Waugh is founder of Solo Traveler, the blog for those who love or long to travel alone.
I love India for the colours and sounds. Here I was sitting on a rooftop cafe and heard the chatter of the women. I popped my head over the edge to see this beautiful domestic scene.
21. Celebrations and adventure
We love travel in India because each day was a new adventure. Every destination opened our eyes to new experiences and there always seemed to be a celebration wherever we went.
Dave Bouskill, ThePlanetD
22. Loving hospitality
Shivya Nath runs the award-winning travel blog, The Shooting Star, which documents her solo and experiential journeys across the globe. She aims to inspire her readers to step out of their comfort zone and live like the locals.
I love traveling in India because where else in the world will strangers invite you into their homes and lives with so much love that you never want to leave?
23. Smiles and laughter
Andrea Rees is a professional photographer since 2003, mom and traveller. Seeker of cultural experiences. Founder of The Heart of a Woman Project, a women’s mobile photography development initiative in South Africa. She aims to capture life and the world mostly with her iPhone lens.
I love travel in India because an iPhone picture can inspire smiles, laughter and connections.
24. Charm of diversity
Renuka is an Indian travel blogger at Voyager For Life. She loves to travel, write and take photographs. She believes travel is a better way to live.
I love travel in India because it’s a charming country – the people are so friendly, there are colors in every nook and cranny, there’s beauty, there’s peace as well as chaos, there are quirks and subtle nuances in every city that bring a smile on my face.
Renuka, Voyager for Life
25. Feeling of eternity
Didem is an award-winning journalist who originally hails from Turkey, but currently divides her time between England and Malawi. In her last visit to India, she spent over 200 hours in sleeper trains discovering the country from north to south, and she recalls this as one of the best things that happened to her. She blogs at ReadWrite Travel.
I love India because of the glimpse of eternity that I get to sneak when I am in India. Being surrounded by a magnificent history, I feel that I am just an insignificant human being whose worries and worldly troubles don’t matter. I find this incredibly liberating and empowering. The river Ganges will keep flowing whatever happens. Oh, I also love India because I met my husband there!
26. Unexpected around every corner
My name is Elenora, I am from Australia. I have been to India five times and going again soon. I love it to pieces.
I love India because there’s always something magic and unexpected around every corner.
27. New discoveries every day
Siddhartha is a traveler, story teller and a video blogger, who derives his energy from the phenomenal people he meets on his journeys. He hopes to bring people of the world together by inspiring them to travel more.
I love travel in India because it’s such an unpredictable place, there is always a surprise at every street corner; all you have to do is take that turn! Even though I am from India, I discover something new every single day!
28. The soul of the world
Mariellen Ward is a long-time India traveller, travel writer, yoga student, dreamer and publisher of Breathedreamgo. Her happy place is standing in the open doorway of an Indian train with a warm breeze blowing and a sunny landscape gliding past.
I love travel in India because it restores your faith in magic and the wonders of the universe. As my yoga teacher said, India is the soul of the world.
29. Reaching new heights
Rutavi Mehta is a travel aficionado where she has travelled to more than 1,500 destinations. She loves exploring new places, meeting new people, learning their stories and most importantly, venturing into the unknown.
I love travel in India because each place, each moment, each culture and each person has a story. The uniqueness from north to south, gives a traveller variation of landscape, food, culture. Travelling in India as a solo woman is a great experience because people love to see women reaching new heights and they are very supportive. My tag line for India travel is: “Breathe the mud and connect over mud.”
30. Centuries of secrets
Lakshmi Sharath is a media professional, travel blogger and writer who has been blogging for a decade now. She blogs at LakshmiSharath.
I love India because of the secrets it hides in a street corner or a highway like a 1,000 year old capital town of Gangaikondacholapuam that has vanished off the face of the earth but for this incomplete massive temple.