India, although a backpackers’ paradise for decades, was never able to arouse that curiosity and passion we have developed for Southeast Asia, Latino American and especially Africa. Too big, too crowded, never the right season – all these were “excuses” that never made this trip happen…
Another one was the extremely conflicting opinions travelers brought back. Either people raved about the country or dismissed it as a “shithole”, the place they came to hate most in all their travels. So before we started off, we wondered in which side we would be on after our return. Would we love it or hate it? Were there possibly nuances in between?
When a cheap direct flight popped up over the Austrian Easter Holiday, we took it as a hint to taste a tiny bit of India. We limited ourselves to three or four places in eastern Rajasthan during those 11 days. And of course, we wanted to travel in slow mode, on those famous Indian trains! That’s how we decided on Agra, Jaipur and Ranthambhore National Park. The last place held the chance of seeing tigers in their natural habitat.
These choices promised a good mix of cultural highlights. The so very famous Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Amber Fort in Jaipur, some renowned bazaars, and a bit of nature. New Delhi with 12 million people (or whatever the real number is), we left to the very end and limited our stay to a day. We are not fond of big cities…but guess what? It really took us by surprise!