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Memories Of India

Jul 4, 2024

Travel Writer, Carrie Hampton has been to over 50 countries. She gives us her impressions and advice on travelling in India. Here are her memories of India.

What are your five most abiding memories of India?

  1. Nothing can top my first sight of the Taj Mahal at sunrise. It moved something in me such that I felt connected to the love and grief, sweat and tears that went into creating this ethereal mausoleum.
  2. Colour! I remember noticing that even ladies hoeing the fields were wearing the brightest coloured saris.
  3. Chai. When a train stops, hawkers push little clay beakers of hot sweet chai tea into you hands for a few Rupees. They bake new cups every day, so you are expected to just throw the pots out of the train window.
  4. Indian food. I didn’t think I could eat curry every day, but I was soon craving my evening meal. I decided to go vegetarian to try and avoid the dreaded Delhi belly, and as many Hindus don’t eat meat, there was lots of choice. I asked for the dishes to be mildly spiced and they were delicious.
  5. Chaotic streets! There don’t seem to be any rules of the road and I was horrified when my tuk-tuk driver weaved in and out of traffic on both sides of the road, avoiding cows who wandered at will. I recall a street in Jaipur that had an unreal mixture transportation: camel- cart, rickshaw, motorbikes, bicycle, car, truck and elephant!
memories-of-india-sari

What did you take home from your trip?

I bought some beautiful fabrics, a tablecloth and delicate silvery jewellery – after seeing a young silversmith smelting the metal in the street. Bartering can be confusing, as I found out…
Me: “How much is this?”
Trader: “As you like.”
I said a price and he shook his head side to side and said, “Oh no, no no!” This continued until he finally said, “Yes, thank you very much.” I had no idea if I’d paid too much, but we both seemed happy with the transaction.

busy-streets-of-india

What advice do you have for travellers to India?

Embrace the craziness of India. Be streetwise and conceal anything that could easily be snatched. Never let any tap water enter your lips. Do not eat anything that is washed in tap water, like salad or apples. Consider going vegetarian. Take medicines with you for upset stomachs. You will see great poverty and will be approached by very poor children. It will break your heart. But if you hand out anything (cash or sweets) you’ll suddenly be surrounded and overwhelmed. Rather choose a charity to give to.

jaipur-transport

See more of Carrie’s travels on her website and on Instagram @safari_tart

Join The Adventurous Ewe on the India Tour. Find out more about this tour here.