Varanasi is the epitome of India many people think of before they touch the soil: it is dirty, crowded, loud, noisy and crazy. When I arrived from an overnight train from Khajuraho, the tuktuk drivers proceeded to harass my friends and I; when we finally got a good deal on a pair of tuktuks (it took a lot of haggling), we passed through narrow streets littered with trash, which was also where skinny cows seemed to loiter around.
It is long known that hostels are the best type of accommodation around to meet fellow travellers if you’re going solo. They’re inexpensive, located in the major backpacking spots in India, and you’re guaranteed a different experience in each location. Though not as cheap as guesthouses, the friendly atmosphere often created by social spaces and lounges, and probability of finding other solo travellers make it worth the extra rupee.
For many Westerners, travelling around India is a fairly cheap ordeal. I managed to cut costs down dramatically by partnering up with Zostel, the first and largest branded hostel chain in the country. In addition, getting clued up on apps such asOla Cabs and Jugnoo, and travelling groups have helped, too.
Having endured the madness of Delhi and Jaipur in the space of a few days, a well-deserved retreat into peaceful Pushkar, near the Thar desert in Rasjasthan, proved to be the perfect place for recuperation.
Having seen the Top Gear India Special, and Rick Stein’s India documentary series, celebrating Holi festival in India had been a dream of mine for a very long time. I specifically wanted my travels around the country to coincide with this year’s festival. It was an eye-opening experience, to say the least. Continue reading “Holi Festival 2016 in The Pink City of Jaipur”→