There’s some practical information about how we had prepared for our first trip to India.
Without doubt, ocean coasts of Goa and Kerala seemed tempting and it would have been the easiest way, having turned to tour operator, to plan a vacation in some respectable hotel at the ocean’s sandy beach. But there’s always a “but”. We wanted to plunge into reality, not a life in specially organized reservations for tourists.
One of the important questions you have to think about before the journey is “What exactly do I want to see in India? How do I spend time there?”
Is it going to be historical sites, yoga schools, ashrams and other places of spiritual self-development, or is it going to be mountain treks, rafting and cycling?
Also one should not underestimate establishing the kind of weather that is likely to reign in the region in question at the time of arriving. For instance, summer (the usual time of vacations) is characterized by monsoon through the most of India. We were forced to stay inside for half a day out of 2.5 days spent in Delhi due to rainfall, which continued from afternoon till late in the evening. It certainly gets in a way of exploring the city, taking pictures and walks.
That’s why it’s important to know what weather awaits you, so that you don’t soak under never-ending showers, or at least you know they’re coming and prepare a bit.
This kind of information was of course taken from the Internet and also a beautiful guidebook “INDIA” from Lonely Planet. One will find accurate descriptions of all states and regions of India (starting with New Delhi and wrapping up with the Andaman Islands), its climate features, main sights, maps of towns and their districts, popular guest-houses, hotels, restaurants, transport services and approximate price rates in the book. Also there’s plenty general information about the country (for example, sort of a dictionary which gives you an insight to Indian cuisine). It cost around 25€ and travelled all the way with us, got a little worn-out, but proved most useful in places without proper Internet connection. As for us, you wouldn’t regret buying it, because it REALLY HELPS, even though weighing a couple pounds.
Also documentaries and popular TV programs help. Thus, Ukrainian trekking TV-guide “World Inside Out” convinced us that we wanted to see The Golden Temple in Amritsar, but definitely didn’t want to see the sacred city of dead, Varanasi.
Having read all we could about India, the outline of the journey seemed as follows:
New-Delhi, landing and seeing main places of interest (2 days); here about it ..
Amritsar, visiting The Golden Temple (2 days),
Leh (Ladakh district), getting acclimatized and visiting surrounding sights (6-7 days),
Leh-Manali, automobile 3-days long journey, visiting high-mountain lakes Tso Kar and Tso Moriri,
Manali (2 days),
Manali-Delhi, resting and catching a flight home.
So, here you are! You’ve read all them blogs, got to know the geography and climate of the regions, watched many episodes of TV-guides with guys with them backpacks plowing through never-disappearing crowds and telling you about the marvel Hindustan peninsula is. You’re still a touch scared, but already anxious to start planning! Now is the time to think about acquiring visa and hitting the road.