India is a fascinating destination for western travellers for many reasons. There is the legacy of colonialism, as well as the mysticism of Eastern Orientailism to consider, but also the storming economic powerhouse which it has become over recent years. Most people are shocked when they arrive in India about a few things, but one of the most surprising elements is the fact that there are cows all over the place! Yes, on every street corner there are cows wandering around, eating trash and generally being bothersome! The reason for this is that Indians do not eat beef, and consider cows as holy givers of milk, without asking for anything in return. The sacred nature of cows means that they cannot be killed, but that doesn’t mean that they are taken care of as their main dietary mainstay seems to be the trash which is ubiquitous by the side of the road.
Bombay and Delhi
Delhi is the capital of India, and is a sensory overload that is not comparable with any other city on earth. The heat, mass of people and strange goings on can often leave new visitors feeling flummoxed. The city is massively overpopulated and suffers from the same negative attributes of all major cities – population and traffic jams. Delhi is the first stop for many people visiting India, but most leave in a hurry to get to the more appealing parts of the county – such as the Taj Mahal. Bombay, on the other hand, is more westernised in nature and operates at a slower pace. There is an imitation Big Ben clock in the middle of the city, and this is a nod towards the western mindset of the many well to do residents in the city. There is less hassle in Bombay, and so it is easier to get around. Our advice is, if you have the choice, fly to Bombay first and go from there.
Goa and Hampi
Goa is a world within a world. Heavily influenced by the Portuguese, Goa often seems to have been built in the wrong country. There is a massive ex pat community here, and Goa’s beach parties are famous worldwide for those in the know. The vibe here is very chilled and tranquil and it has hosted many great writers over the years who have based themselves here to write their opuses. Hampi is a small town around five hours away from Goa and is worth a visit if you are in the region. It is the site of ancient ruins which date back to 2500BC – truly spectacularly and definitely worth a look if you get chance.