Snapshots of Adventures in India

Snapshots of Adventures in India

It’s been exactly one year since I quit my job in Corporate America and headed to India for the first time in 8 years. I spent 9 weeks visiting family, friends, and traveling solo to parts of India that I had never been to.

The trip opened my eyes, mind, and heart to a place I thought I already knew. India is a beautiful country with so many different sides that I had never noticed as a child. These are 27 of my favorite snapshots of adventures in India from north to south:

Delhi

India Gate, Delhi

India Gate

A Man and his Nap, Delhi

A man taking an afternoon snooze under a highway overpass

Darjeeling

The hills of Darjeeling captivated me at first sight. Although I had visited India many times, I’d never been to a cold part of the country. Witnessing this other side of India firsthand was especially exciting for me. Aside from visiting family members, the first stop for me on my next India trip is most definitely visiting the other cold and mountainous regions.

Rainy days in Darjeeling

Rainy day exploring in the empty streets

Ghoom Monastery

Ghoom Monastery, one of the many monasteries in the hills

Rainy day exploring, Darjeeling

The tracks along the road are for the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway toy trains to pass

Mountainside in Darjeeling, India

Sunlight shining on the mountainside

Sunlight in Darjeeling, India

It rained for days, but finally the sun started to shine through the trees

Rolling Hills of Darjeeling

A cherished clear view of the rolling hills of Northern India

Himalayas, Darjeeling

A glimpse of the Himalayas as the clouds start to lift

Varanasi

I was thrown for a loop in Varanasi. For the first time, I didn’t feel 100% comfortable in my skin while walking in the streets. Being of Indian origin, no one was more surprised about this than me. Still, Varanasi taught me not to let a rough experience taint my view of a destination as a whole.

Boats on the Ganges, Varanasi

Boats waiting to be rented

A Lone Cow in Varanasi

Hinduism’s sacred animal in a sacred city

Women Sitting Along the Ganges

Women sitting along the Ganges river while boys swim

Clothes Hung Out to Dry, Varanasi

Clothes hung out to dry on the ghats

Clothes Hung Out to Dry, Varanasi

Morning prayers

Sunrise at the Ganges

Sunrise along the Ganges River

Mumbai

My home base in India is always Mumbai, the city where my mom grew up and my grandparents still live. Visiting places I’ve seen many times as a child brought new perspectives and views. I spent my time visiting with family and friends, helping my grandmother in her day-to-day routine such as shopping at the fish market, and drinking sugarcane juice.

Gateway of India, Mumbai

Gateway of India

Fish Market, Mumbai

A woman selling fish at the fish market in Borivali

Sugarcane Juice, Mumbai

The sweetest, most refreshing sugarcane juice you’ll ever find. 5 rupees is about 8 cents!

Visakhapatnam (Vizag)

Heading to Vizag along the Bay of Bengal for the first time to visit my cousins was an awesome dose of family time. The only thing I did not love was the blistering heat in this part of the country!

Beach along Bay of Bengal, Vizag

The beach along the Bay of Bengal

A palm fruit vendor preparing the fruit alongside the road

A palm fruit vendor preparing the fruit alongside the road

Goa

My first taste of solo backpacking in India was my visit to Goa. It felt so different to be among other backpackers in my parents’ native country, a place I’d always visited with my family. Being able to experience India from so many angles was really incredible.

Cab ride, Goa

An old man and his beat-up taxi van

Vagator Beach, Goa

Vagator Beach

Anjuna Beach, Goa

Anjuna Beach

Bangalore

I didn’t expect to find peace of mind while visiting family friends in Bangalore, but I ended up exploring my inner self at a meditation center, sipping on coconuts, and spending some time surrounded my monkeys in the hills.

Roadside Coconuts, Bangalore

Roadside coconut pit stop

Ft. Kochi

Backpacking in Kerala, where Ft. Kochi and Varkala are located, also fell under the category of “new views of familiar places” for me. After all, it is the south Indian blood from my dad’s side that gives me this year-round tan! South India is tropical, quiet, and has a completely different vibe from the north. I relished in relaxation on the empty beaches in Varkala and encountered some of the nicest locals while bicycling around Ft. Kochi. I’m lucky that I will always return to beautiful places like Kerala.

Chinese Fishing Nets, Ft. Kochi

One of the many Chinese fishing nets lined up along the beach

Varkala

Varkala Beach, Varkala

Varkala Beach

Walking the Cliffs, Varkala

Walking the cliffs along Varkala Beach at sunset

India was and always will be a different experience for me than my travels to other countries. It’s not only about exploring the unknown. It’s about getting to know my family tree. It’s about meeting family and loved ones, even if only just for tea and sweets so we can see each other’s faces after years apart. It’s about understanding the life that would have been mine if my parents didn’t move to the US. It took me 26 years to fully appreciate where I come from and now that I have a grasp on my roots, I never want to let them go.

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