One of the most common reasons people are put off from visiting India is because of the fact you need a visa, but for many destinations you can now get your Indian visa online, opening up ‘Incredible India’ to all.
As someone that works in travel and gets to travel a huge amount, many people ask me where the best place is that I have visited. It’s not an easy question to answer because there are a whole host of experiences and types of travel I have done over the years, but one of the most inspiring countries I have been to is India and is well worth the time needed to apply for a visa. I visited India on a cruise and this is a great way to ‘dip your toe in’ and it’s firmly now on my bucket list to return to.
India itself is a vast country and each region’s culture and food is very different. One of our stops was Goa. It’s known for its spices and huge amounts of fish is eaten in this region. We did a cookery class and went to the local market to buy produce before going back to ‘Rita’s house’ to cook the fish dishes while sampling some local beers. I’m not a beer drinker, but somehow it seemed right in the sunshine and with the heat of her outdoor kitchen!
Next stop was Cochin on Christmas Day, where we watched the Chinese fishing nets being drawn in catching the fish. As it was Christmas Day, the fisherman were collecting money because they wanted to buy chicken for their families as a treat. Again, this was a port full of history and culture with a strong sense of colonialism.
Another stop on our cruise tour was Mumbai. We decided we wanted to give back a little and took a charity tour to the slums. We took pens and pencils for the charity as they run a school in the area and so we were able to give these to them knowing they will be well used. I was setting myself up for a tough day, but what we encountered was a very happy group of children and their families. Genuinely happy people that make you feel privileged to see a small part of their lives. We got the see the world’s largest laundry in Dhobi Ghat and got a snapshot tour of the city. We took our children as we felt it was an important thing for them to see, although the funniest part of the day was watching some small children playing with a bat and ball, laughing and totally oblivious to their Dad throwing a rat from an upstairs window! It was a reality check!
Our holiday just was a tiny snapshot of the diversity of such a vast country and of course, we didn’t even attempt the interior places of interest such as the Taj Mahal. During our winter is a great time to visit and there are many cruises that visit Indian ports. We even have a cruise leaving from Sri Lanka next February which visits India and sails into Limassol with Fred Olsen (see our advertisement) If you really want to see India and don’t want to cruise, we have both group and private tour options available.
Written by Vicky Lewis for Century Travel