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India Travel Guide

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by Erik Schmuck, 5 months ago
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When you think India, if you think spicy food, snake charmers, dodging cows, the Taj Mahal, and total chaos- you’re thinking about Northern India. It's an adventure waiting to happen, and will leave you wondering why it only accounts for 1% of world tourism.

Join Ricky Moreno as he explores Delhi, Rajasthan, Agra, Rishikesh, and Varanasi.

Welcome to Delhi. Say goodbye to your personal space. It’s crowded, it’s overwhelming, and definitely exhausting. One day here can feel like an entire week. The only way you’ll have any fun is to just put down the Purell and join the party.

Instead of going straight to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, first I head west to hang with some locals in Rajasthan. Here, the people are welcoming, the desert is sprawling, and the camels command the streets. And it turns out that the cows aren’t the only things Hindus hold sacred.

Karni Mata Rat Temple. Over 20,000 rats call this Hindu temple home, and Indians come here to pay their respects, as these rats are believed to be the reincarnations of ancestors. Shoes aren’t allowed inside, so plan ahead and bring two pairs of socks, and if you’re brave enough, it’s considered an honor to share a bowl of milk with the rats.

Most travelers who come to Jaisalmer opt for the camel safari across the Thar Desert, leading you to a good spot to view the sun setting over the Pakistani border, which happens to be heavily armed, so always keep your cool.

The food is awesome. It completely blew me away. I honestly don’t know much about Indian food, and half the time I didn’t know what I was ordering, but with the intense spices and pungent flavors, every meal seemed to be better than the next, from high end restaurants to local cafes. TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet usually hit the mark with their recommendations, and asking for whatever the chef recommends almost always rewarded me with a memorable meal.

Get on a bus and head north, and you’ll eventually reach Rishikesh- a city where you won’t find meat on any menu, and is overrun by hippie backpackers, weird yoga people, and unruly monkeys. It’s the gateway to the Himalayas.

Oh my God whatever you do.. don’t feed the monkeys. Rabies is a very serious risk in India, and medical treatment to prevent it is very long, and very painful.

After experiencing my share of incredible extremes here in India, my journey brings me to Varanasi, Hindu’s most holy city on the banks its most holy river, The Ganges. Varanasi is a city that was built on and still thrives on traditions. Traditions that may seem strange and shocking, at first, but spend enough time here and you’ll come to appreciate the power of this place.

For many people, Varanasi is their final resting place. Hindus believe that dying here will release you from the cycle of rebirth. For families that can afford it, elaborate cremation ceremonies are carried out in publi c view along the river, their ashes being released into the water. For the vast majority, however, bodies are weighted with stones and sunk to the bottom. These traditions are in harmony with daily bathing rituals- a ritual that is said to remove sins and purify souls.

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