I recently had the opportunity to visit India for two weeks in October. It was my first time travelling to Asia. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was excited to explore a new country, experience new things and visit new places.
My first stop was the bustling city of Mumbai.
I came there in the first place to meet with some colleagues before departing for the journey north for the Hampta Pass Trek.
I spent a couple of days there and could see some places in the city.
It was definitely a cultural shock, seeing a completely different way of living and how busy and crowded everything was. It took some time to get used to that kind of environment.
It was also hot and humid almost all the time, which was also a bit challenging.
Travel from Mumbai to New Delhi
After Mumbai, I travelled to Delhi and then further north to Manali. We took the overnight train, which was a unique experience.
The train was clean and well-maintained. We were served food for dinner and breakfast, had a friendly chat with other passengers and even played a couple of games of Uno.
The berths were also quite comfortable, and I managed to get some hours of sleep overnight.
Delhi felt busier than Mumbai. It was only a shortstop before departing for a further journey to Manali.
We had a few hours to make a short trip through some of the city highlights.
Manali and around
A visit to Manali was obviously the main highlight of the trip. As mentioned earlier, I wrote a separate post about the trekking experience at Hampta Pass.
Manali itself also offers some lovely views over the surrounding mountains, which started to get covered by snow around that time.
After the trek, we spent an additional day in the city doing some local sightseeing.
We visited Hadimba Devi Temple and the surrounding park for a couple of hours, which was a great experience.
Later we also took a taxi to make a trip outside the city and see some places in the Kullu Valley.
The views on the other side of the Atal Tunnel differed dramatically, with much more prominent mountain peaks.
We had a chance to visit a local Buddhist monastery, and it was a great experience.
New Delhi again
After my time in Manali, I returned to New Delhi to spend a couple more days there. My friends left for their homes, and I decided to explore the city on my own.
I was definitely a bit brave venturing into the crowded streets of Delhi markets, but this experience was truly unique.
And since I was walking there in the early evening, the golden colours of the sunset only amplified what my senses were perceiving.
Wandering through the bustling streets of Chandni Chowk markets, I just couldn’t believe my senses. Shops loaded to the limits with socks and goods, people buying and selling literally everything…
The street infrastructure was also overwhelming. Cables, cables, everywhere.
Last but not least, the Taj Mahal was a last-minute addition to the trip. I booked the visit there only days earlier.
I knew that it had to be during sunrise if I visited it. I really wanted to get the experience of seeing it during the dawn hours.
I will say it was challenging. I had to get up at 2AM to travel to Agra (a 3-hour drive from New Delhi).
The crowds were there from early morning, as the place attracts more than 6 million visitors yearly. Luckily I’ve got some opportunities to take some good photos.
As a part of the tour to Agra, I’ve also visited a few places around: Agra Fort and the “Baby Taj” (Itmad-Ud-Daulah’s Tomb).
Back in Delhi on the last day, I also visited some more places of worship, including a Sikh religious site - Gurudwara Shri Bangla Sahib and a stunning Hindu temple - Akshardham.
Especially the visit to the Sikh place of worship was enjoyable. I was given an almost private tour and learned about Langar - a community kitchen serving free meals, regardless of religion, caste, gender, economic status, or ethnicity.
My last stop in Delhi was at Agrasen Ki Baoli - a 60-meter long and 15-meter wide historical step well.
Initially, I planned to visit Chand Bawri stepwell, located between Jaipur and Agra. Still, it was too far, and it wasn’t feasible to organize travel there. But this was also a great place to see!
My time in India ended as I left for Delhi airport and boarded a flight to Bangkok.
Overall, my visit to India was an unforgettable experience. I got to see so many beautiful places and examples of this country’s fascinating culture.