Aishwarya Rai

1. Shopping- India is a shoppers paradise. Why? Well, not only does your money go really far, but there is a variety of unique selections one can purchase at various bazaars and stores. I definitely splurged a bit and bought many one-of-a-kind, beautiful pieces which you’ll see me using in the future. India’s richness and vibrancy is properly reflected in people’s attire. In New Delhi, Connaught Place was one of my favorite go-to destinations. There are various little shops on the outskirts of this area where one can find some pretty amazing deals. Jaipur had a lot of great fabrics as well. The main shopping area in the old part of town had much to choose from and I definitely went a little cray. In Jodhpur, I found a shop where I was able to purchase some very fine quality fabrics that were all done by hand; very luxurious and gorgeous for a great price. I can confirm that the northern part of India has you covered style wise.

2. Food- The majority of the Indian population doesn’t eat beef due to Cow’s being sacred animals. I’m not much of meat eater so this was perfectly fine with me. In general, their vegetarian dishes are quite filling and delicious while being full of flavor. Rajasthan offered exquisite cuisine like Thali, Mushroom Paneer, and Potato Cumin which were unbelievably good. I’m not much of a food connoisseur, but I was able to appreciate and enjoy everything I tasted.


3. History- India contains one of the oldest and holiest cities in the world: Varanasi. This go round, I didn’t muster enough courage to explore this city, but from what I’d heard, it contains a very palpable energy that makes this spiritual town a trippy experience. On one hand there are corpses being burned next to the Ganges River where afterwards, they are disposed of and on the other hand, there are tons of spiritual practices being performed out in the streets just like in ancient times. In addition, there are MANY gorgeous temples that adorn the country. One of the wonders of the world resides in Agra, India standing firmly as an ode of love by Shah Jahan to his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died due to complications while giving birth to their 14th child. He promised her that he’d erect the world’s most beautiful monument in her memory. After 22 years and 22,000 workers who constructed the temple, it was finished. Shah Jahan died in 1666 and was placed next to his wife’s tomb. This love story is one that has managed to withstand time. Taj’s bewitching beauty continues to attract and mesmerize people from all around the world. Furthermore, most languages currently spoken are descendants of the Indo-Aryan language where Sanskrit seemed to play a major role. India’s historical importance can’t be undermined in today’s world, but must rather be appreciated and respected.

4. Art- Everything from the building’s designs, the clothing people wear, the dances and music of each region, and finally, the items adorning the insides of palaces can be a wonderful sight for art lovers to experience. If you are looking for artistic inspiration, do as I did and go to India. =) 

5. Train System- The train system in northern india and especially New Delhi is quite amazing. The air con works extremely well and is appreciated particularly on hot, summer days. They are fast, efficient, and easy to use. Women have the option of riding in the “Women Only” section of the train where no men can be found. All in all, it’s clean, refreshing, and reliable. If you travel from one city to the next via express trains, they do offer three sets of tiers with air conditioning. The first tier is quite pricey and is known as first class while the second and third tiers are more affordable. When I traveled between cities, I usually purchased tickets from either the second or third tier and experienced no problems whatsoever. If traveling long distance overnight to a destination, there is an option available for a sleeper train where a bed will be provided for you to sleep on overnight. Overall, they are comfortable, fast, and easy for foreigners to use. 

6. Geography- India has all types of geographical landscapes. There are huge cities like New Delhi, but also amazing beaches like those in Goa, magical mountains like those in Manali, and green farmlands like those on the outskirts of Amritsar. I loved the differences in terrain and environments. Such great diversity and beauty. Wonderful contrast.

7. Bollywood Movies- While in India, you must find time to go see a Bollywood movie at a local theater. The experience there is unlike anything in the US. People applaud, cheer, and openly showcase a range of emotions. 


8. Music- You may have heard a couple of Indian songs that have made it onto the world's platform like Jai Ho (Pussycat Dolls) and the Punajbi mix with Jay-Z. Now a days, it seems that Indian music is incorporating world Pop sounds and fusing them with their traditional music. If you’re a music lover like myself, you’ll definitely appreciate the musical variations throughout India. They’re spectacular!

9. Indian Head Bop- The indian head bop is unlike anywhere else in the world. It’s fascinating to watch… If you’re there long enough, you may catch yourself doing it too! =P

Indian Head Bop

All in all, my experience in Northern India is one I’ll never forget. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Safe travels!

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