Tell us a bit about yourself Lisa and where are you from?
I am a travel writer from Portsmouth in England and run a website Girl about the Globe for solo female travelers promoting responsible, Eco and ethical travel. I began travelling solo in my twenties and living and working in various countries. Now as a traveler in my mid-thirties, I am doing it all again but this time I am doing it with a purpose and hoping to inspire other women to take the plunge and travel solo.
What advice you want to give to those who would like to take a trip to India first time?
I would say that India is an amazing country and is a total delight on all of the senses. Although the thought of visiting such a unique country can be overwhelming, I can honestly say that I never encountered any problems in my two trips to India. The country is so vast and has so many different places to see that there is something for everyone whether you prefer cities, the Himalayas or the hippy beach vibes. My tips for a first-timer to India would be to travel with an open mind. India is so different from any other country and the smells, the noise, the lack or order and the hygiene can be a bit of a shock when you’re not expecting it but this all adds to its charm, especially the sounds of ‘Chai, Chai’ on an Indian train journey.
Describes those Places that you have visited in India
No visit to India is complete without seeing the Taj Majal and you can actually see Agra in a day trip from Delhi. It’s not just the Taj Mahal here though, the Agra Fort is definitely worth a visit. I definitely recommend visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Fatehpur Sikri which is stunning at dusk.
Mumbai is an easy city to navigate for a first-timer and is so different from Delhi. The smell of curry and spices fill the air, shanty houses line the motorway and sellers wander amongst the stopping traffic yet there are no cows walking in the streets, people actually adhere to traffic signals and evidence of the former British rule remains in the architecture. It’s a perfect city to ease yourself into India and here you can visit the Ghandi Museum and Dhobi Ghat – the biggest open air laundry in Asia. A trip to nearby Dhavari was one of my highlights in India. I was blown away by how productive the second largest slum in Asia really is. Over one million people live within this city in a city yet there are thousands of industries here from recycling plastics, making soap and leather products to restoring paint cans. Dharvari was the setting for the movie Slumdog Millionaire and the whole place is such an eye-opener.
Just streets apart from each other is the contrast of the old and the new. I love the Old Delhi, the chaos of the streets, rickshaws overtaking you, buffaloes walking past and cows in the middle of the street. You never know what will happen next in Delhi but there are hotels tucked away in side streets for some peace from the bustle of the city.
Places in the India that you simply think everyone should visit
This is my most favourite place in India; the birthplace of yoga and such a spiritual place. You cannot beat the energy and solitude of the foothills of the Himalayas and staying at a yoga ashram is the best way to completely relax and let go. There are tea houses which overlook the Ganges and little stalls selling singing bowls, cds and Indian clothing. The whole place has a buzz and a magic about it and there are so many ashrams to choose from that I can guarantee you will not want to leave.
You have traveled to over 65 countries. Which is the favourite one and why?
I’ve been really lucky and have traveled to 65 countries so choosing a favourite is a hard one as many countries are so different from the next. For me though, the people are what makes a country so special and Cambodia has to come at the top of my list. The people and especially the young children are so friendly and appear to be so happy especially after what they were subjected to with the Pol Pot regime in the year that I was born. I also love India and have never visited such a vibrant, colorful country. I love everything about it and can’t wait to go back and explore this country even more.
Thank you Lisa Eldridge, for sharing your travel experience on Tour Plan To India
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