Barney Travels to India

I've recently returned from a magical 2 weeks in India and thought I’d share some tales with you.

It always surprised me when I’d speak to someone and they’d tell me that India is high on their bucket list but it’s quite common these days and in fact, we sell out our India trips year after year. It really goes to show how popular Bharat has actually become.

The evidence of Britain’s 89 year occupancy was obvious to the eye and I’m not talking about the abundance of children you see in parks playing cricket or the number of Royal Enfield motorcycles zipping around, but from the absolutely gorgeous buildings which ornate every major city. They are truly breathtaking and of course are far from the grandeur that they once demanded however underneath the years of neglect, sun-damage and surface corrosion, their majesty remains albeit silently now. After visiting so many Heritage Sites, I’d often find myself muttering “if only these walls could speak” because there really is a sense of ‘mystic history’ everywhere you go. It’s not just the Colonialism or the humidity that strikes you but the numerous mosques, temples & shrines which protrude through the chaotic streetscape of Tuk-Tuk’s, vendors and a million people going about their business in a somewhat comically unorganised, yet clockwork fashion.

I visited the Famed “Golden Triangle” starting in the cosmopolitan capital New Delhi complete with a visit to Gandhi’s house. On then to Jaipur to see the Pink City & ride an elephant. Next stop was Agra to witness one of the “World Wonders”, The Taj Mahal and then a multitude of hotel inspections. Lucknow was next and what a melting-pot of cuisine it is! Famous for its Chaats (for those who are daring to sample the street food) and better still, the Nawabi style Kebabs and Biriyani’s. Aside from the mannerisms and food though, the one thing that caught my attention in Lucknow was the number of Christian Churches which appear to be on every corner. The final city visit was to Varanasi, perched on the banks of the Ganga (Ganges) River. The river was at its peak when I arrived and the short walk through the hectic marketplace to the riverbanks was absolutely teeming with activity. Countless tourists were present immersing themselves in the local rituals and just as the mugginess hung in the air, so too did the smell of incense and sound of drums as ceremonies & performances were put on show, right there on the swollen riverbank.

It was most certainly an experience filled with wonderful memories and it would be amiss if I didn’t mention that I’ve returned home with a greater appreciation for living in the “lucky country”. I did however bring home several spices and teas which I now can’t wait to savour.