The India pages cover four trips. The most recent was in February 2019 where I travelled widely throughout Rajasthan. Previously, in 2017 I took the back roads around Uttar and Madya Pradesh. In 2016, I took the even less popular roads from Chennai to Kolkata. Over twenty years previous to that, I had covered a great deal of the Western half of the country. For that trip I dusted off my old photo albums and scanned in the photos which make up the pages - the North West, Rajasthan, Goa and Hampi and the Far South.
My latest trip to India was almost at an end. I was up early and checked out of my hotel, the Bundi streets were strangely quiet first thing in the morning, as was the station, but the buses were still running and I managed to catch one to Jaipur just as it was leaving. The roads were surprisingly quiet as well so it only took four hours rather than the five and a half I was expecting. (read on)
Got the bus from Udaipur to Chittorgarh no problem. Semi-deluxe, that's a laugh but I got a seat. The journey was pretty boring, just views of major road works everywhere and dust. The station in Chittorgarh is across the river from the old town so I managed to avoid the trishaw drivers and just walked across the bridge observing the hill fort in the distance. (read on)
The beautiful lakeside town of Udaipur is supposed to be one of the most romantic places in the world and a travellers' favourite. I was about to find out. The 7 hour bus journey from Jodhpur wasn't too bad. The station is in the modern, eastern end of the town but soon I was headed by rickshaw into the old town cum tourist centre attractively situated next to shimmering lake pichola. (read on)
My 1994 trip to India took in the entire Western side of the country, but I only managed a day in Jodhpur. This time I was going a bit deeper. The hotel was certainly a bit more expensive but in a good spot as the rooftop restaurant had a fantastic view over the town but more impressively to the Mehrangarh Fort, the jewel in Jodhpur's crown. (read on)
I got a train for the short trip from Bharatpur to Delhi no problem at all. In contrast to Agra, the Delhi air was fresh and the city looked quite green - New Delhi anyway, as I had arrived in the south and was tuk-tukking north to my hotel in Pahanganj, near the main railway station and between New and old Delhi. (read on)
From Khajuraho to Agra was the first daytime trip by train. Thankfully, I suppose, it was very uneventful and arrived in Agra pretty much to time. My first impressions of Agra were not good. I arrived at dusk and all I could see were clouds of dust and pollution and smoke. My throat was already burning by the time the tuk-tuk driver dropped me off at my hotel, the Coral Court Homestay. (read on)
From looking at the map, the short hop from Orchha to Khajuraho should be very straightforward but it isn't. There are few trains and no direct buses. The guy at the hotel said the best bet was the 7.30am train. Not totally surprising but I got to the train station in plenty of time to find it deserted. (read on)
It was fairly straightforward to get 2 buses back to Indore and I arrived in plenty of time to get another overnight train. And shock, horror, this one left on time and I got a good night's sleep! In fact the only delay was right at the end of the trip but I arrived safe and sound in Jhansi at 11.30am. (read on)
Most of the time I like to take local transport as it's usually fairly reliable and you get a much better experience of the land and the people. Also, the bus and train stations are a great opportunity to people watch. However, I had been told that the only way to get to Maheshwar from Mandu was to get a series of slow buses so I decided to splash out a bit (800Rs) and get a taxi for the fairly short hop. It was an uneventful hour and a half except for a puncture which gave me a few minutes to stretch my legs and admire a very dry and dusty view. (read on)
So I emerged from the tortuous 14 hour overnight bus trip in Indore. Although the bus disgorged its passengers in an unremarkable side street, a helpful autorickshaw driver was immediately on hand to take me to the Gangwal bus station where I could get a bus to Dhar and from there another bus to Mandu. (read on)
After Varanasi I headed south into Madhya Pradesh. On the map about 400kms away, metaphorically a million miles. I left at 10.30 on the overnight train from bustling, noisy Varanasi train station and arrived deep in the Indian countryside at Umaria station at 8.30 the following morning. (read on)
Varanasi is said to be one of the oldest cities in the world, one of the most sacred to Hindus and one of the most colourful and fascinating cities on Earth. That's some intro. But it is also one of the noisiest places on Earth. Once out of the train station I was assailed by an army of autorickshaw drivers (read on)
Lucknow is famous for a number of things: it rose to prominence as the home of the Nawabs of Oudh who were great patrons of the arts, especially culinary, and also gracious living. So they left quite a few grand buildings behind. It was also a major base for the raj and famous for the 147-day Siege of Lucknow which took place during the India Mutiny of 1857. (read on)
According to the Lonely Planet, with its withering southern heat, roaring traffic and scarcity of outstanding sights, Chennai has always been the rather dowdy sibling among India's four biggest cities.
After a few days in the heat, hustle and bustle of Hyderabad, I was headed for a different world - the tribal markets of Odisha and Chhattisgarh. But to get there, I first took a flight to the seaside resort of Visakhapatnam. Vizag is Andhra Pradesh's biggest city and port but staying near the wide, long beach, and sniffing in the fresh salty air, it definitely has a resorty feel to it. (read on)
After a week in the Adivasi heartlands it was time to return to modern India. It is often said that travel in India is all about the train but this was to be my only long distance train journey. 20 years ago I was used to interminable queues and waiting for often trains already fully booked up. this time it was as easy as a few taps on my laptop. (read on)
As I had a few days spare on my Indian holiday, I decided to book an overnight trip to the Sundarbans. It was possibly the best decision I made all holiday. (read on)
After my trip to India in 2016, I managed to dig out the photos of a previous trip I did in 1994. It was over 20 years ago but I am still amazed at the changes that have taken place over the years. Not just on the ground in India but also because it was a time before digital cameras, so I had to scan my old photos from a yellowing photo album. (read on)
From Amritsar I took the overnight train to Delhi, quickly changing to another for Sawai Madupur. I must have been pretty hardy in those days or just in a mad hurry because I didn't even stay a night there before heading off to Jaipur. But I digress. The reason for going to Sawai Madupur was to visit the Ranthambore National Park and spot a tiger. (read on)
So I was waiting at the bus stop in Jaisalmer waiting for the bus to Barmer bathed in sweat. It was a fairly short hop of 2 hours. But once in Barmer, I noted that after the relatively clean streets of Jaisalmer I was back to the stench and pollution of a big Indian city and reflected that it wasn't so much of a surprise that there was currently an outbreak of bubonic plague. (read on)
After a pleasant few days in Diu it was time to move on. My next stop was Bombay (as it was still known then). Nowadays I would have no hesitation in finding a cheap flight but then it was another long distance trudge by road and rail. It started with an overnight bus journey to Ahmedabad. (read on)
I stayed in Hampi for a few days relaxing and exploring more ruins and then got yet another overnight train, this time to Bangalore. I can only assume I kept on travelling overnight to save time and money (on hotels). I didn't have much luck in Bangalore as all the hotels seemed to be full so I went back to the train station and got a train to Mysore. (read on)
Useful tips on train travel in India.
a lot of info about a lot of places. A bit dated now but interesting. Extensive.
Photography based but plenty of info, updated regularly
Practical info about a lot of places in India
Especially useful section on identifying birds of Northern India
Quite quirky but plenty of info. Able to make your own travel guide.