Why Every Traveler Must Visit INDIA

Derek India 100 Comments

I’m just going to come out and say it…I LOVE INDIA!

In fact, I’m so thoroughly addicted to the madness of the subcontinent that I’ve now spent over two and a half years exploring it.

What am I addicted to?


Traveling in India is like playing a game, one that both challenges and changes every player. In the Game of India, you are blindly thrown into an intense tornado of chaos and must then not only find your way, but you must uncover the magic and beauty that is veiled in the insanity.

Every second of every day in India, you encounter sights, sounds, tastes and smells that you have never faced before. The challenge is constant, as you are forced to observe, interpret and understand a way of life so different from your own. The world that is India is wildly enigmatic, a world that at times seems completely lawless and without even the most basic of rules, while at other times, it shimmers with the pride of being the world’s largest working democracy.

When you travel in India, you cannot have a plan. It simply doesn’t work that way. All you need to do is get there and then simply wake up each day and walk outside your room. The mysterious current will immediately embrace you and lead you on a unique and unforgettable adventure….every single time.

An adventure that will take you to…

– Nauseatingly massive cities, remote villages seemingly unchanged for centuries, isolated Tibetan settlements 16,000 feet high up in the Himalayas, entire towns floating on lakes, built around fortresses in the middle of the desert, hidden in the depths of the jungle and nestled under palm trees along incredible stretches of beach

–  Moments of such genuine hospitality followed by moments of such utter frustration, with both often taking place within the same minute and sometimes even caused by the same person (try introducing yourself to the man who just attempted to rip you off and you’ll soon find yourself sharing chai, talking politics and becoming friends with him moments later!)

– Camels roaming the deserts, tigers in the forests, elephants barreling down the streets of Delhi, and yaks hanging out in the mountains of Kashmir, not to mention holy cows and unruly monkeys inhabiting almost every corner of the country

– Constant encounters with the ‘unbelievable’ – whether it be the monuments of Hampi, the sunsets over Bundi and sunrises over the Ganges River, Mumbai’s sprawling Crawford market, bizarre rituals (such as throwing newborn babies to the ground from the top of a 50 foot wall in order to ensure their future strength – the babies land on sheets held by people below!), the enchanting backwaters of Kerala, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, a glimpse of the Dalai Lama in McLeod Ganj, the 2-day Himalayan bus journey from Manali to Leh, the burning ghats of Varanasi, the seemingly endless city slums and the sense of community of those living there and on and on and on…

– Religious diversity and the fascinating traditions that accompany it – Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists, Christians, B’hais and even a handful of Indian Jews all offering their own version of India

– A never-ending stream of magical palaces, forts, temples, mosques, monuments, ancient ruins and natural wonders, each leaving you more speechless and in awe than the previous one

– Cultural and religious festivals too numerous to count, ranging from those ancient and unaffected by time to the unfathomably wild and intense displays of devotion that you must see to believe

– Joyous feasts for the taste buds as you fill your stomach with endless helpings of vegetarian curries served on banana leafs, fresh samosas and pakoras, masala dosas, kathi kebabs, biryanis, momos, tandoori breads and some of the most divine (yet cavity-creating) sweets on earth

Traveling throughout India is rewarding, but it certainly is not easy. A simple stroll down the street is exhausting enough as you face off with suicidal truck drivers, taxis, rickshaws, bull-carts and cars, aggressive cows, hungry goats and wild dogs, endless beggars, con-men and vendors all screaming for your attention, exhaust pipes blowing thick black smoke into your face, men and women spitting everywhere without concern for whose feet are nearby, pot holes and downed wires, cow excrement and impromptu urinals, tissue-less nose blowing and piles of burning garbage in every direction.

But the truth is, before long, you’ll love every minute of it! Once you get comfortable with the game, you’ll find yourself hungry for the craziness and the unique and extraordinary experiences that each day brings.

However, only minimal and superficial rewards await the traveler who walks through the streets with constant suspicion, clenching tightly to their backpack and shouting at every Indian who tries to approach them. It is the traveler who is willing to dive right into the chaos and accept India with the most open of minds who will discover the infinite and life-changing rewards it offers.

If you’re the type of traveler who is not afraid to get out of your comfort zone and have your long-held views on life constantly challenged, India is a must.

After all, where else on this planet can you…

…ride in a human-pulled rickshaw, sip cappuccino in an upscale café, observe a holy man drink cow urine straight from a cow, visit a 500-year old Hindu temple, play a pick-up game of cricket, suddenly be invited to a traditional seven-day wedding by a stranger just because you’re a foreigner, walk through open sewage, feast on delicious, freshly cooked curries from a dilapidated food stall and have your ears cleaned by a half-naked man with dreadlocks on the sidewalk…all on the same street!

At the end of the day, the greatest benefit that India offers its visitors is to guarantee that the person you are when you arrive will little resemble the person you are when you leave.

Any questions about India? Just leave a comment below and I’ll help you out as best I can!

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Comments 100

  1. Kasi Tornese

    Hello Derek, Earl, and Dearl 🙂
    My name is Kasi and I have been traveling for about two years now. I started in the Caribbean islands and then spent some time in the Hawaiian islands. Lived out of car around the states and then did the gringo trail in Peru. It’s crazy to think that I have been living out of my back pack and bouncing around for two years and I’ve only done North America and one country in South America. Time flies, and as a dedicated traveler it seems it’s going to take me a lifetime if I want to travel the world.
    To start off with, India. I’ve been fascinated with Henna tattoos for about a year now and started doing them as a profession.i would love nothing more than to go to the place it all started. How do you feel about solo female travelers in India? I have heard so many different sides and stories.
    I started off with a little bit about my story because I wanted to emphasize that I crave those uncomfortable and life changing experiences. However I’m still nervous to go to some countries alone.

    1. Post

      Hey Kasi – Thanks for the comment and sharing some details about your journey! As for India, if you use the same common sense you would use anywhere, there’s no reason why it would be a difficult experience. With that said, it’s also the kind of place that is easier if you have a lot of travel experience in destinations that are very different from where you are from. While it’s not dangerous, it is definitely intense!

  2. Luis Garduno

    Hi Earl! Man, I really enjoying reading and learning from your stories. I started long traveling 4 months ago. Leaving EU after 3 months and planning to spend all October in India. I’ve been to Dheli, Agra & Jaipur bust this time I,m not sure where to start, hostels, etc … also would like to volunteer somewhere for a week. As such, would really appreciate any tips, insights and places you highly recommend.
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Post
  3. Kiran

    Yes, Earl, this country is a blend of so many things from calm himalays to busy and crowded cities and so much more. India is indeed an amazing country to visit once in a lifetime. There are thousands places that attracts many tourists from every place of the world to it. We have dessert, himalayas, beautiful beaches, snow, and different seasons. I’m a traveler in love with the Himalayas. I wrote about unknown places and my treks. Visit my blog, I hope you enjoy reading it. 🙂

  4. Jimena Loreto

    Hey Earl! I’m honestly fascinated by your blog. I’m an 18 year old girl living in Mexico City and in just a few days I’m leaving by myself for New Delhi for a 3 month volunteering trip and adventure. I have been trying to read all about India, the food, how to transport myself, how to be safe, how to dress, etc. But after reading all of your posts on it I guess my best option is to learn as I go? It is all just too much to understand through a computer screen. Any essential tips you might want to give me?

  5. kai

    Hi Earl, I’m from Singapore and I just want to tell you that you are a legend. You are living a life most people would not dare pursue. You are a true ambassador of the world, an inspiration. Safe travels and may the gods look after you.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Kai – Thanks for that…perhaps we’ll have a chance to meet up the next time I’m in Singapore!

  6. Kieran

    Hey there, a flight to leave is not necessary when getting a visa in Melbourne, and i believe other states too. The easiest way to get a new visa however is to travel to nepal and either stay in nepal for 3 months, or return to india once you’ve got a new visa in kathmandu which takes a few days. 🙂 Alternatively Sri Lanka, Bangkok also are other ways for travellers to get a new visa!

    As you have returned, so I will be returning to India in a few weeks time for my fourth consecutive year! 🙂 I like to see a bit of South India while it’s not SUMMER by exploring tamil nadu and kerala briefly. and then go and stay in Varanasi which is my favourite indian city, it really is the quintessential indian spiritual and cultural centre-point i think, a real must. also quite cheap, rooms as low as 100rs a night or more! I like to sip chai on the banks of the ganga and generally relax and watch life go by.

    From there i will take a train trip and bus to Dharamasala, Mcleod Ganj, Dharamkot which are all part of the one location and my favourite place on earth. Himalayas, Dalai Lama’s, beautiful mountainous region where one can stay for months and enjoy every single day, meditation centres and cheap rooms, think 3000rs a month to slow down and cook your own food and take it easy 🙂 I Love India! 🙂

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Kieran – For the flight, it’s never necessary to show the return flight to get the visa but in some countries, the airline check-in staff won’t let you board the flight to India without proof of an onward ticket. So that’s where the problem can be.

      Glad you’ve enjoyed India so much…there are endless places to visit in that country for sure!

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