IMG_2663

The Brutality of Jodhpur

There was only one reason I decided to go to Jodhpur, and that was to see the Mehrangarh fort. One thing that I’ve noticed about Rajasthan and the north so far is that, unlike the south which is filled with temples, there is an abundance of forts here. The northern states, especially Rajasthan, are definitely more militarized than the southern ones, possibly due to there being more borders and a greater risk of foreign attack in the past; this creates a very strong and perhaps safer atmosphere than the south. The fort, visible from many miles away, is a towering authority over the city; its many ages of architectural styles clambering on top of each other out of a solid foundation of rock is a awe-inspiring sight. Out of the countless temples, palaces, and other forts I’ve seen throughout the … Read more…

IMG_2439

Pushkar to Udaipur: Humble Town to Majestic City

I found in Jaipur something that I’d not had for what felt like a long time: people that I actually liked to socialise with. I’ve met plenty of people in India, some of whom I’ve had a connection with, some I definitely haven’t, but I think the last time I genuinely met some fun people was back in Munnar (even if we did part on bad terms). After many days of laughter with Americans, Canadians, Israelis and the odd Brit, I needed somewhere to relax on my own. Anyone who knows me will be aware that I’m very choosy about who I socialise with, so wanting to stay in Rajasthan limited my options somewhat; I could either head south to Udaipur or west to Jodhpur and, after consulting a book or two and asking a few people back in the … Read more…

IMG_1858

Jaipur: The Pink City of Rajasthan

Now well into my 3rd month in India, I knew that I needed to get up to Rajasthan as quickly as possible; I realised that I didn’t have time to visit the north east regions of Darjeeling or Kashmir but this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing; it meant that I had more time to visit the north west regions. After leaving Auroville (which I’ll write about in a separate post) I made my way to Chennai. Now, the original information I’d been given led me to believe that I’d have to catch a train from Chennai to Hyderabad, then from there to Jaipur, which would be my first stop in Rajasthan. However, after a little more digging I found that I could catch a single, direct train from Chennai to Jaipur if I was willing to wait a couple of … Read more…

IMG_0803

The French Riviera of the East

My time in Kanyakumari was an unexpected, yet personal, experience. So, me being me, I needed to get back into some sort of normality. Fortunately, heading north east towards Pondicherry, or Pondy as the locals call it, was something to look forward to. Before I arrived in Pondy, I spent a night in Madurai, the ‘city of amber’. This, however, was somewhat disappointing; Madurai is famous for the Meenakshmi Amman temple which, though impressive, doesn’t hide the fact that Madurai is just a large, over crowded city. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my short time in the city, but I didn’t really get a feel for the place other than through aesthetics, and with it being expensive (as cities naturally are) I was glad I only stayed one night before moving to the ‘french riviera of the east’. This, … Read more…

IMG_1400

Kanyakumari: The Southern Tip of India

Leaving the lush greenery of Mid Kerala was hard to do but, having seen and done what I wanted to, I decided to move on further south. My plan originally was to end up in Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) before cutting across the midlands towards Madurai. However, after a few days in the clifftop beach town of Varkala (where I spent my time mostly eating and drinking, and meeting some great people) I decided it’d be a shame if I didn’t actually reach the very south of India at its most southern tip. So, after a quick stop in Trivandrum I headed to a place called Kanyakumari (formerly Cape Comorin) which I was told by some locals was just a place to go for the sake of being at the bottom of India; though I found that this simply isn’t true. I … Read more…

IMG_1229

The Heart of Kerala

Before I left for India many people asked me what my route through the country was going to be; all I’d planned really was to head south from Mumbai, then swing my way back round the east coast and up to the north western stat of Rajasthan, before heading east again and finally going up to Nepal. There was no timeline to this plan (other than the length of my visa), and I really only had half a dozen things in mind that I definitely wanted to see; two of these being tea fields, and backwaters. Luckily, I could see both in Kerala and after my great stay in Fort Kochi I decided that Munnar would be ideal for the tea fields (it was also one of the places I’d heard of before entering the country) and Alleppey ideal for … Read more…

IMG_1169

Remnants of the Past

I left Karnataka state with a bit of a heavy heart in all honesty. Some of my best times in India had been there; the serenity of Hampi, the unexpected awesomeness of Bangalore, the disappointment of Mysore and, finally, the calming, and re-energising district of Kodagu (Coorg). My first stop in Kerala was a little town called Kannur which, if not for logistical reasons, I’d have probably skipped. Don’t get me wrong, it was a nice, welcoming town, but there was little to see or do and I couldn’t wait to head further into Kerala. When ‘planning’ my journey through Kerala, Kochi was high on the list of places to see, so, after my brief stay in the north, it was my next stop. I hadn’t done much research into Kochi and, still trying to travel without expectations, I headed … Read more…

IMG_0988

Calmness in Coorg

Whilst spending some downtime in Mysore I planned my next stop. So far I’ve only been planning my journeys 2-3 days in advance, or sometimes just the day before; it really depends on how accessible the next place is. Luckily, from Mysore the choices were endless; from here I could head south east into Tamil Nadu, west into Kerala, or back to Bangalore and further on towards the north east. I felt like I’d exhausted the midlands of Karnataka, so decided I’d head towards Kerala (as I’m still heading south) but, whilst consulting a map to determine the easiest route, I came across a place called Madikeri; a hill station situated in the Kodagu District (also known as Coorg). This district is the final outpost of Karnataka and creates a border with Kerala; it seemed like a good enough place … Read more…

IMG_0960

Expectations and Realities: The Midlands of Karnataka

I feel like I’d be doing the state of Karnataka a great injustice if I didn’t write about two if it’s more prominent cities: Bangalore and Mysore. After all, I can’t just write about all the good places I’ve been to; it’d put a bit of a taint on my real experiences. I have very conflicting views on these two cities; one I expected to dislike but loved, the other I expected to love but, well, didn’t… Bangalore The journey to Bangalore was as arduous as the journey from Goa to Hampi; it was a long, overnight ‘sleeper’ bus that provided me with very little sleep, topped off with a rickshaw driver who, once again, didn’t know where he was and had to keep stopping to ask for directions…at 5:30am. After a 2 mile walk to my hostel (he dropped … Read more…

IMG_0614 (2)

A Brief Lack of Control

To be honest I’ve been ignoring the diabetes side of my blog, mainly because, well, it’s not very exciting. I’ve been in India for 6 weeks now; some of the best weeks of my life and, though I’ve been a little careless, I’ve not really let my diabetes in at all. Before I set off on my trip (the length of which is indefinite) my intention was to never let diabetes get me down. Now, I knew it’d be difficult because of the climate, the food, and the stresses of travelling (yes there are stresses, I’m not on a permanent holiday) but I was determined not to let any of it ruin what I was doing – though what I’m doing I actually don’t know; the term ‘winging it’ has been thrown around a lot… Anyway, when I first arrived … Read more…