Indian Diaries : The Agony and The Ecstasy – 1

Indian Diaries : The Agony and The Ecstasy – 1

India attracts a large number of travelers every year. What is it about India that is attractive ? Is it the diversity, festivals, spirituality ? And why do some people find India repulsive? I have read posts titled ‘Why I love India’ to ‘Why you should never travel to India’. Maybe it is because of this mixed response, I got the idea to come up with my first collaboration with travelers who have visited India. Maybe we will get a clearer picture once we know what experiences these travelers had in India.

Margherita (The Crowded Planet)

The Agony : Even though I did love India and had a great time during my four months in the country, there were also some difficult moments. I am used to touts and people wanting to make a buck off tourists, but I found Indians to be particularly persisting – sometimes rickshaw drivers, guides and guesthouse owners will literally crowd around us as soon as we got off the train, and it was hard to make them understand we preferred to go our own way. This was especially the case around Rajasthan, Delhi and UP, while Kerala, J&K and Himachal were a lot better.

Scenes from the wonderful Chhath Puja in Varanasi, in honor of the sun god Surya, every sunset on the banks of the Ganges.

A photo posted by MargheNick (@the_crowded_planet) on

The Ecstasy : I remember laying on my bed the night before leaving India, sad because I felt as if I was leaving a loved one. Our India itinerary included some places I had dreamt to visit for my whole life – and my favourite one was Leh in Ladakh, where we spent three weeks. I loved the stunning and mighty Himalayas, the relaxing feel of the place and the chance to discover a millenary culture. In Ladakh I also met the Dalai Lama, one of the most memorable encounters of my life.

Margherita and Nick, a writer and photographer from Italy and Australia,  are long-term travelers and lovers of nature, wildlife and the outdoors. The Crowded Planet focuses on what they love most; nature and adventure travel, with an eye on sustainability.

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Katja Gaskell (Globetotting)

The Agony : We lived in Delhi for three years and traveled regularly, both to see as much of India as possible and to escape the furnace-like temperatures of the capital during spring and summer months. Possibly our worst experience saw us at Old Delhi train station at 10.30pm waiting for an overnight train to the hills. The temperature was still around 35C, you couldn’t see the platform floor for people, and we were travelling with a 2.5-year-old and a 4-month old. We waited for several hours and eventually gave up; we later discovered that the train didn’t arrive into the station until 6am the following morning. So desperate were we to escape the city, however, that we decided to drive the next day. Only we took a wrong turn and spent nine hours travelling just 300km.

The Ecstasy : Just as we had trips that left us wishing we’d never left home, we also had some incredible experiences during our time living and travelling in India. It’s hard to choose a favourite experience but our time in Darjeeling was definitely a highlight. Located in West Bengal, this hill station is known for its tea estates and famed for its views of Kangchenjunga, the world’s third-highest mountain. We experienced both; we stayed in a beautiful working tea estate and enjoyed breakfast outdoors with views of the snowy-capped peak. The people were incredibly friendly, the service exemplary (someone would whisk my baby daughter away and look after her every morning while I had breakfast) and the surroundings spectacular.

Katja, with her two children and husband, has lived in Australia, India and Mexico and traveled to Sri Lanka, Nepal, New Zealand, Fiji, the U.S. and much of Europe. Katja has written across a range of titles for Lonely Planet and has tried and tested luxury hotels for the British boutique hotel guide Mr & Mrs Smith.

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Mohit (Mohit Arts)

The Agony : Everything comes with both pros and cons and India is not left untouched with the fact. The most disappointing thing while in India is to see people loitering around all over. Though  some have got the senses to keep their surroundings clean but still a far way to go.I have even seen that even though there are bins provided on the street at an appropriate distance, people still tend to throw it the very moment they feel like and don’t want to make efforts to hold the garbage and walk a bit until they find the bin which is just a little ahead.

Golden temple #renovation #outside area #facelifts #amritsar2016 #mohitarts

A photo posted by Mohit Agarwal (@mohitarts) on

The Ecstasy : The best thing I like about India is it’s diversity in food. I am a food lover and that’s the reason why I love this country. No matter where you are the place would have its own specialty that one cannot afford to miss. For instance, Dhokla in Gujarat, Petha in Agra, Vada Pao in Mumbai, Kerala’s Idli Dosa and not to miss Punjab di Sarson Ka Saag and countless. No matter what kind of taste you have, you will find all you want.

Foggy morning at Visco Resort #mandi #himachaltravel #foggy #morning #viscoresortsmandi #mohitarts

A photo posted by Mohit Agarwal (@mohitarts) on

Mohit is an avid traveler and photographer by passion and a civil engineer by profession, looking forward to learn from the what the world has to give to each one of us. His most favorite locations are those filled with natural beauty.

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Read the second part of the series here.


(If anyone has similar Indian stories to share for this collab series, please send them right-away to or leave your email IDs in the comments and I will get back to you.)


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83 thoughts on “Indian Diaries : The Agony and The Ecstasy – 1

  1. India is such a country of contrast that you’re bound to find everyone has a different opinion. I’m not a fan of the ‘lets rip of tourists’ mentality that exists in a lot of countries, but understand it’s just one of the things you accept when decided to visit somewhere where it is common practice. The highs you get on the flip side of everyone’s own personal negatives are always worth it.

  2. Nice analogy. I love the way foreigners look at our country… with some hope, dreams and sadness.
    Love it or hate it. it’s going to remain the same. 🙂

  3. I love the title…The Agony and the Ecstasy. There will always be two faces of every place but in India, they can be at extreme ends. That’s why I have not gone. I don’t like the extreme agony!

  4. It seems people either love India and can’t get enough of it or they prefer to stay away. India is one of those places that can be confronting and going there forces you out of your comfort zone.

    1. Now that I have had the time to review your post in more detail, I would also love to go to Leh in Ladakh. It looks lie a mysterious and culture place at the top of the world.

  5. This is interesting to me as I have never been to India, and I find the contrasts intriguing. For me, I can think of few places that seem so vastly different from Canada, than this area of the world, but I think it only fair to judge for oneself. I think no matter the destination, there will always be positive and negative experience. Without both we cannot truly appreciate the heart of a country or a city.

  6. I’ve never visited India before but I definitely hope to one day. I would like to try and plan out a very good itinerary and hope to have more ‘ecstasy’ moments than ‘agony’ moments 🙂

  7. I love the way you juxtapose the good and the bad in each location and find a way to look at the bad in a good light. I can’t wait to see India next year and I know I’ll have some similar ups and downs.

  8. Great post, love hearing lots of different peoples thoughts in one place. I’ve never been, and like everyone have heard real mixed reviews, some super positive and other make you want to steer clear… but thats half the adventure 🙂

  9. I really liked that this post made a point of showing both sides. I too experienced such a mix of emotions during my time in India, but in the end the amazingly beautiful and unique experiences outweighed the bad and I can’t plan my return now that I know what to expect.

  10. Every country can have it’s pros and cons. Unfortunately, I have heard some things about India that have made me hesitant to visit, like how females can be treated. However, there are still so many places I’d like to see and experience in India that I am still going to try and make it there one day.

  11. I love bloggers that tell the truth. The fact is, traveling isn’t 100% happy all the time. You are in a completely different culture and it can be hard to adjust. And at the same time those that have enjoyed it and persisted through culture shock are rock stars!

  12. I love reading about people’s experiences of differents places, so the idea of this post excited me. What I liked in particular, is that the stories aren’t sugarcoated, so they really resonate with you. I hope there are posts like this to come!

  13. its such a beautiful feeling how you have collected experience of so many people about India and posted here. no doubt India is a huge and diverse country which can be so good some time and can be little tough some time…

  14. I think it’s great how you included different experiences people have had in India and put them together in this awesome post. All of the photos are so great as well! It’s nice to see a different perspective of India that doesn’t focus on the Taj Mahal, as there are so many other awesome things to see and do that aren’t talked about as much!

  15. Love the pictures! Nice idea with the collaboration, its very interesting to see all the different experiences and point of views in one post… I assume a diverse country like india deserves many different perspectives…
    Thanks for sharing

  16. Your post really prepares a traveler to India with some hints of what to expect. I have heard that travel is much easier, as it is anywhere, when you have a local helping you navigate the system. One day, I hope to discover this colorful country.

  17. What a wonderful idea for collaboration! It is so hard to remember yet so important for us to understand that the experiences we claim as our own, are not necessarily the same as those who have walked the same trails. I commend you in your efforts for seeking a “world view” full of honesty and contrasts. This must be the single greatest way to show others the true side of any given country, and especially it seems, for India.

  18. Thanks for sharing this and showing that it’s all not just black and white. There’s good and bad with every location. I’d love to visit India as it seems like a wonderful country, but obviously I’m aware of the negatives as well – like everywhere else 🙂

  19. So much to see and do in India! I’d love to visit one day but to be honest, I’m a bit worried about the water quality (because I really do suck at carrying bottled water around with me!). Hopefully I’ll have more ecstasy than agony when I visit 😉

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