Indian Diaries : The Agony And The Ecstasy – 2

Indian Diaries : The Agony And The Ecstasy – 2

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.

Welcome to the second part of the Indian Diaries. If you have not read the first part you can find it here.

Brianne Miers (A Travelling Life)

The Agony : While most of the people I met in India had good intenions, sometimes the attention I got for being an unusual looking foreigner got very overwhelming and even annoying. Groups would surround me and ask for photo after photo after photo, which often prevented me from spending as much time as I would have liked touring and taking photos of a temple or attraction. There were a few times that the crowd around me became so large and was pushing toward me so forcefully that I could barely move, and there were other times when people reacted negatively when I turned down their photo request.

The Ecstasy : I spent about two months traveling around the South of India, and with the exception of Goa, I really didn’t go to places that attract many tourists – especially foreigners like me who are tall, pale and blonde. I had a lot of fun interacting with locals of all ages who were very surprised to see me passing through their small town – they would usually ask me where I was from, what I liked about India, if they could take a photo of me, and if I could take a photo of them. I was also asked to hold a lot of babies! The majority of people I met were incredibly warm and welcoming, and made me feel so special. It was hard to return to the U.S., since I’m just “normal” here!

Making friends at Brihadishwara #Temple in #India #adventure #travel #travelpics #instapics #rickshawchallenge #classicrun2015

A photo posted by Brianne | A Traveling Life (@brimiers) on

Brianne Miers is a Boston-based travel blogger who is working to see the world by balancing her career as a communications consultant with a life of travel.

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Rashmi & Chalukya (GoBeyondBounds)

The Agony : We believe the availability of clean toilets with hygiene conditions and    clean drinking water all over India is crucial today. We have traveled through 18 countries in Europe with our kid starting when she was 6 months old. And we can say the trips went smooth and comfortable because almost every place we visited had a clean toilet and changing rooms for baby. Availability of Safe drinking water is yet another important factor which requires consideration. We know there have been several necessary steps taken in these directions by the government and we hope these are implemented at the earliest.

The Ecstasy : India is rich with cultural heritage and diverse geographical locations. As much as we felt prided learning the intriguing history and culture of Rajasthan and Karnataka we enjoyed exploring the wonderful nature in Kerala and trekking and hiking through the verdant greens to celebrate Mumbai monsoons. India has a multitude of surreal locations which can challenge even the foreign locations we drool over. From snow-capped mountains and ever-changing landscapes of Jammu and Kashmir in North to abundance of verdurous nature in northeast and western ghats to several states with an immense wealth of art and architecture India has all to make it a travelers paradise.

Rashmi & Chalukya are Mumbai based travel fanatics and storytellers. 20+ countries and counting….. Seeking inspiration for life through travel.

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Arnav Mathur (Eat, Travel, Live and REPEAT)

The Agony : I did my first trek in May 2016 with Indiahikes, basically it was an organised trek and in a group.Having enjoyed the group experience I chose a small scale event management company for a trip to Kasol, as the package was more economical for me at the time.On reaching the start point, I was taken aback as I realized the company was run by 2 kids in their 3rd year of college.There was a constant state of agony for the whole duration as due to the mismanagement, there were N number of delays, lack of punctuality with the bus timing etc.Though the trek to Kheerganga was enjoyable as I had good company, but overall the mismanagement in almost every aspect made me super irritated during the whole trip. The lesson learnt was simple, ‘ Never go for the cheapest option.’

The Ecstasy : Even though the mental agony is too much at times, there is nothing more ecstatic than planning the next travel location and exploring it in your own way with/without family. The mental peace one gets surrounded by the natural beauty of the mountains is such a welcome break from the chaotic city life and the feeling of ecstasy of breaking free is something which just can’t be explained in words. I did my first High Altitude trek to Chandrashila peak in May 2016,was the first one in my group to scale the summit with a time lead of 30 min. The joy of summiting before anyone else and having the area to myself for sometime was pure ecstasy. I just fell in love with the mountains and traveling ever since and have increased the frequency of my travels.

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Arnav, is a civil engineer by profession and a hard core foodie and a travel aficionado at heart. Being an ARMY brat by birth, traveling and socializing is in his DNA. His belief is: “Go to a new place every month or two to explore, relax and live life to the fullest.”



(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.)

86 thoughts on “Indian Diaries : The Agony And The Ecstasy – 2

  1. Hi Gokul,

    I loved India! And enjoyed ecstasy across the southern half of the country. The emotion. Not the drug 😉 But I did almost die in Muhamma. Giardia whacked me and I almost waited TOO long before going to the hospital. Dangerously dehydrated, I lost 20 pounds in a week before being fixed up a few days before things would have really went south.

    Cool post…and funny bit about the tour company led by 2 college kids LOL.


    1. Sorry to hear about your experience. It is recommended to drink only bottled water in India. Never get too late to go to the hospital, esp when you are traveling.

  2. We have yet to visit India, I (Mr W) really wants to go bit Mrs W isn’t so keen. I think she’s concerned about the general hygiene and inequality. Although we both agree that the culture and sights look amazing,

  3. Some really diverse positives and negatives from your collaborators here, really interesting to read. I’ve most visited India as the child of Indian parents who emigrated before I was born so I’ve seen it as a semi-insider semi-outsider.

  4. Nice to hear the positive and negative experiences from travellers. Too often we get the glossy guide to places without the reality of that place. I can imagine travelling around India can be difficult at times! Wouldn’t put me off though!

  5. After having been to all six inhabited continents, there can be challenges and scams just about anywhere in the world. India has its own share of issues, though in rural India I find people to be genuinely more innocent, loving and caring then in most parts of the world.

  6. I haven’t been to India so I haven’t experienced the agony and ecstasy. I enjoyed reading each travel bloggers posts and seeing the country through their eyes and experiences.

  7. Some very interesting stories! We are still yet to visit India but it is high up on our bucket list. We will be making the trip there on our way back home from our travels. We are most looking forward to the diversity it has to offer!

  8. I love these posts that cover both sides, I believe that is such a great way to get an honest look and opinion. The crowd experience for photos is what would be worst for me, but to experience the vast landscapes and plethora of arts would definitely be ecstasy!

  9. Those are great stories. India sounds like undercover interesting country. Of course I know that there are stuff I wouldn’t like but I still would love to visit one day!

  10. This is so interesting to read! I have to confess, I can’t really decide if I want to go to India. It seems like such a crazy amazing place to visit, but it’s also incredibly overwhelming, especially if you have no idea where to start, like me! I’m really glad to see that there are other travellers out there who can be honest and tell both sides to a travel story!

  11. I agree that it can be both agony and ectasy but I personally found it worth it. So much that I’m hoping to go back soon! Such a huge country, so much to see and do.

  12. India is a place that has been on my bucket list for a while now but I haven’t yet made it to. Hopefully one day soon. It was interesting to read this collaboration of others experiences while visiting. Thanks for pulling this together!

  13. I have a friend who is in love with India. She backpacked India 3 times and 8 months in total, as a female solo traveler. In her opinion, India is a top destination that everyone should visit during their lifetime!
    I hope to get India off my bucket list soon.

  14. I totally agree with the agony and the ecstasy of India. I really wasn’t ready for its heap of contradictions but after two weeks on the subcontinent, I was slowly adapting to the craziness that is India.

  15. I loved reading these different perspectives. I’ve never been to India before but think I’d be able to relate to a lot of these. I think I’d definitely feel uncomfortable as well if I were to attract a lot of unwanted attention because I look different from everyone else. But the rich culture there has always been a draw for me. Thanks for compiling these stories!

  16. There are a few places I’d like to see in India, but beyond what probably most everyone wants to see I haven’t honestly given India much thought. I had a friend that visited some cities like Mumbai a few years ago and she said to just throw out your clothes at the end of the trip because they will just be that disgusting. That certainly put me off of visiting cities. I don’t like dirty and chaotic.

  17. Nice compilation! After reading all of it , I can only say traveling and liking or not likeing a place is very personal. For instance some people don;t like all the attention they get and others thrive in it. 🙂

  18. That’s a beautiful mix of emotions. As an Indian who has travelled a bit in Europe and spoken to many and heard their response when I mention, I’m from India, I totally relate to this post! The reactions are always so myriad and varied from completely awe struck to scared like hell!

  19. I loved your take on India, separating the good and bad. What a diverse and complex country. Brihadishwara looks like the place I would like to visit, such friendly people. You’ve captured a wealth of info in this post. 😉

  20. Each to his own, I suppose, as with all other destinations. Nice to know the up and down sides of India. That way, tourists will make an informed decision if they plan to go to India.

  21. It’s so interesting and nice to hear the positive and the negative points of travellers who went to India. I have to go to India and see it with my own eyes, but I’ve heard so much about the magnificent of South India, and essentially Goa. Since, I’m French, I won’t pretend I won’t be touched with all the attention you get, but of course, I get it, the astonishment and the reactions. People in SEA countries tend to consider European and Americans as “saviors” or attractions, and I get the frustration and the refusal. I’ve always wanted to go to India, because it holds some mystery!

  22. I’ve yet to visit a country where everyone was brown, lol! I bet it would be a culture shock for me but also enjoyable. I’ve been to many countries where I was the only brown person there so I can relate on standing out. What an interesting experience.

  23. I always liked India for the contrast and life sparkling out of it. My agony has always been having some stomach problems cause of the food and my ecstasy the interesting people I met along the way . I hope I ll go back one day .

  24. Haven’t been to India yet but I am so badly wanting to go after reading this post! The pictures are beautiful and your stories sound like you are having a great time! So interesting about the “celebrity status” bit

  25. I haven’t been to India yet, but have been to Pakistan numerous times. India is in the plans for 2018, waiting a long time to get there. It seems like there are lots of experiences and lessons to be learned in India.

  26. It was perhaps a nice idea to collaborate with different bloggers and have experiences penned on one place. Different people have different experiences! Nonetheless the shortcomings, I love India.

  27. Hey Gokul,
    I really loved your posts about India. If you had only 3 weeks to spend in India though, what would you absolutely recommend seeing & doing?

    1. I would recommend you start with Rajasthan, feel the heat in the deserts there, spend a week in Goa with the beaches and untouched villages inland away from the beaches and end your trip in Kerala. If possible book a houseboat ride in Kerala. You will love it.

  28. This is a great idea for a post. Something the tourism departments of every state should be doing to address the issues faced by the tourists. I love how you have covered both the good and bad parts of travel in India. Staying India gets us used to all the hardship because of the “Chalta Hai” attitude but it really helps to introspect and understand the bad things so that they can be addressed. Agree about what Rashmi and Chalukya state about lack o f proper toilets and water arrangements in many places.

  29. It’s interesting to read everyone’s responses. Personally, I love that there is so much to see there and I especially love the delicious food. What I don’t like is the sensory overload (in the cities) and the beggars and touts harassing one most of the time.

  30. This is a very candid post and presents an honest and true picture. Let us face it, travel is never a bed of roses and agony and ecstasy go hand in hand. Whether it is India or any other places, there are always ups and downs and these vary from country to country. Probably the best way is to look at everything as an experience, some good and some bad.

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