Indian Diaries : The Agony And The Ecstasy – 3

Indian Diaries : The Agony And The Ecstasy – 3

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 third and final part of the Indian Diaries Series. You can read the first and second part if not done already.


Daleya (Dolce & Masala)

The Agony: I lived in Delhi for two years and feel that Judi Dench’s character in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel aptly described, “India is an assault on the senses, a riot of noise and color.”  India had been on my bucket list since I was a child and mistakenly thought that prior South Asia travel and the ability to speak Hindi had prepared me for life in Delhi.  Bad luck with timing didn’t help matters as I arrived while the city experienced its worse monsoon in 30 years and was in the midst of an unrealistic construction plan to host its first Commonwealth Games.  The pressure on the infrastructure as immense.  Patience and stamina were required to accomplish anything.  As a female traveler, I found that you had to develop a tough persona or pre-arrange transport to ensure safety and peace of mind.

The Agony: Despite the challenges with construction, the Commonwealth Games opening and closing ceremonies triumphantly broadcasted Indian culture to the world.  That is the magic of Incredible India – so many inspirational feats that take your breath away – all accomplished in the midst of chaos.  The travel opportunities are unparalleled, whether it’s appreciating historic Moghul architecture, spending a lazy afternoon on a houseboat in Kerala, or observing a cultural performance in old Rajasthani forts.  Where else can you enjoy street food for less than a dollar and then head to a diamond fashion show?  Spice lovers will rejoice in trying Hyderabadi dum biryani straight from clay pots or a South Indian fish fry on a banana leaf.  My personal favorite is sipping masala chai and overdosing on samosas and traditional sweets at the Bengali Markets.

Daleya, a travel enthusiast, shopaholic, dessert aficionado, and DIY’er. Specifically, Bengali sweets, Haagen Daz, House Hunters International, and all things sparkly, turquoise, and teal are her obsessions.


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Jure (Call Of Travel)

The Agony : When we were traveling in Ooty, I got robbed and my guide brutally beaten while fishing at a nearby lake. A local fisherman who was also with us was attacked us well and sustained only minor injuries. To make the incident even more disgusting, our attackers first befriended us and spent over 2h watching us fish, chatting and in general getting us to trust them. Suddenly, while all three of us were facing the lake, the attackers pounced on us from behind, each of them choosing one of us as the target. In the short scuffle that resulted, both the fisherman and the guide were knocked out and didn’t know what hit them. The guide was savagely beaten with a metal road and was later rushed to the hospital where he received 86 stitches to his head. I was more fortunate and managed to get away without injuries, but my DSLR and iPhone were stolen. You can read more about it here.

The Ecstasy : What I love most about India is how open people are and how quickly they let you in their lives. Basically every other big city me and my wife visit, there is someone that takes us around the place. That someone somehow knows somebody else that knows somebody we know. The fact that these conversations are so natural, people so warm, feels incredible. I mean I’m meeting this person for the first time and it feels like we’ve been friends for years. If you’re in need of friends, just come to India 🙂

Jure is from Slovenia, currently living in Qatar. He decided to start this blog, since he loves traveling and probably has some sort of a condition that makes him anxious and depressed if he goes without it for too long. He has visited 34+ countries and counting…

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Simone & Alice (Take Your Bag)

The Agony : When I arrived in India, I was excited but also scared because of all the horror stories I had been fed. I was scared of men, of the overwhelming dirt and poverty, of the diseases I could catch through mosquitoes… One morning I woke up to find more than 40 mosquito bites on my body. I felt feverish and I was sure I’d have to catch a flight to get treated in my country. Of course it was nothing, but the beginning of my trip was spent being terrified of everything…

Throwback to August 2014… I’m doing a collaboration on India with @g.raj15_plansavetravel so I had to look back at all the pictures I had taken during this trip. Talk about a trip down memory lane… It feels like forever ago… This was a very important trip in my life, it broadened my view of the world and taught me humility and fear management and «letting go»…. This picture is one of one of the most unprivileged child I’ve met. He and dozens of children and adults lived under a bridge, with no solid shelters, only tents made of big blankets and wood. I was volunteering in the slums as a teacher, and once I’ve been driven to this place, much worst than slums… I taught maths to kids and grown-ups alike this afternoon… If it’s true that I forgot about a lot of places I’ve seen in India, I don’t think I can ever forget any of the kids I taught… Talk about life-changing experiences…

A photo posted by Alice & Simone – TakeYourBag (@alicealeksis) on

The Ecstasy : The terror I felt quickly dissipated, mainly thanks to working with children. I was volunteering in the slums, and my young students were very excited to learn and very curious about me. They taught me a lot about myself and about life, probably more than what I had taught them. It was heartbreaking to leave them. And as much as I hated it when I arrived, it was very hard to leave India behind, too. I don’t know how it happened, but I had ended up feeling “home” there, and it took a lot of adjusting to being back to my own country…

Simone & Alice, self-proclaimed explorers of the world and happy nomads. The first is a music-driven bartender working on the road, the second a vegan student and researcher in (medieval) linguistics roaming the world hoping to learn its languages and history.

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Phew…..That was an end to one good Collab Series. I would like to thank all the bloggers for sharing their experiences in India.

And I would like to leave you with this wonderful video I found online. This video by Neal Howland probably summed up the whole purpose of this Collab Series.

With precise editing, a catchy background score and powerful words to go with it….this video shows the pure bliss in the chaos that is India.

India from Neal Howland on Vimeo.

(Videos posted after getting permission from Neal Howland)


Like it then Pin it !!!

142 thoughts on “Indian Diaries : The Agony And The Ecstasy – 3

  1. What lovely stories. I was worried about visiting India before we went too. Jure’s story of being robbed was scary. I was robbed in Cambodia but luckily wasn’t hurt. I loved reading the ‘The Ecstasy’ parts of this post, as India is really quite incredible. I would love to return and spend longer there.

  2. What an interesting topic! I must say that it took me a while to visit India. Mostly because of some of my friends’ stories. When the time came for me to visit the country, I got a slap on the face. I loved every minute of it. The colours, the culture, the people and their friendliness. I’m definitely going back!

  3. To be honest I was a bit scared to travel to India alone. That’s what I cancelled my trip back in the 2012. But this article gives me consolidation 🙂 and I feel I want to visit now India and see the beauty 🙂

  4. This collaboration came together well. Thanks for including me. I especially love the video you found. It’s really powerful! Just spent New Years in India and I already miss the colors and food.

  5. Really nice to hear some balanced stories. I have also heard a lot of bad things about India, but it hasn’t stopped me wanting to visit. I think there’s good and bad about every place – and how will you know whether or not you’ll like it until you go!

  6. Lovely post! One of my best friends is from India and she always says that the best in India are people. They are always ready to help, even if they haven’t got much, they always try to share. Of course, there are dangerous incidents like everywhere else, but I would love to visit that beautiful country one day. Well, maybe not on my own:)

  7. I have to be honest the Agony side of these stories are the same things that have put me off visiting India – I am not sure if I will change my mind but it’s great to see the other side of the coin.

  8. I really enjoyed Nepal, which I think is a less intense experience than India. The thing that concerns me most would be getting sick from the food. Did you get ill?

  9. OMG! The photos and especially the video made me sick and now I so badly want to travel to India, Thanks for sharing this post. It’s wonderful, Cheers!

  10. It’s not being an Indian i love India. I love it for everything. I always wanted to know how others see our land and it was really nice reading about their experience here in our Country. Thanks for this post.:)

  11. I think it’s about researching, planning, and being aware of your surroundings. Unfortunate things can happen though. Good or bad things can happen anywhere you go. You just have to be careful. Bad stories never scare me off from a place, it just make me want to be extra careful. I would love to go to India one day!

  12. Lovely photos! I have a lot of Indian friends here in the Philippines and they always tell me how beautiful your country is. I hope I can visit India soon.

  13. I have not been to India mostly because I do not know if I could handle the chaos. However, I have a friend who loves India and has returned to visit. I really enjoyed reading the narratives from the different writers because they all demonstrate that there is both good and bad. Such is the case for most places we visit but it appears India is much more so. Thanks for the lovely read.

  14. India sounds like such a dichotomy. My mother is there at the moment in Hampi and Goa and is loving the spiritual side of things. It seems like really beautiful place that I’d love to visit someday and the photos are absolutely breathtaking!

  15. Nice- I have only been to Delhi – and can relate to the observations made here. Love the collab and the diversity of opinion on India!

  16. I think you anticipated nicely the reactions that India would product—it’s such a large experience that people have their own reactions, sometimes canonical. The ecstasy and the agony is probably exactly what most travelers experience from that land, and good for you for capturing it.

  17. Nice article to learn about India. We havent been there but definitely, its on our bucket list. Yes, we will be able to hear positive and negative stuff about each and every country, but you’ll never know what’s in that country if you will not live or even visit over there. That’s how my husband and I are challenging ourselves. Great job Gokul!

  18. I too have heard the good and bad of India, but having watched a vlogged trip of the subcontinent, the beauty of it seems incredible. I would love to go. Thanks for this collaborative post. IT’s always good to hear different perspectives, and those photos are superb.

  19. Beautiful photos! It’s great to read why people have a love/hate relationship with India. It really helps those who haven’t visited the country form an idea about what it is really like.

  20. Agony is definitely gonna hit me a few times when I’m in India next month. Here’s to hoping there won’t be a freak monsoon so I can avoid one of Daleya’s agonies. Gotta keep my eyes open and on the watch so I stay safe. But then reading all the ecstasy stories get me giddy. Especially can’t wait to go meet the locals.

  21. Great list of perspectives. I can definitely understand why people who had a tramatic experience would not want to return. Anyone who hears their story will not visit.

    1. For every traumatic experience you face in India there will be a much better ecstatic experience waiting to happen. Keep this is mind when coming to India.

  22. I have to say many of the fears and agony points are reasons India has never been at the top of my travel list especially traveling alone with my children. You may have changed my mind I love this post; super way to address the topics. Sorry about that robbery scary – 🙂 but glad that he found a way to move past and enjoy it.

  23. Stories of your blog guests have proved just one more time that India is a country of overwhelming contrasts. The visitors adore India or never want to go back. One is for sure, none is indifferent to India!

  24. I don’t like general opinions, especially for a country so big and with so different regions like India. I enjoyed South India a lot but I can imagine my experience would be very different in the North

  25. The robbery story wasn’t a good one, but I also know that it can happen anywhere, not just India. Good stories here from those who have obviously experienced India well.

  26. thats a super interesting article! I love to read the experiences of different people who tell in all honesty about their life and the good and bad parts. I find it interesting as well that ppl associate india with danger and it kinda seems true when thinking about the robbery .. but as well the hospitality and friendliness is outstanding; thanks for highlighting those 2 extreme sides ! Great idea to put that together 🙂

  27. Absolutely gorgeous photos! I Haven’t really been outside of Delhi when I’ve gone to visit so it’s nice to see the other, less congested parts of India!

  28. I can’t believe someone wouldn’t want to visit such a beautiful country! The pictures of India are absolutely stunning!

  29. India is also in my bucket list, and I want to visit it and explores its cities and the market too 🙂
    Am not discourage with those negative feedbacks about India, because we also have here.

  30. This is a lovely post. I’ve never visited India, but being of African decent I understand how the media can turn beautiful countries to whatever they want the public to believe. I I had the chance, I would visit India in a heartbeat

  31. First of all, I loved the book ‘The Agony and Ecstasy’ by Irving Stone and it was one of the first books that made me want to see Michelangelo’s works in real life. Eventually, I did get to see some of them.

    Living in India is definitely a mixture of both the agony and ecstasy. I can understand how first timers feel when they come here. I had read about Jure’s experience before and it was still a scary experience. But India definitely plays a riot with your senses.

  32. Interesting perspective and experiences. India truly is an interesting place…its loud, colourful..and dirty! There are over a billion of us on this planet…and experiences will always be different. Sometimes, I feel that India has a perception much worse that what it actually is.. glad people still come here!

  33. I love the various entries showing the good and the bad in India. I have travelled to India and can relate completely with some of these references. I do agree with Judi Dench and firmly believe that India is an assault to the senses.

    1. That could be true. It can be a real culture shock for people who are coming from other countries. Even we locals find it difficult to adjust when we move to different states.

    1. This post might have given you an idea about what to expect in India. It may not be a smooth ride but India will definitely make you a seasoned traveler.

  34. First off, kudos to you for coming up with this idea! Travel can mean different things to every person. Hence, it is always great to be able to read through various perspectives, especially for a popular tourist attraction like India. I really enjoyed reading through the diversity of each experience and would love to be able to share my own someday.

  35. Wonderful write ups. India is indeed a cultural shock to many who come here for the first time. And it is always interesting to read the perspectives that come from visitors from around the world!!

  36. Thats a wonderful series. I am glad you chose to do both agony and ecstasy and not just one of them. People usually tend to be biased towards one kind but the reality for travelling in India or for that matter anywhere is that you just cannot have one. You will end up experiencing both. And the accounts of everyone you collaborated perfectly captures that.

    1. Thanks a lot 🙂 I had planned to do both to give everyone an honest view about India. And it can not be done without including the experiences of travelers who have truly traveled in India.

  37. India, not on my travel list. Your post had some truly horrible stories on it, but it also showed hope and beauty. Maybe I will rethink my list. Thanks for sharing this collaboration.

  38. Really interesting to read about these experiences.

    That scenario with Jure sounds horrible but I’m sure the majority of people travel without incident (like when I visited).

    I think depending on where you come from India can be a powerful experience, and some people with have good experiences and some bad, but it can be like that in many countries.

  39. Great idea for a collaboration! I am happy you decided to show both the good and the bad sides! I think to travel in India the best idea is to plan ahead. India is a very beautiful country with a lot of diversity( in almost everything). So some bad experiences must not stop people from visiting India!

  40. Last year, I traveled for 6 months in India with my wife and three teenage daughters. I was a bit nervous at first, especially worried about my daughters given some stories I had heard. But we had a great time. No problems. Even celebrating Holi (in Rishikesh) all were met only with friendly people. The cities are fairly filthy, and that can wear on a person, but the color, food, and spectacle of Incredible India are well worth it. In my opinion. Thanks for all the work you did to put together this collaborative project.

  41. Wow, I’m super on the fence on visiting India. It’s one of the few places in the world i’m on the fence about. The robbery story doesn’t help:| Glad that he was able to look at the bright side of his trip.

    1. I can say that India is not for everyone…there are people from other countries who have enjoyed staying in India. Maybe you should give it a try too.

  42. Such a great series! I have never been to India but I would love to! My friend went a few years ago for a couple of weeks and fell ill as soon as she arrived for about a week, but she still hasn’t got a bad thing to say about! I love that people here are sharing the good and the bad! Very real 🙂

  43. I’ve always wanted to go to India. I am scared of being robbed too. I have heard many other stories as well. My grandma got a taxi and he drove her out into the middle of nowhere and said he wouldn’t drive back unless she gave him everything she had. Very tragic for her.

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