After applying for my Indian visa, I had no plans other than a flight (with several rather painful connections and layovers) from Tirana, Albania to New Delhi (via Turkey and Kyrgyzstan - where even is that!). I wasn't fussed on spending time in India - aside from seeing the Taj Mahal - but due to a lost bag somewhere in Turkey, I ended up falling in love with the place and spending nearly a whole month exploring.
Arriving in New Delhi gave me all the feels that downtown Cairo had provided for six years previous. The busy-ness, the smells, chaotic driving and absurd sights that often bemuse and shock most people actually made me feel at home. Throwing caution to the wind and borrowing clothes from Wolvo (my travelling pal at the time), we headed off to the Taj Mahal. And yes, it is as wow as you think. But boy, is it busy.
From Agra we travelled north to Rishikesh and joined a yoga retreat. No, we're not those people but I did become vegetarian after the experience. And no, I can't do any of the sequences we practised.
From Rishikesh we travelled south to Varanasi - the place famous for the ghats where bodies of the deceased are burnt. I don't know how to describe it other than being morbidly fascinating. From Varanasi, a mix-up with a bus ticket led to a 36 hour journey on local transport to Nepal. As much as I love an adventure with a good story to tell, that's one journey I would hope never to repeat!
Here are the highlights.