By The Hot Toddies for Tripoto

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Somewhere between its unbridled chaos and manic pace, India tends to hold you in an embrace that you can’t seem to get out of. The land of a billion people and as many gods needs multiple visits for one to even begin to comprehend the intrinsic fabric that holds this country together. From the foothills of the Himalayas in the North, to the gentle backwaters of Kerala in the South, everything about the country flips on its head. Be it the people, the food or the language. India will challenge you with its myriad of sights, sounds and smells. You will want to leave and you will want to stay. It’s not easy, by any means. But, it is worth it if you manage to last and see beyond the chaotic patterns and the greedy faces.

The India leg of our round-the-world journey took us from Varanasi’s divine ghats, to Varkala’s sedate beaches, with unhurried stops at abandoned ashrams and flamboyant monuments along the way. We cringed at the messy streets in Delhi and calmed our mind and bodies in Yoga ashrams in Rishikesh. With brief stops in Delhi, Udaipur and Mumbai, we made our way down south to Kerala.

We left India after a month and a half, with a multitude of impressions writ on our minds. And we knew we would be back. Someday.

Varanasi2-01 A Travel Log | Backpacking across India with the Hot Toddies


Our first stop, after we left Nepal, was this holy city famous for its sunrise over the ghats and visited by Hindus to perform last rites for the deceased, before offering their remains to the Ganges. To put it mildly, Varanasi wasn’t the best choice for a first stop in India. We just could not get used to everything that was happening around us. The people, the cows, the tiny streets and the smells can take a toll on the senses of even the most experienced travellers.

Agra1-01 A Travel Log | Backpacking across India with the Hot Toddies


Home to the Taj Mahal, Agra is a must-visit for almost every traveller passing through India. We took a train from Varanasi to this modest town. The Agra Fort is another attraction worth stopping at while you are here.

Beatles-ashram-Rishikesh-01 A Travel Log | Backpacking across India with the Hot Toddies


We were in Rishikesh in time for the festival of colours, Holi. Just walking around town, showered in colours, is one of the best feelings ever. It was one of the best days we spent in India. After the Holi madness was over, we surrendered to the Yogic recluse of the Phool Chatti Ashram. Speaking of ashrams, sneaking around the abandoned ‘Beatles’ Ashram was one of the highlights during our stay in Rishikesh.

Delhi-01 A Travel Log | Backpacking across India with the Hot Toddies


The capital city was a brief stop before an overnight train journey to the Desert state of Rajasthan. Next stop – Udaipur.

UdaipurA-01 A Travel Log | Backpacking across India with the Hot Toddies


Udaipur is a beautiful white city surrounded by seven lakes. Tranquility. It’s the only city we randomly chose to visit in the state of Rajasthan. Not knowing much about Udaipur, we followed our instinct and allowed the energies to attract. We recharged while strolling down colourful narrow streets, eating local healthy grains, and chatting with the locals. Udaipur is all about the people and the pure aroma of its colours. In one week, we learned to love and live in India. We met many amazing people who smiled and charmed us — Yes positivity does exist in India.

Varkala1-01 A Travel Log | Backpacking across India with the Hot Toddies


Two train rides with a brief stop in Mumbai brought us to Varkala in the southern state of Kerala. Varkala, a place where we felt at home, a place where we lived for a month, ate curries with our hands and made love. It has one of the best beaches in my opinion. A 10-meter cliff marks the iconic beach and makes a perfect picture. It was the best place to say goodbye to India.

About the Hot Toddies |

Originally from Poland, but they met in the States and barely knowing each other, in February 2010, they dropped everything, took their life savings, and cluelessly started gliding around the globe. Extended their mission of setting foot on all seven continents; their mission was accomplished in late January 2012, as they arrived in Morocco. After travelling through North America, South America, Antarctica, Australia and Oceania, Asia and Europe, they finally made it to Africa, the seventh continent. It took them nearly 2.5 years to reach their goal; they visited 33 countries, slept in 209 different beds, and stepped foot on all the seven continents. Post Toddie travel journey, within the same year, they managed {individually} to visit an additional seven countries!

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