Backpacking across India with the Hot Toddies

Tripoto
26th Nov 2013

Udaipur

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Nepal-India Border

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Rishikesh

Photo of Backpacking across India with the Hot Toddies by Hot Toddies Unlimited
Photo of Backpacking across India with the Hot Toddies by Hot Toddies Unlimited

Rishikesh

Photo of Backpacking across India with the Hot Toddies by Hot Toddies Unlimited

Taj Mahal

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Indian Train Adventures

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Varkala

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Varkala

Photo of Backpacking across India with the Hot Toddies by Hot Toddies Unlimited

Varkala

Photo of Backpacking across India with the Hot Toddies by Hot Toddies Unlimited
Photo of Backpacking across India with the Hot Toddies by Hot Toddies Unlimited

The Beatles Ashram

Photo of Backpacking across India with the Hot Toddies by Hot Toddies Unlimited

The Beatles Ashram

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The Beatles Ashram

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Holi in Rishikesh

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Taj Mahal

Photo of Backpacking across India with the Hot Toddies by Hot Toddies Unlimited

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 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 body 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.

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 travelers.
Photo of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India by Hot Toddies Unlimited
Home to the Taj Mahal, Agra is a must-visit for almost every traveler 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.
Photo of Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India by Hot Toddies Unlimited
We were in Rishikesh in time for the festival of colors, Holi. Just walking around town, showered in colors, 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.
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Hot Toddies Unlimited
The capital city was a brief stop before an overnight train journey to the Desert state of Rajasthan. Next stop - Udaipur.
Photo of Delhi, India by Hot Toddies Unlimited
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 colorful narrow streets, eating local healthy grains and chatted with the locals. Udaipur is all about the people and the pure aroma of its colors. 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.
Photo of Udaipur, Rajasthan, India by Hot Toddies Unlimited
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 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.
Photo of Varkala, Kerala, India by Hot Toddies Unlimited
1 Comment(s)
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Photo of Tanvi Srivastava
Tanvi Srivastava
where is beatles ashram in india?
Sun 06 01 14, 06:57 · Reply (1) · Edit · Delete ·
Its in Rishikesh.
Mon 05 23 16, 01:13 · Report
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