We introduced our kids to the 3D animated series, Little Krishna earlier this year. Since then, there have been much admiration and curiosity about the little blue deity. So, for our year-end vacation, we decided to visit the birthplace of Krishna – India.
We have many family and friends in India, so taking advantage of the merciful cool winter weather, this was also an opportune time to visit them. Our 18 days-trek in India covered Mumbai, Pune and Delhi.
Our point of entry to India was Mumbai, the bustling “New York” of India. Stepping off the plane to India, you are immediately greeted by the stunning stench that is “affectionately” known by overseas Indians, or any returning visitors, as the distinct scent of India.
Don’t worry, your nose gets acclimatized pretty quickly, as your other senses are assaulted by an explosion of colours, sights and surprises – some pleasant, others not so. It is this inconceivable concoction of mystery, beauty and realism that excites the curiosity of most visitors, and makes India such an intriguing destination to visit.
The loud and incessant honking from cars and rickshaws zooming by become standard sounds you hear daily and come to expect in India. As are the dust and the thousands of animals roaming the dusty streets of India. Mumbai traffic is busy throughout the day, especially peak hours.
It is literally, a zoo on the Indian streets. My kids and I (okay, just me!) had so much fun spotting stray dogs, revered cows, bleating goats, grazing pigs, monkeys, donkeys, camels, horses, even elephants! Plus, it’s a good distraction for the kids especially on terribly long and boring journeys stuck in India’s infamous traffic.
Be respectful to the cows roam freely on the streets of India. The next time you are in India, look out for these street animals.
Speaking of traffic, the fastest way to get around is the rickshaw. Riding in an Indian rickshaw is cathartic, if you are an adrenaline junkie. I was in a rickshaw that sliced through traffic on the side-walks against incoming traffic, and another that squeezed itself between a big bus and looming truck (Really scary! Not fun! I was shocked that the metals of the three vehicles didn’t spark any fiery explosion and I survived to tell the story.)
Traffic in India is insane. Tired of taxis and auto-rickshaw? Try a horse drawn carriage.
It is easier to travel on motorbikes than in a car. And it is fascinating to watch the traffic, like this family of three on their bike.
Don’t bother telling the driver that you are NOT in a hurry in Hindi, English or any other language. Just know that when you step into a rickshaw, your life is in the hands of the driver or GOD. Your best bet – PRAY. And keep your body parts inside the vehicle at all times and hold on tight to your belongings and children. The 20-rupee fare does not cover any insurance. BUT, it DOES give you great photo opportunities.
Shopping in India is an experience not to be missed, but not so much fun if you do not know where to go to. Lots of modern shopping malls have sprouted up in the big cities of India. Most are clean, have air-conditioning and are great to escape from the street dust and summer heat. Click here for the Top 10 biggest or largest shopping malls in India.
But if you are a die-hard bargain hunter like me, find out where you can find great local wares at a fraction of the retail price. One of my favourite shopping haunts in India is Crossword Bookstores where you get quality books at a very reasonable price. For example, I’ve been eyeing this Roald Dahl 15-books set for quite some time now. In Singapore, Popular Bookstore (the largest local bookstore chain) retails it for S$150. In India, we bought it for a mere R 2,299 or about S$60. What a bargain!
Till our next post, love yourself, love one another.
Read more about our travels in India:
- Travelling With Kids: Mumbai
- Travelling With Kids: Pune
- Travelling With Kids: Delhi
- Wonders Of the World: The Taj Mahal
- Learning To Serve In India
- Lost Kids Of India
- Salaam Baalak Trust – Walk In The Shoes Of The Street Kids
- Lost In The Streets Of India