10 interesting facts about India, we love or hate it

10 interesting facts about India, we love or hate it

Ahhh India India India, you caught us by surprise!

We struggled with you at first, but after a while you really grew on us…a lot.

We now het the whole love hate India thing people keep referring to when they talk about you and with hindsight, we do love you and want to come back very soon.

Here’s a few of the reasons why we love hate India and why we want to return for more.

#1 HATE INDIA: traffic chaos and mayhem in India

The first thing that greeted us when we set food in India and came out of New Delhi station was the complete traffic chaos and mayhem:

Love hate India chaotic traffic

One of the first things that greeted as we arrived in India was the chaotic traffic of Delhi

The chaotic traffic is particularly more prevalent in Northern India.

Love hate India traffic woman with sari on motorbike

This motorbike negotiates its way through the Jaipur traffic with its colourful passenger

With such a large population (almost 1.3 billion) and with one of the highest population densities in the world, it’s not surprising to see so many people everywhere.

But it is impressive to see so many people, cows, motorbikes, rickshaws and more people coexisting peacefully in one big disorganised mess.

Trying to cross the road during a traffic jam in Old Delhi was a particular memory that summed up the chaos in India:

#2 LOVE INDIA: beautiful world wonders!

Yet, amongst all the chaos, India has some of the most beautiful temples, palaces and forts we’ve ever seen:

Love hate India beautiful temples Mehrangarh Fort Jodhpur

The Mehrangarh Fort of Jodphur was used as the location for many films including Batman: The Dark Knight

Love hate India beautiful City Palace of Jaipur

Nomadic Boys posing at the beautiful City Palace in Jaipur’s Pink City centre

…including the Taj Mahal mausoleum of course:

Love hate India magnificent temples Taj Mahal in Agra

Sebastien contemplating our blog at the Taj Mahal

#3 HATE INDIA: the intense poverty

Travelling through India, the intense poverty is so in your face and commonplace.  This was an aspect of India we really struggled with, particularly in the north.

After a while you almost get used to seeing crowds of poverty dotted around almost everywhere: barefoot children who’ve not washed in a long time, people begging, families sleeping in the streets or train stations.

Love hate India intense poverty Delhi main train station

People sleeping rough at the New Delhi main railway station

Love hate India: many people sleeping rough on Delhi main streets

This was one of many sleeping rough on Delhi’s streets

#4 LOVE INDIA: really charming charismatic people

The people make this love hate India relationship better all the time. They are so charming and very animated: there is never a dull moment and wow do they love having their photo taken with us foreigners!

Love hate India animated charismatic people at Khajuraho temple

Nomadic Boys wondering if these saris would fit us for our next big night out in town

Hate love India friendly charming people Jaipur lassi

Stefan sharing a tasty lassi in Jaipur with this lady from Gujurat who was touring India with her family

Hate love India Seb and Indian children Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur

Sebastien posing with these really cute children at Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort

And some of them we found to be particularly, er, charming!  He he he:

Hate love India cute boy washing Ganges river Varanasi

Charming lad about to bathe in the Ganges at Varanasi

Hate love India naked boy Ganges river Varanasi

Another charming lad this time after his bath in the Ganges river in Varanasi

#5 HATE INDIA: open sewers and lots of pooh

Just when you get charmed by the very fun people, you almost miss falling in one of many open sewers everywhere.

This was a love hate India thing we reluctantly got used to over time. In place of a pavements throughout India there are open sewers. And they’re not pleasant.

Love hate India pig in sewer Agra

Agra’s open sewers running alongside the roads with this piglet going about its daily rituals inside

And having cows roam freely inevitably means large amount of cow pooh everywhere.  But, as this is pooh from a sacred animal, it will get decorated in this, er, beautiful way:

Love hate India cow pooh Udaipur

We frequently saw lots of the cow pooh in the streets being decorated in this elaborate way

In fact we noticed it wasn’t just cow pooh we noticed in one of the Indian trains…

Love hate India pooh in train Delhi to Agra

Major fail! Someone really missed in this Indian train from Delhi to Jaipur

#6 LOVE INDIA: the cute head wobble

The side to side head wobble is one of our favourite love hate India memories.

Is it a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ or a ‘maybe’?

We did find that the more enthusiastic the head wobble, the more likely it means ‘yes’ and a shorter one is more likely to mean ‘no’.

Although it didn’t seem quite as authentic when Stefan tried it:

#7 HATE INDIA: Indian trains never on time

Train travel in India is certainly a highlight and a great way to admire the Indian landscape.

But, an unfortunate reality we found travelling through India was that trains are frequently at least around 2/3 hours late…

Hate love India train delays

People waiting for 4 hours for their delayed train to take them to Delhi

We waited for 4 hours for our delayed train at Agra to return us to Delhi…our train from Udaipur to Khajuraho was delayed by 3 hours because the engine broke down and had to be replaced…our train from Khajuraho to Varanasi was almost 3 hours late for an unknown reason.

Love hate India train delays Agra train station

Engine broke down during our train ride from Udaipur to Khajuraho and we had to wait 3 hours for a new one to be brought to us

But we quickly learnt you just need to swallow it, sit back and enjoy the ride!

Love hate India train delay selfie

Silly train fun during our journey from Agra to Delhi

#8 LOVE INDIA: colour colour LOTS of colour

Colour followed us around in India and another reason why we fell in love with her.

Hate love India bright colours everywhere Taj Mahal Agra

Stefan posing with this group of shy Indian girls at the Taj Mahal

The saris worn by Indian women are incredibly beautiful:

Hate love India beautiful colourful saris Jaipur bazaar

Colourful bazaar in Jaipur

Some of the cities are even nicknamed after a colour like the ‘Blue City’ (Jodhpur) or ‘Pink City’ (Jaipur).

Diwali in Jaipur is a particularly special time to be in the city when it is more colourful and bright then ever.

Hate love India colourful Jaipur during Diwali

Celebrating Diwali in Jaipur with our friend Andrew – every day during Diwali was like a colourful street party with lights everywhere.

And the buses in Kerala were decorated in this colourful way (before they set off zooming dangerously on the roads):

Hate love India colourful bus Kochi Kerala

A colourful and beautifully decorated bus of Kerala, south India

#9 LOVE HATE INDIA: the Indian helicopters and their annoying drivers

The tuk tuks in the big cities will induce quite a strong love hate India feeling.

On the one hand, you will quickly grow to hate the tuk tuk drivers at times. They can be very disingenuous, trying to scam you, claiming your restaurant/hotel is closed and instead take you to where they can get a commission.

Whist you can refuse to pay them if they do this, it wastes time and leads to an inevitable confrontation (or tantrum if you’re a hungry Nomadic Boy).

Love hate India - love hate tuk tuks

Tuk tuks are a lot of fun but a lot of the drivers can be a pest

But, on the upside, tuk tuks are an economical means of getting around. And they are a lot of fun…especially when they go against the crazy flow of Indian traffic…

#10 LOVE INDIA: food food food paradise

We got very lucky and didn’t get the famous ‘Delhi belly’ bowl syndrome most travellers to India fall victim to.  We were very careful to avoid all non bottled water, steered clear from all street food but we did buy our fruit from the many street sellers.

We had a great time trying and loving all the different varieties of Indian food, from the paneer curries of the north to the tasty coconut based dishes of the south like sambar with dosa.

Indian food kept these two greedy boys very happy (but did spark quite a few arguments as well):

Hate love India food food paradise

‘HANDS OFF YOU GREEDY FRENCH MAN THAT DOSA IS MINE!!!”

#11 LOVE INDIA: grandiose weddings

An Indian wedding is an honour to be invited to and attended one in the village of Amber near Jaipur.

Indian weddings are massive events, particularly in rural areas where the entire village community gets involved.

Hate love India wedding in Amber village near Jaipur

At this Indian wedding at Amber village, the entire community got involved

Anywhere between 100 and 10,000 people attend to watch the groom in a covered costume draped in money (a sign of good luck) leave his house, on horse, to go through the village to the bride’s house where the ceremony takes place and the hungry revellers are fed.

Hate love India Muslim wedding groom going to bride on horse

The groom at the wedding is covered in traditional dress and money (for good luck)

Being the only foreigners, we stood out. So everyone wanted to speak and pose for photos with us, especially this group of cheeky boys who followed us during the entire procession:

Hate love India muslim wedding group of children

This group of boys followed us round during the entire wedding procession asking for their photos with us

The Indian wedding sums up the love hate India feeling we felt travelling here. It is chaotic, loud, extremely colourful and heaps of fun!

Read this article by our friends With Husband in Tow for more about traveling in India in comfort.

FOR MORE FROM OUR TRAVELS IN INDIA, CHECK OUT OUR VIDEO:

16 Comments

  1. Greetings!
    I love your India photos and opinions. Wonderful photography and interesting points of view.
    I was in Pakistan ( Peshawar, Lahore, Rawalpindi) and South India, as well as Nepal and Sri Lanka. I feel I “thrive” in “chaos rather than the mundane in life ( a lot of times we travel because of this ) I feel happy when I see things what some cultures might consider “disarray”. The only major moan I have to make is about their bureaucracy ( or should I say bureauCRAZY ) with visas, and other things required with governments. In any case, I believe we have a lot to learn from the people and cultures in South Asia.

    I love the food, meeting the local people and making new friends with nice guys around that part of the world. Each time I venture in that part of the world it is always new- never a boring time.
    Wit h a sense of humour and patience ( and avoiding doing things with governments) I think the whole journey is something to look forward to again and again!

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    Reply
    • Hi Jim,

      Thanks a lot for your comment. The only one on your list (!) we’ve not been to is Pakistan – we’re too nervous to go…how was it??

      Completely agree though with the bureauCRAZY lol 🙂

      Reply
  2. Oh my God! I love this post 🙂
    About the head wobble – many of us Indians don’t know we do this till we travel outside of the country and come back.
    Many people had asked me about the “Indian Head Wobble” and I would always say “What??” but now I know I do it too! It’s difficult to explain what it means – it’s not a yes (for that we nod), not a no (for that we shake our heads) – this is more of an acknowledgement. Kinda like saying “yes, I understand” or “yes that’s right”. 😀

    Reply
    • I LOVE LOVE it! I find it so charming. But it’s a bit weird because now I do it as habit in response to people when I don’t know whether to say yes or no ha ha ha

      Reply
  3. YES!!! You hit the nail on the head!!! You really do either love or hate India. Unfortunately, I was in the “hate.” My husband put it so perfectly though, “I am SO glad we got to have this experience…but I never want to go back!” I have to say now that I’ve had some time, I would consider going again, but further North. I think we stayed too much in the big cities (like you said, extreme poverty, etc) and the chaos was just too much!

    Reply
    • Thanks guys. Ladakh is somewhere we’d love to visit. Also you should head South to Kerala- my god it’s like a different country!

      Reply
  4. What a great summary! Do you have any advice about food in India, in particular, how you ate healthy and kept in such good shape! I’ve been to India before for work trips and I normally only eat cooked food, like delicious curries, which generally leads to a buddha belly rather than a deli belly 🙂 Did you find it OK eating fresh fruits and veggies?

    Love your post about Maldives btw – you’ve inspired my husband and I to do a side trip to Thoddoo following another work trip in March. Hence the questions about not looking like buddhas after a month in India 🙂

    Cheers guys, and all the best with your travels!

    Reply
    • OMG Quinton you made us piss ourselves laughing – Buddha Beli! That’s hilarious! We love Indian food a lot but the large amount of ghee used – we had to be liberal. When we had heavy meals, we tried to have these at breakfast/lunch time to give the body time to digest them and used dinner time for a basic fruit/salad light meal. We were always hunting down markets for fruit/veg – and never had any problems with them.

      We also always tried to find a park or local gym to work out at in the mornings – the Maldives also came after our Indian trip (!!)

      Thanks for your lovely comment by the way and have an awesome time on Thoddoo!

      Reply
  5. Awesome advice, thanks so much!

    Reply
    • My pleasure.

      Reply
  6. I have yet to make it to India, but I have heard that it is one of the most culturally shocking places to visit. I really want to go (I didn’t really care for it for a long time, but I’ve changed my mind over the years).

    Great list and lovely photos, thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Thanks Claus ?

      Reply
  7. Outstanding article & excellent pictures! Traveling to India this Fall for the first time. Excited and a little apprehensive!

    Reply
    • Thanks buddy ?

      Reply
  8. heY … bro I’ve saw all of your posts about India love – hate …. It’s all about India … YOU Enjoyed ?? … i know you faced many of problems … But it’s all about India … Im ajeet Sharma From. India state ,(Madhya Pradesh ) thank you !!!

    Reply
    • Thanks buddy – of course we loved it 🙂

      Reply

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