India Travel Diary!

by - 11:07

I can't believe that it's been over two weeks since I got back from my amazing trip to India: I'd always wanted to visit this incredible country but didn't think I'd get round to doing it for a long time due to costs and time. Luckily for me, the studio group that I chose for my masters degree had their partially-subsidised field trip planned for South India (definitely a deciding factor when I was choosing a studio group) so I was able to see a bunch of different cities, towns and temples for just under £400 - amazing!

We flew to Chennai at the end of January and spent ten days exploring some beautiful towns and valleys in the South of India. Our journey took us from Chennai, to Mahabalipuram, to Auroville and Pondicherry to Hampi Valley (via overnight train!) and then back to Chennai. It was an unforgettable trip and I feel super lucky to have been able to go, especially for such a small amount of money. 

Some typical sights in Mahabalipuram: ancient temples and cheeky goats!

The dining hall and fire pit area of our accommodation in Auroville. We met some great people who were also staying here, including an American guy who taught us yoga for an hour for free.

Cows wander the streets freely in India - their sacred status means that they are never in danger of being hit by cars!

Me in front of the Matrimandir at Auroville - a place for concentration that marks the center of this 'utopian' city. It's hard to tell in this picture but it stands at 29 metres high and is clad in gold-tiled discs. We also got to go inside of it which was a really strange experience: you can't speak once inside and have to put on thick white socks before you ascend spiral ramps (with an insane incline) that lead you into an inner chamber which is all white with a permanently lit 'crystal' ball in the centre: I felt like I was in a Sci-fi film or something! You sit in there for about 20 minutes in complete silence (I found it really hard not to fall asleep) and then just kind of leave again.

A Banyan tree! These thing are amazing: they send down creepers from their extending branches down to the ground until they push their roots into it and create a new trunk. It means they can span crazy distances and I think the one picture here had a 20 metre radius. 

Plants and plant-based food at the Solitude Farm in Auroville. This was a place that heavily promoted Permaculture which essentially involves practicing a sustainable method of farming using natural methods ie. allowing certain plant species to grow near to each other and ensuring nutrients are returned to the soil. 

The food we had at their cafe was incredible - definitely the best I had the whole trip - and the layout/type of foods you see here were typical of the places we visited. They were usually a mix of rice, grains and breads, currys and vegetables and sauces of some description. 90% of the places we visited served only vegetarian or vegan food - an absolute dream for me!

 Views in Pondicherry! Most of this seaside city was insanely busy with traffic and people but we managed to find some areas of peace, especially along this promenade.

My view of the Indian ocean...pure bliss. 

Hampi valley is insanely beautiful: it's full of lush farms of bananas, rice and sugar cane and is home to a set of ancient temples, some of which are still in use today.

These monkeys all started to appear on top of the mountain when the sun started to go down: a lot of people come to watch it and the monkeys have learnt that sometimes these people bring bananas!

I tried everything to capture how beautiful the sunset was, but this picture was the closest I could get. It's unbelievable how red the sun is, it makes you feel like you're on a different planet.

Just a small selection of the temples we saw in Hampi Valley, some of these date back to the 7th century! I saw so many incredible, ancient buildings that by the end of the trip I actually felt a bit 'templed' out haha.

Some typical roadside views in India: animals are free to roam the streets and houses, though dilapidated or basic in nature, are often nicely decorated with colours and symbols.

Our last day was spent in the city of Chennai. In the morning we went to the local markets to spend the last of our Rupees on cute earrings and Henna tattoos before escaping to a rooftop pool and bar where we lounged and drank for the rest of the day. It was the perfect end to the holiday.
I sometimes can't believe that I ACTUALLY got to visit India, I feel like it was such a unique experience that required me to go outside of my comfort zone but it was totally worth it and has made me want to explore more of Asia.
Is India a country that you'd like to visit?
Stay inspired,

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  1. Wow such nice clicks and really detailed information about your journey. loved the information. and the photos are really interesting. Thanks for updating such a lovely post.

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