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India: Top of My Travel List


Traveling in India is an assault Traveling in India is an assault on all the senses. In a wonderfully expansive way. The chaos is immediate and overwhelming. Everyday sights, sounds and smells leave a lasting impression, one that keeps me returning to this country and its people again and again. I’ve been four times and I can’t wait to explore more on my next visit. Many of the images shared on the video below are from my most trip to India with National Geographic, Rajasthan By Rail. An excellent itinerary. 

Among my favorite memories: the intricate stone mosaics and carvings on elaborately detailed buildings, festive floral garlands, beyond-brilliant saris, ancient architecture/rock-cut structures, goats in sweaters, complex carved stone windows, beautifully painted surfaces eroded by time/elements and the astonishingly elaborate handcrafts. The kindness of strangers is beyond comparison. These warm-hearted, welcoming people are one of the biggest reasons I continue to return. Oh, did I mention the food? Phenomenal.

At the top of my list would be a visit to Vananasi where pilgrims from across the country come for a dip in the sacred waters of the Ganges. Children and adults bathed in the water, laundry wallahs beat the dirt out of clothes, buffaloes wallowed, offerings of candles and flowers floated downstream as holy men chanted. All while adjacent funeral pyres burned 24/7. Each evening at dusk, priests perform a powerful prayer- and fire-filled devotional ritual on river’s edge meant to remove the darkness and let the light of hope enter one’s life. It’s a magical and surreal scene.

If you have the spirit of adventure and if you can imagine yourself immersed in cities where animals are everywhere: cows, goats, dogs, monkeys, pigs and even the odd elephant or camel all freely roam in India’s crazy, chaotic and captivating streets, then India is your sort of spot.

There is a surprise and a photo opportunity around every corner and each day is a new adventure. Love this place.

Photography: Lois Anderson / Video Production: Mariya Anderson

Music: “Long Old Life,” The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Thomas Newman


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