India’s a challenge to travel by motorbike, but it’s sure as shit a rewarding one. I particularly loved the high mountain roads in around Rishikesh and Uttarkashi, and the road to Darjeeling. I’d loved to have continued on to tour Sikkim, and heard amazing things about the riding in that area (and on into Nepal) but sickness unfortunately cut my travels short.
Along the road to Uttarkashi.
For an account of the general oddities and challenges you can expect to hit along the way, check out the (largely humorous) Part 1 to this series. But for the more practical nitty gritty, continue reading on.
I spent 10 days in Delhi, in the end. I heard from many travellers afterward that they couldn’t get out of Delhi fast enough but I found something about the ever-changing atmosphere of the city oddly endearing; the stark contrast of its neighbourhoods, littered with still standing remnants of empires long fallen, the mix of old and new, privileged and poor, and the general chaos of its many streets and markets. Every day I left the hostel I saw a different face of Delhi, and each one had very little in common with the last. From the high rise buildings of Connaught Place to the littered alleys of Hazrat Nizamuddin, the energetic vendors of Paharganj to the quiet tranquility of Lodi gardens, from a flashing McDonald’s sign to the Mughal grandeur of Humayun’s tomb. . . and all the small places in between, some of which I wouldn’t even be able to tell you the name of.
I spent time wandering the streets with a Dutch photographer who was shooting for Lonely Planet, oggled at Qu’tub Minar with a group of backpackers of assorted nationalities and rocked the dance floor in a bar in the suburbs with a dead cool British chick who had chosen India as her first backpacking destination (brave gal).
I also spent near 3 days at the start of things bed-ridden with ‘Delhi belly’, jet lag and a massive migraine. Never underestimate how strongly a bad chicken tikka masala can kick your ass. Or at least stop it from functioning in a desirable manner.
10 days went by in a flash and, by the time I left Delhi, I felt I was only beginning to scratch the surface of the very basics of India. Actually. . . I still feel that way.