india: part one

India is the second largest country in terms of population, with over 1.2 billion people.

We arrived in India at night after 24 hours of traveling. I found it funny that we flew from California over the entire United States, all the way over Europe, over the Middle East, and over a large part of Asia before finally touching down at the airport in Delhi. The airport was fit for a king – it was spotless, gorgeous, and extremely well-done – one of the nicest airports I’ve been to!

We made our way to the hotel, the Imperial India, a restored Victorian building built in the 1930s by the British. As you’d expect, it couldn’t have been more our style. We love anything British and Victorian – it was heaven! There were even portraits of Prince Charles hanging on the wall.

Once we arrived at the hotel, our first stop was the hotel’s Italian restaurant where we (predictably) ordered pizza. I don’t think they could tell we were Americans…

After our comfort food, and waking up at 3 a.m. wide awake and ready to start the day, 6 a.m. finally rolled around and the breakfast buffet opened up. Here is my all-American breakfast. I have no shame.

I think I gained about 20 pounds on this trip.

After breakfast, we danced around to some Bollywood music videos and then visited Humayun’s Tomb, which the Taj Mahal was modeled after.

We then visited the Lotus Temple and Qutub Minar. Lotus Temple is a Baha’i House of Worship, and Qutub Minar is the world’s tallest brick minaret.

The roads in Delhi were packed with little petticabs overflowing with families of ten, kids hanging out the back windows, motorbikes with families of five riding on them, donkey-pulled carts, human-pulled carts, people walking down the middle of the highway, the list goes on and on.

We crashed in our hotel room before dinnertime after a long day of sight-seeing…only to wake up again at 2 a.m. the next day. And then we were off to see the Taj Mahal!

It was an amazing day – and completely different than I had expected! I can’t even describe my gratitude for having the opportunity to visit such incredible, different countries. It is such a gift.

New Delhi, India

Where to Stay

The Imperial Hotel
The hotel is breathtaking. A big, white, Victorian-style building, the hotel is a refreshing oasis in the center of a very chaotic city. The rooms are beautifully furnished, the staff is extremely helpful and friendly, the food is delicious (and includes some of the best donuts in the world), and the hotel grounds are meticulously maintained. I have nothing but positive things to say about the Imperial!

What to Do

If traveling with a family, I would highly suggest arranging a private tour guide and car to show you around the city of Delhi. It is not a city that you could consider driving around yourself, but even more so, it is not a city that you can walk around with a family either. A private tour guide will allow you to spend the amount of time you want, at the sites you want to see, and at your own pace. My family likes to visit each site very quickly and get the general sense of the monument or attraction, but more importantly have the opportunity to talk to the tour guide about life in that culture.

Where to Eat

I recommend eating all of your meals at one of the hotel’s amazing restaurants. There is Italian food, international cuisine, and a world-renowned Indian food restaurant, the Spice Route.

Things You Should Know

Dress conservatively. As the majority of women are either covered up from head to toe or wearing traditional Indian saris, you will definitely feel more comfortable if dressed in baggy clothing with very little skin showing. I wore maxidresses during my entire stay in India, and I used a colorful shawl to cover my shoulders at times when I felt uncomfortable. Americans definitely garner a lot of attention – my mom and I were asked several times to take pictures with families (as they’d never seen a blonde girl or a girl as pale as me before!). Other times, they would very discretely (not really) pull out their cell phone cameras and take pictures of us. It was all very harmless, but it still made me feel much better that I was covered up!

Stay away from fruits, vegetables, and any potentially uncooked foods that may have been washed with dirty water or contaminated in some way. It may sound paranoid, but nearly everyone I know that has traveled to India has wound up with some kind of food poisoning. We sticked to carbs! It’s a good excuse to load up!

Be prepared for the weather. We visited India during monsoon season, which is probably not the ideal time to visit, and were met with 115 degree weather and scattered rain. An odd combination, huh? Be prepared for any type of weather the country can throw at you!

45 Responses to india: part one

  1. lauryn says:

    Wow, what an incredible trip! I didn’t realize it was so hot there. And we think 95 degrees is bad here, and we have air conditioning! Definitely makes you appreciate the luxuries we have at home.

    Thanks for sharing your photos and experiences!

    • Star says:

      Thanks so much for commenting Lauryn!! You are so sweet! It definitely makes you appreciate pretty much everything about America. I’m very happy to be home ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Katie*Belle says:

    Your trip sounds amazing! I’ve never been to India but I’m intrigued by the idea of visiting one day. I love that you went in with a mind open to all sorts of different experiences and left with an appreciation not only for this place but also where you’re from.

  3. Ana says:

    Oh my! I was really waiting for this. I love it, the photos, the stories and the recommendations. Perfection in a post!

  4. Star. What a lovely review. Sounds like you crammed a lot into the short time you were there. I love to experience the true culture too when I visit a foreign country. You know, get off the beaten track and see what it’s really like. (That’s why my sister and I did a road trip from Las Vegas, right through the mid west up to the tri-state area of Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin and back again.) Not that the US is a foreign country! LOL We loved experiencing the US just like the locals.

    Can’t wait for your next instalment.

    Anne @ Domesblissity x

    • Star says:

      That sounds like such a fun trip!!! Even living in the US, I have never done a roadtrip through the midwest. Never been to Iowa, Michigan, or Wisconsin! I am missing out! Thanks for your kind comments Anne!!!

  5. Meg says:

    Hi Star I just found your website and am now following you ๐Ÿ™‚ looks like a great trip to india. love your blog and not to mention how pretty you are! meg

  6. Wow this looks so fabulous! It is something I can’t even imagine having only left the county once as a child to go to Canada. I guess I will live vicariously through you ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Star says:

      At least we live in a pretty amazing country ๐Ÿ™‚ And I’m sad to say I haven’t seen very much of it! Next on my list is exploring America!! Thanks Tonia!

  7. Heather J says:

    Oh my what a trip you must’ve had. India sounds amazing and I’m excited to hear about the rest of your trip!

  8. Ahhhhhmazing photos Star!! What a special experience this must have been for you. The hotel you stayed at sounds that you guys ordered pizza! That is so great. It must have been a slight culture shock to see how different other people live…ie bathing naked in fountains is probably not something you would see people doing in the states..thank you SO much for sharing your wonderful pictures!

    P.S You are so beautiful!!

    • Star says:

      Aw Lindsay!!!! Thank you so much for this super amazingly nice comment! It was such a culture shock, and I’m so happy to share pictures! Thank YOU for reading!

  9. birdie to be says:

    So fabulous! Amazing pics!!!

  10. omg I’ve wanted to go to India forever! seeing your pics just itches me to want to go more. lol about the kids bathing, I guess when you grow up there you become more immune to those bacteria? I got sick when I went to Asia but then few weeks later I was drinking tap water no problem haha

    • Star says:

      It’s a pretty amazing experience, you should definitely visit if you get the opportunity!!! Thanks so much for visiting my site! I really appreciate your comment!

  11. Jenna says:

    These photos are stunning. What a wonderful getaway. Youre one lucky girl!

  12. Jennifer says:

    Being that I have never visited India before I absolutely enjoyed every minute of this post and can’t wait to read about the rest of your travels! So funny that they wanted to take pictures with and of you guys:)

  13. Your photos are amazing! We visited Pakistan a few years ago & I remember the road being CRAZY. Plus, yes, we ate pretty much every meal at the hotel and didn’t go anywhere without local escort. I would so love to see the Taj Mahal!!
    P.S. You are such a cutie patootie ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Nicole Maki says:

    Thanks so much for blogging about your trip. It sounds amazing and the pictures are gorgeous!

  15. mary says:

    ah I love India so much! So many wonderful sights, sounds, colors, smells, culture & beauty! I never made it to the taj mahal, though, must head back! thanks for sharing, and you look gorgeous, missy! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Star says:

      Oh how neat!!! Where did you go in India? And thanks so much Mary!!! I only managed one picture before the make-up sweated off and my hair poofed out even more than it already did in the picture! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Zabdy says:

    I have always wanted to see the Taj Mahal! What an incredible experience ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much for this post. It really reminds you of how blessed we are. I can’t wait to hear more about your trip!

  17. You sneak! I didn’t realize you had already gone on this world adventure! I’m excited to follow this series. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Star says:

      Haha yes I didn’t want to post about it until I got home! I feel weird about the Internet knowing when I’m on vacation :p. Thank you so much Leslie!

  18. this looks awesome! and your breakfast made me laugh. the pictures are amazing, and i totally get the packed roads… seems like a constant in lots of foreign countries – crazy roads. great post!

  19. your trip sounds fantastic! the description of your flight over the US, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia gives an incredible perspective of how large the world is! can’t wait to see more pictures of your adventure!

  20. omg, i cant believe you’re in india… you look beautiful as always and those photos make me wanna travel so badly. i traveled in asia for 3 months last year but never got the chance to visit india. take care and travel safe ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Belinda says:

    Oh so jealous!! Love reading about your holiday. I look forward to part 2 xoxo

  22. Jess says:

    Star*! Wow what a portrail of this trip, I can only imagine how overwhelming this trip was! You captured beauty but included the real deal with the everyday chaos of street scenes. When you mentioned the flight, I was thinking โ€œIs there a different route perhaps?โ€œ haha a shorter one?? Hahaaa! But gee wiz! Glad you made it back safely! K. Im also terrified of food poisoning. So funny stick to carbs!;)

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