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INDIADAMEAfter several visits and many months of traveling around the subcontinent we still haven't done India.

From 6 months in 1987 on a shoestring to a car and driver in 2008 we have seen the 4 corners of India, but still are looking for more. As a wise man said, it takes several lives to know India. A less wise man said "I'll be back"

We hope you enjoy the information on this page and hope that you will find our reports useful. Also we hope that our photos will show our love of India.

Our photos of our India travel can be seen:

1987 : the hippy trail to India and Nepal

1993 : The cashew connection to South India

1997 : along the GT road of North India

2007 : From Amritsar to Ladakh, read the report

2008: The Rajasthan Express, read the report


Travel Information



The fun and excitement already starts at home!

As the are always less days on the road than there are days at home, I try to get a bit of the travel fun at home. Armchair travel by way of planning and research of certain places get me excited even before I have left my comfy chair.

The internet has become my key source of travel planning.

Some outstanding information can be found on:

Train Travel

A special recommendation needs to go to travel agent Sunil in New Delhi who made our trip so much easier: mailto:cozytravels@vsnl.com
For a minimal fee of 28 Rs per ticket per person he organized a reservation for all our train travels in India. We only had to pay the tickets when we picked them up in New Delhi. Great service. Sure you can do it all yourselves on the India rail website, but I dare you! You have to work on India time to make reservations, then there is the problem with payments and so on…Believe me I looked into all the possibilities as an experienced armchair traveller.


Although I also believe that the paperless world in coming soon, there are a still a few books that are worth the paper they are printed on.

First there are the obligatory guidebooks.

  • Lonely Planet is a victum of its own succes. Planeta Solus or "Loser's Plan it" as I saw on a T-shirt in Cambodia is still a high quality guidebook for India, and they do the digital publishing. We bought the PDF files of Rajasthan from the LP India book. You love or hate LP, fact is that they are still market leader for India and if you choose their restaurants and hotels, they other guest will also have found the place via LP. I have been using them since the 80ties, but now I am slowly moving to other guidebooks like:
  • Footprint Rajasthan. Footprint is targeting to the “off beat” travel market. Excellent quality, I guess they are stiff competition for LP.
  • Rough Guide. I didn’t use their book, but saw a lot of travellers with them. It looked good when I had a peek in it.

Then there are books about India that are perfect for armchair travel or are just a relaxing way to dive into the Indian world.

  • A suitable boy by Vikram Seth is a 1300 page novel that gently flows like the Ganges. It is set in the 1950’s and tells the story for the search for a wedding candidate in a family of the upper class regions. Recommended if you can handle that amount of pages
  • Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts is a partly autobiography of an Aussie criminal, who escapes from prison and is on the lam. He arrives in Bombay, ends up in the slum, joins the local mafia and finds redemption in the end. A page-turner. Read more: www.shantaram.com
  • Sacret games  is a thriller by Vikram Chandra and is also set in Bombay. It tells the story of a young kid that makes it to the Boss of a major gangster family. Read more: www.sacredgames.net
  • India, a million mutinies now by the Trinidad Nobel prizewinner V.S. Naipaul is already from 1990 but makes still an interesting read.
  • Midnight’s children is my favourite book of Salman Rushdie. His stories blend myths and fantasy with the reality in the magic realism style.
  • A sea of poppies and the glass palace are two excellent books by Amitav Gosh
  • Kim by Rudyard Kipling. Who hasn’t seen the jungle book? Kim is also set in the great game period.
  • Burmese days by George Orwell. Strictly speaking it has nothing to do with India, but it is such a lovely book I have to mention it.
  • White Mughals by historian William Dalrymple is another of my favourite books. It documents the interracial liaison between English officer James Kirkpatrick and an Indian princess. Recommended if you like history
  • The great game by Peter Hopkirk is also a history book about the19th century rivalry between the British Empire and Imperial Russia. Hopkirk is a great storyteller. A page-turner.
  • The Indian mutiny and Victoria’s war by military historian David Saul are well written and make a nice read.
  • Siddharta by Herman Hesse. A lovely esoteric novel about the spiritual journey of a person. First published in 1922.


  • ohmAnd so we have come to the religion and spirituality side of India. A country where each self-respecting village has their own sadhu is full with these kinds of books. Age-old knowledge can be found in the Veda’s, Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. And gigantic, epic stories can be read in the Mahabharata (Great India) and the Ramayana.




Then what would India be without Bollywood? Or is it vice versa? If you love romance and melodrama and “filmi” songs you will love these films. Fact is that India has overtaken America in the world’s largest film producer. And besides the Mumbai movies, there is also a Bengali film industry. The movies are popular among the Indian diaspora from far off locations as east Africa to Southeast Asia. Over the last years Bollywood has also gained popularity from western audiences are Indian films stores have popped up in Europe and the US. Some of the movies are almost of Hollywood quality. Try to find some of these titles:

  • Sarkar. A Bollywood knockoff of the Godfather. Pretty good. It shows that Bollywood is slowly getting to Hollywood quality.
  • Sholay. A 1975 classic and is the highest grossing film of all times in Indian cinema.
  • Paheli. A fairytale story set in Rajasthan. Watch it for the colours!
  • Lakshya. A war movie about the Indo Pakistan war of 1997 around Kargill (on the road Srinagar-Leh road)
  • Jodhaa Akbar. A historic movie about the Mughal Empire.
  • Salaam Bombay or better said all movies by Mira Nair
  • many, many more



There is nothing better to bring you more in an Indian mood than Hindi music. Here are some of my favourite songs

  • My sweet lord, George Harrison. Not Indian but what a song!
  • Ravi Shankar plays classical Sitar music
  • Cornershop is a British band that brings a fusion of Indian music, British indie rock and electronic dance.
  • A rough guide to Bollywood – Gold gives a fine selection of the ‘filmi music songs”
  • Bharati is a musical that tours the world. Check out the dates for your region: www.bharatitheshow.com



Food knowledge is essential. I am not saying that because I am a curry addict (which I am), but knowledge about the Indian kitchen helps you appreciate Indian life more.


Who can resists the flavors of a thali?


In 1997 I was in a “travellers guesthouse” and all I saw was eggs, toast and chips on the menu. So I asked the owner for some chapattis, dhal and matar paneer. He said he did not prepare Indian food as the tourist only ate chips and eggs. Indeed we met some Spanish travellers who had no idea what Aloo meant (potatoes) and they had already been travelling for several weeks around the country.










In 2008, for the first time, we used a cheap camera but we are happy with the crappy outcome. We feel that it makes India come much more alive. Even with poor quality images. Now all we need is a smell recorder.


We met Martin, a travelphotographer from the US and decided to take some photos together of the Kolayat sadhus. Martin was so kind as to give me a 101 course in photography.


Click to activate the film

In the footsteps of the Beatles, watch and listen to the Fire Puja of Rishikesh

A dance evening in Udaipur. Poor camera focus, but enchanting music

If you tought that dancing with fire like above is special, what about dancing on glass while holding seven pots on your head. Watch this! Filmed in the same Bagore Ki Haveli in Udaipur

An underground piece on the Opium tea ceremony in the Jaipur area

Ever wondered how to tie those Turbans? Wonder no more. Here the secret gets revealed.