India

My parents were born in India, and most of our family lives there. So visiting India has been less about tourism, and more about reuniting with my elders and relatives. We visited four different places in India. The first of which is Hyderabad. It is the fourth largest city in India, with a population of 6.8 million people. The second place is Bangalore/Bengaluru, which is known as the Silicon Valley of India because of its high tech industries. Third was Tirupati, a pilgrimage site for Hindus, and fourth was Narsipatnam, a village where some of my family lives. 

Hyderabad is located in South India, and it is unique for many reasons. Its South Indian food, the blend between Hindu and Islamic cultures (Karachi bakery is actually headquartered in Hyderabad), and the lively culture and markets. We have spent a lot of time in Hyderabad. Our most recent trip was in 2019. We had just come from a trip to the Maldives, and a long layover in Sri Lanka. 

We visited our grandparents, which was great, because we hadn’t seen them in person for years. We also shopped. The cost of living in India is lower than in America, so we go shopping there. We bought clothing, as well as books, and gold. The gold shop was very fancy, and lit. It was in the center of Hyderabad, though, which meant traffic. Cars whizz by you at supersonic speed, making it “impossible” to cross the street. It’s actually very easy. You wait for a gap in the cars, and take a leap of faith. 

We also ate some Indian food. First at a canteen, where they served some great curry and yogurt rice, and then at a restaurant. Maybe one of the best experiences in India was the market. We got some groceries at the local market with my grandmother, and it was a nice experience. 

We visited other relatives in Hyderabad, such as our cousin, who lived quite far from where our grandparents live. The drive there was very interesting, because we went through an area with a literal blizzard of signs advertising tech and language tutors. It is a different experience visiting a developing nation, where the tech industry is rapidly expanding. We went to their apartment complex, which was a nice place with tennis courts and playgrounds, and then went to another relative’s house. We definitely visited a lot of relative’s houses in India. 

If you want to sightsee in Hyderabad, there are a lot of places to go. For example, the Golconda Fort, which as the name implies, is a fort. You might’ve heard of Golconda due to its diamond industry, and near the fort, there are some diamond mines. Another place to visit is Charminar, a unique mosque in more central Hyderabad. It is insanely detailed, and is a great place to visit. 

I visited Tirupati seven years ago. I am eleven. My memories of India are far and few between, so it may not be the most accurate story. Tirupati is a pilgrimage site in Andhra Pradesh, India, located on the seven hills. The seventh hill contains Tirumala, the temple. Tirupati is most popular in South India. We arrived at Tirupati in the night, and we began to hike. It probably wasn’t that far, but to me, climbing those hills felt akin to climbing mountains. We went farther and farther, the street lined with vendors. We bought some food halfway in, and when we arrived, I got my head shaved. We actually went to Tirupati twice. The second time, we went on a bus. It wasn’t the most comfortable night, but when I woke up, we were at Tirumala. It was an easier experience, but not nearly as memorable or fun. 

The third place we visited was Narsipatnam. It is located in Andhra Pradesh, and is a very small town located near tribal lands. To get there, we had to come from Visakhapatnam, which is a city famous for iron. My grandmother’s brother sent someone to get us, and we went on a quite long car ride to Narsipatnam. I saw a ton of palm trees, though not too much else other than farmland. We arrived at Narsipatnam, and it’s a small town. We were going to live in a medium sized concrete house (concrete on the outside) with my relatives. Most importantly, we got to meet relatives. We even got to visit a nearby temple in Annavaram, which was in the South Indian temple style: basically a really long trapezoid decorated with many, many statues. 

Finally Bangalore. Out of all the places we visited, the one I remember the least is Bangalore. In Bangalore, we visited the Infant Jesus Church (this is affiliated to the one in Prague), we looked at gardens and temples, and we met relatives. We also ate in some restaurants. 

India is a big country. To explore the whole of India would take years, and we haven’t even touched North or East India, which have different cultures and customs than South India. India is a nation you can’t complete. Ever. 

Tips:

  • Visit one region at a time, so that you can properly cover them when you visit. 
  • Getting used to the traffic can take a bit. My advice when crossing the road is to just do it.
  • Adjusting to India (both physically with its heat, and mentally with its chaos) might take a while, but when you do, visiting is very enjoyable.
  • Visit with a local – that way you don’t get lost, and can get to know more about the culture. 
Indian Thali

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