10 DAYS IN INDIA Visiting India in only 10 days was ambitious, but I'm glad we did it. A lot was squeezed into these days, but that's usually how our trips are. We see the most we can possible see in the given amount of time. From the jungle to the city, the village to the markets, we were able to explore a vast amount of South India during our trip. Check out the details below!
STAY: Hyatt Place
In Hyderabad, we stayed at the new Hyatt Place. A few floors weren't completed yet, but we were able to snag brand new rooms. Besides the shower door not closing completely and leaking water onto the floor, the rooms were great and so was the service. It's right across from GVK mall which was really convenient for any shopping needs or if you're craving Starbucks or Hard Rock Cafe.
ACTIVITIES: Shopping, Charminar Monument, Charminar Markets
Our mission for the first few days was to find a wedding lehenga for me, groomsmen outfits, and accessories for bridesmaids. That meant hitting the shops! We started out going to some local boutiques, then wandered our way to Charminar. It was a perfect place to site see and also get some work done. Charminar Monument was cool to see. We climbed a lot of narrow steps to get to the main level. Not recommended if you're claustrophobic! We also hit the market and bartered a little for bangles and things like that. The people will take advantage of you if they know you are foreign, especially from the US. So make sure you name your price and stick with it.
ACTIVITIES: Bullock Cart ride, Traditional Indian meal, Rice and cotton fields
Karimnagar is where my dad grew up. A very small remote farming village. I had always heard stories and visited when I was really little, but it was another thing to see it for my own eyes. It was amazing. The house was small and cozy, right across the street from where they kept their livestock. They still washed clothes by hand through water from a well. The rice and cotton fields were vast beyond belief. The food was so fresh and delicious. We even got to ride a bull-a-cart! It was a true experience, and I would highly recommend seeing this side of India if you're able to.
After all that hectic shopping, we needed a vacation from our vacation. We stayed at the the Grand Goa Resort, previously called the Park Hyatt. The rooms were large and grand, so we only needed two rooms for the seven of us. The bathrooms were so spacious and grand. Amazing showers. Overall a really pristine resort.
This mini trip proved to be what we all needed. My mom, dad, and brother got massages. Drew and I laid on the beach, and his sisters hit the pool. Just a really relaxing experience from the city. Goa is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It's a shame most people don't see the beauty of India. If you're looking for a relaxing beach getaway, Goa is the perfect place for that!
ACTIVITIES: Taj Mahal
We hired a driver and took a little road trip to see some sights, one of them being the Taj Mahal. It was probably exactly as you have imagines. Walking up to the building, is breathtaking. It's so large and grand. It's not until you get closer that you see all the details and small efforts put into the beauty of the Taj Mahal. We put on shoe covers and entered the building. No photos or videos were allowed, but it was cool to see the tomb. We hired a tour guide, but it honestly isn't needed if you're not looking to know details about the architecture. He also managed to lure us into a ceramic shop just to "hear about the tiles used in the Taj Mahal," which turned into tea, which turned into them asking us to buy souvenirs. So keep an eye out for that if it doesn't interest you.
RANTHAMBORE NATIONAL PARK
STAY: Sultan Bagh Camp Resort
The Sultan Bagh Camp was a great way to "glamp" in India's wild. Since it is a jungle climate, it gets very cold at night and hot during the day. Keep that in mind when booking! There was no heat in the tents, so they brought us space heaters. Luckily we had body warmth to keep us cozy at night, but it was not fun to wake up in the morning and get ready for the safaris. Not to mention, the water for the shower didn't heat up very much. So I ended up taking a bath during the middle of the day, when I knew the sun was out and I could warm up outside. We went in January, so I'm sure if you go when the weathers nice, this is resort is more than perfect. All the staff were really friendly and the food was great. They even had a magician come for entertainment!
ACTIVITIES: Ranthambore National Park Safari
The safari in Ranthambore National Park was a great way to see a side of India that I had never experienced before. For more on the safari, click here.
STAY: Chokhi Dhani Resort
The Chokhi Dhani Resort was probably one of the coolest places we've stayed at. The buildings and decor were all so beautiful and authentic. I only wish we were able to stay longer to really enjoy the resort. We arrived at night and only had that night there, leaving early in the morning. So we tried to make the most of it with a buffet dinner and visiting the Village Fair. There were dancers, fortune tellers, camels, elephants, tight rope walkers, and so much more! So cool. Definitely a fun place for kids.
ACTIVITIES: Hawa Majal, Monkey Temple (Gawlar Bagh), Amer Fort
There is so much to see in Jaipur and its all so beautiful, it was hard to choose the few stops we had time for! We went to see the Hawa Majal from the outside. It was gorgeous and massive. It also allowed us some time for more souvenir shopping at markets. We also went to the monkey temple, which was a little intimidating at first. Lots of poop on the ground and unknown watery liquids. So don't wear heels or your best pair of shoes. The monkeys are not shy at all. One actually reached into my brother's pocket to take an empty bag of chips! Another mother hissed at Drew when he was taking a picture of her holding her baby. So be smart and probably don't touch or interact with the monkeys at all. The temple itself was gorgeous and perfect to see the sun set over the city. Just make sure you're back down before it gets too dark! Amer Fort was also really large and grand. There's a lot of steps to get to the main area, but it provides a great vantage point of the city.
Overall India was an amazing trip. I was able to get clothing for my wedding, explore the southern half of the country, see where my dad grew up, check a Wonder of the World off my list, and enjoy a beach getaway - all in one trip. There is so much more to see in India than the media often portrays, so I encourage you to visit and see for yourself!