Category: India

India was never high on my bucket list. Even though it was an exotic country (even for another Asian), that probably would be interesting and challenging – it just seemed too hard. It feels like you would have to know a lot of things to travel India – while staying safe and healthy.

In fact, my physician, when I went to take the recommended vaccinations, dropped many grave hints during the checkup that perhaps I ought not to go there – and preferably not all my by lone female self.

Introduction to Karnataka

The first time I went to India was actually in 2015. It was part of a corporate sustainability program that my workplace has. I won a coveted spot – not in my preferred project in Kenya, but the one in the Western Ghats in India.

So my first visit to India was actually an interior town in the state of Karnataka. It was not quite like I imagined India to be, and actually felt quite familiar for a Southeast Asian.

It was a very organised trip, because it was a corporate program. However, I still learned a great deal about myself from that experience.

It prepared the ground for me to believe I could influence others to choose sustainability. In a way, it was a necessary precursor to creating Teja on the Horizon.

Travelling through Uttar Pradesh

It was only in 2017 when I returned. India was not actually the intended destination – Nepal was.

But I saw that the Taj Mahal was very close to Nepal. And I thought, surely I could pop down to see the World Heritage Site.

And that was what triggered my second visit, which took the form of a loose train journey across the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. Now this state – this one was like the India that I imagine.

It was a journey that was even more profound – and from it sprang a great many stories.

Published by others:

on Written From: The Girl with the Postcards on the Varanasi Ghat
on Travelmag: ‘Catch 22′ means no local SIM card for you in provincial India

Travel article "Why You Shouldn't Fear Scams in India" on the sustainable travel blog Teja on the Horizon | View up Babua Pandey Ghat by the river Ganges in Varanasi, India | Laundry hung out to dry on a ghat in Banaras | How to deal with scams in India | personal growth and character development opportunity 22

Why You Should Not Fear Scams in India

The very first person I met when venturing into Varanasi, was probably a scammer. This may be a strange way to begin an article about not fearing scams in India, but stay with me.  Then...

Travel article 'Solo Day Trip from Delhi to Agra by Train' on the sustainability blog Teja on the Horizon | The Taj Mahal at midday white marble | UNESCO Heritage Site | solo female travel | Agra as a day trip from Delhi | Booking Indian train tickets as a foreigner 8

Solo Day Trip from Delhi to Agra by Train

The whole reason that I added Uttar Pradesh in the first place, after my trip to Nepal, was the Taj Mahal. I could not leave the region without seeing it, when it was so...

Travel guide 'One Day in Lucknow: The Imambaras, the Bowli, and the Labyrinth' on travel blog Teja on the Horizon | The imposing gold domed white building of Chota Imambara in Lucknow, India, across its reflecting pool | A 1-day itinerary for what to do in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 5

How to Spend Just One Day in Lucknow

I had one day in Lucknow, and a laundry list of must-sees, courtesy of an Indian travel blogger in my network. I figured, even if I came to Lucknow on a whim, I thought I...

Travel article 'The Tuktuk Driver at the Lucknow Train Station' | Sun setting behind the many-domed red and white building of Lucknow train station | Teja on the Horizon blog 2

The Tuktuk Driver in Lucknow Train Station

I did not need a tuktuk driver in Lucknow. The modest 3-star hotel that I booked (mainly because I couldn’t find backpackers’ hostels for Lucknow), came with a pickup service. I suppose Lucknow is...

View of Indian railway train tracks against countryside from inside a train cabin | Travel sustainably by taking the train 4

Leaving Varanasi on a Train Bound for Lucknow

I stowed my things beneath the bottom bunk, climbed up to mine, and breathed a sigh of relief. The train leaving Varanasi had not left without me.  A detour for Banaras silk before leaving...

Wide pavement leading to the Buddhist temple in Sarnath, near Varanasi, India | Seeking Sanctuary in a Sarnath Day Trip from Banaras | Teja on the Horizon blog travel story 4

Seeking Sanctuary on a Sarnath Day Trip

My Sarnath day trip was an impromptu decision. That day, I actually intended to explore more of old Varanasi – specifically the festival that was going to be observed in the Kashi Vishwanath temple....