Category Archives: India

Tourism in India

IMG_6686Last month I was asked to speak at The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas event at The Indian Embassy in Iceland. The topic I was asked to speak on, was on tourism in India. I am no expert on the subject, but I do have both opinions as well as ideas on the matter.

I have traveled to India 3 times. First time I was there for only 3 weeks. I went there after scheduled tour of Nepal. I staid with a friend that I met trough the international mountaineering community and the first thing he did for me was to take me out of the city (Delhi) and into the mountains. There I experienced something that I wasn’t expecting, an image of India that I had no idea that existed, an image I had never seen promoted…ANYWHERE!

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The Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India

India is not exactly positively promoted in Iceland. It is in fact hardly promoted at all. The only picture Icelander get of India is trough the media and western movies and it is more often than not, a stereo typical, negative images of India. The images of poverty, dirt, pollution, noise, poor hygiene, crazy traffic and an ocean of people everywhere. I’m not saying that it isn’t  also a true image of India, all I am saying that it isn’t the only image of India, that there is more too it. India is so wast in size and differs so in culture, climate and landscape, that there simply has to be more to it and I am here to tell you that there is!

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During the NIM mountaineering course. Uttarakhand, India

What I saw during my first days in India, was yes that stereo typical image of India, but I also got to experience something that I never identified with India, a whole new side of India. I got to experience it’s wilderness, the untouched nature of the Himalayan mountain range, it’s forests, rivers and wild life. I got to stay with humble mountain villagers that lived simple life without any luxury of modern living and I got to gaze at the stars while cosying up to a fire outside our tent, with illuminated eyes of wild bears and leopards peering trough the darkness around us.

Deoria Tal, Uttarakhand, India

Deoria Tal, Uttarakhand, India

The second time I wen to India, I got to spend a whole month in the Himalayan Mountains, training mountaineering with the Indian Army at the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering. It was very though, the training was hard and the discipline was strict, not to mention that we had to carry 20 kg on our back in high altitude. But there again I got to experience a side of India no one every tells you about. This incredible untouched beauty of the Himalayan Mountain Range.

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During the NIM mountaineering course. Uttarakhand, India

The difference in trekking on the Indian side of the Himalayas vs. the Nepalese side, is that it is much less commercial. In fact the adventure tourism in the Indian Himalayas, is no more than a decayed old and isn’t  developing at high speed because that simply isn’t the Indian style. The people involved with this sort of adventure tourism in these areas, normally come from poor and humble background. They have never traveled much elsewhere and have little to compere it too. They simply know the mountains and the river very well and are more than willing to guide those few people that have discovers this gem in India and are interested in getting to know it better. The locals need someone to guide them in how to promote their tourism better and how to attract more tourist to these areas, because more people need to come and see this amazing part of India. The two winters I lived and I worked within the tourism industry in Rishikesh, I tried my best to share my knowledge on how market tourism and how to use social media as a tool to promote it world wide.

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A Himalayan Peak

I would like, with this website, introduce Icelanders and the world to the Indian part of the Himalayas, particular the part that lies in Uttarakhand and what it has to offer in terms of culture, food, nature scenery and activities, now that I am forever attached to it and to Rishikesh. I will be traveling frequently there with my future husband Ravi, who is a mountain and river guide, born and bred in the mountains. Lucky me! 🙂

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Chopta, Uttarakhand, India

PS. I will have separate posts where I will talk more about the places seen in the photos featured in this post.

The Love Story: Fate or Coincidence!

I was not on my way to India. It was a result of various events and coincidences that landed me there. It was as if it had always been my fate to go there, I just did not know yet.

The summer of 2012 I was working as a receptionist at a hotel in Norway, Stalheim Hotel to be exact. I was planning a trip to Peru to work as a volunteer in the autumn. I was going to save the rainforest you see. My mother was at that same time, planing a two-week trip to Nepal with a group of people and had already paid for half her journey. When she did not get time off work, she contacted me and asked me if I wanted to go to Nepal in her place. Of course I did, no question about it!

I had few years before met Satyabrata Dam, from India, when he gave a lecture during an educational evening with Icelandic Alpine Club. Satya had climbed the highest peaks on all the seven continents and traversed both the north and south pole. He sent me a friend request on Facebook after the event, which I gladly excepted. Now that I was going to Nepal for two weeks, I saw an opportunely to visit India as, so I contacted Satya and asked him if he wanted to meet up with me in India. He did not delay his response, of course he wanted to meet up with me, and not only that, but he also planed my whole visit so I would definitely not miss out on all the good things India had to offer.

At that moment I did not know that my fate awaited me in India and another year would pass and another visit, until I knew what it was.

Chandrachilla Top, Uttarakhand, India

Chandrachilla Top, Uttarakhand, India