The Streets of India

In the last month, before returning to the States, we went on a whirlwind of a trip. We visited China, Hong Kong, Nepal, India and lastly England before hopping on the last of our ten flights that would bring us back to Oklahoma. Throughout our travels we saw some incredible sights, met the most generous of people, made new friends, crossed off items on our bucket list and had an unforgettable time. But before I get to recapping our trip (and going through the thousands of photos) I wanted to share a small bit of our time in India. While it may not seem significant, I truly believe that not only do we need to appreciate the main attractions in a country but also take in the sights, culture and experience of just everyday life there. So today, I want to share a small peek into what we experienced on the streets of India.

India is an attack on the senses to put it kindly. For better or worse. Whether its the streets filled with beautiful women in equally beautifully patterned saris and kurtas, street vendors with carts piled high with deliciously colored fruit, naan and masala chai being cooked on the street corners, or the incense in every store and street side temple that makes you want to stock up with piles of boxes (which we did). But then there’s also the inevitable downside in which we were warned about before we left. The smog and smoke from curbside fires that clings to your clothes as an unwanted souvenir and also makes the sun blaze a fiery orange. It’s as if it’s no longer the star that your parents warned you to not look directly at, but instead like something painted and smudged in the sky as the smog acts as a buffer between the two of you. You spend your days dodging past the tuk tuks that have gone rogue, testing to see how long their horn will blast without going mute and taking part in an unofficial race to get their customer to their destination. And not to mention, avoiding the wafts of odor coming from the outdoor urinals and what you hope is animal feces from the cows and dogs that roam wild. Animals, might I add, that you have to pay attention to if you don’t want to be head butted by a large cow looking for it’s next trash pile to rummage through. By the end of the day it takes you a few hours to process the chaos that you were just a part of. But as with each country, you have to take the good along with the bad and try to focus on the positive of the country you are playing guest in.

Our trip was a mixture of multiple feelings and emotions, like trying on our patience as we waited at the train station for our nine hour delayed train; chaotic as we rubbed shoulders with the almost 10 million people who populate Delhi, and at times we felt like they were all on the same subway with us as we were pushed and shoved to fit just one more person on; emotional as we saw poverty as we had never imagined before; and unforgettable as we wandered through the grounds of the Taj Mahal. It’s sufficient to say that it has taken awhile for us to process what we have seen traveling through the streets of India, but maybe that’s a good thing. As not everything we see while traveling should be easily understood. Some things are better when time is taken to evaluate them and therefore reevaluate what we know and what we consider to be our norm.

These are just a few photos we snapped of the streets of India during our ten day tour of the Golden Triangle. There are loads of places where you can book these tours, our included visiting Delhi, Agra (with the Taj Mahal) and Jaipur. In the following weeks I’ll be recapping the rest of our trip through the country.

agra india train station india snake charmer kite festival, jaipur streets of india elephants of india streets of india streets of india delhi streets

  • Clothes and Creativity

    Hi Chelsea!

    Looking at the photos, I think you’ve captured the ‘mixed’ essence of India well. I mean India still seems like the land of the snake-charmers to the Western eye, I believe. And I agree that it can be difficult to absorb all the different experiences India has to offer, all at once. But I think little by little, day after day, you see the beauty in this country, and its people. I agree that my country is not the most tourist-friendly country in the world, although someday I’d really like it to be! And definitely, the disparity between the rich and the poor is humungous! But I’m hoping you enjoyed your stay here more than you resented it! :)

    If you’re planning to visit India again, do give me a shout, and I shall try to show you around New Delhi!



  • Megan C. Stroup

    My mom was in India last year for work and she didn’t expect to like it, but now it’s one of her favorite countries! I think she would agree with your sensory overload description. Thanks for sharing your photos. :)

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      it’s amazing. hard, challenging, but amazing. i would love to go back to the southern part of india next

  • Jamie | ink + adventure

    India seems both amazing and completely overwhelming. Husband and I have been debating if I would actually be able to handle it. BUT I’m glad that you’ve gone and I can read your posts to help in my decision :)

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      it so is. you can handle it though, as hard as it can be at times, i still am so glad that we went!

  • Kayla @ Sealed With a Kay

    Wow- every photo is more amazing than the last! Great post!!!

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      awe thanks so much! jeremy does pretty well with photography : )

  • Charlotte London

    Beautiful pictures, I love the elephant!

    The London Project

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      thanks so much!

  • Amy | Club Narwhal

    Oh man, you lucky ducks! Your whirlwind tour sounds amazing, especially India. I have always wanted to visit (and not just because I want to visit ever country Jason Bourne went to in the movies :) and I can only imagine how cool it would be to have every single sense overwhelmed by what you see/hear/smell/etc.

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      haha but visiting because of jason bourne movies is as good of a reason as any! it’s definitely worth the visit, the country is so beautiful

  • Jade @ Earth to Jade

    Great photos, Chelsea.

    I visited India (Mumbai to be exact) for a week in 2009 when I had to go out to train some new team members for work after their six week stint in London. I really found it hard to see the poverty & would almost close my eyes the entire time I was in the car going from a five star hotel to a plush air-conditioned office. I just felt like a horrible person. I’ve toyed with going back and volunteering there for a month or so between contracts with the husband but I just feel like I am not emotionally strong enough to do it.

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      i would absolutely love to go back and volunteer one day. there is so much good to be done in that country and so many different ways to help. you’re stronger than you know jade. i went to the country side in argentina and before india it was the most impoverished place i had visited. it was emotionally draining and i would feel like crying at the end of each day. but it is still to this day one of my favorite travel experiences

  • Chantal

    Those are some amazing photos!!

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      thanks chantal!

  • Harine G

    feeling good when people wanna visit India so much. Being an Indian, am very proud. We are amazing hosts. There is poverty, stray animals, dirty streets in India, not that I deny, but there is so much beauty & vastness in the country that one ought to see & know.

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      i couldn’t agree with you more. there is good and bad and sad in each country. but i hope that everyone that visits will look past all of that and see the beauty in your country!

  • Anna

    Beautifully written. With that introduction I’m really looking forward to your travel tales on the way home. India’s in our sights for the next few years and your pics and description just make me want to go more.

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      thanks so much! i’ll be sharing more about india in a few weeks but next week is all about china and nepal, two other places i hope are on your list!

  • Nina

    Beautiful pictures! I can’t wait to visit India, I feel like it will be a love/hate thing. I am excited and terrified at the same time…lol.

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      thanks! it kind of is actually. it’s overwhelming and difficult but at the same time i wouldn’t change our trip at all. it was all worth it!

  • Nicole @ Treasure Tromp

    oh man, these pictures are so gorgeous. I’m itching to get to India!

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      thanks nicole! and you’ve got to try and make it over there one day!

  • EmilyHornburg

    I’ve always wanted to go to India. It just facinates me for some reason. I know if I ever get there (and hopefully I will someday!) it’ll probably be overwhelming and emotional and I won’t know what to do. But I also hope that I love it and take it all in once I get over the sensory overload.

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      it will, most definitely. but it will still be completely worth it!

  • Jenna

    Ah Chelsea, your descriptions bring back such vivid memories! India was hard… and overwhelming. And that’s putting it lightly. But I’m so glad I was able to visit and have that experience. I love how you’ve put it – not everything we see while traveling is easily understood. So true.

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      i’m glad that you got to go, i love hearing from people that have gone there too. i think we all feel the same way about the place. amazing but overwhelming!

  • Lifeplus1

    You all are brave for taking on India. I hear nothing but stories of ‘Delhi Belly’ and poverty. I appreciate your honest perspective. I can’t wait to hear about Nepal. I dream of visiting there and Bhutan someday!


    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      oooh and i got to experience delhi belly first hand as soon as our plane landed back in the states. so not fun : ( but it’s still definitely worth the risk of getting sick! i’ll be starting on nepal next week and i can’t wait!

  • Claire (@Kurea_San)

    India is by far the most challenging country I’ve backpacked in. It truly is a sensory overload, but I agree you need to look for the good everywhere you go. I’ve had some of my best travel moments in India, thanks to it’s generous friendly people.
    Claire xx | somewhere… beyond the sea

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      it so completely is. it can be so difficult to travel in india but there’s still so much positive there and so much to see

  • Sammy Dorn

    You have painted the picture for visiting India so well with your words and your photos. I can’t wait to read and see more

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      thanks so much sammy! i really appreciate it!

  • Jay

    You’re writing on this post, Chelsea, is fantastic!

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      thanks so much jay! that really means a lot!

  • Kate Hall

    I am so jealous!! Looks like you had an amazing time and your pictures are gorgeous.

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      it’s such a great place to visit for so many different reasons. hope you get to go there too!

  • Kayli Schattner

    Wow! What beautiful experiences & memories to last you a lifetime :)

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      thanks kayli! i can’t wait to share more soon!

  • Beka Johnson

    India sounds wonderful but super emotional at the same time! That’s so interesting to me. Thanks for sharing =)

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      it definitely was! i’ll make you sit through the 1,000 photos we have from there when you come to visit ; )

  • Asia @ The Cracked Lens


    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      haha, they’re all over! and while i don’t agree with painting them and how they treat them, you can’t ignore the beauty of it!

  • Bonnie Rose

    Woah you were in England?

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      we were! but just for 14 hours, half of which i was sick : ( at least we got to go get some fish and chips and see big ben before heading back to the airport!

  • Kaelene Spence

    These are some beautiful photos! I had the same feelings when I was traveling in Naples, so beautiful but the streets were so crowded and I had never been some where with so much trash on the ground. Looking forward to all your recap post!

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      thanks kaelene! there are just some places that while amazing to travel, are equally overwhelming

  • Molly @ The Move to America

    Really amazing place – I have never been, but some of my family have visited and said the same as you about how the senses can be overloaded, and the crowds of people. It is all part of the experience, but is so very different.

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      i’ve heard that a lot from people that have visited. worth the trip but overwhelming for sure!

  • Rachel Murphree

    These pics are amazing! C went to India back when we first started dating. While I’d love to go some time, he warns me that I might get a little claustrophobic and uneasy from the large crowds of people. Still, I thought your descriptions were beautiful and you’ve made me want to brave the crowds to give it a shot!

    – Rachel @ With Love, Rachel

  • Crystal Turpin

    I’m so glad you talked about this and the feelings you went through on the trip and now after the whole thing when you are back home. I feel like bloggers usually gloss over these types of things when they talk about where they went and instead make everywhere look sanitized and safe. I prefer your real talk on travel and this post was great!

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      and i tried really hard to make it as positive as i can because i really enjoyed my time there but also to not skip over the hard parts about traveling there. we’ve traveled to mostly third world countries during our time in asia but india was definitely the hardest to travel to for several different reasons. i’m so glad that you liked it, thanks crystal!

  • Jessica

    Sounds like an intense trip! I love how you’ve gotten down to the emotions involved with travel. One of the hardest things for me is seeing poverty, and stray/starving animals. I kind of thought I was just sensitive, but I’m glad it makes other people think too! Can’t wait to read all about the rest of your trip!

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      i’m right there with you! it’s an amazing place to travel but it can be really emotional as well

  • Remedial Wife

    One of the best descriptions of visiting India is “my eyes have never been so busy!” Until you go there for yourself it is impossible to describe. We loved our time living there but it was not easy. You’re right that as visitors we can’t always understand what we see. As expats we get a bit closer but the important thing is that we travel & try to understand especially if it takes us out of our comfort zone.

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      it so is! i keep trying to find the words to describe it but they never quite match up to actually being there.

  • Anja Van Der Vorst

    Well described, Chelsea, and 100% recognizable. My pictures are beautiful. Maybe I can enjoy them even more then The Real Thing, since I am not overwhelmed with smells, noise, people, animals, chaos and garbage.
    My 6 months in India were good months, but I cannot say I fell in love. It was a lot!

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      haha it’s so true. i love the photos that we got while we were there and i can’t wait to blow some of them up and hang them on the wall!

  • Caroline L.

    Oh wow, these pictures and words are so stunning. I’ve heard that India is a city full of contrasts. I love how traveling entices us to think in a more meaning way, and am excited to see all that you have to share!

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      it definitely is. you can sit for hours just staring out at the street, watching people. i’m working on the rest of the posts now and can’t wait to share!

  • Casey

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. My favorite line : “As not everything we see while traveling should be easily understood”. So so true. I can’t wait to experience India again in a few weeks, because like you said there are some gorgeous things about the country and it’s a place that makes you really think about the world.

    • Chelsea @ Lost in Travels

      as difficult as a place it can be to travel, i wouldn’t have changed our trip for the world. i can’t wait to hear all about your trip when you get back!