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When I travelled to India, I was a rookie at travel, the real rookie. It was the first time I was travelling solo to a place I knew no-one at all. The most I knew about India was the Taj Mahal. I was travelling to India to volunteer in a village called Boothgargh for two months https://wangechigitahitravels.com/hoshiapur-my-home-away-from-home/. I thus did not carry any medication incase immigration saw them and decided to return me home thinking they were drugs (I had heard stories), I didn’t get any vaccination(I didn’t even know one should do that) and no travel insurance-I didn’t know of its importance. This ignorance combined with naivety came to bite me later-literally. One day as I was walking around the village, enjoying the fresh air,  listening to the chirping of birds, enjoying the sight of green foliage and excited about an event that was to happen later in the day,…

Agra is located in Uttar Pradesh in the Northern State of India. This area is special to me as culture is all over from the preserved buildings of the Mughal-era to the culture of the people.  The area is however popular as it is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites namely Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. Most people actually travel to this area just to visit the Taj Mahal. Taj Mahal: Did you know that the Taj Mahal is not a Palace but a Mausoleum? It was  built from 1632-1653 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz  Mahal whom he loved dearly and had died at child birth. Both of them are buried here and it is an expensive expression of Love posthumously. As we arrived at the Taj Mahal, we were met by this imposing red and white structure that…

Like some of you reading this, I had never heard nor seen pictures of Amritsar before. I actually learnt about it when our newly found friends in Boothgargh, Hoshiapur where we were living, invited us to visit a place they loved. Amritsar is home to the Sri Harimandir Sahin otherwise known as the Golden Temple, which is the spiritual and cultural center of the Sikh religion. Amritsar  exposed me to lots about India, Sikhism culture, great architecture, beautiful scenery and lots and lots of dance and music.The highlights of the place are Golden Temple, Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre and the Wagah border that separates  India and Pakistan. 1.Dress Modestly: As you walk around, you will find most people either dressed in their traditional Punjab suit or modestly dressed. We took this time to bring out our newly tailored “Punjabi suits” that our friends mother had sawn for us. The ladies outfit…

Dharamshala means “religious sanctuary” or “rest house” in Hindi. This place is indeed a refuge for several religious pilgrims as evidenced by the numerous buddhist monks living here, it being home to the youngest Dalai Lama as well as several refugee Tibetans. It is located in the Himachal Pradesh area towards the mountain region and is crowded with oak and conifer trees thus being a very cool and serene place. My highlights of Dharamshala 1.Visit McLeod Ganj It is famous for being home to the Dalai Lama and several Tibetan exiles and monks. As you walk around the place, you will easily meet with several Tibetans and Buddhist monks and if you are lucky, you may get a chance to actually see and hear the Dalai Lama address the people. 2) Learn about Tibet and its people The  Dharamshala area is a haven for many exiled Tibetans and is refered…

It is the capital of the Himachal Pradesh State. It was known as the summer home for the Europeans during colonization, who retreated here whenever the temperatures rose in other states. It is in the mountains and thus quite cool and the scenery of the Himalaya Ranges from afar is breathtaking. The buildings have been done to have a somewhat Victorian look and the historic central area is a place of peace as traffic is prohibited. This was and is truly a retreat area. I totally went “wild” in Shimla and recommend you follow suit in the following activities. 1) Head to Kufri This is a hill station about 20km from Shimla and a place I highly recommend. It is more relaxed, there are more people to interact with and  learn more about their culture. This is also the place we did crazy stunts as shared below: a)Ride a Yak…

India is officially known as the Republic of India and is located in South Asia It is bordered by Pakistan to the West, Myanmar and Bangladesh to the East, Bhutan, Nepal and China to the Northeast, and Pakistan to the West. It is the second most populous country in the world with a population of over 1.2billion people and seventh largest by mass. Mahatma Gandhi led India to independence from Britain via non-violent civil disobedience The dominant religion is Hinduism It has more than a million millionaires It has the worlds largest movie industry, Bollywood It is the worlds largest producer of tea, which is also its  most popular beverage It is famous for being home to the Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage Kenyans require a visa prior to travel to India Check the below links for in depth information on my exploration of India: Taj Mahal: http://wangechigitahi.co.ke/expression-of-love-at-taj-mahal-agra/ Hoshiapur: http://wangechigitahi.co.ke/10-things-to-do-in-hoshiapur-my-home-away-from-home/ Amritsar:…

Hoshiapur is a little town located in the North Eastern region of India. The area is generally referred to as Punjab due to having a dominant Punjab community. The closest large  city to it is Chandigarh and I was living in a little village called Boothgarh in Hoshiapur. I had traveled over 5500km, moving from a city life in Kenya to rural lifestyle in India, to volunteer teaching  children in this region.This was the first time I was away from family and friends, away from my norm and truly, this area changed my life in more ways than one.  I met a community that had never seen an African, and a black African at that, yet they took me in as their daughter, sister, granddaughter and  friend. I made some of my greatest friendships here, I started breaking stereotypes here and I started discovering another version of  me here. Below…

Melaka also referred to as Melacca  is a beautiful city located to the South of Malaysia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is currently my favourite place in Malaysia as it is full of culture. There are many old buildings, some in their natural old state with others having been rehabilitated by the government. Things to do in Melaka/Melacca 1.Visit the historical buildings a) I got to visit Christ Church Melaka, which is the oldest functioning Protestant Church in Malaysia. Its construction begun in 1741 and was completed in 1743. It has been beautifully refurbished and one of the main buildings you will see upon arrival. b) A FAMOSA This was a former Portuguese fortress  that was built in 1511 and is the oldest surviving European architectural remains in South East Asia. It was partly renovated by the Dutch and as you walk around it, you can see…