Inside a country: India

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,434
San Antonio, Tx
While I didn’t hear of any anti-India sentiment, there was an anti-Hindu and Muslims comments. Mostly related to the dietary laws from Hindu’s and Muslims imposed on Ladakh, for example no cows or pork.
It's impossible to generalize about India, so anything I say here will have lots of exceptions. I can say that during the five years that I traveled there, we ate lots of beef, only it wasn't from cows, it was from water buffalo, which was widely available. Never from cows, though.
 
Jul 2012
3,242
Dhaka
Back in February & March I spent 3 weeks in India, I was supposed to have written this some time ago but one thing led to another, new job, work on my flat, various birthdays and the like. Sorry rvsakhadeo, but be careful what you wish for, I hope you’ve got a comfy chair!!

I visited New Delhi, did the golden triangle tour and also went to J&K, staying in Ladakh. As Ladkh/J&K is probably the most un-known, I’d thought I would focus on this part of my holiday and rvsakhadeo also inquired about my time there. I’m happy to discuss the rest of my trip if wanted. I travelled with my older brother, India was his 53rd country and my 16th; we both agreed that India presented the largest culture shock we’d ever experienced.

The purpose of visiting Ladakh was to see a snow leopard; which I did. To enter Ladakh was, for me, like entering another world. Flying over the Himalayas is like looking at pure white blanket laid over massive mountain peaks and valleys, stretching all the way to the horizon; all other mountain ranges I’d flown over or visited had greens and browns and some settlement. There were some lower valleys which had the reddy-brown earth (like a shade off Mars!) but these were only visible on approach to Leh. For most of the flight over J&K, it was nothing but a completely white, vast mountain range – the most beautifully unusual thing I’ve seen out of an aircraft. It looked like CGI.

Landing in Leh airport you quickly see that you’re in an Indian Air Force base, if you like planes then you’d enjoy it here as there’s a shuttle bus to the terminal, during this time you can see the large transport planes take off…one of them even began it’s take-off aligned to the passengers on the runway, leading to small stones and an incredible force being thrown at us while their engines ramped-up. You could lean into the exhaust and not fall over. I should mention that Leh airport is about 10,500 ft high and it was somewhere around -5DegC. They have an oxygen bar in the terminal to help with the instant altitude sickness! Also, the landing approach was quite steep – you don’t really see much out of the window aside from the white ground, then about 10 seconds before you start to descend (quite rapidly I should say!) you see some of those valleys with their red/brown earth. Also the plane was full of pretty much every type of person you can think of; there was a (Shia or Sunni, not sure) Iman, Buddhist monks, parents with kids, a school trip of ~15yo’s, loads of pilgrims from around India….and 2 white boys from London (we were the only non-Indians on the plane). While there was lots of security at the airport, entering Leh was quick – as opposed to leaving/entering the airport which took hours. Leh itself is full of soldiers, there are also a few army and air force bases. The soldiers are walking around (some are armed near the airport, police station etc). Neither my brother or I ever felt intimidated or un-secure in anyway.

We met our guide and went to the hotel. Dumping off our bags we went for a walk around Leh to acclimatise. As we were off season most of the markets were shut. There is a large Tibetan exile community there and they have their own market, selling various crafts and foods, geared towards the summer tourist season. The local market was busy, as was the high street, and it was quite nice to be in a location where there was no other foreigners. After New Dehli, Leh was literally a breath of fresh air!

We visited Leh palace, where some Indian soldiers wanted a selfie with me and we spoke about the UK and New Delhi for a while. Heading back to town we ate some nice Tibetan food, brought some gifts (obviously some Cashmere!) and even had a quick chat with some local teenagers who wanted to practise their English on us, which was far more enjoyable than it sounds.

Small piece of advice, as we were told this prior to our trip, if you’re from outside of India and going to J&K, don’t put this on your visa as it’ll 99% be rejected. Just say you’re visiting ND, Goa or something.

Anyway, enough typing, time for some pics of Leh/Ladakh and the hungry-hungry leopard; India, you need to promote the leopard more. You have a tourism boom just waiting to happen – in the Summer Ladkah is a paradise for hiking and trekking (very alpine-like) and in the winter its perfect for leopards and snow trekking. I understand that even eastern J&K is still under tight security but the locals, the guides, the hotel staff, the airport staff were all very welcoming and extremely friendly.

I’m going to leave out the description of seeing the snow leopard and our camping, it’s long enough already and I want to add in some pictures. More than happy to add to this description with my non-J&K part or anymore information on Leh.

Without wanting to brag, I managed to get some incredible pictures of snow leopards (including it eating) so I'm looking into copyright etc before posting these here. Not even the BBC got to see it eating, and we were only 350m away. I really want to share these as it shows a different side to India, many more animals than elephants, monkeys and tigers!!!


Leh Palace


View from Leh Palace onto the high street


View from the Japanese Stupa, which overlooks the town. You can make out Leh Palace in the bottom centre.


Some info on Leh Palace


View from the top of Leh Palace, looking up the mountain.




Three from the masked dance festival



It is there, in the far off valley. This was taken from the Japanese Stupa.



High altitude valley (~13,200ft)


'Low' altitude valley (still about 10,500 ft!)
Excellent piece of descriptive writing! You should try your hand at travelogues.
 
Jun 2012
1,780
chandigarh
Interesting post and very appreciated because of it.

Would you say that the internal migration has increased over the last few years, perhaps the last decade? I assume it’s mostly from rural to urban centres as is common throughout the world?
Ya it, It has become very easy to travel from one state to another. India is like EU. it faces some very same problems. India the equivalent of Romanians would be a bihari and they migrate everywhere in search of work. They are mostly into manufacturing and construction works. You find a lot of vitriol directed against them in both north and south. People are just same everyone, there are always a select few who love to hate. I think overall it is very good thing for India, It helps break caste and feudal kinships across India. It is mostly rural to urban.
 
Last edited:
Sep 2012
9,019
India
Interesting post and very appreciated because of it.

Would you say that the internal migration has increased over the last few years, perhaps the last decade? I assume it’s mostly from rural to urban centres as is common throughout the world?
Internal migration has increased very much in the decades after the liberalisation of Indian economy--say after the 1990s. Take my example,I am from the state of Maharashtra in the south-west. After my voluntary retirement in 2004 Feb., I travelled to and stayed at Varanasi ( aka Benares ), in Uttar Pradesh a northern state. This was on a job. I then was employed in the state of Bihar at Dehri--on--Sone. Thereafter I came back to my home state for a while. I was back at Uttar Pradesh on a short job. And then myself and my wife we shifted some household gear etc.to stay at Bikaner,in the western desert state of Rajasthan. Now in 2016 May I am back home. All these places outside of Maharashtra are at thousands of kilometers from my home.
The majority of such migrations is from rural to urban. This is because' unskilled heavy' type of employment is shrinking in rural areas.
 
Last edited:
Sep 2012
9,019
India
It's impossible to generalize about India, so anything I say here will have lots of exceptions. I can say that during the five years that I traveled there, we ate lots of beef, only it wasn't from cows, it was from water buffalo, which was widely available. Never from cows, though.
It is the story of the Elephant and the six ( or so ) blind men, when it comes to describing India. It is difficult for us Indians to properly appreciate our country let alone understand it. It is like viewing through a shattered prism. You get an incomplete, incoherent and distorted picture. Never bother about understanding India, just love it, inspite of our many blemishes, after all, as they say beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. A slightly less critical and slightly more open approach will be of help. Thanks.
 
Aug 2013
956
Italy
I've been reading about the Harappan civilization. It lasted from c 3000-1700 BCE, or as one of my books expresses it 3102-c 1700 BCE! It covered a rather large area of the Indus Valley, including parts of modern India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Some people, wanting to claim that the Indo-European Languages originated in India suggest that they spoke an Indo-European language. Others believe they probably spoke a Dravidian language. At any rate, their inscriptions on seals have not been deciphered. One of the pictures on these seals that occurs over and over is a bull with a huge dewlap--quite detailed.

One of their unique characteristics seems to have been the regularity of their settlements, always built in the same pattern. The world's first urban planners! The streets are all in the same widths, either one, one and a half, or two measures wide. Some of their walls were constructed 13 meters thick. There was no stone available, and the work is done in bricks all of the same dimensions from settlement to settlement.

One source suggests that they traded with the Sumerians and were perhaps the "Meluhhans" of Sumerian inscriptions. This could jive with the later Sanskrit word "mlechche" for a low cast person which from its appearance does not derive from a Sanskritic root.

There is a hiatus in the use of writing after these people disappeared until the Sanskrit writing Vedic civilization had superseded them.

Here is a picture of one of their settlements:


Harappan Civilization: ca. 3000-1500 BC
The Harappan Civilization by Tarini J. Carr
I am doing intensive research on the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC), which to me is really fascinating.

Please allow me to point out that, although all the other major Indus urban sites were constructed mostly of bricks, Dholavira...the fifth largest, and perhaps the most beautiful of them all...was built mainly of stone.
 
Jun 2012
1,780
chandigarh
one more interesting thing in India that is very similar to EU think is demand for states for marginal ethnic group within the preamble of Indian Republic. The breaking of Andhra Pradesh into Telengana and Andhra resulted in a lot of ethnic groups asking for seperate state hood like gorkhaland in West Bengal, Ladakhis in J&K. You see such movement come to prominence from time to time like rearranging of India states on linguistic lines on just 3-4 yrs after independence. You even find such movements come to prominence interms of insurgency like for formation of Mizo and Naga states in East India. India is a very interesting place if you like political science.
 
Feb 2014
1,429
Asia
Back in February & March I spent 3 weeks in India, I was supposed to have written this some time ago but one thing led to another, new job, work on my flat, various birthdays and the like. Sorry rvsakhadeo, but be careful what you wish for, I hope you’ve got a comfy chair!!

I visited New Delhi, did the golden triangle tour and also went to J&K, staying in Ladakh. As Ladkh/J&K is probably the most un-known, I’d thought I would focus on this part of my holiday and rvsakhadeo also inquired about my time there. I’m happy to discuss the rest of my trip if wanted. I travelled with my older brother, India was his 53rd country and my 16th; we both agreed that India presented the largest culture shock we’d ever experienced.

The purpose of visiting Ladakh was to see a snow leopard; which I did. To enter Ladakh was, for me, like entering another world. Flying over the Himalayas is like looking at pure white blanket laid over massive mountain peaks and valleys, stretching all the way to the horizon; all other mountain ranges I’d flown over or visited had greens and browns and some settlement. There were some lower valleys which had the reddy-brown earth (like a shade off Mars!) but these were only visible on approach to Leh. For most of the flight over J&K, it was nothing but a completely white, vast mountain range – the most beautifully unusual thing I’ve seen out of an aircraft. It looked like CGI.

Landing in Leh airport you quickly see that you’re in an Indian Air Force base, if you like planes then you’d enjoy it here as there’s a shuttle bus to the terminal, during this time you can see the large transport planes take off…one of them even began it’s take-off aligned to the passengers on the runway, leading to small stones and an incredible force being thrown at us while their engines ramped-up. You could lean into the exhaust and not fall over. I should mention that Leh airport is about 10,500 ft high and it was somewhere around -5DegC. They have an oxygen bar in the terminal to help with the instant altitude sickness! Also, the landing approach was quite steep – you don’t really see much out of the window aside from the white ground, then about 10 seconds before you start to descend (quite rapidly I should say!) you see some of those valleys with their red/brown earth. Also the plane was full of pretty much every type of person you can think of; there was a (Shia or Sunni, not sure) Iman, Buddhist monks, parents with kids, a school trip of ~15yo’s, loads of pilgrims from around India….and 2 white boys from London (we were the only non-Indians on the plane). While there was lots of security at the airport, entering Leh was quick – as opposed to leaving/entering the airport which took hours. Leh itself is full of soldiers, there are also a few army and air force bases. The soldiers are walking around (some are armed near the airport, police station etc). Neither my brother or I ever felt intimidated or un-secure in anyway.

We met our guide and went to the hotel. Dumping off our bags we went for a walk around Leh to acclimatise. As we were off season most of the markets were shut. There is a large Tibetan exile community there and they have their own market, selling various crafts and foods, geared towards the summer tourist season. The local market was busy, as was the high street, and it was quite nice to be in a location where there was no other foreigners. After New Dehli, Leh was literally a breath of fresh air!

We visited Leh palace, where some Indian soldiers wanted a selfie with me and we spoke about the UK and New Delhi for a while. Heading back to town we ate some nice Tibetan food, brought some gifts (obviously some Cashmere!) and even had a quick chat with some local teenagers who wanted to practise their English on us, which was far more enjoyable than it sounds.

Small piece of advice, as we were told this prior to our trip, if you’re from outside of India and going to J&K, don’t put this on your visa as it’ll 99% be rejected. Just say you’re visiting ND, Goa or something.

Anyway, enough typing, time for some pics of Leh/Ladakh and the hungry-hungry leopard; India, you need to promote the leopard more. You have a tourism boom just waiting to happen – in the Summer Ladkah is a paradise for hiking and trekking (very alpine-like) and in the winter its perfect for leopards and snow trekking. I understand that even eastern J&K is still under tight security but the locals, the guides, the hotel staff, the airport staff were all very welcoming and extremely friendly.

I’m going to leave out the description of seeing the snow leopard and our camping, it’s long enough already and I want to add in some pictures. More than happy to add to this description with my non-J&K part or anymore information on Leh.

Without wanting to brag, I managed to get some incredible pictures of snow leopards (including it eating) so I'm looking into copyright etc before posting these here. Not even the BBC got to see it eating, and we were only 350m away. I really want to share these as it shows a different side to India, many more animals than elephants, monkeys and tigers!!!


Leh Palace


View from Leh Palace onto the high street


View from the Japanese Stupa, which overlooks the town. You can make out Leh Palace in the bottom centre.


Some info on Leh Palace


View from the top of Leh Palace, looking up the mountain.




Three from the masked dance festival



It is there, in the far off valley. This was taken from the Japanese Stupa.



High altitude valley (~13,200ft)


'Low' altitude valley (still about 10,500 ft!)
Very nice description and clicks :)

I like to ask if you faced any health problem there because of the lack of oxygen ? If not, have you done anything to save yourself from the high altitude sickness ?
 
Aug 2009
5,363
Londinium
Very nice description and clicks :)
Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed reading it :)

I like to ask if you faced any health problem there because of the lack of oxygen ? If not, have you done anything to save yourself from the high altitude sickness ?
Well, my brother ended up in hospital with altitude sickness. Nothing serious, a common problem for tourists there. All cafe's, restaurants and hotels have oxygen for tourists. He was given oxygen for a few hours while monitored by the nurses and returned back to the hotel to rest.

As an ex-smoker I was in good shape, our guide said that ex-smokers are used to low O2 levels so can often handle to altitude better. While I found the hiking very strenuous at times I was told of many people in their 60-70s doing this trek. Last year my guide went hiking at 13,000ft for 3 days with a women who was 74 without any issue. My brother plays football once a week and watches what he eats; there is no knowing how you will react to the altitude, best advice is to take it easy for the first few days, which we didn't due to snow leopard sighting.
 

Similar History Discussions