THE GREAT INDOORS: FROM THE SOFA TO… INDIA
COVID-19 cut short a lot of our trips, and completely halted plans for international travel in the first half of 2020. If you were planning a trip to celebrate Diwali, or you were just looking forward to tasting your way around this unbelievable culinary destination – trust us, we feel your disappointment too!
However, there’s almost always a silver lining (if you look hard enough!) and we’ve put together an epic list of ways you can travel India from your sofa. Unpack the suitcase, sit yourself down with your laptop and experience India with us virtually.
#ExploreMore with us in #TheGreatIndoors!
1. VISIT ONE OF THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD, VIA YOUTUBE
India having the 2nd largest population of any country in the world means the more famous sites (especially those that are pilgrimage sites) can sometimes get a little busy. In person, your best bet is to wake up early and catch the sunrise before any other tourists arrive but from your sofa? Turn up when you like! Have a lie in, make yourself a cuppa and settle down to explore the incredible Taj Mahal, without the crowds! Check it out here & make sure you watch in 4K.
2. PLAY A GAME OF CHESS!
Did you know that the origins of chess can be found in India? One of the earlier games of chess that can be found was a war game called chaturanga, a Sanskrit name for a battle formation. Chaturanga was incredibly popular in Northern India around the 7th century and is generally agreed on as one of the earliest precursors for what we now know as chess, since it had 2 key features of the game that is now widely known and loved. Why not pick up a board and play at home to while away some hours? If you don’t have one, there’s tons of online games and apps! You can even download the one with your friends and partake in some serious social distancing chess together. Oh, what would we do without the internet.
3. TAKE A VIRTUAL TOUR
The current normal means we can’t travel yet. But that doesn’t mean we can’t explore some new places & keep opening our minds to new cultures! In fact, there’s tons of online resources popping up all over that allow us to do exactly this, while maintaining 2m distances at all times and even avoiding airports. Seems crazy, we know. But give it a go! Be guided through the unbelievable Palace of the Winds in Jaipur here, otherwise known as the Hawa Mahal. You can wander through the famous ghats of Varanasi, the oldest inhabited city in the world here and here, and you can even stare up at the enormous India gate right here.
4. EXPLORE INDIA, WITH YOUR STOMACH!
More vegetarians live in India than any other country in the world! The cuisine in the North differs drastically from the South and any adventure here will certainly liven up your taste buds. The best way to get to know a country is through the people and the food! Although we can’t join our street food tour in Delhi right now, Netflix’s Street Food: Asia has done it again and episode 3 is an amazing showcase of the food on offer in Delhi. Pick up some samosas from a local restaurant or supermarket, fix yourself up a Mango Lassi using our recipe here and travel to India with your tastebuds.
5. GO TO BOLLYWOOD
Get cosy on the sofa (because where else are we likely to be right now) and watch some Indian cinema! Slumdog Millionaire is less Bollywood and more grit, but is a must-see movie to give you an insight into life in the Mumbai slums. If you haven’t seen the Life of Pi, then download it today. A book turned movie about a boy who gets stranded at sea for 227 days with a tiger, believe us, this one will move even the hardiest viewers. If our first 2 suggestions didn’t capture your interest and James Bond is more up your street, then spend an evening watching Octopussy! One of our favourite cities in India, Udaipur, is actually known as the Venice of the East & was the filming location for this epic movie.
6. LEARN A DANCE (& GET FIT AT THE SAME TIME!
Bhangra is undoubtedly one of the most fun dance styles to learn, the legends over at BHANGRAlicious have created a 4 minute fat burning fitness workout, using bhangra! We can guarantee this workout will be 10x as fun as any others you’ve taken up during lockdown. Watch it here!
7. GET LOST IN A NOVEL
Indian author Aravind Adiga’s book The White Tiger is a stunning novel that highlights the reality of poverty in India, winning the Man Booker prize in the year of release, this is one you won’t want to put down. But if you’re looking for something a little lighter, then pick up a copy of Eat, Pray, Love. A timeless novel showcasing a woman’s journey across India, Indonesia and Italy post-divorce, this one is iconic and loved by many – you can’t go wrong!
Of course, we’d rather be exploring India with our own two feet, but this will certainly do for the meantime. Let us know if you get involved with any of the above activities! There’s nothing like spending an afternoon fueling some serious wanderlust.
If you’re hoping to get yourself to India in 2021, check out our 14 day itinerary here and see the above sites with your own eyes!