Is it your vibrant colours? Or your myriad of smells? Is it the hustle and bustle, your endless noise or your beautiful people?

My love for India began over 30 years ago when I first visited as a 20 year old. A very different me, under very different circumstances, doing very different things.

Fast forward to 50 year old me sitting in Perth International  Airport, a little greyer and a whole lot  wiser (and a whole lot excited) about to revisit the country I loved. Would it be the same?

India is a place you either love or you hate. But regardless, it is a place that every person should visit at least once in their lifetime if they have the opportunity.  Why?

Maybe for the forts, the tombs, the temples and the endless number of other fascinating buildings? With so much history and such ornate and intricate carvings, amazing mosaics, extravagant doors and colourful buildings, it is a photographer’s dream. The Taj Mahal …. words cannot even begin to express the magnificence of this Indian icon. It’s on my list of places to revisit!

Maybe for the shopping? Jewellery, shoes, clothes, rugs, blankets, spices, cookware, your thongs repairs. Yes!! Thong repairs!!! Whatever you want, I think you can probably find it in the streets of India. Colourful things, shiny things, random things. Yes, it’s a little overwhelming when there are so many choices, so many people and you have to barter for almost everything, but seriously, what an experience.

Maybe for the food? Contrary to what you might think, it’s not all rice and spicy food. Yes, there is rice and spicy food – BUT there is a whole lot more too ……. like Chai tea! Nothing compares to a steaming hot Chai in India. The taste, the smell.

Maybe it is losing yourself in the culture and atmosphere? What an experience it is to try to negotiate crossing the road in India. So many people, so many cars, so many bikes, so much going on. People going here, people going there, all in different directions, all busy doing their thing. And then there are people sitting, not doing much at all.

Maybe it’s for spiritual enlightenment? If this is the case, India has it covered. Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity  …… if ever there was a place that embraces all belief systems and respects all people’s choice to worship as they wish, India is the place.

I have been so very lucky to have visited India several times over the past couple of years. What is it that keeps drawing me back?

The remarkable forts of Jaisalmer and Jodphur? The noisy hustle and bustle of Delhi and Mumbai? The overwhelming spiritual intensity of Varanassi? The peace and tranquillity of the snow capped Dharamshala mountains?

It is all of the above! Total sensory overload at times. But more than any of that, it is the people that I have grown to love.

Their sense of calmness, their kindness, their acceptance, their generosity. I have taken away from India more than I will ever be able to give back to India.

So, why is it a place that every person should visit at least once in their lifetime if they have the opportunity? For all of the reasons above.

You will either love it, or you will hate it, but India will be forever etched in your memory.

By Danielle Harvey – Danielle has attended both our Marigold Tour to India and our Colours of India Tour. She is a wonderful photographer and also supporter of the Charity Samadhan which is also Vibrant Womens chosen charity. She hopes to run some volunteer based programs to India very soon.