I am Nick Goslett from Brighton (Hove actually) in England and I love travelling in India: the people, the sights, the food …. I first linked up with Vikas and VacationIndia when I was working in Delhi in 2009 and he organised a day’s outing to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. He has been helping me with my travel plans ever since. In 2014 I decided that at the grand old age of 66, and having recently retired from Deloitte where I was management consultant, it was about time I started travelling and took advantage of being in this wonderful country.I am a trustee for an Educational Charity – http://www.venkattrust.org.uk/ -in a little fishing village – Kovalam – an hour south of Chennai. Most years I go there for a week with Sylvia who started the charity then put a pack on my back and go travelling, always by myself so that I can meet people and change my plans to suit my mood. The first time I was terrified since starting this lark at aged 67 was a bit daunting. When I asked my daughter what would I do if I ran out of money she just asked me what happened when she travelled in India 20 years ago and ran out of money: “I just phoned you Dad and you transferred some money; now you can phone me.”I visit each year for a week and then go off wandering in India. I am always reassured by Vikas being there for me at all times: giving me excellent advice whilst I plan the journey; helping me to book trains and planes and buses and the odd hotel (I travel light and usually book bed-and-breakfasts or hotels the day before); always on hand if I have a problem.The first year I spent six weeks going up through Karnataka (taking in the wonderful Hampi, in a temple of which I met the boys in the picture below) then all round Rajastan (the other picture is just before a camel trip). My close family had said they would like to know how I was getting on while I wandered and so I decided to write an email every few days and include others who I thought might be interested. So, I found myself an internet café every three or four days and just wrote things which I thought they might find interesting or amusing, perhaps both. Then some friends expressed interest and now Vikas has persuaded me to put it up for anyone to read. I am so pleased that I did because I have spent some time while locked down rereading them all and fitting photos to each one. Wonderful memories of people and places. I can’t wait to go back again.
My first trip (at the age of 67) was for six weeks to Mysore, Hassan, Hampi (my favourite place in India) then up to Rajasthan visiting Jaipur (where I introduced an Egyptian to the mysteries of 20-20 cricket), Shekawati, Pushkar (where I purchased two tabla which were made for me and shipped to England), Bundi (with the Palace which Kipling described as “the work of goblins rather than of men”), Rathnambore (in a hopeless quest to see a tiger), Udaipur (where I had a superb yoga teacher), Jodhpur (where I chanced upon the sensational Rajasthan International Folk Festival in the fort with the full moon rising over the ramparts), and Jaisalmer (where I was ripped off for a two-day camel trek but loved it all the same). Being my first trip, I was so glad to have Vikas to book most of the long journeys and help me with accommodation when I needed it.
These tales are from my trip in Karnataka and Rajasthan:
The Very First tale from India – Karnataka and Rajasthan – Mysore
The Second Tale from Karnataka and Rajasthan – Hassan and Hampi
The Third Tale from Karnataka and Rajasthan – Hampi and Jaipur
The Fourth Tale from Karnataka and Rajasthan – Jaipur and Shekhawati
The Fifth Tale from Karnataka and Rajasthan – Pushkar and Ranthambore
The Sixth Tale from Karnataka and Rajasthan – Bundi and Udaipur
The Seventh Tale from Karnataka and Rajasthan – Udaipur and Jodhpur
The Final Tale from Karnataka and Rajasthan – Jaisalmer and Mumbai
In 2014 I visited the North East , first with a trip splendidly organised by Vikas to the tribal areas in Odisha, then on to Konark (another fishing village with children who called me Mr Pen since I gave so many pens away), Puri (with some bird watching), Varanasi (where I played cricket and flew kites with the boys on the beach and soaked up the religious feeling of the ghats and the Ganga) and finally Khajaraho (with the most beautiful, and erotic, carvings I have ever seen).
These tales are from my trip Odisha and Varanasi:
The First Tale from the North East – Bhubaneswar
The Second Tale from the North East – Tribal Times
The Third Tale from the North East – Tribals and Konark
The Fourth Tale from the North East – Konark and Puri
The Fifth Tale from the North East – Puri
The Sixth Tale from the North East – Puri and Varanasi
The Seventh Tale from the North East – Varanasi and Khajuraho
The Eighth Tale from the North East – Khajuraho and Delhi
In February 2016 I decided to spend four weeks seeing more of Tamil Nadu than just Kovalam where we run the Venkat Educational Trust. Starting in Chidambaram (where I had a very strange evening with some Pentecostalists and visited the second largest Mangrove Forest in the world with three lovely girls from South America), I then spent a couple of days in Trichy (and wondered if I had had enough of temples and these Dravidian ones so different to those in other parts of India I had visited), came to Madurai (with the incredible temple which I visited so many times), spent twelve nights in a youth hostel in Kodaikanal (with two games of golf at the excellent 120 year-old course), and finally six days in an Ashram (which I didn’t want to leave – you go for the yoga and stay for the friends). This journey was pretty straightforward but once again Vikas was there to help if I needed it.
These tales are from my trip in Tamil Nadu:
The First Tale – Chidambaram
The Second Tale – Trichy & Tanjore
The Third Tale – Madurai
The Fourth Tale – Kodaikanal
The Fifth Tale – Kodaikanal II
The Sixth Tale – Kodaikanal and the Ashram and Rameshwaram
The Seventh Tale – the Ashram and Madurai
The Eight Tale – Chennai and home
I learnt a good lesson during my 2018 trip to Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Shimla and Amritsar: don’t believe in one’s fantasies, check what it’s really like and plan it better! I was saved a couple of times by Vikas when a plane left four hours before the expected time and the Darjeeling Toy Train did not exist. The whole trip went pear-shaped: Darjeeling is now overtaken by 4-b-4s, not much to do in Kalimpong and the monsoon was playing such havoc with the roads to Shimla (which I was told was now much like Darjeeling). I abandoned the trip and flew home in time to watch the Ryder Cup.
These tales are from my trip in North East India:
Undaunted, this year I was back and travelling to Rishikesh (to take in the yoga and meditation) and Amritsar (to see the Golden Temple which is every bit as wonderful as I had been led to believe, and the Changing the Guard at the Wagah Border Crossing which is ludicrous but the Indians love it).
Tales from my trip to Rishikesh (Yoga) and Amritsar (Golden Temple)
I hope you enjoy my ramblings, written for my friends and family but Vikas thought you might like them.
And my thanks to Vikas for always being there for me and arranging trains and buses and aeroplanes.
I can whole-heartedly recommend Vikas and Vacationindia for any help you need with your holiday in India, from planning it all for you or helping you like he does me!”
Best wishes. Make your way to India soon …