German Instagrammers Vivian and Johannes (@jovi_travel) have travelled to over 40 countries, but their memories of India remain the fondest. From climbing mountains to chasing waterfalls—the couple is always on the lookout for new adventures to surprise their 200k (and counting!) followers. Here, they share their travel tales from different parts of India and why they would return time and again to this mystical land. By Sushmita Srivastav
What were your first impressions about India?
At first, India can be quite overwhelming. Here, everything is simply bigger—the cities, the traffic and chaos, the crowd. But as soon as we took a breath, we also noticed the big beauty in everything. India is a country of mystery and spirituality, scents and spices, and fascinating architecture and monuments. It’s one of the most colourful places we’ve ever been to! The people are among the warmest and most welcoming bunch we’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. Let’s say by Day 2 [of our trip], we totally fell in love with the country.
Did you follow any dos and don’ts while travelling around the country?
We always try to follow the written and the unwritten rules in the countries we visit. In India, we made sure we dressed conservatively and avoided holding hands in public. We also ate with our hands, drank so many sweet lassis, smiled at everyone we met, and had at least one chai a day. We always try to behave like the locals—in terms of places we eat at, local transport, etc. We can tell from our experience—this is the best way to get to know a country and its people.
Which are the places you ticked o your India bucket list?
Number one is the Taj Mahal in Agra. We desperately wanted to visit it for years and seeing it in real life exceeded all our expectations. The city of Jaipur was simply a dream with an abundance of spectacular buildings. We just couldn’t get enough of all the colourful details, especially at the Amer Fort and City Palace.
Did you face any challenge on your trip?
Once, we had to spend a five-hour-long train journey sitting on the floor as the train was running full, and the only way to get on that train was to buy an unreserved ticket! But even then, we had a great time talking to fellow travellers.
Your message to people planning a trip to India?
Just do it! Many people are hesitant when it comes to visiting India. While some say it’s not safe to travel, others are afraid if they’ll be able to handle the spicy food or the crowd. Despite all the odds, we had the best time in India. The only dangerous thing that could happen to you is getting stuck in traffic. Other than that, we felt 100 per cent comfortable and safe during our entire trip. Yes, the food can be a little spicy, but it’s incredibly delicious. Similarly, the people can be quite a lot to handle at times, but they’re super friendly and welcoming.
Do you plan to return? If yes, what’s next on your bucket list?
Oh yes, we definitely plan to visit again. We’d love to see more of Rajasthan, probably sometime around the Holi festival. Visiting Varanasi is also on our list. Also, we’d like to go on a Royal Enfield tour through the Himalayas in the north. We had rented one in Kerala last time and totally loved it! India is such an enormous country, one lifetime is not enough to see it all!