anticipation & preparation: india in 2011

Upon leaving South Korea after a year of teaching English, at the end of February in 2011, I planned to meet my dear friend Jayne for a three week trip around the north of India beginning March 1.  Another teacher in Korea had given me the name of a travel planner, Umer Ullah of Incredible India Travel Services.  She had been pleased with him.  Finding it all so overwhelming, we enlisted Umer to arrange our travel.  I’m glad we did, because I think it would have been way too cumbersome to arrange ourselves.



I had already read a lot of books that took place in India. Below is a list of books that either take place in India or feature Indian characters.  The books I have read have star ratings (1-5) and links to Goodreads.  The ones in bold green are books I own but haven’t read.  The others are suggestions for future reading.

  1. The God of Small Things by  Arundhati Roy *****
  2. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
  3. Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni *****
  4. Oleander Girl by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
  5. The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri *****
  6. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  7. The Romantics by Pankaj Mishra ****
  8. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster *****
  9. The Color of Our Sky: A Novel by Amita Trasi ***
  10. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga **
  11. Gandhi’s Passion: The Life and Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi by Stanley Wolpert ****
  12. behind the beautiful forevers by Katherine Boo
  13. The Caretaker by A.X. Ahmad
  14. The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
  15. Flash House by Aimee Liu
  16. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  17. The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob (& Seattle & New Mexico)
  18. The Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott
  19. Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya
  20. Sharmila’s Book by Bharti Kirchner
  21. Shiva Dancing by Bharti Kirchner
  22. The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay
  23. A State of Freedom by Neel Mukherjee
  24. Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao
  25. As Sweet as Honey by Indira Ganesan
  26. Everything was Goodbye by Gurjinder Basran
  27. The Abundance by Amit Majmudar (also Midwest USA)
  28. The Storyteller’s Secret by Sejal Badani
  29. Varanasi
    1. Sister India by Peggy Payne ***

For lists of books from various international destinations, see: books | international a-z |


Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

I’ve watched numerous movies and T.V. series set in India, and I was inspired by many Bollywood movies.  In fact, I often imagined Bollywood films would be manifested in my travels, with Indians in colorful clothing breaking out into song and dance.

  1. Deewaar (1975)
  2. Gandhi (1982) *****
  3. Octopussy (1983)
  4. The Jewel in the Crown (TV mini-series) (1984) *****
  5. A Passage to India (1984)
  6. City of Joy (1992)
  7. Bombay (1995)
  8. Monsoon Wedding (2001) ****
  9. Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)
  10. Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (2002) *****
  11. Born into Brothels: Calcutta’s Red Light Kids (2004 documentary)
  12. The Namesake (2006)****
  13. Outsourced (2006) ****
  14. Rang De Basanti (2006)
  15. Jab We Met (2007) *****
  16. The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
  17. Slumdog Millionaire (2008) *****
  18. Jodhaa Akbar (2008)
  19. The Story of India (2009 documentary)
  20. Eat Pray Love (2010) *****
  21. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) *****
  22. Tanu Weds Manu (2011) ***
  23. Delhi Belly (2011)
  24. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)
  25. Barfi! (2012)
  26. Midnight’s Children (2012)
  27. Life of Pi (2012) ***
  28. The Lunchbox (2013) ****
  29. Learning to Drive (2014) (Sikh Indian character) ****
  30. Monsoon (2014 documentary)
  31. The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014) (Set in France but featuring an Indian family) *****
  32. Gunday (2014) *
  33. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015) ***
  34. Indian Summers (TV series) (2015-2016) ****
  35. Lion (2016) ****
  36. Victoria & Abdul (2017) (Indian character) *****
  37. Hotel Mumbai (2018)

For movies set in various international destinations, see: movies | international a-z |

Though the movie Gunday in the list above takes place in India, one of the songs in the movie was actually filmed in Oman. It’s quite romantic, although the movie itself was rather hokey.

Here’s one of my favorite Bollywood movies, Jab We Met.


Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India

Our itinerary for India in March of 2011:

  • March 1: Cathy arrives in Delhi 1:35 a.m.
  • March 3: Jayne arrives in Delhi. Sightseeing tour of Delhi on March 3-4.
  • March 5: We fly to Varanasi.
  • March 7: Fly Varanasi to Delhi to Chandigarh.
  • March 8: Chandigarh to Rishikesh by car.
  • March 9: Rishikesh to Corbett National Park (Tiger safari) by car.
  • March 10: Corbett National Park to Agra by car.
  • March 11: Agra (Taj Mahal)/ Fatehpursikri/Jaipur (by car)
  • March 12: Jaipur (The Pink City)
  • March 13: Jaipur / Jaisalmer by overnight train.
  • March 14: Arrive Jaisalmer. Camel safari in desert. Overnight stay in hut.
  • March 15: Jaisalmer ~ sightseeing tour of city.
  • March 16: Jaisalmer/Jodphur by train (10-11 hours)
  • March 17: Jodphur / Udaipur by flight.
  • March 18: Udaipur
  • March 19: Udaipur/Aurangabad (by Flight)
  • March 20: Aurangabad (cave temples)
  • March 21: Aurangabad / Mumbai (by flight)
  • March 22: Depart for USA.

Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India


“ANTICIPATION & PREPARATION” INVITATION: I invite you to write a post on your own blog about anticipation & preparation for a particular destination (not journeys in general). If you don’t have a blog, I invite you to write in the comments. Include the link in the comments below by Thursday, December 26 at 1:00 p.m. EST.  When I write my post in response to this challenge on Friday, December 27, I’ll include your links in that post.

This will be an ongoing invitation, on the 4th Friday of each month. Feel free to jump in at any time. 🙂  If you’d like to read more about the topic, see: journeys: anticipation & preparation.

I hope you’ll join in our community. I look forward to reading your posts!

the ~ wander.essence ~ community

I invite you all to settle in and read posts from our wandering community. I hope you’ll be inspired!

Thanks to all of you who wrote posts about anticipation and preparation.