India Like a Local

Posted by Crooked Compass

Here at Crooked Compass HQ, we spend a lot of time researching, chatting with our local partners to create impressive, immersive and intriguing travel experiences for our travellers to ensure you really get under the skin of the destination you are travelling to and understand the culture, customs and lifestyles of your chosen destination.

We share with you some of our incredible experiences on offer in India - allowing you to travel deeper.

Intricate beauty of India
Intricate beauty of India

Biriyani Walk - Delhi and Agra

Biriyani has been an integral part of Indian cuisine from the palaces of the Sultans to the small back alleys in the most remote villages. We take you on a walking that explores the many regional and subtle foreign influences that make this dish so special. Weave through Delhi and Agra's biriyani hubs through the old market areas and see the huge handis (cooking pots) of fragrant rice and secret combinations of meat and spices that beguile the senses.

Andhra-Bhawan The Best Chicken Biryani at Andhra Bhavan  Image credit: Hangouts
The Best Chicken Biryani at Andhra Bhavan. Photo credit: Hangouts

Witness Traditional Indian Wrestlers, Varanasi

Most countries have a traditional style of wrestling. In India, wrestling takes place in a clay or dirt pit. The soil is mixed with ghee and other things and is tended to before each practice. Traditional Indian wrestling isn't just a sport - it's an ancient subculture where wrestlers live and train together and follow strict rules on everything from what they can eat to what they can do in their spare time. The focus is on living a pure life, building strength and honouring their wrestling skills. Wrestlers belong to gyms called akharas, where wrestlers live under strict rules. Wrestlers diets consist of milk, almonds, ghee, eggs and chapattis and each wrestler has a job to do in preparing meals.

Traditional Indian wrestling
Traditional Indian wrestling

Walk through the Spice Markets, Cochin

Though Jew Town has not lost much of its earlier glory, it has retained its status as an important centre of spice trade. The exotic odour of the finest ginger, cloves, cardamom, tumeric and pepper, also known as black gold, emanate from the spice warehouses lining the street and fills it. The bustling trade of spices if evidenced in the trucks going to and from the warehouses, loads being taken in and out using pushcarts and the sight of workers drying, sorting and packing spices.

Cochin Spice Market
Cochin Spice Market

Sunday Book Market (Chor Bazaar), Delhi & Kolkata

From students to artists to designers to theorists to activists - Daryaganj is the favourite place to be on a Sunday. Life begins at 7am every Sunday, over decades this old book bazaar is a paradise for book lovers all over Delhi and beyond, as the mind-boggling variety of rare books are usually available in this market at very affordable prices. Many book-lovers, who throng the weekly market at Daryaganj are surprised to see books once presented to prime ministers by their authors, being sold on the pavements. If you are lucky on a Sunday, you might end up getting previously owned classics as throw away prices.

Book Markets, Chor Bazaar, Delhi and kolkata - Photo credit: Crooked Compass
Book Markets, Chor Bazaar, Delhi - Photo credit: Crooked Compass

Kachpura Village Walk, Agra

In the evening, take a heritage and village walk. Walk through the villages across from the Taj Mahal, on the other bank of the Yamuna River. This part of Agra will provide you a fascinating insight into traditional rural life and some rich architectural heritage of India. These villages are part of a community development program where a local person will guide you around. Visit the lovely Mahtab Bagh (Moonlight Garden) from where you can watch the sunset over the Taj Mahal.

Kachpura village, opposite the Taj Mahal
Kachpura village, opposite the Taj Mahal

Flower Market Delhi & Kolkata

A visit to the flower markets is an early morning start, usually around 5am. Watched as local and international flowers are traded and how garlands for temples, traditional ceremonies and weddings are woven - in fact this is a great opportunity for you to try your hand at it!

Delhi  and Kolkata flower markets. Photo credit: Crooked Compass
Kolkata flower markets. Photo credit: Crooked Compass

Spice and Dry Fruit Markets, Agra

Walk through the local vegetable and spice markets of Agra - an area often overlooked by most travellers through the city. Stroll through the local markets to see the produce available and to familiarise yourself with the essential ingredients of North Indian cooking. You will learn about the various spices and condiments used in an Indian meal.

Spice and Dry Fruit Markets, Agra.
Spice and Dry Fruit Markets, Agra. Photo credit: Trip Advisor

 

Want to discover India a little deeper? Check our range of unique small group tours!