Chennai, we dotted all around Tamil Nadu, the Southeastern state of India. I had traveled here with my father as a teenager, and the place stuck with me. Five years ago, right after we were married, Dave and I spent about 6 months all over the Southwest states of Karnataka, Goa, Kerala and Maharastra -- so this was new for us. It was a jam packed 10 days, a different city, temple and train ride almost every day. Exhilarating and Exhausting.
We took 4-7 hour train journeys to get everywhere. Having lived in India, we have a certain comfort level with this last-minute style of transport, where you buy a ticket for "passenger class" moments before the train departs and you just do your best to wiggle in with the crowd. There's no ac, no creature comforts, but there's almost always great conversation and the sharing of cookies, samosas, whatever snacks are available are passed out to neighboring seat mates. It's an incredible experience, riding the trains with regular folks -- I highly recommend it in India!
We had an incredible journey -- full of laughs, a little bit of a stomach bug and lots of eye-opening experiences. We will be back in late November en route to home. Is India worth visiting? Absolutely! You have to be up for an adventure and a whole lot of letting go of expectations, but once you're in the rhythm of this fascinating, colorful country, it will pull at your heart strings and forever change you.
For us, we love the South. We haven't traveled much in the North, just the basic heavy hitters (Taj Mahal, Jaipur, etc), but we cannot recommend Southern India enough. There's no major tourist attractions, just a whole lot of beautiful moments doing everyday stuff: shopping for produce, cooking with a granny, visiting the town's temple, photographing and walking down small roads just to see where they lead . . . . Incredible India!