With the down turn of the American economy and a big hit to our retirement funds my husband and I decided to outsource our retirement. I began reading everything on the Intranet about the best places to retire. Out of the blue, my India born husband said why not India. I did some reading and said let’s go. English is widely spoken and Hindi is my husband’s first language. It took almost a year before we obtained our visas, OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) for my husband. Once he was able to obtain his OCI I was able to obtain my PIO (Person of Indian Origin), though I am Caucasian, based on our marriage. His is a lifetime visa and it affords him all the rights of Indian citizenship, except the right to vote, mine is good for fifteen years. Once that was done we secured pet passports for our two dogs. That was the most difficult. In the meantime traveling on a tourist visa my husband spent two months in India looking for an uncrowded area and suitable place to rent. His search was going nowhere until he enlisted help from his nephew. They found a three bedroom house in Bhimtal on the lake. The photos he took were beautiful. I spent a lot of time reading Indian expat blogs.
In January 2013 we packed up our dogs, electronics and a few clothes and started our adventure. Living in India is not for the faint of heart. It would have been very difficult without the assistance and knowledge of family. When we arrived to take possession of our rental home we were told it was not ready but would be soon. I wondered what soon meant in Indian time. We were shown another rental, basically an apartment that was dark, musty and dirty. We were looking at a bait and switch. We refused the apartment. After spending three weeks in a hotel room and the house still not ready to rent, we finally found our first rental cottage. In order to find a rental one must ask around. It’s very hard to find anything here with a Google search. The cottage was a two story, two bedroom, one Indian and one Western bathroom, furnished duplex structure located in Bhowali, which is located in the foothills of the Himalayas. The rent was $270.00 USD per month. Next door to our complex was a large multi-story apartment complex. At the time we did not think too much about it. It turned out that this was more of a hotel with people arriving at all hours of the day and night. As soon as a car arrived they honked their horns announcing their arrival. Then came the loud greetings that went on in the parking lot. This happened almost every night, sometimes two and three o’clock in the morning.
Thanks to our cook/housekeeper we found our present two bedroom two Western bathroom flat in Ghorakhal, which is about three miles from our first location. Our rent, $325.00 per month includes water and electricity. From our large balcony we have a breathtaking view of the mountains with Bhimtal Lake in the distance. I love it here. Early in the morning one can hear the temple bells waking up the Gods. In the summer we hear marriage music coming from many locations in the mountains. It is uncrowded and has many places to walk. It is said that the Himalayas are the homes of the Gods. There are temples scattered everywhere. We came very close to buying property here.
It is very affordable to live here. We spend about $10.00 per week on groceries. We are vegetarian. Cooking gas runs about $5.00 every 3 months. We have no need of a car. Taxis are available and run around $5.00 to the market and back. This includes an hour wait time and getting your bags carried inside the apartment. If we don’t care to go to the market, we send one of the locals on their motor cycle with a list. The cost is $1.50. A taxi for the day, depending on how far you wish to travel runs around $30.00. A full time cook/ housekeeper will run you $65.00 per month. Our Wi-Fi service runs $25.00 per month. We see our Doctor in the office for $2.00 or a house call will run us $4.00. Good medical care is available and medications are less expensive than at Walmart in the USA. I love the variety of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables that are available to us here. Our state Uttarakhand is a non GMO state. We are able to maintain a much healthier lifestyle here. When we first came, my diabetic husband required insulin and oral medication twice a day. He no longer requires insulin and controls his sugar with ¼ of his oral medication. We both lost 35 pounds without effort.