India. Incredible India. Where do I start?
The chance to plan a first ever trip to India came about when my friend Michele received an invitation to attend a traditional Indian wedding in New Delhi, December 2013. It was a three-day affair set in the heart of the city. Jumping at the chance, I joined Michele for the event and we decided to extend the holiday to travel some parts of the country before heading to the wedding.
There is so much to say about what I saw – I don’t know where to start. India for me was an enticement of all the senses, it was a feast for the eyes. Wherever you looked there was someone doing something you didn’t expect. I found it to be like a Western country folded inside out – whatever we might do indoors, in India they do it on the streets. Whether eating, cooking, getting a haircut, playing cards, making jewellery, even sleeping, (or going to the toilet..!!) you see it all around.
It was crazy, we didn’t know where to look next.
What is also beautiful about the country, and what makes it just so interesting, is its diversity. A place laced with layers and layers of history, from the Moghuls to the British, everywhere you went you found a little bit of the past that added something else to the already existing chaos. The colonial architecture mixed with creations dating back to the Persian empire. A sea of slums set on the back drop of the Taj Mahal… And then there was also this great sense of pride; a country of many faiths, all walks of life, you see them proud of what they have and where they come from.
Evidently things aren’t as simple as a ‘beautiful chaos’. The underlying issues faced there are not only crystal clear, but are more importantly never-ending. The overpopulation, the poverty, the rubbish… the list goes on. This explosion of people has left places dotted with waste and surrounded by an air of ignorance; with only 2% paying tax what can you expect to be done. Nevertheless, regardless of all these problems, it is still such a unique place, it should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list to visit.
We made the trip of the Golden Triangle, NEW DELHI – JAIPUR – AGRA, which we found perfect for five days. Jaipur and Delhi, we felt, were worth at least 1-2 days (obviously you can do far more in Delhi which is huge), while Agra is fine for just a day. Other than the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort, there isn’t much else worth seeing. Also, keep in mind that the Taj Mahal definitely has to be done at sunrise, not only for incredible photo opportunities, but also because after around 11am onwards it becomes rammed with people.
There is so much to say about it all, that I’ll save more in-depth descriptions about the places for the next post. Of course, the whole trip was a photo-paradise, so I’ve had to split those up into groups as well! The three posts will be: The Place, The People and The Wedding.
Today, I’ll be sharing my pictures of India, the place.
To find out the sights we visited, see below:
In New Delhi: Qutb Minar, the Red Fort, India Gate and Akshardham
(although we couldn’t take photos in Akshardham, it was my favourite temple!)
In Jaipur: The Amber Fort, Hawa Mahal (stunning), Jantar Mantar and Jal Mahal
In Agra: The Taj Mahal and Agra Fort (It’s worth getting a tour guide here)