March 6, 2012 § 1 Comment
Remember that time I told you there was going to be an awesome guest post about India last Tuesday? Oops…Wordpress glitched while I was away, technology can be so silly sometimes! Better late than never as they say though.
A great friend of mine by the name of Jessica motivated me to start my own blog, and it was through her that I “met” Jacquelyn. When I discovered I had chosen to style my blog with the same theme she uses, I immediately turned to her for start-up advice + it was that a great decision! I have no doubt I wouldn’t be the blogger I am if it weren’t for her. Not only is she a fellow Torontonian with an impeccable sense of style + a real knack for photography, but she’s an effortlessly welcoming writer + such a nice person. I am absolutely thrilled that she agreed to keep my little corner company. I knew right away I wanted her to share details + photos of the “far-too-short two-week” trip she took with her aunt to India to visit her cousin and his girlfriend in May 2011. So if you’ve ever considered going to India, I suggest you continue reading…
…What cities did you visit?
We flew into Delhi where my cousin and his girlfriend had been living for the better part of six months. After a few days touring Delhi and a quick day trip into Agra, we headed by train to see Rajasthan. We began in Jaisalmer, which is basically the epitome of India. It lies in the center of the Thar desert and is more or less exactly what you would imagine when thinking of India. After a few days in Jaisalmer we headed to Jodhpur (known as the blue city) for a few days. Lastly, we hired a car and driver and drove to Udaipur, making an overnight stop in Ranakpur en route. Udaipur is surrounded by lakes and mountains and is known to be the most romantic city in India. It was by far my favourite leg of the trip.
…What were five favorite highlights from the trip?
1. Definitely seeing the Taj Mahal! Looking back, it doesn’t even feel like it was real. I still can’t believe I was there – in the flesh – to witness it for myself.
2. Our overnight camel trek through the Thar desert. We camped on cots under the stars and awoke to the sunrise with chai in bed (made for us over a fire)
3. Sitting on the roof of our hostel in Jaisalmer surrounded by locals swapping stories and sharing heaping piles of authentic Indian food
4. Ranakpur’s Jain temple. We never had any intention on stopping through Ranakpur en route to Udaipur but after chatting with a number of locals we were told it was a not-to-miss stop. I’m so glad that we listened. Constructed of over 1,444 intricately carved marble columns (each one more impressive than the last), it was, arguably, more impressive than the Taj Mahal itself.
5. Settling down along a bank in Udaipur to watch the sunset only to realize we were sitting directly under a tree filled with bats (thousands of them). As the sun began to set they all slowly emerged, sweeping over the waterfront. It was the most beautiful and eerie thing I’ve ever seen.
…What surprised you the most about India?
The kindness we experienced from people who had nothing but were willing to help us any way that they could (and no, they were not always looking for a rupee or two). It was inspiring and amazing and I think us North Americans could learn a heck of a lot from them. I had to resist the urge to scoop everyone up and tell them how wonderful they all are. It’s a beautiful place filled with incredible people whose pride in their country is unwavering (and rightfully so).
…If you could go back tomorrow what would you do that you didn’t get the chance to do?
The thing that most people don’t realize is the immensity of what India has to offer. To the north you have mountains and forests, to the south you have beaches and palm trees while in the centre lays deserted lands. Seeing as I was only there for two weeks, I naturally only experienced a teeny iota of what it has to offer. I’d love to go back and see what the rest is like. There are a few things on my Indian bucket-list: paraglide through the mountains, attend a yoga retreat, go to Delhi during the Holi festival and visit the Ganges in Varanasi (the holiest place in India) to name a few.
…Why should travellers visit India?
India is an eye-opening experience, to say the least. It gives you an appreciation for how fortunate we are and it really does put life into perspective. It makes you realize what’s important and what, honestly and truly, you need to just let go of. While at times you’d find yourself frustrated, dirty, exhausted and ready to throw in the towel, you’d turn a corner and spot something so unbelievably spectacular (like a fort from the 16th century, or a palace from the 15th…) and remember how fortunate you are to experience such beauty.