I am back! Finally!!!
And also, I just got back from two weeks in India… the trip I have been planning – ok, wrong word… let’s say: the trip I have been looking forward for the last two years – and it couldn´t have been better (actually it could…because there are still many places to visit, but a second trip is already being planned, and now I mean the word I just tiped!!!).
So, to get this conversation started, let me explain our itinerary:
We have been to the so called golden triangle – Delhi – Agra – Jaipur – plus Dhaka trough Kolkata and Chandigarh.
Dhaka and Chandigarh because of architectural reasons: The National Assembly Hall from Louis Kahn in Dhaka – Bangladesh (1982) and of course Le Corbusier’s City in India (1950´s).
Later posts will follow this one talking only about both buildings and its cities.
Today I would like to give you guys a quick overview of our trip!
First of all, due to the short time, It has been a very good choice four us to get to know India trough the golden triangle cities, which are full of history, different cultural backgrounds, food, citizens and behaviors.
To make a long story short: we have managed to visit 5 different regions of India plus a neighbor country in two weeks so you may see bellow:
PUNJAB – Chandigarh
UTTAR PRADESH – Agra
RAJASTHAN – Jaipur
BENGAL – Kolkata
BANGLADESH – Dhaka
Though time was short our time was used in a very efficient way, and by that I only mean… no time at all to rest! We have managed to move around by train, car airplane and of course tuc tucs and riquixas when moving around inside each city.
THE TOUR BEGGINS:
We have started our visit in Delhi, which was very good choice for our first stop.
Delhi has an interesting mix of old and new India. It is not so rural or spiritual as other locations we have been to, and it does have some elements from the occidental world… very few but the necessary amount for you to start your transition into the Indian reality.
In Delhi people speak good English, specially taxi and tuc tuc drivers, so if you go to Delhi just try out riding tuc tucs and riquixas, you will have lots of fun!
Food in Delhi was amazing, no matter where BUT: We have been to BUKHARA, known as the best typical restaurant in India, and I have to say: There we have had for sure our best dinner in India!
From Dehli we flew to Dhaka trough Kolkata.
Since we had not much time in Kolkata, we decided to hire a driver, and so we managed to visit all buildings in the BBD area, Victoria Memorial and the Pareshnath Jain temple of Kolkata, where we met this lovely old guru, and he provided us some of our sweetest laughs in India, as he said himself: There is only one thing we should all care about in life…happiness!
In Kolkata we tried for the first time Thali food.
Our next stop was Dhaka and it was a chock for me! First thing we did was to visit The National Assembly, but after that… things got really hard when we tried to find someone to drive us around the city, which was very difficult once it was almost impossible to find a driver able to speak English.
The helpful guards on the Assembly helped us with the task and we managed to move to our next stop, the Jantar Mantar (kind of observatory you can find on every city in India as well) and on our way it was kind of clear that unlike India where some humble poverty is all around in Dhaka we were facing something else… an unequal reality where people either drive luxurious cars or beg starving on the sidewalks, and that’s what bothered me the most.
Our second day in Dhaka was better, we hired a driver so getting from one point to the other was not such a drama… but the fake reality was bothering us a lot! Out of that it was funny to notice that people don’t visit Dhaka that often! We were stopped all around and people were asking for photos with us, asking where we came from…
Before heading back to the airport we had biryani food with our driver, the traditional food from the Bengali area.
From Dhaka we flew back to Delhi and caught a train to Agra, and there I found myself again back into the trip I was looking for! We could walk again on the streets!!!
Agra is a touristic city, things are more easygoing and visiting the Taj Mahal is an unique experience.
From Agra we went by car to Jaipur stopping on our way to see Chand Baori, a stepwell situated in the village of Abhaneri and also Fathepur Sikri an old Mughal walled city.
Now in Jaipur we had again a very good time but what must be visited in this area is for sure the Amber Fort, from where you see Jaipur from above, and if you are up to, going up is something you can do by yourself or by riding an elephant.
And the elephants!!! They are the most magnificent thing one could ever experience!!! I am still looking for proper words to express how I was amazed by them!
The street markets in Jaipur were also a must experience!
From Jaipur we flew to Chandigarh and there besides Le Corbusier´s city we had the pleasure to experience Holi!
It was magical, funny, and of course colorful!
From Chandigarh we flew back to Delhi and spent our last day between Chandi Chowk and Kahn Market buying all the gifts and spices we were waiting to buy ever since day one! Then we got back to our hotel, filled our bags with gifts, clothes dirty by dust, sweat or colorful powder from the Holi festival of colors, and of course with our best memories from our two weeks around India and headed back to Delhi Airport to catch our flight!
India was extremely intense! The colors, the flavors, the people…
Many posts should follow this one and even that might be insufficient to explain all we have experienced on this travel.
The time was short but I wouldn’t recommend an even longer trip to India, but many 2 week trips. I think there is far too much information for your body and mind… but that’s maybe only my point of view!
I have to come back soon to talk about each city and the places we vised and the food we ate there!
But I think this introduction is a good start for you all and also my way back to a light delight!
Lots of love,
Some photos are mine but most are a kind courtesy from my favorite photographer, the very talented Jonathan Howell Davies.