Saturday, 30 July 2011

A Snapshot of...India

I spent over three months in this great land.  For all its beauty it had ugliness to match, but still I love you India. Why? because you gave me what I needed, not what I wanted. 
Anyone who goes to India without seeing the Taj Mahal must have a screw loose in my opinion. It is one of those building that no matter how many are in the crowds, how many photos you've seen, seeing it in the flesh (or stone) just doesn't compare.  In that first glimpse, it doesn't look real, its so beautiful and worth the hype.
Tip: Get there at sunrise and if there is a cue for inside, don't bother, its pretty gutted.

Those God damn monkeys!  First few times you see them there's excitement, finger pointing "ow, ow monkey!" (yeah you can tell I'm one of those travellers who's way cool and doesn't have tourist stamped on their forehead). But monkeys are crafty, vicious and work together. Monkey muggings are common. You laugh, but I've seen it.  My friend's paper bag was ripped open by a gang of roughens, and her muffin snapped away.  No flash photography either, these guys are big and aggressive.

There is nothing that screams India's patriotic side and its fierce rivalry with Pakistan more than the Border closing ceremony at Wagah.  Everyday thousands watch, dance and wave flags around as military move around like their in a kung foo movie.

People work hard in India, pushing their bodies to the limit.  In Shimla, where its winding streets make it impossible for large vehicles to move about, men like this get work moving ridiculously large objects from A to B.
The further north you go, India's Buddhist side comes to life.  In McLeod Ganj, home to Tibet's government in exile and its Dalai lama, its out in force.  Only an hour and a half bus ride from where my volunteer project was, I spent quite a few weekends here, relaxing in the cafes, having a massage, hiking, shopping.  A tourist haven that I loved.

Sunset on the Ganges, Rishikesh.

 My night trip (obviously I visited again in daylight for this pic) to the Golden Temple, in Amritsar was one of the most memorable experiences. Separated from my friends, I met so many pilgrims who were really great, explaining Sikh religious customs to me.  While the Taj Mahal is a fantastic tomb, this place is very much alive.

Waterfall at Vashist.

Stray dogs will keep you company while trekking up the Himalayan mountains. Be careful near the edge as they have been known to push past people and accidentally knock them off.

The rickshaw rider.  I only used this type of transport twice and felt so guilty. The poor guys have to work stupidly hard for such a small amount of money.

I just wanted to add that the grey monkeys were actually really chilled out and cool. Nothing like the mental brown ones. I wouldn't want them to get a bad rep.


Jill said...

I loved looking at these photos. It looks like you saw a wide range of India... much more than I saw on my two day trip!

Dusty Soles said...

Two days! Lady get yourself back there if you can. There's so much to see!!!!!

Kate Weber said...

I'm so jealous that you have seen all of these things and I haven't! Beautiful photos! It just increases my desire to see these places someday! Great post!

I'm stopping by from FTLOB! Great blog!

Kristin Noelle said...

The Taj Mahal looks breath taking in that picture let alone! I can't imagine what it is like in person. You look like you're having the time of your life! Kudos to you.

Kristin Noelle :)

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