Amongst the Maharajahs trip report by Christina Zanvettor
India has always been one of my ‘must do’ destinations and I couldn’t wait to get there and see what this crazy place was all about. Well, crazy is just one of the words to describe it - intense, overwhelming, dusty, smelly, noisy, colorful, passionate and extreme are amongst the others. I have had lots of Asian friends in the past and got really close to their way of life and culture so my approach was quite relaxed after all, I knew what to expect and I wasn't disappointed, but for the less patient and unexperienced traveller this country could really be a huge shock!
I arrived into Delhi at night. The roads were jammed with all sorts, rusty cars, smoky tuk tuks, skinny cows, tired-looking rickshaws and more. I was sitting at the front next to the driver, hanging half off the side and had a great laugh trying to swerve all those obstacles in our way. It was like playing a mad video game!
We then headed to Jaipur which was amazing, very vibrant, very hot, very pink and definitely very desert-like. We went sightseeing to the Water Palace, the Tiger Fort, the Amber Fort and the surrounding area of Jaipur. Rajasthani people were really friendly and I loved the traditional red clothing and the huge amount of gold decoration they worn. In the evening we visited a nomad village on the outskirts of town by the edge of the desert and had a beautiful meal sitting in the tents amongst cushions and pipes.
We caught the train to Agra. It was about 2 –3 hrs journey, with comfy padded seats, refreshments and papers available and stunning green scenery with rustic villages scattered outside the window, such a different India! As we approached Agra I started getting very anxious about the fact that I was almost about to see my favourite piece of architecture in the world… the Taj! Armed with two sets of cameras, and pen and paper for my thoughts, I walked through the gates and the clear beauty of the Taj Mahal was unveiled. I must have spent at least four hrs just staring at the darn thing, it was so gigantic and amazing. We walked inside and all the way around it and took million of photos - of people too, especially children and women so bright and colourful in their saris, a true celebration of sparkles reflecting on the white polished marble. A photographer’s dream altogether.
After a mad shopping spree, excellent especially for leather goods, we finally headed back to Delhi where our fantastic adventure terminated.
I can only be amazed by all I’ve seen. India definitely touches your heart and soul. You cannot avoid being affected in one way or another. India is really, as they say,‘an assault to all your senses’.
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