Of the gladdest moments, methinks in human life, is the departing upon a distant journey into unknown lands…
-- Richard F. Burton

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13 November 2010

It's been so long

India Gate: Delhi..who needs the Tour Eiffel?!

I know, I know. I haven't written in forever. But I thought I'd wait to compile my thoughts after 10 days of non-stop, stimulating, stretching, and life-changing experiences. I still cannot compartmentalize all that happened over my week of Diwali, nor can the 1000 photographs I took describe what I saw--or how I felt.
Atka's cousin designs for Free People--hence it looked like Urban Outfitters
I went to so many places. I was lucky enough to stay with Indian families through my friend Atka. A window into Indian family life gave me incredible perspective on my own culture and personal development. The phase "as guest you are God" was taken to a whole new level. I was showered with love, generosity, and welcomed into the homes of 4 different families over the week. Needless to say, I was also exposed to a side of India I was unfamiliar with: the wealthy. I was impressed by the gratitude people felt for having achieved their status; many of those I stayed with were self-made and made smart choices in property investment or worked themselves into steady incomes. But....I got to be driven in the Audi A4 2010, a Benz here and there, be served decadent food at all hours by servants, and was pampered with a cockroach free, A/C (!!!), western-pillowed, gorgeous room in every place I stayed. I sort of felt like a princess, especially after staying in an old palace turned apartment at Hotel Arya Niwas in Jaipur.

So I saw (I'm counting the train ride through Haryana) these Indian States (more land than I've seen in the US):
Maharastra-->Delhi-->Uttar Pradesh-->Haryana-->Chandigarh-->Punjab-->Rajasthan
Delhi traffic and some curious eyes

I took 5 flights in 10 days. Airport security(or lack thereof in some cases--my Sikh daggers from Amritsar slipped through carry-on) deserves a post in itself.

I was exposed to several religions, just in this week.
Hinduism obvi(it was Diwali!!!)
the beautiful place for puja in the Chandigarh house

Sikhism-Golden Temple (Amritsar)
Golden Temple--note head scarfs (and souvenirs!)

Ba'hai-Lotus Temple(Delhi)

Islam-Qutb Minar (Delhi)

           Akbar's Tomb (Agra)
intricate!! made the Taj look simplistic.

I'll just add some more photos...and you can view the rest on my facebook albums

Our trip began by meeting Bollywood actor Shiney Ahuja at the Mumbai airport

...I am swamped with slum interviews and papers! (topics include India and Globalization, the Impact of GM Foods on India's Development, IndoPak Relations in light of Obama's visit, the Role of Pune's Infrastructure in Public Health....) School goes until December 11th, so it's starting to be crunch time!
Chandigarh's Rock Garden
to Amber Fort (Jaipur), we go!

stunning views from the Amber fort
could stay forever

these are the best pants ever

Lake Palace, Jaipur
running out of money in Jaipur

gorgeous saris in Jaipur
snacking in Chandigarh--jalabies and chaat

too bad I missed him in Mumbai--he flew to Delhi (we were there 3 days before)

Atka and her cousin at the Taj

filing in!

Sarah and I show off our leg room and her broken suitcase on the train home

Thanks for viewing....the links follow for more photos! Perhaps I'll have more time to reflect once this rush of academic work is thru!

Delhi and Agra
Chandigarh and Amritsar

1 comment:

  1. Hey, I am coming for the same program next semester and was wondering if I could ask you a few questions about what to bring and stuff like that so pls let me know if you can help me thanks. My email id is saverik@gamil.com.