Adventure Travel Blogging

Trains, Travails and the Taj

There was an air of tension and excitement as the light of day was fading…would we make it in time to see the Taj Mahal at the end of the day after our long, unexpected 24 hour India adventure ? It all started in Varanasi after we finished concluded our sunrise boat excursion on the Ganges River. After free time we visited Sarnath in the afternoon where Buddha came to preach his message after reaching nirvana. Today, Sarnath is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists from around the world; we encountered groups of religious travelers from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand chanting, burning incense and making the five obligatory circumnavigations around the huge stupa with prayer beads in hand. Then it was off to enjoy dinner at Sanjay’s family home before boarding the overnight train to Agra to see the Taj. Our travails started when we couldn’t find the smaller...
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1467 Hits

A Wild Anniversary Party - Only in Incredible India

Celebrating our wedding anniversary on Valentine's Day always requires advance planning, but this year I was organizing the big event a year in advance with the help of our friends in far away India    .    I kept it a secret from Anne and all the members of our group until the day before when I took everyone to a textile shop in Jaipur where all the men were fitted with white linen Indian pajama outfits, and all the women were given a sari. I picked out a dressy black kurta for myself and one of the hotel staff topped it off with a local turban. For Anne, I had measured her in her sleep months before and sent her dimensions to a tailor in India and had an orange wedding dress made for her.    As the sun set behind our Samode Palace hotel two women arrived to painted henna...
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Varanasi: "Blindingly colorful and unrelentingly chaotic"

  Let me start with the most visceral sight on my first visit to Varanasi: While floating on a boat down the mother Ganga River in the early light of dawn, in the smoky haze of fire and smoke from funeral pyres on shore, a dog was chewing on the bone of a human skull. What life did this skull contain? Who was the person among the masses of Hindus who come here, one of the holist places in India, to be cremated or otherwise to wash away their sins? Perhaps he was the Indian army soldier who fought in the Bangladesh war who came here seeking penance and reparation for those he had killed in his life. Did he come here, like thousands upon thousands of refugees we saw searching for peace of mind? The streets, river banks and funeral ghats are crowded with pilgrims from all over the world...
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3322 Hits

Delhi

  To the uninitiated travelers in our group, and even to the initiated like me, Delhi is, as described by travelers in our group "Not even organized chaos" and "New York City on crack!" We hit the main historic landmarks but took in much more of daily life in this vast city. We rode rickshaws into the Chadni Chowk market of old Delhi and took time to walk amongst the chaotic surface streets of horns and hollering in this south Asia hootenany of earthen oders and spicey scents. But then we descended into a modern underworld three stories down to ride the modern subway to the other side of town in one of the most comfortable and quiet subways I've ever ridden. Our introduction to India this day was a really classic example of old India and modern developed India at the heart of this nation of 1.2 billion people. Adding to the complexity of life here there...
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