Dick & Cyndy take a trip to India, April 2010
This trip to India focused on what is called
the Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra, & Jaipur).
Before seeing the pictures, a few notes:
1) We booked our tour through Gate 1 Travel. Good idea on our part.
Gate 1 consistently makes travel in places like India & Egypt a lot easier.
Yes, one can do it on their own; but, it is not advisable due to logistics issues and cost effectivity.
2) If you are considering driving there, don't. A "good"
driver there needs a combination of having unlimited patience,
being somewhat of a sociopath, and possessing nerves of steel.
As an example, a divided highway (think a small, narrow 4-lane I-95) seems to be
divided only as a mild suggestion - frequently, vehicles travel
in both directions on each side of the highway.
3) India is a poor country compared to the US. There are attempts
underway to modernize. New construction on roadways, etc., are
evident all over; but, there seems to be little enhancement
to living conditions.
4) The people are extremely friendly and courteous. The vendors
that hang out at the sites of antiquity are about the same as
one would find in Egypt, for example, but are much less aggressive.
5) English is almost a national language. There is no worry re: "communicating" locally. Currently, the country has
has a 68% literacy rate. However, a new government 10 year initiative will cure this.
6) We were warned (a lot) to expect lots of dirt, squalor, and offending odors on our trip.
While there is significant squalor in the living conditions, we did NOT notice any offending odors anywhere
and the people, even the beggars, all appeared to be "fresh & clean".
7) The recent volcano in Iceland turned out to benefit us. Because of it only 9 people showed up for the tour.
8) It's hot in India this time of year - but, low humidity.
On a strange, unexplainable note, due to (partially) this part of India being at high latitude (about the same as DC), I never got sunburned.
The "lowest" high was 105 degrees. For the hottest day, see the below picture:
This is our tour guide, "Taj". He did an outstanding job.
In and around Delhi (both old and new)
This is our first hotel. It's in New Delhi. Very nice - a notch above your standard Marriott.
A Hindu Temple in Delhi. If you are curious, there are
some 33,000,000 (not a typo) Hindu Gods.
This is dedicated to Mahatma Ghandi. He is leading the procession.
The next few photos are from around Delhi.
The traffic throughout India is fearsome.
While in Delhi there was an impromtu, peaceful demonstration of several hundred thousand people. We got stuck in the middle of it all.
A typical marketplace in the city.
Cyndy likes Coke signs from all over the world.
More scenes around Delhi.
We visit a Mosque.
Without fail the children are all beautiful and eager to try out their English.
Cyndy (center in green) at the Mosque.
More "shopping" places.
A boy gets a hair cut. The "friendly" looking guy on the right actually had a good sense of humor.
After taking the picture I waived at him, made a funny face and he gave back a big smile and laughed.
One of many "snake charmers" around the country. Yep, these are real cobras.
The modernistic B'Hai House of Worship meant for all faiths.
The memorial at (and of) Ghandi's cremation location.
We head for Agra and the Taj Mahal.
This is the most spectacular hotel ever!
This picture does not do justice to the room. It is about twice the size of an upscale Marriott.
You can even switch your mattress and/or pillows for differing comfort levels.
"Free Range" animals are everywhere thoughout the country - in the cities and out in the countryside.
- monkeys, water buffalo, cows, bulls, goats, camels, etc.
For me the highlight of the trip was, of course, the Taj Mahal.
(This is a picture of the entire complex)
Cyndy and I at the Taj Mahal.
The entrance gate to the Taj Mahal.
Random pictures from around the site.
The towers look like they are leaning. They are. They were built that way so that in case of an earthquake the towers would fall away from the central building.
Cyndy taking a ceiling shot.
The next 6 pictures (mostly ceiling shots) are of the red buildings on either side of the main building.
After visiting the Taj Mahal we visited a place where artisans
craft marble items with inlays of semi-precious stones just as are found on the Taj mahal.
We visit the Red Fort.
The vastness of these building complexes is amazing.
For example, this "fort" contains 100 palaces.
You can see the Taj Mahal from the Red Fort.
This is a telephoto shot of the Taj Mahal from the Red Fort.
This is called the "Baby Taj".
One of the many beautiful art works on the ceilings of most of the buildings.
Now, we head to Jaipur.
We saw these green parrots almost everywhere we went.
A temple on the way to Jaipur.
It was built and then abandoned due to a nearby lake drying out.
A viewing screen to permit wives to view without being seen. Most of the palaces had these.
The burial place of the ruler's favorite elephant.
The elephant, when alive, was used to crush the sculls of those who failed to please the ruler.
The dark looking spots are actually bee hives.
Back on the road again. I liked the goat - too long in country, I fear.
We make an impromptu visit to a village in the middle of nowhere. Cyndy was a hit.
More shopping opportunities.
We reach Jaipur. This is the view from our hotel. It's a Ramada and our least favorite.
This building is a facade. It was used to, again, allow wives to see without being seen.
This fort is the Amber Fort. Like all the others it is very, very large.
We get to ride elephants up to the top of the fort.
One of the pathways up to the wall that surrounds the fort.
The fort at the top was built to protect the main fort.
I try my hand at snake charming. Yes, the cobra is alive and did try and "strike" me - he missed.
I give block printing the ancient way a try.
The result - No, I'm not giving up my day job, thank you very much.
This is a great looking bronze horse.
We stopped at a hand-made rug "factory". Great stuff at truly bargain prices.
We hit the road again. This little boy did some slight-of-hand tricks for us. He was really very good.
Along the way we stop at the world's largest sun dial (accurate to within 2 seconds per year).
Back on the road again. As you can see, going fast is not a good expectation. Our average speed on the highways was about 26 mph.
Look at the condition of this "student driver" car. I don't want my car here.
The farewell diner with our group before heading back to the USA.