Three years ago, my sister and I embarked on one of my favourite journeys to date. Destination: India.
For three weeks, we traipsed around Delhi, Agra and the cities of Rajasthan.
Known as The Land of Kings, Rajasthan was an absolute playground for this history nerd. The royal state is a landscape of mostly desert and some jungle, and is covered in fortresses, palaces and ruins waiting to be explored.
Visiting ancient sites and learning of the area’s history and faith was fascinating. Meeting amazing people and feasting on delicious food each day was the icing on the cake.
Now I’m in the midst of planning a new Sister Getaway when she visits the USA in spring, I can’t help but reminisce about our last adventure together and the lasting impression India has had on me.
While I’m yet to delve into the India Archives on this blog (hopefully I will get the time soon), I wanted to share some of my favourite photos from the trip. Not necessarily the best composed or highest quality snaps; these are the photos I look back on most fondly, that strike a memory about an experience or people I met on the road.
The Chaos and the Calm
My time in India is best represented as a complete juxtaposition. Moments of total chaos proceeded by a spell of total serenity and calmness.
The chaos in and around Chandni Chowk, one of Delhi’s largest and busiest markets.
The calm: opium poppy fields in the countryside, and by the ghats in the holy city of Pushkar.
As other travellers can no doubt attest, being a foreigner in India means you will attract the attention of others very easily. It’s a small taste of what celebrities must feel like around Hollywood paparazzi.
A novelty at first, Hailee and I quickly found ourselves trying to be as discreet as possible when visiting different tourist sites, hoping to go unnoticed so we could appreciate our surroundings rather than pose for photos. While there were a few awkward or unfriendly moments, most of the time it was great fun and an awesome opportunity to meet India’s domestic travellers.
We talked to families from all over the country, took photos with their babies and young children. A few times, we even asked for a photo back! Here’s one from Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi.
The Taj Mahal
We spent an afternoon among the crowds at the Taj, and I’m not sure how I managed to snap a photo without anyone else in the foreground.
But I think I love this one even more.
I pretty much experienced every mode of transport possible while in India: from motorised to the four-legged kind. Some were definitely more comfortable than others!
A six hour train journey through Rajasthan…
A camel safari in the Thar Desert…
Bicycle rickshaw in Jaipur…
An afternoon of horse riding in countryside near Bijaipur…
Before landing in Delhi I knew little of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, but the few hours I got to spend walking around it was undoubtedly my favourite time in Delhi. The minar itself was built in 1193AD and stands at 73m tall. The complex also holds the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, the first mosque to be built in India.
The people of Madhogarh village
An afternoon without planned activities became my favourite of the trip. It seemed as though half the village came out to see us, say hello, or offer chai. The children were all so eager to get their photos taken, and their faces lit up when they looked back at the images. Such a joy!
Charmed by smaller cities
While the big cities like Delhi and Jaipur offer plenty of historical and cultural attractions, I really enjoyed my time exploring the smaller cities and towns of Rajasthan. I found myself more relaxed, less distracted, and more able to appreciate my surroundings.
The view of a very blue Bundi from Garh Palace…
From the streets of Bundi: a man waiting for the dentist, and sassy cows.
Pushkar Lake: the views clearly impressed everyone!
This backpacking adventure was not only a great bonding session for Hailee and I – we also met some incredible women on the road. Social workers, teachers, scientists and writers, all tackling it together.
There’s just something awesome about reflections. Captured here is the Amber Fort in Jaipur and Lake Pichola, Udaipur.
This trip through Rajasthan only scratched the surface of a magnificent country. Without a doubt, I’ll be back.
What was your favourite of the India in Photos series? Have you travelled to India and loved your experience as much as I did? Tell me about it!
India in photos
India in photos