This morning, I am inspired by the chilly morning sunshine in Las Vegas. As I set off to post November’s travel photo of the month (POTM), my thoughts went back to another lovely morning–albeit not so cold–in India. I was traveling between Delhi and Agra to see the famous Taj Mahal, and I couldn’t keep my eyes off of the scenery we were passing. Women were carrying water containers on their head, and men were gathered at local stands, presumably buying cigarettes or daily necessities. As my driver sped through village after village, the quiet scene captured in the POTM really made an impression upon me–the calm in the midst of a hectic morning.
I hope the serenity this 2012 photo offers you the same peace it does for me today. I wish all of my readers a wonderful week and a peaceful remainder of the year.
Although I’ve had the pleasure of journeying to India before (you can read about my trip to Delhi here), I was thrilled to go on a business trip to Bangalore last month. Part of my excitement was visiting the tech hub of India, and after my previous visit to “Incredible India!”, I wanted to experience more. The similarities: the hustle and bustle of daily life, the kindness of the people I encountered, and the incredibly delish cuisine. Speaking of cuisine, I enjoyed some of my favorites–masala, paneer, dosas!–multiple times throughout the visit. I also learned to love Indian tea.
With a packed agenda of meetings and not much time to see the city after it took nearly two days for me to arrive, I hired a driver to take me into the city center on a Sunday afternoon. I visited the quaint Bangalore Palace, which had guided tours and quite a bit of history to learn about the families that lived there in the past. (Note: if you are vehemently against the shooting and displaying of wild game, I’d skip it.) My driver also took me to Shiva Temple, and he was kind enough to tour it with me to explain some of the Hindu traditions. It was there that I took the majority of my photos in Bengaluru, and it–along with some religious history from a kind colleague–I got the best picture of local worship.
Worship Strings at Shiva Temple
Colorful Ceiling at Bangalore Palace
Candles at Shiva Temple
Sunday Evening Drive
The majority of the week was spent in cars going to and fro my hotel–the swanky Zuri Whitefield–and the many meetings I had. The negative side of the Zuri: I did take the opportunity to go to the hotel’s spa (where the masseuse asked me if I ever exercised…I cringed); and the positive:the kind waiters tried to show me which foods were spicy. The one late afternoon I had off, I got to explore a local mall and try on some fabulous clothes at Biba, where I bought a really pretty shirt.
The main difference between this trip and my 2011 trip to India was sadly time: I did not have near enough of it to explore as I would have hoped.
Ever since I got henna’ed and wore a sari to celebrate my friend Farah, I’ve been fascinated with culture of the Indian subcontinent. Sprinkle in some music from the Panjabi MCs and Bollywood films, and I’m hooked. Being in India—and experiencing this culture of juxtaposition—was incredible. Delhi…both old and new parts…is metropolitan and historic, with cars honking and bikes and rickshaws driving in every which way, people (and animals like wild boars, Brahma cows, and monkeys) everywhere, and seeing absolutely every walk of life out and about.
I was in New Delhi over a weekend in 2011, in between meetings in Australia and India. Saturday, I saw most of old and new Delhi, including Gandhi’s tomb, the Jama Masjid, and the India Gate. If you are traveling in Delhi by yourself, I highly recommend hiring a private tour guide and driver, as I was able to personalize what I saw. Another tip? I put my blonde hair into a cap, and I was not approached by anyone. (The next day at the Taj Mahal in Agra, I wore it loose, and one would have thought that I was a Disney character to pose with for pictures!) I’m so proud of the fact that I went for it alone…touring and meeting new friends while visiting.
Gate of Rashtrapati Bhavan, Home of the President of India
Birds at Jama Masjid
Delhi Street Scene
Raj Ghat, Gandhi’s Memorial
Lakshmi Narayan Temple
I greatly enjoyed my time in this exciting, colorful country. India’s government has come up with the advertising slogan Incredible India!, which I find to be very much the case. The people were kind and happy, the contrast between the British-designed New Delhi and the older parts of the city were fascinating, and the delicious meals that I ventured out and tried for the first time made this a must-visit place. Incredible India, indeed!