A photographer wannabe goes on quite a touristy trip through Rajastan, checking out Taj Mahal, Jaipur, Pushkar, Udaipur and Varanasi; but ends the journey sneaking off to the more unexplored region of Gujarat.
As the hopeless photo freak I am I’ve been dreaming of going to India for at least 20 years. I’ve read the books, watched the movies and even tortured my friends and family making them home-cooked curries with shifting results.
After the first 5 days of the trip hubby and I already started planning the next one so I don’t even know where to start explaining the crush I have on India.
Oh wait, I’ll give you the written snapshots as well as the photographic ones…
So here is the list of my absolute favorites from 3 weeks around Varanasi, Agra, Jaipur, Pushkar, Udaipur and the North of Gujarat:
The curious, beautiful, kind and helpful people everywhere, having breakfast sprinkled with chilies every morning, hanging out with the monkeys in the monkey temple in Jaipur, the street food, feeding the fish with a newfound friend by the Pichola lake in Udaipur, the colors, a road trip through the North of Gujarat complete with gate-crashing of a wedding celebration and some very embarrassing efforts to Bollywood dancing or Meenu’s banana curry at Queens Cafe in Udaipur.
And I can’t express the ego boost of constantly feeling like a pop star with people asking to take pictures with me because of my lettuce-colored appearance!
Other highlights were getting 5 kinds of pickle with a cauliflower curry in Pinch of Spice in Agra, the long train rides with a catwalk of food wallas constantly passing through the aisle with delicious treats and chai chai chai, or the misty tranquility of Mother Ganga in a purple rowing boat at the crack of dawn.
Of course, I cannot forget the curious questions everywhere you go, having breakfast in a roundabout in Gujarat with the best spinach pakoras I’ve tried, idly, onion and massive amounts of green sautéed chilies, or the fun you can have with a digital camera and people even if you don’t speak the same language!
More incredible snapshots were: the goats wearing jumpers, the elephants painted in bright colors, friendly dogs, adorable puppies, the monkeys everywhere and of course the fascinating eco systems of the cows (cow eats organic garbage from the streets – streets get cleaner – the cow dung is dried and used for heating – poor people milk the cow and get milk for cheese and chai masala).
I also won’t forget having a lassi in the Blue Lassi shop in Varanasi and watch the marigold covered cremation conveys pass by through the narrow streets towards the Manikarnika Ghat, little Gujarati villages with happy and curious people, and the food.
Did I mention the food?
Before we even got on the air-conditioned plane back home we started dreaming about our next adventure in India. How we would love to spend more time in Gujarat, this unexplored region South of Rajastan where the current president Narendra Modi is from.
I would love to explore the Kutch villages with their peculiarly designed homes, the salt desert with pink flamingoes, not to mention the wild ass sanctuary in the middle of it all and beautiful beaches in the South. Or what about Kerala backwaters, Jodhpur or Andaman Islands. Just put the name in Google Images and start dreaming!