Guess I Haven’t Lived

Just as advertised, India is incredible. The poverty is extreme, hawkers will test you patience, and the health of your stomach is always on your mind. In a country this geographically and culturally huge, as Shibu told me “you can’t see India in ten days.” But in ten days you can see a lot. In that time we toured an ancient Jain temple in a hidden Old Delhi alley, looked out on beautiful sprawling Moghul mosques and architecture, visited the Sikh’s sublime Golden Temple, ascended the Buddhist ghompa at the residence of Dalai Lama, and hiked up to Hindu temples perched on ridges overlooking rivers, rolling green hills, some of the highest peaks on earth. One day we were strolling through the chaotic markets of Old Dehli looking down on busy wallahs of all sorts. A couple of trains later we were rolling through fertile farmland and soon we were basking on the beaches of the banks of the Ghanges in Rishikesh watching beautiful Hindu arti ceremonies and hiking through terraced wheat fields and swimming beneath waterfalls.It’s not the easiest place to travel and we met a few young travelers that were overwhelmed and a few old ones that were totally bitter- I heard one lady fully outfitted in high performance gear on the train to Agra say with a London accent “this is fucking awful,” in complete disgust. She was minutes away from visiting one of the Seven Wonders of the World. So if you plan to go look into what you’re getting into. That being said planning doesn’t always work out. We actually completely changed our itinerary the day after we arrived in Delhi. We were looking to travel east through Bihar, Varanasi, the hill stations of Darjeeling, and ending up Sikkim which is that little nub in Northeast India above Bangladesh and sandwiched between Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan. We called about getting a permit to go Sikkim and were informed that violent strikes had been going on for about a week and that it would be next to impossible to get transport in and around Darjeeling. So we opted to do go North looping up through the states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh,  and down through Punjab along the border with Pakistan. It turned out to a be a great route.

Old Dehli