First, of all I cannot even tell you how AMAZING the Taj Mahal was. It honestly was the only building I have ever seen in my life that has made me gawk with my mouth open. Erin and I were getting emotional about it, which is just funny to me now, but in the moment it was so overwhelming. Everything about that visit was beautiful, the building, the weather, the grounds, the mosques next to it. So, so wonderful. You HAVE to put that on your bucket list in life (I will gladly go with you). I spent an hour there and I was so focused on it that I did not notice the time passing or the 1000s of people around me. The detail of that building is so incredible and if you really want to know the specifics of how they made it I can tell you but it would take too long to describe. Just imagine 17 years of 100s of workers hand-carving marble pieces and gemstones and gluing them together and you've got a pretty good idea.
The rest of the trip was fabulous too. I went with our good friend Benson Massey who has worked with RisingStar Outreach before and has a travel company up North. It was so much fun! So if you guys are planning a trip to India, he's your guy (Abish Travels).
We went to beautiful palaces and forts in Jaipur and visited an elephant village- yes, a village of 120 elephants and adorable children. Erin and I visited the place with Benson just so he could show us what things he was planning for future groups and I demanded we go too. We got to ride one, named Chanchel, and paint our names on her later. The best part of the visit was climbing the elephant by his trunk and then ungracefully getting down- it's a lot harder than it looks! I will warn you though, while riding the elephant our driver who was probably my age told us to hop down and ride on the elephant head so we could get an idea of what it felt like driving one... I'm pretty sure he just wanted an American girl right up on him because that's basically what happened. I sat down and then he scooted backwards; I got the wonderful opportunity to sit snug against a professional elephant trainer for a whole 10 minutes. That never would have happened down south, some old lady would have smacked him. People, I'm living the life. Also, enjoy this video... it captures a lot of my experience here. 1. Snug against Indian man on elephant. 2. Cute ragged children everywhere. 3. Anita (Anitha) is an Indian name and that makes them really excited so I hear my name a lot because they actually remember it.
|Imagine seeing an elephant trunk waving outside of a window.... This is baby elephant. She's all sorts of trouble.|
|I got to paint my name on Chanchel after I climbed her face.|
|I don't remember this one's name but she sure liked the sugar cane I gave her.|
|I know this is blurry but it captured the moment. Baby elephant tore my flower necklace because I didn't give it to her. She then threw it over her shoulder as I scolded her... THEN she looked sad. Elephants and human children aren't that different.|
We went to a spice market in old Delhi and I was coughing, more like choking, up a lung. The spices are suspended in the air and it's like throwing tear gas into a crowded market. Everyone was covering their faces as we walked by... I should have followed their examples. I had a hoarse voice for the rest of the night. The rickshaw ride was also something I will never forget. Imagine (again) a bike with a cart on the back of it, carrying two people, and then riding it through markets with streets big enough for 3 people to walk side-by-side and then having a population of 20 million + in the city. I do not know how my driver got through that without harming someone or me. I wont even talk about driving through the streets... I had to shut my eyes. I can't write in detail everything we did because it would take me too long to write and you would probably stop reading right about here so I won't kill you. It was great and I'll tell you stories when I get home. But Delhi was so fun.
|Roof of the spice market.|
I've been here three months! I'm sad that I only have a few more weeks left. The time is going so fast! But I'm really excited to finish school and finally graduate so it's not as sad of a farewell as it could be. Well, here are some more photos so enjoy!
|Jaipur: I wouldn't have minded living here. Especially if I had personal maids to carry me and my 20KG worth of jewels around the palace. These people had to have been fat...|
|Some pretty paintings that were were made with crushed gem-stones.|
|Floor of the baby Taj Mahal. Erin and I enjoyed our bare-foot walk around the mini palace.|
|Monument dedicated to the Indians who lost their lives in the World Wars... I must have been asleep during that part in my World History class.|
|One of the many disgusting monkeys I live with daily.|
|Delhi's roof tops.|
|Inlay art at the Taj Mahal... so incredible. The orange glows when you put a flash light to it.|
|All of that is hand carved inlaid art... 17 years, people.|
|Imagine walking through the desert between Jaipur and Agra and stumbling upon this old well from the 9th century. It was ENORMOUS and literally in the middle of no where.|
ALSO, that was the closest I'll ever get to Pakistan. :)