I’ve heard many great things about India from my colleagues and my students. In the U.S. as well as here in the Dubai, there is a huge Indian population. Indian women are easily noticeable with their long beautiful black hair, smooth brown complications, colorful and crafty attire. I’ve met some Indians who can speak up to three different languages, are great mathematicians and love discussing U.S. History. Like most inquiring minds, I was even curious about the poor communities in India after watching Slumdog Millionaire. I quickly learned that the best way to seek true knowledge is to go out and get it yourself, so I decided to take a tour around the northern parts of India. After taking up the amazing artistry of the cooper designs when I walked through the airport, I looked forward to the journey ahead.
I traveled five cities in seven days, with my first trip taking me through the streets of New Delhi. New Delhi is the capital of India and an ancient city steeped in history.
I was able to take a bike ride through the streets of a New Delhi market, where I witness a political protest take place, it was entertaining. I also noticed that most of the transporters travel on either bicycles or motorbikes, commuting was interesting.
Next I went to visit the calm and peaceful Raj Ghat, the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation and a staunch believer of non-violence.
I visited the huge Red Fort, a place that was once the seat of power from Shah Jahan to Bahadur Shah Jafar’s rule. Now’s it the place from where the Indian Prime Minister unfurls the national flag on every Independence Day. This place is exquisite, carved in marble and decorated with silver and gold embellishments.
In a country, with a population of 2 million, I even ran into my bosses on vacation, they enjoyed the Red Fort as well.
As I continued on, I stopped briefly and snap pictures in front of the home of India’s President, Pranab Mukheree. Directly across the street was the All India War Memorial, an arch commemorating the soldiers who died in World War I.
An eternal flame dedicated to the unknown soldiers burns underneath the arch.
To finish off my tour, I visited the Qutb Minar, a victory tower of the first Islamic dynasty. The five story Qutb Minar in red sandstone is decorated with geometric designs and koranic verses.
Next, it was a five hour country drive alone the countryside to an old and ancient city named Mandawa.
The city of Mandawa is known for it’s historic beautifully crafted Havelis. A large castle that was constructed to house up to five generations of family members. The castles all have an Mandawa, a well adorned gate inside a Haveli and beautifully painted side walls. It’s a city that comes awake at dawn and began settles down by late afternoon, due to fact that there is no universal electrical system in place to date. What was wonderful about my experience here, was the opportunity to visit an traditional Haveli, go into the village to meet the locals, meet my cook who could have passed for a belly dancer and spent a night in a beautifully restored Haveli.
My final stop on my journey was to Agra, a city that nestled the country greatest treasure, the Taj Mahal. Known as one of the “New 7 wonders of the World”, the Taj appear soft and dreamlike in its breathtaking splendor. It is believed that nearly 20, 000 workers consisting of laborers, carpenters, craftsmen, artists and engineers worked incessantly for almost 22 years to bring this project to a fine fruition.
I must admit my trip to India was well beyond anything that I could have imagine, in fact it was beyonder (no, of course it’s not a word). My camera died each time I wanted to take shots of my entrees, but the food was amazing and VERY SPICY! For all my future global travelers, place India on your list of places to visit for it’s very rich cultural traditions and glorious city, it a place unlike many. Namaste!