A Week In India
I am writing this feeling as if this trip took place many years ago, when really it was just a matter of weeks, but with life and work being a little hectic right now I had almost forgotten about my experiences in India, that is, until someone says ‘How was India?’ and I get to relive it all over again.
The truth is, it was a whirlwind trip. In under a week, we travelled from Delhi to Agra and onwards to Jaipur. And in that time I only caught a glimpse of the cities and what they have to offer. But anyway, here’s a little bit about what I got up to along with some photographs…
Flying into Delhi, it felt amazing to have the sun on my skin after leaving cold London behind. On our first day we visited the Jama Masjid Mosque in Old Delhi, built by the fifth Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan.
What I wasn’t perhaps prepared for was how much I would be photographed or asked for a selfie (Our guide warned us before arriving that white tourists often experience this). I think I appeared in over a hundred photographs in this location alone.
After a 6-hour coach trip we arrived in Agra. And a reoccurring theme of our trip was 5am wake up calls, this was so that we could beat the crowds and actually, I would really recommend it.
The highlight of our trip was seeing the Taj Mahal, and it’s strange because a part of me thought I wouldn’t be as taken aback as it’s such a recognisable monument, but the first time seeing it through the gates with the sun rising was just breathtaking.
The monument to eternal love was created by Emporah Shah Jahan in response to his wife’s dying wish, ‘build a tomb such as the world has never seen before’. We spent our time admiring the inlaid marble with semi precious stones and beautiful mirror pools. We even hired a photographer to take some cheesy photos of us. They came out awful but the memories are priceless!
Later in the day we went across the river to Itimad-ud-Daulah, known affectionately as ‘Baby Taj’. This was a much more peaceful experience, with the tomb made of the same inlaid marble at the Taj.
As the day was heating up we explored the 16th Century Agra Fort. The fortress is made of red sandstone and inside are palaces, audience halls and marble mosques.
At the end of the day, we headed to Mehtab Bagh Park to watch the sunset opposite the Taj Mahal. It was a beautiful way to end the day with the marble reflecting the glowing light.
We spent the next day travelling to Jaipur, but on route we stopped at the preserved deserted Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri. The city was founded in 1569 and abandoned 16 years later due to lack of water.
One of the highlights of the trip for me was visiting Chand Baori, a step-well at Abhaneri made up of 3500 symmetrical steps working their way down 13 storeys to a well at the bottom. The step well dates back to the 8th/9th century. It was honestly like something out of Tomb Raider. It made you feel a bit sick if you looked over the edge.
Our last day before travelling back to Delhi for our flight was packed with sightseeing! The temperature was also at it’s hottest.
I recommend that if you are planning a trip to Jaipur, you must visit Amber Fort, an ancient and imposing fortress and palace whose walls reach across the mountains for miles. It is another fortress abandoned due to water shortage, but the palace’s are preserved beautifully with the painted and inlaid decorations. The Sheesh Mahal was a particular highlight for me, embellished with thousands of mirror fragments that glitter in the sun.
Later in the day we took a rickshaw ride around the city taking in the sights, stopping at a textile factory to find out how traditional carpets are made, and exploring the Royal Observatory and City Palace. In the evening we had a farewell dinner with a local family. It was a perfect end to the trip…