April 2, 2012
India! I spent from
March 12-17th in
India. While I didn’t spend much time in Kochin, it was a beautiful
weather was in the 90’s in southern India and very humid. Northern
only in the high 70’s to mid-80’s and almost no humidity. I spent the
four days in northern India and the last 2 in the south.
day was mostly travel which was unique in itself. My flight stopped in
middle to pick up new people and drop off some people. Could you
from Dayton to Atlanta and stopping half way through to let off half
passengers and pick up new ones? Well, this is how my flight was almost
time. The flight was also not as smooth as it would have been in the
think a lot of that is because all the planes are as small or smaller
jets. After my
flight I checked into my
hotel and prepared for the week of a lifetime.
day I visited Agra. I think one of the most impactful things I saw on
whole trip was walking into the train station.
As I walked up to the train station,
there were close to 100 people who
were sleeping on the hard chilled cement floor outside the station. Our
quietly told us that most of them were generally homeless and the half
tattered canvas bag they used as pillows was all the belongings they
laid there sleeping, just sleeping like we do in our beds every night.
used their bag as a pillow and various forms of blankets, from just a
over their head to a thin cotton blanket. Just so everyone knows India
cold in the morning. I was chilly when I first arrived. I could not
that the people were just sleeping there. It reminded me of this time
when I slept outside for hunger and homelessness awareness week. I
cold and alone I felt even for just one night; I could not, in this
even begin to imagine what the people were feeling.
stepped off the train in Agra I was quickly ushered into the bus where
started the day. The first stop was the Fatehpur Sikri. This is where
Akbar had palaces built for his three wives. He had a Muslim, Hindu,
Christian wife. Each
wife had her own
home, place of worship, and kitchen. This was all made out of red
which is indigenous to India. This was a beautiful place. I could not
that it was all made by hand. Of course no Emperor would ever admit to
slaves, but many of the people who built the palaces were in fact
next stop was the Agra Fort. The
Fort has a long history. For me, I think the most interesting
was that it was rebuilt with red sandstone by Emperor Akbar. He lived
many years. This fort was the site of many battles and had many rulers
Akbar. Akbar not only lived here, but used much of the fort as a place
his concubines live. He could have up to 400 of them at any one time.
Eventually Akbar’s grandson owned the fort, and at the end of his life
there as a prisoner. Akbar’s great-grandson imprisoned his own father
reasons only known to them. These two places were incredible, but the
of my whole trip was the Taj Mahal.
through the archway into the garden in front of the Taj Mahal. Walking
this archway I couldn’t help but hold my breath; I was about to see
with my own
eyes one of the Seven Wonders of the World. When I finally laid eyes on
Mahal I could not believe what I saw! It is probably the most beautiful
have seen in my entire life. Many people who see the Taj in pictures
the whole building is made of plain white marble. However, there is
hand carved patterns in the archways and inside of the Taj that were
filled with precious and semi-precious stones mainly from Africa,
India. This was beautiful. I feel as though my words cannot even begin
describe what I saw. The building is simply more majestic than words.
the walk up the garden to actually get right in front of the Taj and go
garden is beautiful. This might sound silly but there were tons of
I recognized from back in the states. I guess in all the things that
you will see flowers are not one of them. Anyway, there is a beautiful
centerpiece that travels down the whole garden. Once I stood in front
Taj I prepared myself to go inside. The inside had the caskets of Jahn
who built it) and his wife. The caskets and walls were covered in this
carved patterns. I could not believe I was actually in the Taj Mahal.
permitted in the Taj is very short. So, after exploring for as long as
I walked outside and watched the sun set over this majestic building.
It was so
intensely beautiful. The reds and oranges reflecting off the white
almost made it hard to look at. This was definitely one of the most
moments of my life. The next few days seemed to fly by.
great stop was the Ganges River. I was able to see the Ganges River at
sunset and sunrise. I think the most impactful was at sunrise. Just
sunrise, I arrived at the Ganges River. I quietly stepped onto a wood
boat that was steered by just 3 young men who could not be any older
was. Once on the river I began to see everything the tour guide had
about. I could see people stripping down to their under garments and
people drinking the water, and people washing certain dishes that had
purposes. A little further down I noticed a person actually spreading
of a loved one. In the moment it was very somber. I could see the pain
woman’s face. I could tell that she really loved this person, but yet I
also see a glimpse of hope in her eyes. I can only think that this
hope was that maybe in this person’s next life would be better or
that they would reach closer to nirvana. The last thing I really saw
building had some
beautiful architecture, with very simple yet elegant carvings. There is
that they keep lit 24 hours a day. I actually saw a family preparing to
a loved one. Again, this was a very somber moment. However, I was able
what I had learned in class. It was a very enlightening moment. I was
to see all sides of a religion’s rituals. I tried to soak it all in;
something I will never forget.
our longest port so far. Stay tuned for part 2 to come shortly. In the
please read my blog at agirlaroundtheworld-2012.blogspot.com