I am back in India again, I really can’t believe it. It’s such a crazy place that drives all of your senses mad constantly. It’s hard to escape the noise, smell, dust, and general pollution all at once. But, nonetheless, I still managed to get myself back here so I could see all of the things I missed from my last trip.
Harry and I arrived in Delhi a few days before the Holi festival (more on that in a minute). The first thing I recognized was the smell when I opened the airport doors to officially enter the country. It’s a smell unlike any other I’ve ever smelt- but you get used to it. We hopped on the metro with our big backpacks (although we’re pretty lightly packed) and made our way to our first couchsurfers home (Aditya).
Three metro lines later, we walked a short walk to his house. Aditya’s wife, Nisha, was there to greet us. She is a lovely lady, very quiet maybe because her English isn’t so great, but super nice and welcoming. We met Aditya 15 minutes later and were treated with the highest hospitality they could offer. A great bed, warm shower, kitchen- what more do you need? There was a Colombian surfer there as well, who we got to meet later. He was also a really cool guy and he was travelling with his huge Nikon kit (body and three large lenses). It made me feel a bit ashamed for wimping out and bringing only my tiny Fuji, but this was exactly what I bought it for.
Nisha and I cooked some wonderful meals together and I got to try some amazing curries. Nothing I haven’t had before, but she really knows how to cook them well. Now I’m pretty sure I can make authentic butter chicken when I get home, which tastes nothing like what you make from the jar, mom.
Harry and I explored a temple (Akshardham) and some markets. At one of the markets, Harry bought a tailor made suit for only 60CAD; we haven’t seen it yet so we have our fingers crossed it doesn’t fall apart after wearing it once. I bought a shirt to cover my shoulders since I no longer own any for hot climates, and I am still on the look out for a nice skirt to cover my knees. Head, shoulders, and knees need to be covered here to enter certain temples, some it’s just shoulders and knees. Clothes here are cheap enough after some hard bargaining, so I figured it’s better to buy things here than in Belgium.
Then Holi happened. We came to India a few days earlier than we had to (my visa said I had to leave March 5th, but we left Feb 26) specifically so we could experience this festival. It celebrates spring, love, and new life and commemorates the deity Krishna. It’s the one I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of before, with all of the colour powder that gets thrown around. It’s super crazy in certain temples, people throw water on you and colour, sometimes it’s got some chemicals in it and it stays on you for a week. I’m still trying to get some of it off. But it was a lot of fun; we started by celebrating with some kids in Adytia’s complex. The photos attached will show what happened there. Then we walked the streets of Delhi and people would often stop and bless us with colour and give us a hug. That, or they would throw water balloons (sometimes buckets) at us. It was all good though, we had a great time and are really glad we got to see it.
Our next destination was Jaipur. There we stayed with another host- but in his hotel. We got a nice hotel room for free, with everything we needed to have a really comfortable stay. We got to hang out with our host a bit and he was also a really warm, welcoming guy. He made sure we were well taken care of and offered advice on whatever we wanted to know about. He is a well travelled man who has been to both Belgium and Canada, so that was kind of cool to chat about.
We visited a few forts I had been to before; Nahargarh, Amer, and Jaigarh. All very interesting places with a lot of history, and a lot of monkeys. Jaipur in general seems to have a large monkey population. When we were browsing through the street markets they were also jumping around from roof to tower to whatever else they could hang off of. We also visited the lake palace at sunset for some nice photos and to watch it light up at night. All of these places are very beautiful and well worth a visit if you’re in town.
We are now in Pushkar, a little hippy destination in the desert of Rajasthan. Here clothes are near-optional (for the westerners), or at least some hippies like to express that, but I can kind of see why because of the harsh heat that hits in the midday. It’s thankfully not humid, so I don’t mind it as much, but it still makes an impact on you. Harry and I are currently chilling at the top of our hotel (8CAD/night for a private room) and listening to some bizarre, trippy, indo-hippy type music that screams “let’s get high”- maybe not our style, but it’s a really nice break from the crazy big cities with constant honking. The honking is here too, don’t get me wrong it’s EVERYWHERE, but it’s less in comparison. Although last night there was a wedding going on and so the whole city/village had to hear it because it’s such a tiny desert community. The party went on maybe until 3 or 4 AM. Thank the lord Shiva for earplugs.
Anyway, it’s hot and I’ve been staring at my screen for too long, so peace, love, happiness, and all that other hippy mumbo jumbo, I will be back within two weeks if I’m not being lazy.