The long wait to go to India for the first time finally came to an end on July 20th 2010.
As the years ticked by, the wait continued and I was actually thinking to myself will I ever get the chance to go.
My first ever experience of India might have lasted for only two weeks but it will be fourteen days I can look back at with fond memories.
It was also my Sister’s first experience of India and she loved it (Despite the fact she was scared of the lizards that she saw at our Grandmother’s home in Samapur)! My Father had been two years ago and it was my Mother’s first visit to India in 25 years.
We spent three nights in Delhi including one in Jaipur before heading to my hometown Samapur.
Ahead of my flight to India, I was told to keep an open mind of what to expect and some of the things I saw on the way to the hotel from Delhi airport was in some way a reality check. This was only Day 1!
Actually seeing children as well as families living on the streets made me realise how lucky and grateful I am to be living in a home that has clean water, central heating etc. If I had to live like them I don’t think I would last one day never mind two weeks.
As well as fulfilling my career ambitions, I would love to help those who do live in poverty not only in India but also across the globe if given the opportunity. It’s just not fair that people have to live in poor conditions. Why couldn’t the world be a better place hey?
It’s fair to say that it was pretty humid and when I got off the plane at Delhi the humidity hit me straight away.
Within an hour after arriving at the hotel, we were back on the road. We went to Akshardam temple, Gateway of India as well as the President’s Palace.
The architecture within the temple at Akshardam was out of this world and to be honest with you it is difficult to put it into words in terms of how to describe it. Unfortunately photography was prohibited so I was not able to take any photos.
We spent at least 2-3 hours there and we were not disappointed with what we saw. Just a shame I was not able to take any photos. The Gateway of India is without doubt a popular place for tourists and I was able to take some pretty good snaps.
To end the day, we went to Rashtrapati Bhavan (President’s Palace). Overall a decent but tiring day.
The next day we left the hotel at 6:00 am to go to Haridwar. I slept through most of the four hour journey since I was really tired. Just as we arrived at Haridwar the heavens opened and it started to rain heavily. Just exactly what I needed after getting up at 5:00am!
We were trying to find a cable car that went to the Mansi Devi Mandir near the top of the town. It would have taken us an hour to get to the Mandir if we walked it but since my Sister was feeling tired we had no other choice but to get the cable car.
Dad decided to go along a street that was totally flooded when looking for the cable car. End Result = Trainers get soaked as well as my socks! Thanks.
Eventually we did find the cable car and we got to the Mandir. Just as we left Haridwar, we did see the River Ganga and Mum and Dad decided to soak their feet in the river.
To cap off Day 2: Not a bad day but my trainers and socks were totally drenched!
We arrived in Jaipur, Rajasthan, the following day and it was a scorcher. It was a really hot day and at the end of the day I have to admit I was drained. I could not stop sweating for the whole day.
We went to the Amber Fort and the scenery was second to none. The architecture yet again was amazing. We did have a tour guide and he came across as very knowledgeable about the places we went to in Jaipur in my opinion anyway. Not sure what the rest of my family thought of him.
Thankfully we were in Jaipur that week because it was raining the following week and there was even flooding.
Overall impressions of Jaipur and Rajasthan: Personally I was impressed with what I saw. Plenty of history about Jaipur that kept me interested and I would recommend people go there because it is a beautiful city. If I had the opportunity again I would go back and spend more time there.
Finally to cap off our mini tour, we went to Agra to visit one of the world’s most famous attractions: The Taj Mahal. Yet again we had another tour guide who proved to know his stuff.
Like Jaipur, there is a lot of history based around the Taj Mahal and no wonder it is popular tourist spot. Once again the architecture was phenomenal and visiting the Taj Mahal was the highlight of the tour.
It was another scorching day and I ended up sweating like I had never done before. Despite the heavy rain in Haridwar, I thoroughly enjoyed the mini tour and I definitely want to go back to India and tour other parts of the country.
It was now time to head towards my hometown of Samapur. We caught the morning flight from Delhi to Mumbai and then our relatives picked us up from the airport to take us to Samapur.
The car journey was long and the roads were not great either which made our journey longer. I have never seen so many potholes in my life! To be honest I will not even attempt to drive in India because of this as well as another reason.
The way people drive in India is beyond belief. If there was a driver in another lane and he/she saw half a car length between you and the car in front then they would try and get into that gap.
Even if the gap was a couple of inches then they would try and get into it. That is how manic it is! I could so easily write an essay on how people drove in India but I’m sure that would bore you.
The constant beeping of horns was worse than the vuvuzelas at this years FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Like my Sister, I have to admit I was worried about going to my Grandmother’s home in terms of what to expect.
To keep the insects and mosquitoes away from me whilst I slept, I had a mosquito net put up so none of the creepy crawlies could get in. It worked a treat! With the mosquito net as well as the fan right above me, I was able to sleep well.
My Sister as well as my Mum jumped every time they saw a lizard. I didn’t exactly jump when I saw one but I did move away.
We did do our fair bit of shopping in Navsari but I ended up staying at home for most of the time. I remember one of the days, I was bored out of my mind whilst in Navsari and I spent 4-5 hours doing zilch.
Shop assistants as well as other individuals I found out are very persistent which was very frustrating. Classic example of this was when you don’t want to go into a shop and yet the assistant/shopkeeper will continue to persuade you.
One of the evenings I went to see some of my relatives by going in a rickshaw. It was daylight when we were going there but when we were going back home it was pitch black. I was scared going back home in the dark in a rickshaw. But I still got home and that’s all that mattered.
My Grandma’s food was very spicy to start with but towards the end of the week it started to become less spicy much more to my liking. Food was great don’t get me wrong but it was too spicy at times.
The TV only had two channels so I ended up watching DVD’s when I was bored. One of the channels was a 24/7 news channel similar to BBC News 24, Sky News etc so I was able to keep up with the latest international news.
On the penalutimate day, we went to a prawn farm that was close to our home. It was actually quite interesting and I didn’t think I would say that. This will sound crazy but I held a live prawn! How stupid does that sound!
I had a great time in India and will take many memories away from my time there. But at the same time I did want to get back to the UK. Mainly because I missed two Grand Prix’s despite the fact I knew who won them and saw brief highlights!
When I look back at the two weeks, as well as it being a holiday it was also for me a reality check. It just made me realise and appreciate that I do have a house and that I have loving parents as well as an irritating but sweet Sister.
There are children as I saw in India who have to fend for themselves and this just made me want to cry. Like I said earlier I would love to do something that would help the homeless and those who live in poverty.
The stewardesses on Kingfisher Airlines were pretty good looking too. Flights to Delhi and London were fine. Still a bit tired but I will recover soon.
It does feel good to be back in England and hopefully I will have a great second half of 2010.