The Golden Triangle
To complete my travels in Norther India; I wanted to see the start of the desert, Jipour. A wonder of the world, The Taj Mahal, and The Holy City, Varanasi.
After spending two days in Delhi it was time to make a move. Experiencing everything the crazy place had to offer – except ‘Delhi Belly’ (Everyone I was with was sick at one point or another but it seemed my body loved Indian food as much as my tastebuds), temples, ‘The Great Bazzar’, Indian Gate and of course fighting in line for a beer!
Jipour was really intriguing to me – I have too many photos of camels! The best site from the day tour was the ‘Amber Fort’. A massive, now tourist hot spot, built to protect the village in times of war. I actually didn’t pay to go fully inside, we were able to explore so much around and sneak in a few places – travelling on a budget! I took this approach with most temples and forts from this moment on.
From here I jumped on a bus off to Agra for the Taj Mahal. This ended up being one of my best rides in India. I was cornered into buying the expensive bus ticket (Thank you CJ & Sasha!), which at first was frustrating until I got on the bus and decided to soak up the ‘luxury’.
My hostel, Big Brother, was actually in the best location. It was on the East entrance to the Taj and only a 5 min walk. The hostel staff were fantastic, and there was a great chill area but I would say it was one of the dirtiest places I stayed!
The Taj was more than I was expecting. All the hype resonated when I enter red and could see the monument. That is after I was swarmed by Indian tourist taking my first before the Taj! It was than I started joking for Rupees in exchange – one guy actually went to pull out money for me. Of course I couldn’t except but it was worth a laugh. (Learning to laugh at everything, even the lows was a must in these places)
Best part of Big Brothers was finding a rad travel buddy (of course there is always travellers going the same way but I really wanted a partner in crime for Varanasi. Everyone I had crossed paths with said it was the most intense place they had been – and it did not disappoint.
After travelling the streets near out hostel, I couldn’t help but look back on Delhi as a ‘quiet’ city. That is not dramatic. The amount of people roaming the streets either leaving a Ghat, Wedding or a swim in the Ganges, was more than overwhelming. Finally getting down to the Gange River I wouldn’t say things calmed down, but there was a sense of peace that overcame you.
We went out on the River to view both burning sites, and the evening ceremony. A ceremony is put on every evening to recognize those who had been cremated that day. Between both burning ghats it reaches unimaginable numbers.
The most unexplainably perfect day took place in Varansi. We went out to wander the river and watch the cremations, ask questions, really get amongst. When we met a local who was the perfect change from the usual people asking us where were from, and for money. Sitting at a look out location, watching the celebrations take place each time a body was brought down by the men in their family was beyond intriguing. The mere fact that the person was being burned here meant, in the Hindi religion, that the soul can now go to Nirvana and the reincarnation circle will end. This allowed the burning to be a celebration opposed to mourning. It was perfect, you could feel the energy like this strong peaceful calming over the entire area.
I could go on for many paragraphs about this day, and this place but it’s quite intense and I know not all would love the details. People I have met since say I am ‘strong’ for seeing some of these sites, but I think it’s that I was open minded and found strength only once I learnt and experienced. All of India was this way I can say now. Even though I left India much sooner than expected, I wouldn’t change a thing. I have had my kindness tested, soul strengthened, and beliefs in spirituality and karma proven.
I will go back, I can’t wait to see the south and eat more Veg Tali, but unfortunately India isn’t ready for a solo blond backpacker (or maybe I mean they are too ready).
Onto Malaysia for some much needed rest and some lovely sister time.