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India Visual Diary

We are finally home from India and because I shared a lot on Instagram, many of you had questions in regards to my trip. This was really not a vacation, but instead a trip for my brothers wedding where we happened to get to see some other sites as well. I honestly didn’t even know where to begin when putting this blog post together. I knew I wanted to do a post to touch on some of the most asked about questions and share my overall experience with this magical place, but because I was there for a specific reason I had no involvement in the planning and was for the first time in forever, kind of along for the ride.

I will start out by saying I am by no means an adventurous traveler. I have been to my fair share of countries, but nowhere that has rattled me the second I stepped off the airplane. I also suffer from major anxiety that is only heightened when I am out of my comfort zone. India was one giant step out of my comfort zone which in turn helped me overcome some of my own issues. India is like no place I have ever been in my entire life which makes it hard for me to sum up. It was incredible to experience another culture as much as I did and Indian hospitality is a real thing. Their culture has such a rich history and is so layered in traditions that immersing myself in as much as I could made our trip better than I ever imagined.

India is so drastically different from home, which is the point of traveling, but I found myself feeling a range of emotions. I was intimidated, in awe and happy – essentially a rollercoaster for the first few days, ha! I am going to break down the places we visited, but this is mostly a visual diary because I couldn’t put my camera down. If you have specific questions always feel free to leave them in the comments or send me an email!

{Cool details at Jantar Mantar}

NEW DELHI

The wedding was in Delhi, so this is where our trip began and where we flew into. It is a lonnnng flight from California, I mean it is completely on the other side of the world. We arrived around 3am and I instantly felt a little overwhelmed simply by the amount of people in the airport. Again this is my own issue because I tend to feel uncomfortable by large crowds and I went to a city with over 18 million people, it was bound to happen. The airport is easy enough to navigate and you can catch an Uber outside using your regular Uber app. Beware that the Uber’s are much smaller and if you are in a group of four with luggage you would need to get an uber XL or take two separate cars. Once we got outside I couldn’t believe the amount of cars on the road. It was 4am and it looked like rush hour at home. There are no real traffic rules so running red lights, veering into any lane and horns honking non stop are all part of the deal. I grew to find this hilarious and embraced it all, but as a first foray it was a bit terrifying.

The wedding and pre wedding festivities took up most of time here, but we did get to see a few sites before we left. I would recommend bringing some snacks with you on any day trips because this is not a place you can pop into any restaurant for lunch. I was very careful with what I ate and even more careful not to drink any water that wasn’t bottled. This means no ice, and only drinks from a bottle or a can. It is annoying be so diligent, but you can get incredibly sick so easily. I truthfully couldn’t believe I left unscathed (besides one night) because I get sick at home pretty easily. Foods I felt very safe with (you can use your best judgment with restaurants, look some good options up ahead of time and no street food) butter chicken, rice, honey chili potatoes, nan.. I ate so much nan and lentils. It was hard not having fresh fruit or vegetables the whole time we were there, but I didn’t want to risk it. Most hotels offer a large breakfast spread and the food felt really safe there, but I was still weary of any produce.

Another thing to note, which I was warned about before we left, is the air quality. I planned ahead and brought my Vicks humidifier, respiratory masks if we were going to be outside for long stretches and a slew of medicines. I have never experienced air like that, even in California when we have had horrible wildfires – it was like that x10. It often got better as the day went on or in certain areas I noticed it was better than others, but if you are sensitive to environment like I am, it is important to come prepared.

SIGHTS TO SEE IN DELHI

Qutb Minar

Jantar Mantar

Red Fort

Humayun’s Tomb

India Gate / Parliament

We took a bus from Delhi to Agra in order to see the Taj Mahal. Again, I didn’t arrange any of this, so I am not much help in the logistics department, but it seems as though there are a lot of transportation options for getting to Agra and Jaipur. Everyone says to get to the Taj Mahal first thing in the morning to beat the crowds. Since we left from Delhi that morning and it is about a five hour drive there was no way we were going to get there before lunch time. We arrived around 2pm and I honestly thought the crowds were fine. Do keep in mind we were visiting in December and it seemed everything was a little less crowded than the height of tourist season.

The quintessential shot with the water in front is the hardest to get because everyone tends to huddle around the entrance. I absolutely loved taking my time to walk around and see the structure from angles I have never seen before. The details on the facade are absolutely stunning so I highly recommend taking time to soak it all in.

JAIPUR

Jaipur is the one place I wish I got to spend more time and the area I was most excited to see. This was more of a half day because Daniel and I left before everyone else and had to head out to the airport. The group had planned to go to Amber Palace which is not in the city center so I knew I wasn’t going to see most of the famed palaces. It ended up being even better than I expected and I could have spent an entire day waking around the palace and taking photos. There is so much to see here! Be warned it is a bit of a trek to get up to the top. If you don’t want to make the hike they do offer golf carts, but I found I saw so many beautiful sights on the walk up. There are goats, monkeys and dogs all wondering around and local vendors selling everything from food to jewelry.

I had my heart set on seeing the famed “wind palace” so I am very happy we at least got to see the exterior before we left. The bus dropped us off on the corner by City Palace and we had to walk through the hectic city with our suitcases in tow, which was quite an adventure in itself. I will say I was surprised after seeing so many photos of the palace over the years, that it is abruptly on the side of the road in a busy area. The best view is definitely from across the street where you can really take in all the detail.

This will not be out last trip to India. I feel so lucky to have had this experience with my new extended family and would love to discover different regions and spend more time at the sites we moved through quickly. There is nothing quite like getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing how other people live can really open your eyes to so much.

All of the details at Amber Palace are breathtaking

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The famous Hawa Mahal or “Wind Palace” in the city center of Jaipur

  1. Ariana

    January 4th, 2020 at 9:40 am

    These pictures are absolutely stunning!

  2. Chrissy McDonald

    January 4th, 2020 at 9:59 am

    Thank you so much Ariana!!

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