Awake way too early today as I am shaking off the 12.5 hours difference of the past week in India with my daughter Lisa. Her Golden Birthday trip choice was India and she found an amazing tour package that cost less than the retail price of airfare alone. (I wrote about how to find travel deals in my CustomTripPlanning blog several years ago after a glorious four day trip to Paris for $499.) The price of the tour was $1299 and additional costs to us included obtaining our visas, recommended inoculations and medicines, tips for our guides and drivers, and personal spending money.
The flight is long. I first flew from Portland to the east coast as the tour originated from JFK. Air India provided service superior to the American carrier I last flew to Europe. Not only were there small niceties like a foot rest with roller bar, but extensive entertainment options available through the seat-back display which also included a power port for electronic gear. They offered two meals heading east, and three meals flying west.
I flew directly home after arriving in New York and that was a bit tough. Next long trip like this will be broken up with at least one day in an interim location. Getting old, I guess, but making adjustments like that will keep me enjoying travelling for a long time to come.
India’s Golden Triangle are the cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.
Delhi is the capital and has an estimated regional population of over 16,000,000. (New York, in comparison, has about half the population.) While the ancient city of Delhi has been occupied for over a millennium, New Delhi was built in 1912 when the British moved the national government from Calcutta.
Agra is best known to most people as the location of the Taj Mahal. I will write about that world heritage site in another blog as well as how we enhanced our experience by hiring a personal guide to get away from the tourist areas.
Jaipur is located in the State of Rajasthan which has many world heritage sites. It is known for its gems and textiles which, since I sew, got me pretty excited. I stuffed an empty duffel bag in my small almost empty suitcase to carry back my expected purchases and yes, used both suitcases for the trip home. Other people in our tour group had not planned and purchased new bags.
I have a lot to share with you. India is certainly the most culturally different location I have ever visited and I bombarded our guides with tons of questions to better understand what I was seeing. Here are some of the topics I plan to share
- Visiting a Sikh Temple and the kitchens which prepare 20,000 meals a day
- Understanding the story behind the Taj Mahal and concerns about it
- Visits to amazing high quality crafts factories for rugs, marble, textiles, and more
- Shopping in the street markets and how to deal with the aggressive vendors
- Exploring rooms and passageways in several other World Heritage sites
- Getting off the beaten track and seeing how real people live
- Visiting a Hindu Temple sunset service for Shiva
- So much more…..and if you have questions, throw them at me.