Text messages home from India (Tiger Trails and Taj)
Each night, very probably at great expense, I sent a text home to my extended family to tell them about each day. This now has provided me with a short running commentry about this wonderful holiday and reminds me about how diverse and amazing the experience actually was. These entries are copies of the texts so they are not particularly detailed but were just snapshot postcards home but I hope, in some way, impart how special this holiday was - as this truly was, for me, a holiday of a lifetime.
21/08/11 Can you tell me if this reaches you? Delhi is loud, weird, shocking, poor and hot. Just like SlumDog. So many odd sights. x
21/08/11 Wow! We're here apparently at a very special time with peaceful protests pouring down our hotel's road, lasting six hours, against corruption. I won't be surprised if it isn't on the news. Thousands and thousands of people supporting someone they hail as the new Gandhi. we've been on a cycle rickshaw through old Delhi and visited a special arch dedicated to Indian victims of the First World War. Entered a huge mosque where people were mesmerised by us. Hot, but so far no rain. Very different. Ed loves it and so do I. Our guide is lovely and is looking after us so well. He will be with us the whole time. x
22/08/11 Shattered. Up at five (Indian time) to catch a three hour train to Agra. Had a long converstaion with an Indian lawyer next to me about his country. Felt like Michael Palin. Seen the very impressive Red Fort - so huge and Taj Mahal. Had my photo taken outside the Taj, like Di. Ed's doing the pose. Beautiful building. Well worth seeing. Going out tonight at the hotel for an Indian meal. Live Indian music. Can now hear a call for prayer outside. It sounds beautiful. Great cows just roam outside the hotel. The swimming pool is a necessity. 85% humidity. Just had another dip, alongside swooping bats. x
23/08/11 Right now, it's 8 o'clock. After a big breakfast, we went to the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri. Huge and beautiful, quite Chinese looking in structure. Then, after a lovely meal we have set off by train to the jungle. Tomorrow we will go on a safari at 6 o' clock in the morning and then later. We are staying in Tiger Lodge, in the middle of lush green trees and peacocks can be heard yowling, along with all sorts of animals and insects. Ed and I are going to have a dip in pool. It's dark outside and hot. x
24/08/11 Today we travelled by jeep into the jungle to see the animal life. Monkeys, parrokeets, lizards etc. were spotted and the views were amazing. But the journey there and back, for me, was even more fascinating - just to catch a glimpse of everyday life. Immaculately dressed school children amongst the rubbish and sewage, people collecting water and washing at a pump, women dressed in beautiful saris working in the fileds or carrying firewood on their heads, camels pulling trailers full of bricks and being made to work, people just going to the toilet anywhere. It is so unusual. I can't think of anywhere more different or amazing. I'm going to a school tomorrow. x
25/08/11 Today we visited some "shops" to buy some pencls, rubbers, books, biscuits and balloons and then went on to visit a school. The children were so lovely and wanted to have their photos taken and to see themselves thereafter. It is hard to beleive how little they have - they seem to spend their English sessions just copying handwriting. A train jourmey in Monsoon rain has taken us to Jaipur and now we are staying in a painted havelli. It is a beautiful place which should be a museum. An Indian duke still lives here. I think that Ed and I have the best bedroom with a four poster bed and beautiful verandah. x
26/08/11 Last night, at the restaurant our necks were hung with jasmine and we were entertained by a beautiful dancer with musicians - Ed had a go on the drums and impressed everyone - then an Indian puppet show. Today we visited the pink city of Jaipur, the City Palace and the Palace of Winds. Ed and I have our palms read (apparently Ed has a mother in a million, who is liked by everyone!!) and a henna design painted on our arms. The food is always delicious and very vegetarian x
27/08/11 Early morning we travel by elephant up the hill to Amber Fort. 90 elephants work there and it's the best way to travel - high and swaying. Later, we watch carpets being made and material block printed. Each day brings so many new sights: funeral processions, brides on mopeds but then you also see children with nothing, dirty, playing with just a stick and a tyre or people washing their pots in a fithy puddle ready to use again. Now we are staying in a huge, rich farmhouse. Posh, by Indian standards, but just outside the property, gypsies are living in poverty in multicoloured tents. The owner has over 60 horses. Ibis roost in the trees and owls are easily spotted. I have a red dot in the middle of my head - placed there as sign of welcome and hospitality. x
28/08/11 Today we travelled by camel cart through the semidesert and visited a bustling village market. The houses are highly painted there with gods, goddeses, trains, soldiers etc. Then a journey to another village where we are now satying in a huge fort. We have visited a Hindu temple and more shops and now, on our next to last night, we are eating outside in great heat with an Indian disco blazing out to that village. Poor people!! x
29/08/11 After seven hours on the bus we reach Delhi. Ed and I catch an auto rickshaw to the Gandhi Memorial and museum and then we have a job getting back. We are so tired but look forward to getting back home. It has been a holiday of a lifetime. Money well spent. I'd love to visit this fascinating country again and would recommend this experience to anyone. x
Other blogs for this trip
- 22 emotions you’ll experience flying long haul with kids
- 6 family travel myths debunked
- 5 tips for packing the perfect rucksack for an adventure
- My family trip to North India
- 12 hours in Delhi
- We won!
- Tigers & the Taj Mahal by Honey - aged 10
- It’s not all about he who roars the loudest!
- India blog - Tiger Trails and Taj Mahal
- Top Ten India Tips
- 7 top tips for kids on how to take a great adventure travel picture