INDIA FLASH BACK[:]

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EDIT: Dear readers, I’m sorry an old and shorter version of my article was published, my apologies. Here’s the complete version of my trip! Hugs and kisses! Hello my darlings! Thank you very much for your feedback on this special India week! My return to Planet Lemonade has been rather hectic, it’s not easy to leave everything for three weeks! I’m juggling editing my pictures from New Zealand and the new Wear Lemonade collection (hehehe) and I’m happily diving back into into my archives to finish up these posts on India. It’s great to look back at pictures I took six years ago, it’s kinda of funny to see the evolution of my photos! I hope that you’ll like them and they’ll make you too want to go backpacking in such an incredible country! I think that I really want to go back to see the south region of India... my backpack has got quite an itch lately.
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Go ahead and click on the arrows to see all the pictures! I went to India with my best friend, for a good month with our backpacks and guidebooks. Justine had already gone a few years before but I couldn’t believe my eyes when we arrived in Delhi at night... the streets had no façades, as if a catastrophe had happened a few days ago. The Commonwealth Games were going to happen a few months later, sprucing up the city, the buildings had been gutted in order to renovate the facades... It definitely is a country of extremes, as I was telling you, the poverty was shocking.After a few hours of sleep, we went into the streets of Delhi to go to the train station, headed to Agra and the Taj Mahal. Delhi didn’t make a good impression on me from the start... Oh and the Taj Mahal in all this? Even though we all know what it looks like, I guarantee that I’ve never seen anything so beautiful in my entire life, it’s breathtaking!
 
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Next, we went to Varanasi at the junctions of the sacred Ganges River.Iremember it very vividly, it was kind of emotional being a mecca of Indian pilgrimage.The Hindu believe that bathing in the Ganges washes humans of their sins and to incinerate oneself on the steps (Ghats) along the banks of the river and to spread their ashes on the Ganges frees the soul and allows it to evolve in the next life, according to the reincarnation cycle. You might think that’s really morbid but I promise it isn’t at all. Death is an important partof the Indians’ life, it’s even something that they celebrate, so don’t get the wrong idea, it really is a great destination, the river at sunrise is one of my best memories. Then, a few kilometers from Benares(another name for Varanasi) we went to Sarnath, a Buddhist city.
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In this little city, we stayed in a Buddhist monastery run by monks that had taken an oath of silence, in a tiny room full of Geckos on the walls, sometimes it felt a little like Fear Factor.In this little town we were fortunate enough to spend time at a school for children from all Indian casts that get the same education, same for girls and boys: the Buddha’s Smile School. I suggest you visit, the couple that takes care of the school also has a little restaurant next door and you may be lucky enough to eat lunch with the children since the school is just behind it. In this city, we also saw a makeshift fair, I remember being amazed by all the smiles on the rickety merry­go­rounds... Then we had to leave this little slice of heaven for Bombay, we practically traveled across the width of the country in 24 hours in asleeper train! It was truly an epic journey! Oh and Bombay: a magical, decadent, colorful city, full of contradictions...
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My memories of Bombay are a little bit cloudy, I remember that it rained cats and dogs for days and we went to the movies to see a Bollywood in Hindi of course, but it wasn’t a big deal, acting is universal and plus the theater plays a part in the show, it’s an experience to be had! We slept in the Salvation Army dorms so it was no Taj Mahal hôtel, at the time we were in mode backpacker, with our flip flops and silk sarouels.Then in Bombay, we took a plane headed to Diu, a little island north of Bombay, on the border of Rajasthan.Diu is one of the last examples of Portuguese Indian colonization. To give you an idea, we slept on the roof of a Catholic church transformed into a bed and breakfast. It was so cool because the island was still far from crowds of tourists and the long beaches were practically empty. I remember that we celebrated Justine’s birthday on the roof of this church and I made multicolored streamers from balloons and dental floss, plus there was a colorful cake brought on the back of our host’s scooter... Diu was good.
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We took a night bus to leave the little island, which is the easiest and cheapest way to travel in the country, headed to Jaipur in Rajasthan. Once again, my memory is playing tricks on me. I don’t know how many towns we visited. I remember Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur, Pushkar, but I think I’ve forgotten one or two... I loved Rajasthan, with its’ palace in the desert, the horseback rides in the mountains, the starry nightsin the sand watching storms on the horizon... And then I f e l l i n l o v e w i t h U d a i p u r , t h e n a m e m i g h t r i n g a b e l l s i n c e t h e c i t y w a s f i l m e d i n F r i t z L a n g ’ s Th e Tiger of Eschnapur and in Octopussy,a James Bond movie. Every evening, in most of the restaurants in town, you can watch the famous James Bond movie, so if you stay for a few days, you’ll know it by heart! This city was also where we had our three­finger rings made! Udaipur, Pushkar (our last stop before going home) and Benaresare my favorite places in India, I don’t know if it’s because the cities are surrounded by water but there’s something very relaxing about them, a sort of serenity that so sometimes miss dearly! I hope that you like my memories and my pictures. See you very soon for some new DIY projects! Translated by Whitney Bolin
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