Last year I was lucky enough to go to India for work. Although India was not on my top countries to visit, it was definitely on my travel list, so flying there for free was freaking awesome.
Our work duties took us to 3 major cities in India: Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi, but we did a side trip to Agra where Taj Mahal is located, to end the trip on a high (and also as my post birthday present). Our Indian colleagues were very hospitable and obliging in touring us around after our work commitments.
Aside from the confusing head bobble or head shake, I noticed that some Indians, (same as some Filipinos) like to stare a lot. At one point, Tanya and I were followed and our male colleagues basically had to be our bodyguards. They joked that if I stayed longer, I will most likely end up getting married in a month (good lord).
Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t get sick in India, then again, I only ate hotel food and on some fancy restaurants our colleagues took us.
Some highlights of the trip would be walking barefoot on blood stained floors to be blessed by the Hindu Goddess Kali at the Kalighat temple; visiting Mother Teresa’s house/tomb which was an extremely humbling experience; gatecrashing a lavish party (where you get to see just how rich are so ‘effing’ rich and the poor well, super poor); being welcomed by locals into their houses even if they don’t know us at all and helping us with our sarees (Tanya and I are clueless) and lastly, seeing the Taj Mahal for the very first time… It really is as beautiful as the love story behind it. A love and a promise kept even after death 🙂
(with the beautiful Taj Mahal as backdrop)
Strolling the colorful streets of Kolkata
I have this thing where I always have a picture taken with a policeman or men in uniform. Don’t judge me.
Slum area of Kolkata, on our way to visit Kalighat temple
A visit to Kolkata (Calcutta) is not complete without going to Mother Teresa’s house/tomb
The private boutique that our colleague took us to purchase our custom made saree. Quite expensive but so worth it (even after all the haggling)
Releasing the goodluck band I got from Kalighat Temple to the waters of the Hiran River (i think). We stayed at Taj Lands End so not so sure of the name of the river across it (?)
Celebrating my birthday in Delhi. The hotel surprised me with a birthday cake (very noice)
On our way to Agra, we befriended this cheeky lil boy with a pet monkey, I ended up giving him some money to have a photo (sucker) but I love this pic of Tanya
Before flying to India, I told myself that I will wear a saree when I go to Taj Mahal and talked Tanya into doing it which she happily agreed, what I didn’t know is that wearing a saree is oh so complicated. Fortunately, our tour guide took us to his sisters house and got them to help us.
It took like a whole army to help us get dressed… I will never forget their kindness, for letting us, total strangers come into their house and share a piece of their culture.
The 8 hour road trip to Agra (and back to Delhi) was so worth it.
Outside the Great gate (Darwaza-i rauza), the gateway to the Taj Mahal
Our tour guide was getting frustrated because he’s always interrupted by locals asking to have their picture taken with us 🙂
India is definitely worth visiting if you haven’t already! Tummy scare and all.