August 1, 2010
I started off in a lovely town in the north west of the Himalayas draped in fluffy clouds and pine and oak forests called Shimla. Shimla used to be the summer capital of the British Raj in the 18th century when they called it the Queen of Hills and what a queen it was! The weather was so perfect, the couldn’t-get-any-greener scenery was some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, and the British influenced tudor revival and neo-gothic architecture was fascinating. It’s a place where you’d find nice and hospitable people, monkeys everywhere, cows wondering around in the middle of the streets, and the cutest quietest vegetarian street dogs out there! It also has a great shopping area called the Mall that’s a combination of traditional and modern.. Oh and you wouldn’t wanna miss the horseback riding experience in the foggy mountains..
A few days later we drove up further north to a town called Manali, which is named after the Brahmin lawgiver Manu. The legend goes that Manu stepped off his ark in Manali to recreate life after a great flood had deluged the world.. It is also known as the “valley of gods”… and you could really notice the religious and spiritual influence in the many ancient temples with the most exquisite wooden carvings this town has. The beautiful thing about Manali as well is that you can see flowing rivers and waterfalls everywhere from 200 km away all the way to across the street from your hotel.. So don’t miss the rafting and the river crossing experience.. You could also go paragliding and horseback riding in the mountains in a place called Solang Valley 13 km northwest of Manali and skiing in Rohtang 40 km away. And on the way to/or out of Manali make sure you visit the hot springs of Manikaran about 45 km away and treat yourself to some gorgeous handmade Pashmina shawls!
My next stop was Chandigarh in Punjab for a couple of nights and it was a beautiful and very clean city with some good Sari and two piece Punjabi shopping places. From Chandigarh you could also go visit the Golden Temple a couple hours away in the city of Amristar, that’s considered the most significant shrine of the Sikhism religion.
I then headed to New Delhi, the nations capital city, and I have to say I almost hadn’t personally experienced any of the horror stories I heard before about the heartbreaking poor and the not-so-clean-not-so-fancy part of India until I set foot there. New Delhi is a place where the extreme gap between the filthy rich and the very poor is strikingly visible.. but I guess it mainly pertains to the size of city and the huge population.. Anyways, Delhi is a great place for shopping… clothes, antiques, jewelry (you wouldn’t wanna miss the pearls), anything and everything really… but make sure you bargain and negotiate every step of the way!!
From Delhi, Agra where the Taj Mahal is is like 200 km away but with the traffic it’d take you almost 4 hours but still you DEFINITELY wouldn’t wanna miss this one.. The Taj was the highlight of the whole trip.. the glorious story and the fascinating most accurately calculated and crafted architecture made this world wonder the perfect conclusion to an unforgettable experience!
I know that was too much talking… plz excuse my fascination. I hope it gives you a quick guidance if you ever plan a trip though..
I’ll leave you with more of my favorite snapshots…
Just trying to save some space with the gallery but if you like any one particular image just shoot me a msg and I’d be happy to send it your way :)