Exactly two years ago, this time, I was in India exploring the riches the beautiful country had to offer. Little did I know the impact it would have on my life.
This adventure began miraculously, if I may say so, as I never planned on traveling any time soon at that point of my life. God, however, had other plans for me as an opportunity opened up itself and I grasped it with open hands. What was even more amazing was that my first trip over the seas would be to India, since it is the land of my forefathers. To make the moment even more mesmerizing was the fact that Indian Dispora across the world were embarking on this journey with me hence I got a taste of not just India, but what the world had to offer. It was 34 young adults (pictured above) travelling and learning about India together from countries such as Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, France, Mauritius, Israel, Malaysia, Myanmar, Figi, Sri Lanka, South Africa and even the island of Guadalupe.
The first step out of the airport in India was when, looking back retrospectively, I can say I started forming my first opinion about this new land I was about to explore. Stepping onto Indian soil was were I formed my first opinion, however from the moment I left Durban airport was was where my new experiences started. It was all about exploring the world on my own, and finding my way through airports without parental supervision that added to this experience overall.
Back to India, just by stepping out of the airport at Indira Gandhi Airport in Delhi, I could tell that this was going to be an eventful trip. The noise created from traffic was alone overwhelming and it never ended, from time we went to sleep to time we awoke we could hear the busy roads and we weren’t even on the main roads. The maneuvering of vehicles in traffic was a site for sore eyes as well, I was bewildered and amazed at the same time at how close each vehicle could be to each other at once, basically like 4 vehicles across 3 lanes with bicycles and tuc tucs everywhere. Next time India, I will have to catch a ride on a tuc tuc to complete the ultimate Indian journey.
The adventure of India lasted 21 days, a trip that sounds long enough to cover the land but in our case wasn’t. We only did three cities, being Dehli, Punjab and Agra as per our itinerary planned by our hosts, the Indian Government. Did I mention that? No I didn’t, the Indian government was my unsung hero, they made my first tattoo on my passport. So thank you to the Indian government for inviting me to India and looking after us so well.
Moving along, Delhi was our home for 2 weeks of the trip, and with my good sense of direction I’m pretty confident I could have found my way around by myself, driving however would have been the issue though even though I do love to drive. Drives not minimum of 3 hours a day on a bus, travelling from lectures to tourist sites filled our day. It was really busy days but we young adults, always found a way to have fun. Music, conversations about life in our respective countries or just common interests or silly talk, games and selfies consumed most of our time. It was clear to see that, no matter where in the world we came from, no matter our accents, we all connected with each other proving that cultures of the world may vary but we as humans, if we let ourselves, we can live in peace and better each other.
Delhi is home to many temples, ashrams, cultural centres and historic buildings in general and we got to visit them. From Agra Fort, to Qutub Minar, to Gandhi capture and memorial site, to an ashram and to a temple, Akshardam, we were truly treated to some of India’s history and culture. India has so much of history behind it and we were educated about that as well as future plans to grow India. So what the world should take note off, is that India is growing rapidly and has one of the highest GDP growth rates in the world. So watch out world, India is becoming a force to be reckoned with.
A trip to India, would not be complete without a trip to the great TAJ MAHAL. The Taj Mahal is situated in a city called Agra, which is a small city with two massive landmarks that I know of and visited. First one already mentioned, the Taj Mahal and second is Agra Fort. Most memorable is of course the Taj Mahal, because it is one of the seven wonders of the world and I can say I have been there. Bucket list tick ✔. The Taj Mahal is also a stunning structure that is made of marble and also seen as a symbol of love as it was built by an emperor as a tomb for his beloved wife. It’s amazing how people travel from all walks of life to visit this heritage site.
Third place we visited was Punjab, a state that bordered Pakistan and home of the Sikhs. I quite enjoyed Punjab, wonder if it was the luxury bus we had for traveling around in or not, but the bus was a plus because Punjab is really hot and we definitely needed the aircon. Travelling around we had police escorts and definitely a VIP experience, I now know what celebs feel like. What I enjoyed in Punjab, even though it is busy,is that it seemed much more relaxed than Delhi, has more green and that always makes me happy cause I love nature. We managed to visit the Sikh temple, which is called Gurdwara and is made of Gold. An amazing fact is that it gets like 50000 visitors each day and they feed every person that visits with volunteers preparing the meals. Another highlight was visiting the Indian-Pakistan border where they have a parade each and every day and it’s totally mesmerizing. We were privileged enough to be considered friends of the state and have the governor of the state visit us and have a meal with us. Punjab, for your hospitality you won my heart.
My first trip to India, I say first because I will definitely be back, was basically a north Indian experience However, I am a southern Indian girl by descent and therefore will look forward to the day I can visit Southern India.
My journey to India, therefore opened my eyes to the world of travel. It made me see that the world is here for us to explore. There are different people and cultures in world and that now seems to appeal of late. Why view the world from one dimension only when you can live our your life in real life 3D mode. We need not place ourselves in a box which is square shaped and represents corners (dead ends) but need to view the world as the circle it is (forever filled with possibilities and new beginnings).
Chak de India 🇮🇳