May 17

india part I: delhi & agra.

{the spice market in old delhi}

{the busy streets of old delhi}

{delhi apartments}

{first views of the taj mahal}

{inside the baby taj}

{the view of the taj from the agra fort}

{the agra fort}

The first leg of my trip began in Delhi. My cousin and his girlfriend had been on exchange in India for the past six months which was what originally prompted me to consider traveling to such an amazing country. He had raved about it since the start and I knew that I had to take advantage of the opportunity to go (one that may not come up again in my life). So together with my aunt (his mother), we made the long trip, and I’m so happy that we did.

Delhi is a huge bustling city that is big, dirty and beautiful all at the same time. The first day of our trip, feeling jet lagged and overheated, Dylan (my cousin) & Tammy took us to old Delhi to hit us with a bang. I must admit, I was first very overwhelmed and wondered what I had gotten myself into, but that feeling passed quickly as I got used to the bustle, the people and the extreme heat (umm was it ever hot – can we just take a moment to talk about how we each drank about 4 litres of water every day and very rarely peed? I don’t think that’s normal). Old Delhi in particular is a loud, intense, busy (understatement) little spot. We rented a bike rickshaw and visited temples, toured through spice markets and wedding markets and stepped over sleeping men in very narrow streets in order to get to places we wanted to get to.

The next day, my aunt and I awoke bright and early to make the trek to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. After a quite pleasant train ride (which is more than I can say for all of the other train experiences we were about to be faced with), we arrived just after the sun rose. Upon my first glance of the Taj I actually got choked up. I had to hold back tears as it was so overwhelmingly beautiful and I just could not believe that I was there, in person, to see it for myself. At first, still feeling overwhelmed by the culture shock and the heat (I can’t tell you how many Indians were even complaining about the heat – we were constantly told that we were crazy for travelling through India in the summer and most closed shop for the afternoon to nap in any shade they could find), I had thought to myself that if the next two weeks turned out to be absolutely horrible (they were not), it would all be worth it for that one moment that I laid eyes on the Taj Mahal.

The rest of the day was spent visiting the baby Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort (which was infested with monkeys – perhaps the best kind of infestation methinks) and eating what can only be described as some of the most incredible food I’ve ever had the pleasure of ingesting.

(See Part II, Part III & Part IV)

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