Saturday, 18 April 2015

First Impressions of India

Red Kites patrolling azure skies accompanied us on much of our travelling through northern India.

Now I don't understand why I entertained any apprehensions concerning visiting India. Some advice was proffered by well meaning friends along with anxieties as a result of my own too vivid imagination - none of which materialised. We remained free of the traveller's dreaded "Delhi Belly" probably as a result of eating in clean establishments and each being given a litre of pure water every day. It was a wonderful journey, and we would happily return to see more..... 
 magical landscapes
sublime monuments
images via wiki
 wonderful birds - Hoopoe 
via wiki
flowers - Tecoma stans - yellow bells
and even Holy Cows!
From the grandiose to the humbling, the contrasts in India are huge - a lumbering elephant ponderously negotiates the busy traffic in Delhi
It is impossible to imagine the plight of this little family living on a traffic island in central Delhi. Mother, father, grandparents, and 9 small children, some of which were running dangerously amongst the cars begging. The tree their protection from the weather, the ground their resting place
via
Flew into Delhi and enjoyed exploring its buildings along with Sir Edwin Lutyens architectural designs for New Delhi. Took a train to Agra and visited two of India's most iconic monuments. Flew north to Kashmir sitting in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountain chain where we stayed on a Royal Houseboat in the middle of Dal Lake, Srinagar, summer retreat of both the Mughal Emperors and the British Raj
Above all we met lots of beautiful, friendly and very welcoming people
More tales from India soon

76 comments:

  1. Hello Rosemary, Welcome back; your travels to India evidently took in many of those contrasts the country is famous for. It always amazes me that a place so famous for poverty and overcrowding has so much to offer in terms of natural history and culture. Your photos are beautiful, encapsulating the vitality of the place, and I look forward to hearing more about the trip.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - the contrasts in India are extreme from the opulence of the very rich to the less than basic needs of the very poor. There is no help for those that have nothing.

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  2. How wonderful you both enjoyed your journey to India and without a problem.
    The women do wear such pretty colours.
    Sad to see the family sitting there, but i expect there are many like that..

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    1. The women are beautiful, even when toiling in fields or carrying bricks on their heads on a building site they manage to look elegant and colourful.

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  3. You made some wonderful photo's of India, it is a country of contrasts with poverty and beauty.

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    1. You are right it is a country overflowing with contrasts - even among the poor they reveal dignity and elegance.

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  4. This is a very interesting and full of contrasts country, as the writing. See it but it is certainly large Experiences, and I wish the same pleasant experience from the trip. Interesting pictures you showed today. Regards.

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    1. Dear Giga - I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing the photos. It will take me some time to work my way through them all, but whilst doing so it will help rekindle the experience.

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  5. Crazy an elephant on the road.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. Yes, seeing the large elephant marching down the road surprised us all.

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  6. You're braver than me, we travel, but tummy problems get me in the best of countries, India would probably kill me.

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    1. I had apprehensions myself, but they were all luckily unfounded.

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  7. Not somewhere I have ever had the desire to visit, but seeing it through your camera lens it is beautiful!! I am so glad that you enjoyed it and had a good time. I look forward to reading and seeing more!! Welcome home again! xx

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    1. Thank you for your welcome home Amy. Unlike you, I have long wanted to visit India but kept putting it off, now I would like to return and see more.

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  8. Dear Rosemary, What a fabulous experience you had! Welcome home. Thank you for the beautiful photographs.

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    1. Dear Gina - it is lovely to hear from you again. Travel certainly makes the world a much smaller place - I was surprised that it was a shorter plane journey to India for us than it was flying to Florida.

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  9. what a trip!!! elephant on the road???! eeep! :)

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    1. The elephant photo is not the best as I had to take it from our vehicle through glass, but you get the idea.

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  10. Hello Rosemary,
    A big welcome home. I have been thinking about you. So happy to hear you were pleasantly impressed with India. The colours in your images are superb and I am looking forward to viewing again and again and to your future posts

    Helen xx

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    1. Dear Helen - what a very kind welcome home - thank you. I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing the images. I decided whilst I was away that I really do need to get a new camera, my little point and shoot does not really do these places full justice.
      I was surprised that our flight to India was less than our flight to Florida.

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  11. Sounds like a wonderful trip! Love your photos!

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    1. Thank you Debra that is very kind of you, and it is good to connect with you once again.

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  12. Rosemary, your amazing photos brought back memories of my visit to that colorful country - although I was in southern India (Kerala) and Mumbai. It's a place I'd never expected to visit but now am so thankful for the opportunity to actually see how life is there - overwhelming poverty and sadness alongside unbelievable riches and beauty, of the people, the scenery, and every aspect of life.
    Welcome back - and thank you for sharing your wonderful trip. So glad you stayed well - I love Indian food but was very careful what I put in my tummy too!!!!

    Hugs - Mary

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    1. Dear Mary - I don't know why it took so long for me to get around to visiting India. We did call in briefly on our way to China many years ago, but I am so pleased that I have now visited and I have met so many lovely people too. The memories will linger long.

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  13. Delighted to hear you had a wonderful time and no tummy problems! Great images and look forward to seeing more.

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    1. Thank you Suzie - I have lots of photos and dirty linen to sort out, but feeling surprisingly fresh considering that we have just flown from Kashmir to Delhi with a nights rest in between and then home.

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  14. It seems to be such a country of contrasts - and I have to admit I think I would find it a little scarey if I'm honest. But a perennial traveller like yourself seems to take it all in your stride - bringing back wonderful photographs and experiences.

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    1. Dear Elaine - if you read my previous post you will see I wrote that I had scary feelings too. However, there was absolutely nothing to be scared about. I think the fact that we had good accommodation and were continually given fresh pure water was a great help. We were the first ever visitors to go to Kashmir with our travel company, so you could say that we were pioneers. It has been a closed area until the last 2 or 3 years by our Foreign Office because it borders Pakistan and Afghanistan, but we felt no threat whatsoever.

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  15. My daugther was a few years ago in India...in Uttar Pradesh...she was there for teach the childeren English...she traveld alone.
    I saw a lot off photo's...it is a verry beautiful country...and the people are verry kind.
    When my daugther came back too the Netherlands...she missed India, after the time there, it was verry difficult for here too started here...it is verry relaxed in India she said...
    Nice post Rosemary.

    Greetings,
    Inge, my choice

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    1. Dear Inge - I believe it is true that India gets under your skin. My DiL travelled through India for several months when she was younger, and she felt the same as your daughter. The people have a lovely spontaneity about them.

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  16. Oh that looks fabulous Rosemary. It's going to be fascinating learning more about the country through your posts.

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    1. I do hope that you will enjoy seeing them once I have got my head round them!

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  17. Dear Rosemary,
    Your photos are so wonderful.
    There is so much contrast to see in India.. and also amongst the casts.
    I love the smells and the bright colors and the saris..India is fascinating.
    looking forward to seeing more of the north.
    val xxx

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    1. Thank you Val, you have obviously been to India yourself - I love the way the women look so elegant and colourful even when doing menial work in the fields.

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  18. Before we met, my husband lived in India for about a year . His photos and his stories made me want to go and retrace his steps .. the colors, the people, the countryside. He was in Kashmir .. he has photos of the festivals and sitting around a fire in the forest and street scenes .. thousands of photos. I used to want to make them into a book for him .. Our son went a few years ago on his own journey .. I am the only one in the family who didn't get to go ! Your photos are lovely..

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    1. It is never too late to go. I know, because I considered hard and long before our visit, but we both managed really well. Once your home is sorted why not join a small group and pay a visit.
      I would love it if you ever considered showing some of your husband's photos and tales of his time in India.
      I hope you will enjoy my posts from Kashmir too when I get around to posting them.

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  19. How wonderful!!! I love how much traveling you do, I hope to put time aside to travel when my children are grown… The picture of the elephant in traffic is amazing. And so incredible the depth of prospective of how different life can be as I look at that picture of the family, an island of "home" surrounded by cars. Thanks for the post!
    Cheers,
    Marica

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    1. Thank you for your kind comments Marica - seeing families living in such conditions, and yet all of them looked both colourful and clean is a real shock to the system. How can they survive like that with absolutely nothing but they do.

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  20. Welcome back, Rosemary. I look forward to seeing more of your trip to India. It must have been an experience that you'll never forget.

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    1. I am very pleased we went despite my apprehensions which turned out to be misplaced. It would be nice to return sometime.

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  21. Wowww, this must have been a wonderful travel. All the pictures are gorgeous, that hoopoe bird is spotted here in our country sometimes and the Tecoma stans I had once in my greenhouse, sown from seed from Madeira, but Asia is different and exotic to us. The contrasts in India are huge, but generally taken people look satisfied with their life. Nevertheless, living on a traffic island is awful and dangerous. Characteristic and so beautiful the elephant among the traffic...... , the collage of people.....
    Looking forward to more.

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    1. Thank you Janneke - seeing the families living on the streets was a humbling experience, and yet they still succeed in looking elegant and colourful. The extremes in peoples lives here can be harsh, but it is much more so in India where there is no welfare help from the government.

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  22. I've heard many people say how overwhelmed they were by the sounds, sights and smells of India. It is evidently a powerful experience. For some it developed into a life long passion and others have no desire to go back.

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    1. I think that perhaps you are right - personally I would like to return.

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  23. Just beautiful pictures Rosemary!
    Have a great trip!
    Titti

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    1. Thank you Titti - the trip is over now but the memories will linger long

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  24. When he came home from his journey a dear friend of mine told me to forget everything I had ever heard about India , and you are saying more or less the same thing. It is definitely a country to visit, your photos do tell a story .

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    1. There are people that return to India again and again, and I can now understand why - it seems to get under your skin.

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  25. So glad you had such a wonderful time Rosemary it is a delight to see these first images from your trip. I can't wait to see your post about Kashmir too. I read the Kashmir shawl by Rosie Thomas a few years ago and some of the story was based on the houseboats. Sarah x

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    1. Someone staying on our houseboat was reading the Kashmir Shawl, and I then wished that I had read it too. I have now placed an order with Amazon. I hope you will enjoy the photos taken whilst staying on the houseboat, it was a very special experience.

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    2. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. Sarah x

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    3. Can't wait for it to arrive - should be here any day this week.

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  26. Dear Rosemary,

    I had no idea that elephants would be in Delhi traffic! Or that they would still be used in urban areas. What a lovely contrast to see those two classic portraits and then the images of the contemporary Indians — all lovely.

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    1. India is a land of continual surprises, and that is the reason why people return again and again. Seeing an elephant in the traffic took us all by surprise. The people are a delight, we made one little friend, nearly six years old, whom we shall keep in touch with.

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  27. Everything looks so beautiful, Rosemary - and I too have been thinking of you, and wondering how it was going! I'm so pleased you had a successful and healthy trip. I especially love the serene landscape with the blossoming trees, so pretty. And the colour: how enchanting are those bright clothes!? Amazing sights, the elephant in the street and the people living on the island. Currently I am re-reading The Jewel in the Crown, and can certainly see why India was regarded in this way. Looking forward to more Indian posts.

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    1. We have enjoyed watching a series on the TV called 'Indian Summer' during the period of the British Raj. It whet our appetite for the trip. I am so pleased that I finally took courage with both hands and made the trip, and now I am inclined to return again.

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  28. I can't wait to see more about your trip! I too have been enthralled by "Indian Summers". It's much better than I thought it would be, though it caused me to ask Indian daughter-in-law "Why don't you hate us?"

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    1. We felt the same as you. Several Indians we spoke to said that they felt they were better off under the British and that we bought them law and order. The legacy seems to be one that they are proud of especially the fact that we educated them. It is a complex issue.
      I found the attitude of some British characters in 'Indian Summer' embarrassing to watch - I sincerely hope and believe that most of us have moved on from there.

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  29. There are certainly a lot of negative myths regarding India.In the other hand, everyone enjoys providing contrasting experiences about the smell, the food, the toilets. Whilst travelling, the first thing that matters to me is safety. That is because I always travel with the kid. However, I'm totally convinced that it's a multifaceted country, with multifaceted ideology. Your photos are so exotic and beautifull and I'm really happy you have had a wonderful stay Rosemary. Looking forward to see more...
    Olympia

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    1. Dear Olympia - my own excitement at travelling to India was tempered by a certain amount of anxiety. However, now I have been I would have no hesitation whatsoever in returning. We did not come across any strange toilets, all were clean and modern, and safety was not an issue at all. We all felt completely relaxed amongst so many friendly, helpful, and kind people. When I flew up to Kashmir, my Indian neighbour on the plane offered me half of his sandwich lunch bought from the plane trolley, this is just one example of many kindnesses received.
      However, if ever you do decide to visit India, I personally would wait until your daughter is grown up. Apart from seeing wonderful sights there are also some upsetting things. For example those that have absolutely nothing. Even so they always look clean and colourful and have smiles on their faces.

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  30. One thing that struck me during our travels in India was the dignity of the people who lived on the street in the big cities. Although their poverty was desperate, their lives were actually quite orderly. We travelled a lot on Indian railways. I loved sitting by the open carriage door, watching the country tick past. We always travelled 'second class aircon' - very clean.

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    1. The trains are remarkably cheap. When we travelled to Agra not only did £4 cover the two hour journey, but it came with breakfast, drinks, nuts and various other little titbits.

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  31. Wonderful selection of photos, really gives an overview of the different sights. Seeing the elephant coming down the road must have been amazing. I notice you have pictures of people and they appear to be looking right at your camera. When I travel I love to take pictures of the different clothing and styles that people wear but often hold back because I don't know how they'll react if they see me taking the shot. I'm guessing by the smiles on their faces, your subjects didn't mind at all :)

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    1. Dear Rosemary - all of the people who are looking at the camera were asked whether I could photograph them or not, the only ones I didn't ask were those with their backs to me. It was often reciprocated by me having my photo taken by them and invariably they gave me a big hug too. They are warm charming people.

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  32. Dear Rosemary, so good that you are back happy and healthy - and yes, I think some people instill fear in us - well-meaning, of course, but my family has a saying if someone stutters "I only meant it well" that it was a failing attempt.
    The photos are so lovely: the people look very, very friendly; and I love the joyous colours! It is good to leave sometimes the comfort zone (though you often do by travelling a lot) - life is often different from what we expect. (I always wonder whether I'll come to Africa in this life).

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    1. Dear Britta - Don't wait for another life to go to Africa, go now. All of my fears about travelling to India were unfounded, and everything went like clockwork.

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  33. I have always longed to visit India and really do hope to one day. I have loved reading your post and looking at your wonderful images of your experience there.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post Marina - if the opportunity does come along, grab it with both hands and go for it. You will find it a memorable experience.

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  34. I've always had this notion to go because there are so many family tales of India. I think one thing that is keeping me away is that I don't tremendously want to do a tour. I'd like to go to the Nilgiri hills which I've heard so much about and explore around there, but that has to be arranged from scratch and the amount of organisation needed is definitely rather alarming! I am bowled over by your beautiful pictures, particularly the ones of people. the gent in the saffron turban is particularly eye catching.

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    1. Being a mountain lover I imagine that I would like the Nilgiri Hills as well - but we did spend nearly a week in the foothills of the Himalayas which was beautiful.
      Hope you make it to India one day, and I hope that I may return again one day too.

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  35. What a wonderful taster of your Indian experiences to whet our appetite for posts to come, Rosemary. You have obviously had an unforgettable holiday and i look forward to learning much more about it.

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    1. Dear Perpetua - the trip went very well - I hadn't realised beforehand that you can get to India quicker than going to the States, and travelling east to west you do not suffer from jet-lag.

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  36. Thank you Rosemary for this positive report. I have always been intrigued yet apprehensive about traveling to India. What an unusual bird!

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    1. Me too Janey, but there is absolutely nothing to feel apprehensive about, I would happily return.

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  37. This is a great post.
    I'm thinking the family which is living on the treet.

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    1. It is a sight that I will never forget seeing

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