India in December – A Photo Essay

McLeod Ganj

We spent most of December 2011 in India, but unfortunately I only have pictures from the last half of our time there. For the first ten days we were both pretty sick with the flu. We spent three days making our way from the border of Nepal to Rishikesh, where we intended to do lots and lots of yoga. We did yoga once. So sad. It was super cold and neither of us seemed to be able to shake the flu. We didn’t do much in Rishikesh except walk around in search of food, none of which was stellar.

My pictures start in McLeod Ganj, a cute little city situated next to Dharamsala (where the Dalai Lama lives). Getting there wasn’t easy because what fun would that be? I seem to have a curse following me as far as transportation goes when I travel; things always go awry. We bought bus tickets on the only bus from Rishikesh to McLeod Ganj which departed once every two days. When the bus arrived, they wouldn’t let us on. It was a confusing thirty minutes and by the end of it we had determined that they had double booked the seats; there was a group of people waiting at the halfway point to get on. Turns out it was a blessing in disguise because it wasn’t a small group that was going to fill our seats, it was twenty-five school children all of which got car sick. What a fun ride that would have been.

Anyway, five of us were left standing at the gas station as the bus rolled off leaving us in its dust. Our choices were to wait two days for the next bus or to hire a van to drive all five of us to our destination. We chose the van, added a sixth person and drove all night to McLeod Ganj. I was in the middle of the back row which didn’t recline. Oh the joys of being the shortest in nearly every group I’m in. The drive was miserable, but our time in McLeod Ganj was fantastic. Here are some pictures:

Om Mani Padme Hum
Om Mani Padme Hum. This Buddhist mantra was carved on rocks and repeated by many.

Tibetan Buddhism

free tibet
This is my artistic shot depicting the situation in Tibet.

free tibet

This one goes out to all you yogis out there!

After a week in McLeod Ganj, we ventured down to Delhi via night bus. We chose to do a day trip to Agra which is where the rest of these pictures were taken. Before you scroll down, let me tell you this, I am not going to overload you with pictures of the Taj Mahal. It was nice, but I fell for the Baby Taj instead. The Baby Taj AKA  the Tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah AKA the Jewel Box is much more fun to look at and explore than the Taj Mahal. For starters, we were practically the only ones there, allowing us a real fun photo session. I fell in love with the ornate details in the structure, which the Taj Mahal lacked. The Baby Taj is made of red sandstone and white marble, with gorgeous paintings and decorative patterns inlaid with jasper, carnelian, onyx, topaz, and lapis lazuli. See for yourself. Perhaps you’ll fall in love more with the Baby Taj as well.

baby taj

baby taj

marble screen
A carved marble window screen at the Baby Taj.

baby taj

baby taj

And now onto the beloved Taj Mahal.

taj mahal Silhouette

taj mahal
Instead of showing you a picture of the Taj up close, I will show you the spectacle that is Taj Mahal photography.

taj mahal

agra fort
An Indian Ringneck made a home at Agra Fort. After we spotted this little guy and started taking pictures of it, others caught on. One of my biggest pieces of advice: when you’re exploring always remember to look up. That’s usually where the most interesting things are and the most unnoticed stuff as well. People concentrate on the thing they came to see, but forget that there are all sorts of neat tidbits around it.
I took this picture of a moving rickshaw while we were in our own rickshaw being driven back to the Agra train station at the end of the day.

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