India/Nepal at 25 mph (or less) – Part 1 – Delhi
Hi everyone! We’re finally getting over our jet lag and it’s time to start sharing some of our incredible experiences in India and Nepal. Before I start, let me say that there is NO WAY for me to capture the full spectrum of these countries and the experiences we had. I decided on the tag line of “25 mph (or less)” because we saw much of the countries while traveling in a variety of vehicles – the one common denominator was that none of them moved very quickly. This led to a mixture of photos being taken around various venues as well as MANY taken out the window of a van/train/rickshaw/aircraft/or elephant (okay, not really any window there) during our travels.
Our adventure in India began immediately upon landing in Delhi at 5 o’clock in the morning. Although we could see there was some fog as we approached our landing, we didn’t understand how thick it was until we pulled off the runway. The pilot stopped the aircraft and announced that he could not proceed to the terminal because he could not see far enough ahead to even try to taxi the aircraft. 5 minutes later he told us that the ground crew was sending out a car to lead us to the terminal area. 5 minutes after that he announced that the car that was sent out also could not see and had to stop. Anyway, it took us almost an hour to make that short taxi to the terminal. After clearing customs, we began our tip to the hotel just a few miles away.
I took this photo several hours later after the fog had lifted significantly – If you can’t tell, it is a photo of father seeing his kids off to school – taken from about 20 feet away…..
A little while later our new best friend and guide Vinod picked us up for some relatively laid back sightseeing in Delhi. One of the first things that any American would notice is the traffic. Not only is it wall to wall, it is also made up of an eclectic mix of cars, motorbikes, tuk-tuks (tricycle motorbike taxis), bicycles, rickshaws, and the occasional ox-cart or goat herd. The next thing you notice is the sound – every vehicle communicates via the horns which makes it a fairly loud experience. The other thing that becomes immediately apparent is that the vehicles seem to have no occupancy limit other than what can be fit on any given space. Here’s a common example of a complete 5 person family on a motorbike.
The next thing you always hear about is the color. India is an interesting mix of earthtones in the landscape and the bright colors of flowers and saris that are everywhere. Here’s an example of a quick shot I took of a passing bus with some ladies wearing brightly colored and highly adorned saris.
The last thing I’ll touch on as a first impression of Delhi was that no matter where we went in the city there were incredible sights of temples (Hindu, Sikh, and Muslim), imposing official buildings or monuments of days gone by. This next photo is of the wall surrounding the presidential palace with a beautiful line of elephant statues guarding the grounds.
I’ll end this first post with a photo of Humayun’s tomb – built in the mid 16th century by the Persian-born senior wife of the second Mughal emperor Humayan. The Mughals were an empire of muslim descendants of Genghis Khan who ruled the Indian subcontinent from the 15th to the 18th centuries. Many of the most well known and influential buildings of the period were examples of Mughal architecture – including the Taj Mahal. I had the pleasure of enjoying this particular tomb with an Indian photographer that I met on the grounds. As I was marveling at the incredible building and the grounds, he was reminding me that this was little more than a warm up to the Taj itself.
Whoops – I almost forgot – many of you expect to find wildlife photos on this blog. Here’s an example of some of the parrots that you can find in almost all of these historical sites and buildings…..
I hope you enjoyed the beginning of this travelog – believe me there is MUCH more to show and tell.