Flight Centre's Emma Pelling travels to India and experiences the profound extremes in Indian culture. The magic of the Taj Mahal is contrasted with the vibrant bustle of everyday life on the streets of modern India. Let's hear how Emma was affected by her trip.
I was standing at the foot of the Taj Mahal, totally breathless. I had heard so much about the Taj, from its magnificent architecture to its sprawling gardens. Nothing prepared me for the emotion I felt when inside the memorial. This tomb for the long gone Emperor's beloved wife was made with so much passion that you can feel his love for her in every detail of the memorial. The carefully selected gemstones which were sought worldwide were thoughtfully placed over the entire tomb. The position upon the river gave the Emperor a perfect place to watch over his beloved wife from his palace. I stood in silence inside the tomb for more than an hour, totally mesmerised by this creation.
The tranquility of the grounds of the Taj Mahal does not extend beyond its walls. The only other place I felt completely still was in my hotel room, where a little peace and quiet was appreciated. As you leave the hotel front door you can hear the constant horns beeping on the tuk-tuks. There are no apparent road rules and you can smell the slow burning ovens fuelled by cow pats. On a daily basis, women walk miles collecting cow pats which are placed in a pile on a metal tray upon their heads. These are for their ovens.
The nearest Indian or three crowds your space trying to get your business. You can see many men sleeping on their rickshaws because many have no homes to go to. These men are prepared to transport you from place to place. Trips which can often be 10km cost as little as 30cents. This is often all they earn in a day.
The colourful cotton found in markets is used for many things from skirts to ties. This inexpensive and easy to wear clothing is perfect to travel in. Wild monkeys wander the streets looking for scraps of food. These monkeys are clever and they have been known to take sunglasses off unsuspecting tourists without them noticing.
Cows are considered holy. They wander the streets which are jammed packed with people, stalls and noise and are given the utmost respect. They are fed with fresh hay and often sleep inside homes. They are not owned by anyone in particular, but rather shared by all.
India is like no other country. For this reason, you either love it or not. It offers so much that Westerners are not familiar with. It may not be for the faint hearted but it is certainly a place to visit if you love culture, history and countryside.
Looking for more information about travelling to India to experience the energy of a nation which is coming of age? Contact [email]text=Emma Pelling[/email], a Team Leader with Flight Centre in Townsville, Queensland who can be contacted at 1300 286 469 or by [email]text=email[/email].