Friday, January 29, 2010

My Trip to India

I plan to have a normal post up early next week, but until then I thought it would be fun to put up some of my favorite pictures from my vacation in India, where I visited Mumbai, Goa, New Delhi, and Agra. This definitely doesn't cover all of my trip and is simply my favorite pictures (not necessarily my favorite memories though), which provides a pretty decent cross-section of the trip. Even though we were slumming it at times, it was definitely a lot of fun. It's definitely an adventure to be out of your comfort zone and experience a different culture. Even though my parents are Indian and some of that culture seems through, it's incredible how different life is there even compared to Indian communities in America. If there was any doubt that I was 100% American, it was definitely eliminated on this trip. I saw some things I always wanted to see, got to spend a lot of time with some great people, and re-connected with family members I hadn't seen in a very long time. Without further ado though, let's get to the pictures (you can click on any of them to enlarge, by the way).

We all flew into Mumbai and on one of our first days we visited Elephanta Island, which is World Heritage Site and was cooler than I thought it would be. However, it was also our first taste with a common theme in India: the people do not take care of the culture like people in other parts of the world do. It's sad to see trash like this at caves that are centuries old:

Also at Elephanta were evil monkeys. This monkey here is holding a bag he attacked a woman to get:

We went to Leopold's in Mummbai and the food was really good. It wasn't the best restaurant we'd eat at, but the butter garlic shrimp was pretty insane. Anyway, they served a pitcher of beer in a very fun way:

In Mumbai we took a short walk on Marine Drive at sunset. It was a very nice view of the city, and the water:

I think the beach we went to that same night was Chowpati - it was closer to the center of town:

This post wouldn't be complete without a nod to Bademiya. It's an absolute must-go if you're visiting Mumbai. It's basically Indian street food done right.

My cousin got married in a nice chapel on a hill in Goa, and the ceremony ended near sunset. It was hard to get a good picture of Goa from this hill because of the way the lighting worked out, but I did the best I could:

The wedding reception had really neat hand-made flowers:

On one of our walks near Colmar beach in Goa we ran into a water buffalo. Apparently he had an owner, who was giving it a bath:

I was surprised I got this shot, but I managed to get it without any people in it. This was at the entrance to the Qutb Minar area in Delhi:

The Qutb Minar was pretty incredible and very photogenic. Here's a few more shots I really liked from it:

Afterward we saw the Lotus Temple, which is an incredible designed Bahai Temple. It was more impressive on the outside than inside, but still tastefully simple and elegant on the inside. The lotus flower is very important in Indian culture and represents purity. The outside structure was really something to wonder at:

We couldn't get too close to the India Gate, but we did our best with as close as we could get:

We saw the President's estate from afar while we were in New Delhi, and I'd like to think I made the best of a foggy shot:

In Agra, I was actually more impressed by the Agra Fort than the Taj Mahal because of the ridiculous detail all around. I mean this right here is only the archway to a room that they used as a temple:

The room where Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son:

Of course, you can't go to Agra without seeing the Taj:

One cultural oddity we discovered is that straight men (and women) freely hold hands, and even pinkies, over there. It's not considered gay at all, it's just a sign of close friendship:

We got to visit the grave of Gandhi, which was a really cool setup:

Given how much good food you can get in India, I can't go through this post without showing you one of our favorites. This was a Murg Musallam Lucknowi, and we pretty much scraped the plate clean:

One of the trippier things we saw on our trip was a cowboy themed 50th birthday party in Mumbai. These were strangely hanging all around from the ceiling:

The menu was really cute:

Also pretty trippy in Mumbai was Crawford Market, where you can get whatever your heart desires if you know where to find it and are willing to bargain:

If you're Facebook friends with me then you'll probably see more pictures go online tomorrow. Anyway, hope you enjoyed these shots and I hope everyone has a great weekend!

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