Em and I got back from India today, and had the MOST incredible time. We really did love it and had the best experience. Some of the quick highlights and itinerary are:
Taj Mahal - exceeded all expectations! This was larger, whiter, and more intricate than we had ever imagined.
Amber Fort (Jaipur) - this has the Great Wall of India, amazing Fort built on a mountain, and an Elephant ride to the entrance.
Shopping and haggling in the local Indian markets and bazaars
Watching the sunrise over the Taj Mahal from our hotel room
The monkeys, cows, water buffalo, goats, and other animals that roam freely around the country
Tour of the Dharavi slum in Mumbai (a commercial slum that was filmed in Slumdog Millionaire - more below).
Riding the local trains with doors open and hanging out the door to get some fresh air.
A monkey at the Elephant Caves stealing a tourist Coca Cola, climbing a tree, opening it, and drinking it. Priceless.
Snake/Cobra charmers in Jaipur ... wow!
Elephanta Caves - incredible carvings, cool boat ride, etc.
Watching a gridlock occur in a Mumbai intersection - everyone driving forward, causing a crazy road block for 30 minutes until the police come to help everyone else.
Driving around India - having the locals wave and smile, seeing the small Tuk Tuk cars full of 10 Indians piled on to 2 seats, seeing the women wear beautifully colored Saris walking down the street or working in the fields, mass chaos on the streets with bicycles, cars, people, etc.
The Indians are so content and accepting of their lot in life (mostly due to Hinduism), and it is inspiring to see them happy in poor circumstances but still working hard.
The Dharavi slum in Mumbai was a life-changing experience. Although probably the worst living conditions in the world (we spent 2 hours walking through small alleys, dirty rooms where 8 people lived, the worst smells, green sewage running through the alleys, and dirty kids playing half clothed). But the most amazing thing was that although these people had nothing, they were content and happy with life. There was no anger or contempt to us or the rest of the world. They instead worked on pottery, recycling plastics, and other jobs, where they worked 10-12 hours per day, 7 days a week, for 150-200 rupees (~$1.5-2 per day). It was bad, but at the same time, they are working and trying to improve their circumstances. I am attaching a few links below for more info - we took an organized tour through Reality Tours - really eye-opening and life changing.
05th March 2011- Arrive Delhi
06th March 2011- Delhi
07th March 2011-Delhi
08th March 2011- Delhi / Agra (Drive)
09th March 2011- Agra / Jaipur (Drive)
10th March 2011-Jaipur / Fly to Mumbai
City Palace, Jantar Mantar
11th March 2011 - Mumbai
Tour of Dharavi
12th March 2011 - Mumbai / Delhi by flight 9W-353: 1705 / 1905 Hrs
Gateway of India to take boat for Elephanta Caves
Flight back to the States