Jeff & Mark Loved India

Have you ever thought of going to India? We had, but we had also assumed that at least a month was needed for the trip; perhaps you have thought the same. Thanks to Purple Dragon’s “India’s Golden Triangle” itinerary, we got a wonderful introduction to India in far less than a month, and are looking forward to a return visit!

India’s history is a kaleidoscope: rich, varied, and influenced over the centuries by many cultures. The resulting diversity is evident at every glance; from the Hindus to the Buddhists to the Muslims, and the Maharajas to the Moguls to the British, all have left a fascinating legacy. The portion of the country which we visited brings many of these influences into focus.

Our trip started in Delhi. Both Old and New Delhi tell significant parts of India’s history. Buddhist temples are present throughout the city. Qutab Minar was originally built as a Hindu temple and burial complex, but when the area was conquered by the Muslim Moguls, its use was converted to that of a mosque with alteration of the existing structures and decorations. Eventually a new mosque and the spectacular minaret were constructed as part of the complex. Nearby but centuries later, the British built the impressive India Gate to commemorate soldiers lost in the First World War. Finally Raj Ghat is the site of Ghandi’s funeral pyre, now an expansive park visited by millions. Such are the hallmarks of India’s past and present.

Next we traveled to Agra, home of the famous Taj Mahal. I have seen hundreds of photographs and other depictions of the Taj Mahal, have heard its story many times and so I thought that I knew exactly what we would see. Our guide met us early in the morning; he insisted that we arrive before sunrise for the best views. Once we entered the site and the sun began to rise over the Taj Mahal, all of my preconceived ideas evaporated … the sight before me was absolutely breathtaking! As the sun rose, the white marble and inlaid semi-precious stones began to glimmer and seemed to glow. There is no photograph or video which can capture that magical sight; a sight that I will never forget.

Finally we visited Jaipur, home of the Maharajas since the 11th century. Their story is one of perseverance through all of the changes that India has seen, involving isolation, alliances, and accommodation. To this day there is a sitting Maharaja in Jaipur, and an heir-apparent. Much like the Maharajas, India continues to evolve and to fold its storied past and diverse present into what has to be an exciting future.

If your holiday time is limited, don’t mark India off of your destination list. Thanks to Purple Dragon’s efficient itineraries and excellent guides, a great introduction to one of the most vibrant parts of the world is indeed a possibility and it may just whet your appetite for more!

Editor's Note: We thought you might like to know that we now have India prices through early 2012. You can find details on our website at: www.purpledrag.net/pricing/india/prices.htm. It is never too early to make firm travel plans in India. Many of the hotels we use are fully booked far in advance, particularly for November through February. We hate to disappoint our guests when we are forced to offer second or third hotel choices, so we encourage you to plan well ahead. Questions? Write to us!

 

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