It is almost impossible to transmit all the beauty we have encountered on our India trip. In this post we tried to collect the highlights of the 2nd part of our tour with a selection of the best photos we shot. We have visited picturesque forts, temples and palaces, bustling cities, beautiful landscapes, met nice people and saw the king of the Jungles, the tiger. Another try to seduce you to see India for yourself…
To The holy city of Pushkar
Pushkar was another special spot on our journey. The lake is told to originate from a flower petal falling from Brahma’s weapon during a fight with the demon Vajranabha. The lake and the Brahma temple (one of only five in India) are important pilgrimage destinations, and thousands of Hindus visit it each year for a bath in the holy water of the Pushkar Lake. Around the lake there are temples and Ghats (access to the holy water, in fact stair cases) everywhere, where the purification rituals take place.
Pushkar became famous for the yearly Camel festival the “Pushkar Mela”which takes place during full moon in October-November. The festival lasts for five days with lots of special competitions like “longest moustache”, “bridal competition”, “camel race” and of course a cricket match…
On our first morning as we tried to order eggs for breakfast we also learned that this sacred city is completely vegetarian.
Varanasi – city of Shiva
Varanasi – also known as Benares – is a one of the holiest cities in Hinduism and Jainism. The visit here was a truly touching experience.
Pilgrims come here to the Ghats of the Ganges to wash away their sins in the sacred waters of the river, to cremate their loved ones, and to die here. They believe if their ashes are thrown into the river they will be liberated from the cycle of rebirth.
Beside the holy washing and the cremation ceremonies, different rituals of life and death take place here every evening and in the early morning hours. Fascinating choreography of dancing, chanting, singing, burning incense, “playing” with fire and masses of pilgrims. We could observe these beautiful ceremonies taking place on the banks of the river from a boat, which gave us the proper view but also the decent distance.
Taj Mahal – beauty, symmetry and harmony in Agra
There are no words that could describe the Taj Mahal, it is such a perfect and harmonious construction. And it is also the perfect love declaration. Shah Jahan built it for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal after her death, to remind the coming generations of the story of their love. And so it does.
But once in Agra you must also visit the Agra Fort. It is a remarkable fortress of red sandstone and especially beautiful marble buildings inside. And it also offers a distant, but great view of the Taj Mahal.
On tiger watch in Ranthambore
India is also famous for its tigers. Every year thousands of tourists visit the different reserves to catch a glimpse of this majestic animal. We also visited one of the nature parks in Ranthambore and made 2 safari rides. And although it is not the best season for sighting tigers (vegetation is too dense at the moment) one ride was successful: we saw – at least in the distance – a tiger resting on the hill. (a bit of a de-ja vue with our leopard search in Southern Africa).