Sunday, December 18, 2011

{ Golden Triangle - Vrindavan, Agra, Jaipur }

For our last trip in India, we took a little road trip, with a hired driver and all, with our friends :), around the Golden Triangle...that is, our version of the Golden Triangle. We went to Vrindavan, where Maitri's widows stay, one of the holy cities in India; Agra, to see the Taj Mahal again, for our friends of course (and maybe to get some fun photos :)); and to Jaipur, the former capital of Rajasthan, the desert, and the Land of Kings and Colors.
It was a fabulous trip filed with...
our version of the 12 days of Christmas. 
holy men.
the most beautiful slab of white marble.
lots more tourists.
our sweet widows.
lots of last-minute fun, laughter, and love.
sarees, dupattas, and kurtas. 
elephant rides.
the most majestic Amber fort.
camel rides.
an Indian tribal village.
block printing.
an old-time ferris wheel (the guy even spun it with his feet and everything!!!).
My India.

It was a fun-filled "vacation" (it's hard to use that word in's quite the adventurous trek through the jungle and desert to get around!). I love India. And this was the perfect way to really sum up 4 and 1/2 months of such a splendid culture and people with some of my bestest friends :)

First stop, 
VRINDAVAN to see the widows :)

The sweet widows singing to God in the ashram before they ate. This is how some of them make money...they will sing for 12 hours a day and make approximately 6 rupees - or 12 cents.

Serving lunch to the widows.

I love this shot. The women are so sweet to each other...these are the women that volunteer to serve the widows.
A life well-lived...a life of hard-work and devotion to God.
Sitting with the widows.

Helping one of the widows up from the ground...she was so dear. She just kept babbling as I walked her out...
I love the light in this photo. This is the entrance to the ashram.
These booths/sellers are all over the old city of Vrindavan...these are prayer beads hanging up with other temple and devotion items.
These are autos/tuk-tuks in Vrindavan :) So much more colorful - looks like its from the 70's! Disco, baby! 
We then went to visit our widows in the Ashram just outside of town...they are all so sweet. I wish I could speak Hindi and Bengali. We hugged them, listened to them as they spoke of their vivid pain and lost dreams...yet they still have the biggest smiles on their faces. They have the biggest hearts and accept everyone. I love these women and I look up to them. I have no doubt that each of them has a place on the right hand of God.

As we walked into the Ashram, the widows were making an evening meal...
One of my favorites :) Look at her sweet grin!

She is a SPUNKY woman! 

Next stop: AGRA.
The Taj Mahal...

My favorite Katie-hai and I at the Taj :)
Dr. Derrius & myself AT THE TAJ :)
I love this vision of white as we peak through the doorframe of the mausoleum. 
Best friends...foreva :) Love these girls!

I'm holding the Taj!
Sauntering around the minaret at the Taj.

Favorite picture of these two beautiful girls :) Gotta love the red lipstick!

We stopped for a few minutes to see the magnificent Agra fort as well...just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Taj. In fact, you can get the most magnificent view of the Taj from the towers of the fort...incredible! This beautiful, historical fort is worth a quick stop when in Agra. 
If you have read The Sign of the Four with Sherlock Holmes...this fort plays a key role. Pretty cool, eh? It's old, and therefore, it's very very cool.

Agra fort.
Never a bad time to do a little yoga!

Next stop...
a 6 hour car ride to...
This is where we worked on The 12 days of Christmas! 
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
a baiyyah driving an SUV.
2 girls a singing!
3 cameras dying!
4 swollen tootsies! (Katie's way to say "toes")
5 worn out tourists!
6 fishes swimming!
7 vents-a-blowing!
8 windows fogging!
size 9 Aladdin shoes!
10 taj postcards!
11 oranges eaten!
12 nostrils trumpeting! (We all had colds...hahaha)
Toooooo good.
We were tired and worn out, okay?
yesssss :)
they're a girl's best friend!

Walking through the streets of Amber...
Awesome shot! Courtesy of Derrius Quarles.

BEST memory ever.
Ride to the Amber fort :) with my bf Sarah.
This fort surrounds the city...incredible!

Our elephant driver :)
Elephant's trunk!
Love these cute school girls! They all wanted a picture with Sarah and I when we paused for a photo op at the fort entrance.
This is India :) FAV.

Oh, romeooooo...this is my dramatic pose from a movie - not sure which one yet.
I love this mirror-faced wall!

Incredible India - look at that construction and those scaffoldings and ladders! Oh me, oh my!

The entrance area to the fort - it's HUGE.

Our first night in Jaipur, we went to an authentic Rajasthani-themed Indian tribal village resort just 15 km out of the city. It was INCREDIBLE! It felt like an Indian disney world :)

Village-made tea on entry.
Dancing like the real Indians do!
This is called Golgapa - very Indian. They're little hard-shelled hollow balls that have a little hole and they dip it in a soup and you eat it just off to the side, standing around the seller.
Amazing, right? Indians are cooooool.
BF Sarah-ji and I :)

DERRIUS. Fun to see him!
Real old-time FERRIS WHEEL. That's LEGIT.
Sarah was scared to death!

Worth it :) Quality bonding time.
The best chex mix things I've had in my 20 yrs of a fresh pico with Indian chex.
Another camel ride...just for old times sake :)
Then, we got Thali (sample) dinner - yummy!
The best part was these little sugary, smothered funnel cake things. To die for. I'm not really an Indian desert fan but I'll take 23409283409234908234098023498 of these!

The next morning we visited the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) in Jaipur - this is where many of the previous emperors of Rajasthan lived throughout history!

Shopping in Jaipur...DIVINE. Look at those shops! COLOR.
View over Jaipur :)
Here's the map, here's the map!
Then we visited the Anokhi museum of block was incredible. In a quaint little location on the outskirts of Amber, hidden amongst the older parts of the city...but we found it. And it was absolutely amazing. The guide book didn't even do it justice.

We watched this guy handmade these blocks for printing!

For my sweet, artistic, creative sisters :) I love you!
And our friend, Erika, Katie's best friend, made her own scarf...block printed with her own hands...AMAZING. Only in India.

India, you never cease to amaze me!!! I love you!


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