Welcome to YasoInIndia

I am beginning my journey in Kolkata and traveling along the river Ganges by train. I will document what I see and hear along the way. The trip takes 14 days and this first leg of the journey will end in Rishikesh at the foothills of the Himalayas. I will then go down to South India for two weeks on my own, back to North India (Delhi & Rajastan) for a ten day tour of a number of Social Enterprises. My last stop in India will be the Bollywood capital, Mumbai. I am happy to share my travel stories with you...

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Taj Mahal, Agra, Vrindavan, Mathura

Taj Mahal. Beautiful as it is in pictures. Not much to see inside (was I bit disappointed?) other than the tombs of Shah Jahan & Mumtaz- the sections open to public. Then we were on a mad dash to make it to Agra Fort - one of emperor Akbar's residences. Architecture was amazing, no symetry in the buildings, georgous stone work on pilars. For this experience, I appreciated seeing the movie "Jodha Akbar." Akbar himself not a literate man is said to have brought together scholars and saints of all religions in an attempt to create one religion. There is a stone pillar in the public court carved with designs from the various religious coultures: Hindu, Jain, Christian/Jewish, Budhist, and Islamic. What a guy!

January 13 brought me to Krishna's birthplace, Mathura. It is too cold up north in Darmasala and so we decided to change plans at this point. I am taking a break and resting to cure this cold that has taken hold of me with full force in spite of many doses of Air Borne. My travel partner has moved on and I am going to stay here for a week to study Bhagavat Gita. There are several prayers every day, the crowds are animated, music is good, and a feeling of festivity is present at the prayer times (I thought some devotees were even dancing Bangra for the music). The temple is beautiful. Who knew that I would linger at the Hare Krishna headquaters for this long! One week, is long to just have me for company. I have always wondered what I would do if I had no schedules to make and had no real chores to do. I am starting to adjust to this pace of life.

Language - Hello and Thank you are "Hare Krishna" Sorry is "Oh Radha". Everone is nice and respectful and I still watch my purse and slippers.

Yesterday I purchased a copy of the Bhagavat Gita, and went to the first discourse- an old Gita scholar(American, I think) is giving the discourse. I am trying to stay with it. This morning I read out loud the introduction to the book, partly to hear my own voice. Hard not to have someone to talk to... I also made friends with the lady who is selling ISKCON books at the temple. International Society of Krishna Consciousness. I think she was curious about me more than a person to chat with.

Food here is truly a treat. Many different items are on the menu including Italian all prepared according to the Krishna way- every item absolutely delicious- at this point I have yet to taste them all. There are some inetresting archelogical sites in Mathura but I have decided against going there. The situation there is politically tenuous- Muslins, Hindus, and Budhists all claim the area and has had occasional violence erupting...

On Jan 21 I will be taking the train to Delhi and stay three days there before heading to South India...

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