February 27, 2014

Adventures in India

The past month has been a whirlwind, leaving little time for cooking, let alone blogging. But I'm back! Where have I been, you might ask?

INDIA.

Temple Dancer outside Jagdish Temple






Daniel and I were invited to attend our friend Janak's wedding in Ahmedabad, India. INDIA!!! Apologies for the all caps and multiple exclamation points, but this trip was worthy of both. I have always wanted to travel, and until now have not had much opportunity to do so. Between a tight budget and no paid time off, world travel has always seemed impossible. Daniel and I have worked hard over the last two years to improve our finances - paying off student loans in full, becoming homeowners, and prioritizing our saving accounts. All that hard work made this trip possible. For the first time, I got to fly halfway around the world and visit a country completely different from my own... and it was amazing.


Statue on the grounds of Fateh Garh Hotel










I think I said, "We're in India!" about a million times during our trip, trying to wrap my head around the fact that I was really there. We visited 600-year-old temples and mosques, explored crumbling, brightly painted neighborhoods, and marveled at the grandness of India's second-largest palace. We also saw more impoverished people, stray dogs, and skinny cows than I can count.


Stray dog in Ahmedabad's Old City



We spent the first 4 days in Ahmedabad, celebrating Janak's (amazeballs) wedding and sightseeing before driving 4 hours to Udaipur for more sightseeing (and some much needed R&R) for our final 3 days. Indians know how to throw a wedding, my friends.


Daniel, Janak, and Me before the Wedding


Janak's family was so gracious and helped us plan an incredible trip. Janak's brother-in-law Vishal took us to visit Gandhi Ashram, the 36-acre compound that served as Gandhi's home and headquarters from 1917-1930. I stood where Gandhi lived. That's an experience I'll never forget.


Gandhi's House at Gandhi Ashram




Statue of Gandhi at Gandhi Ashram

Janak's good friend Udbhav accompanied us on a guided tour of Ahmedabad's "Old City", where nondescript doors on crowded streets open to reveal stunning temples and mosques (a clever tactic to protect places of worship from the destruction of conquerors).


Exploring the streets of Ahmedabad's Old City

Jama Mosque in Ahmedabad's Old City (Can you believe this is hidden from the street?)
Ahmedabad is located in the state of Gujarat, which is almost entirely vegetarian (yea!). As such, the care of animals is seen as the responsibility of the people. Stray dogs and wandering cows are fed scraps, and chabutros (tree-like towers with food and water pans for birds) are found throughout the cityscape, built centuries ago when the city's growth replaced much of the area's tree life.

Cows and Dogs feeding on scraps
My favorite Chabutro (Bird Feeding Tower)
We only had a few days in Udaipur, but I am so glad we decided to visit (It's a city of lakes! And palaces! And palaces in the middle of lakes!). City Palace and Lake Pichola will take your breath away (do plan on spending quite a while at the palace - it is MASSIVE).


View from our Boat Tour of Lake Pichola (City Palace in back)

Vlad, Donna, Me, and Daniel in one of City Palace's many courtyards
We stayed in the most amazing hotel EVER, Fateh Garh, a modernized and restored palace (seriously, a palace). It was a total splurge (though Vishal secured us a fantastic deal) but the atmosphere, service, and meals were worth every rupee. I am still in shock that I got to stay somewhere so beautiful.


The View of Lake Pichola and City Palace from Fateh Garh's Pool

Enjoying dinner under the moonlight at Fateh Garh

Me and Daniel at Fateh Garh


I feel like I should have taken more pictures of the food, being a food blogger and all… but I was so focused on enjoying the food and the views that I rarely took out my camera at mealtime. That said, I came home with a TON of inspiration and some new favorite meals. I'm already starting to work on recipes and I can't wait to share with you all!

5 comments:

  1. Nicely written, and thanks for the picture!

    ReplyDelete
  2. So awesome!!! Thank you for sharing... especially since Tyler and I wanted to go so badly but just couldn't work it out comfortably with me being so pregnant and with a one year old :( I can't wait to see more of your pictures and hear about it first hand!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ali, you would have LOVED it! I hope we can have a co-adventure in the future once the babies are a little older!

      Delete
  3. Oh my god! you visited my town??!! So glorious pics with nice write-up. Your all pics makes me nostalgic. Actually, my husband is from Ahmedabad and you have captured the glimpse of A'bad city really well. And, Udaipur and Rajasthan is equally worth to pay a visit. I hope you'd a wonderful time there. Dear, India is a very BIG country with colourful cultures and traditions :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sonia, I absolutely loved every moment of our time there. I would love to return to India for a longer trip in the future - you're right that the size of the country demands more than just a week! :) Thanks for reading.

      Delete