Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Delhi: Final Destination India

Three excellent months in India nicely rounded out this transformative year abroad.

I spent some days in Delhi with my travel compadres before we parted ways. I was headed home to the US, my brother Adam was off to Europe for a month before the holidays, and Nico went southbound to finish out the final months of his Indian visa before continuing his globetrotting.

I'm deeply thankful to have had this extraordinary opportunity, I feel incredible blessed to have met and shared time with so many exceptional people in some of the most superb corners of the globe.

Life will never be the same, but this is only the beginning!            

The Three Amigos

Red Fort

 (click to enlarge)

These guards were obliging to help wish a friend back home happy birthday.   

There's never a dull moment on Indian streets. 

A typical market scene.
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Lime Soda

Friendly Sikhs 

If you don't like crowds stay out of Indian cities.

 The cruel realities of poverty are inescapable. 

Imagine if this was your bed.
Be thankful. 

Cycle Rickshaws 


Ambitious but positive.  

Delhi's new and rapidly expanding subway system. 

This guy found us selling super fresh nylon beards. 

I'm out!

For another perspective on our travels check out Nico's blog:

At the Station

A pass through Delhi's central train station...
(click to enlarge all) 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Haridwar: Gateway to Lord Vishnu

En route to Delhi we spent a night Haridwar, one of the seven holiest cities for Hindus. The city receives hundreds of thousands, if not millions of visitors a year, but unlike nearby Rishikesh a slim minority are foreigners, giving the scene a very different feel. 

The city straddles the mighty Ganges. 

(click to enlarge all)

Pilgrims bathing and making offerings to the river--many travel from all over the country, or even world to this sacred site.   

Directly across the river, women washing laundry. 
The river is considered inherently holy so there is seemingly little concern for the human effect on its health.    

Cloths carry the blessing of the river after washing. 

Offerings for the river.

Thousands live in makeshift tents along the river's banks. 

Bottling the holy water to take home is popular among pilgrims    

This guy opportunistically fishes valuable offering out of the river from the bridge, which isn't frowned upon--once the offerings been given the intention is made and it's fair game.    

India deals with trash in a way that's completely counter-intuitive to the western mind which has had some strangely positive results.
Instead of concentrating and sending it away, so it's out of sight, out of mind and someone else's problem, Indians throw their trash directly on the ground, and though it might be swept around it stays local--it's often burned but there aren't landfills. The positive side of this approach is that people have a far more direct relationship with the waste they create--it's in their lives or they're the ones burning it and this creates reflection. As a result products are sold with far less packaging and the packaging used is more often natural fibers which decompose or burn with fewer toxins. Many cities have banned plastic bags all together and even in those that haven't re-usable bags and containers are simply a part of life, as the west forgot for a few generation but is now remembering.    

One man's trash is another man's gold--or maybe just dinner. 
By keeping the trash local and accessible very far less ultimately becomes waste. 

I've been continually impressed what Indians manage with peddle power. 

The poorest tier of Indian society still does the majority of their cooking on wood--the large demand often means a long walk to find fuel. 

Tea on the boil.

A little evening smoke chillum smoke.

Inside the Haridwar train station.

Delhi bound--traveling by train kicks ass!