S: India * Nepal * Sri Lanka * Dubai
FC: India * Nepal Sri Lanka * Dubai 2010
1: August 5th 2010 Two friends board a flight to Dubai, 3 days later continue onto India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Returning Home December 15th. | "Ultimately, it's all about taking a leap of faith and surrendering to the unknown: this is the India that nothing can ever prepare you for because its very essence- its elusive soul- lies cradled in it's mystery."
2: DUBAI United Arab Emirates | Surrounded by Gold and Diamond Markets, Masques, and Spices. | From the tallest building in the world to air conditioned bus stops, everything truly was over the top in Dubai
5: Our bus tour started at the man made "creek" which separates old and new Dubai. We continued through the city architecture to the "Burja al Alab." After a dip in the Arabian Gulf, we head out to the dessert for dune bashing and dinner. The perfect ending to 3 days in Dubai!
6: Mumbai (Bombay) "Hello India" | After a couple days in Mumbai, and our first introduction to Tali. We board a train north to the dessert state of Rajasthan.
8: Rajasthan | First Train and Chai!
9: Udaipur Possibly the most romantic city in India. Udaipur was surrounded by water while we were there. Boat rides at the city palace, visiting the Jagdish Temple- feeding monkeys, enjoying traditional Rajasthani dance and traveling to Jagmandir Island.
10: Our favorite hostel manager Vicki and Spanish siblings Boris and Tanya... They were missed and Udai Haveli was the best! | 23Km from Udaipur, bumpy ride in a tuk-tuk
12: Jodhpur The Blue City "The formidable walls appear to grow organically from its rock perch." | This city seemed to cast a spell over me, a mystery. Although, blue for a purpose, cooling and a bug repellent. | Indian Independence Day Kite Flying
13: While in Jodhpur, Brittany and I went on "Village and Animal Safari." We tour outside of the city in a jeep with two other women and our tour guide. We saw Antelope, huge ants, flamingos, and the rarely seen peacock in a mating dance! Stopping at different villages we attended an Opium ceremony, pottery making, and carpet weaving at the home of our guide
14: MEHRANGARH Still run by the descendants of the Maharaja of Jodhpur, it is captivating. As you approach, the walls soar overhead in a mesmerising demonstration of the skills of the builders.
15: Fabric and goat? Dyeing in the streets | Opium Ceremony and Peacock Dance!
16: Pushkar """Brahma dropped a lotus flower on the earth- and Pushkar appeared""
17: To the left, Brittany and I after "good karma" was placed on our heads, with a blessing of a good stomach! | Fun things happened in Pushkar, the little girl stole my pen, we went on a little hike with some goats, and sent our first packages home to the states, Indian style.
18: How many pictures can you take of one building? .... 129
19: Agra ~ Taj Mahal Entering the east gate the Taj just appeared as if it was waiting for us. A mausoleum built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, in memory of his queen Mumtaz Mahal. The emperor watched the Taj being build from prison at the red fort. Placed there by his son who overthrew him. World Heritage Site: 7th wonder of the world!
20: A Day in Delhi | "An eye of an eye makes the whole world blind" | Sufi Tomb- Hszrat Inayat-Kahn "Allow us to recognize thee in all forms, as Rama, Krishna, Shiva, Budda Let us know thee as Abraham, as Soloman, Zarathushtra, as Moses, Jesus, Muhanmad and in many other names and forms, known and unknown to the world." This Shrine seemed like a breath of fresh spiritual air in a crowed confusing city that is Delhi | Gandi Smriti Memorial
21: Bahai House of Worship (Lotus Temple) The space inside was epic with wood and marble finishings, the acoustics amazing at noon when a young girl read from the Koran and Bible.
23: Amritsar Home to Sikhism's holiest shrine, the spectacular Golden Temple. The gold-plated gurdwara glitters in the middle of its holy pool like a giant bullion bar and draws millions of pilgrims from all over the world.
24: Dharmasala ~ McCloud Ganj | Our first transport breakdown | Growing Wild | Hope Center "What's more important, Education or Experiences?" | Shop I bought my mandala
25: McCloud Ganj was a very special part of our trip. A teaching with the Dalai Lama, learning to cook MoMo's, First view of the Himalaya Mountains, "The Hike" to the peak of Triund (which included several moments of being lost), new friends that we were with for many more weeks, an introduction the Tibetan culture, and all in a mysterious atmosphere in the clouds of Dharmasala.
26: Our Everest
27: "With the wish to free all beings I shall alwsays go for refuge To Budda, Dharma, and Sangha, Until I reach full enlightenment Inspired by wisdom and compassion Today, in the Buddha's presence, I generate the mind of full awakening IFor the benefit of all sentient beings. As long as space remains As long as sentient beings remain Until then may I too remain, And dispel the miseries of the world. ...I Shall act with supreme enlightened conduct, May I become a Buddha to benefit all."
28: Rishikesh We came in with the rain not sure what the "Yoga Capital of the world" had to offer us. We stayed for a week, I developed a love/ hate relationship with yoga, enjoyed music from Israel in the evenings and went to your first Puga. The fast flowing Ganges, introduction to a Lemonanna and seeing the spiritual commercialization of India.
30: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram Abandoned in 1997, "The Beetles Ashram," where most of the White Album was written
31: Bodhgaya "It was here 2600 years ago that Prince Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment beneath a bodhi tree and became Buddha"
32: Varanasi Perhaps it was the unexpected 26 hr train ride but, Varanasi is truly unrelentingly chaotic. One of the holiest places in India, I learned a lot and enjoyed the sunrise boat ride down the Ganges the most.
33: We met up with Yair, learned to drive a tuk-tuk and added some amazing quotes to the book!
34: Animal Documentary
38: Turbulent bus rides in the rain with goats and teenage drivers, first view of snowy cap Himalaya's, gearing up for our trek.
39: Pokhara, Nepal | We were always trying to find that perfect view of the Himalaya's. Our time in Pokhara a wonderful introduction to Nepal, from here we started our Ghorapani-Ghandruk (Poon Hill Trek).
41: Hiking the Himalayas, Nepal. Trek-Circut Ghorapani-Ghandruk or Poon HIll Days were long but, amazing. Finally we had some great views. The cold nights were worth it!
44: Rafting our way to Chitwan! | Although this day had some major lows and we even questioned our arrival in Chitwan. Our time on the water was fantastic and Chitwan would prove to be unforgettable.
47: Chitwan was a place I could have stayed a week at least; 3 days had to do. We stayed at an amazing 'resort' with good food and with in a short walk to town. Elephant back safari was the highlight; a Rhino and her baby was just the beginning. We even stayed in the Oriole bird room! The twin elephants are the only documented twins on earth. Named Ram and Laxman
51: Back in India from Kathmandu, 1 hr. bus, 2 hr. bus, 18 hr. by bus to border. Walk and check in, 1 hr. bus then a 4 hr. Jeep to Darjeeling! More then just great tea! | Lloyd Botanical Gardens, Happy Valley Tea Estate, Tibetan Refugee Center, Our amazing street vendors, Tiger Hill: the early morning lead to amazing views! The really small one in the distance is Everest (we can say we saw it!)
54: 27 hour train down the east coast to Chennai. Next up...
55: Sri Lanka | Temple in Kandy | Early Morning Ceremony | Sri Lanka proved to be more then a quick hour flight. After many issues with visa's and 3 days suck in Columbo (where we ate at a KFC and stayed at a YMCA) we left to see the country and figure it all out when we had to leave!
56: First stop, the beach. Quite an interesting journey to find it; but worth the effort! Nilaveli | Here we stayed the day at a resort that was way to expensive to stay the night at!
57: Dambula! Golden Temple or Monkey Temple (invented monkey stick) | Amazing paintings lined the walls and ceilings; below one of favorite guest houses
58: Sigiriya Big Rock World Heritage Site | Was a Royal Citadel for 20 years. IN the shape of a Lion (paws can still be seen). Hot but, gorgeous journey to the top! Spiral stair cases were surprisingly scary for me!
60: Tea Country, on our way to Adam's Peak After Dambula we left for Kandy(pictured on first page of Sri Lanka). In Kandy we meet a man named Namal, local driver. Unexpectedly we headed for Tea Country and a place call Adam's Peak. It was not in the plans but, joining two Koren girls helped with the cost. oh yea... and we were students from Spain?!
62: ADAM'S PEAK It's known as Adam's peak, the place where Adam first set foot after being cast out of heaven, Sri Pada-Sacred footprint, left by the Buddha as he headed towards Paradise, or Samanala Kande Butterfly mountain , where butterflies go to die. Some believe the huge "foot print" crowing the peak to be that of St. Tomas, the early apostle of India... or even Lord Shiva. | Whatever the case may be, leaving at 2 a.m., climbing 5200 step in the pouring rain was worth the amazing sunrise above the clouds looking over all of hill country. This mountain was epic and even it's shadow, which was a perfect triangle in the clouds had a halo. Namal rang the bell 18 times, one for Brittany and I.
63: "Shaky-Leg Shana"
65: Sadhana Forest | The next three weeks was an experience never to be forgotten. Tree Planting, leaf collection, cooking vegan food, eating vegan food, going to an Indian emergency room, working compost, the rainy season,a cyclone, a few illnesses, new friends, forever memories!!
68: The days were very full but, always fun. I remember being woken each morning with somebody singing or playing an instrument, then we would meet in the front of the main house to sing, stretch, and hug good morning. After breakfast we would all work for 4-5 hours in the forest and then another 1 or 2 depending on your extra job. My responsibilities included compost, cooking, and cleaning.
69: Sadhana Forest Family: Rosie, Drea, Phoebe, Adam, Tim, Robert, Mat, Marin, Jeeny, Rebecca, Suhn Bilgm, Jamey, Neil, Hernza, Rory, Sheree, Castelo, Orly, Simone, Nick, Regina, Marion, Toshilazu, Ellen, Evan
73: Rock Cliffs, Sandy Beaches, Fresh Fish, Cool People, Chill Town.
74: Cruising the 'backwaters' of Alleppey, Kerala. I decided to hire a private captain, he was worth the extra money. This was one of my favorite private afternoons.
76: Fort Cohin A sweet little fishing town
77: Bangalore Just one day, but a memorable big city
78: Hampi | Amazing rock formations, in the top 5 favorite places of the trip
80: We were able to meet up with some old friends from Sadhana. While they crashed in a communal Teepee, Brittany and I had a lavish painted room (see right). December had come and our trip was coming to a close but, fantastic experiences still waited for us. Up the coast we go!
82: Gorkana | I was sick... really sick... but there were cows on the beach
83: Ajanta and Ellora Caves Astonishingly carved into hillside rock in the middle of nowhere are the Ajanta and Ellora caves. There are 34 caves at Ellora dating from between the 6th and 11th centuries AD, and 29 caves at Ajanta dating back to between the 2nd century BC and 6th century AD.
85: The history of this past civilization incredible. There were so many different rooms and in depth meaning to everything. It was like taking a step into the past!
86: All great things must come to an end. Back to Mumbi, Back to America. After this...
87: Sub Kuch Milega 'Anything is Possible'