More pictures from the group trip.
After Varanasi we took a train to Agra. Of course I had seen photos of the Taj Mahal plenty of times before but nothing had prepared me for its splendor. It is so much more grand, ethereal and simply beautiful than I had ever expected. Worth seeing for yourself!
The funny booties you have to wear over your shoes to walk around the Taj. It’s that or burn your feet on the sun-baked rock.
After the Taj Mahal, we went to the Red Fort.
These cute creatures are all over India; there was an abundance of them at the Red Fort. Shaped like a squirrel, size and markings similar to a chipmunk – I dub thee squirrelmunk! 😉
After Agra, we went to Amritsar via Delhi, taking a coach up till Delhi and then an express train the rest of the way. They were passing out fresh fruit juice after we boarded; later we were treated to a four course meal! A big step up from our experiences in the night trains! 😉
We made a pit stop at McDonald’s in Delhi, not knowing dinner would be served on the train. Burger = veggie or chicken. No beef or pork products served. 🙂
We had one full day in Amritsar. Our first stop in the morning was the Golden Temple, heart of the Sikh religion.
The 24 hour kitchen serves thousands of people each day. Steaming, massive pots of dal cooking in the background.
Later in the day, we went to the Pakistan border to watch the daily flag down ceremony that both sides perform. It was incredible to experience. Thousands of people attended and were shouting and celebrating like they were watching a massive sporting event with an unknown outcome, rather than a fully choreographed event that happens the same way every day. The patriotism and enthusiasm were electric in the air and it was really interesting to be there for the whole thing; the best part though was dancing in the street to Indian music with bunches of lovely, spunky Indian girls before the ceremony began. 🙂
The flag being taken down on the Pakistani side
And on the Indian side