India. Summer Break 2014.
Our 3 week adventure started in Delhi, India where we explored the crowded alleys of Old Delhi contrasting to the modern New Delhi roads. In Old Delhi, we visited the Jama Masjid mosque and the Red Fort and then sampled some delicious Indian food at Haldiram's. In New Delhi, we had breakfast at the beautiful Lodi park before visiting the Ghandi museum and shopping at the Tibetan markets. Next we headed to Dehradun to volunteer at Navdanya, an organic farm founded by Dr. Vandana Shiva that trains and supports local farmers. In our 1 week there we helped with seed sorting and weeding, learned about compost and mix cropping, attended discussions on business, feminism, and activism, met the inspirational Dr. Vandana Shiva herself, played volleyball, watched a Bollywood movie, learned a Bollywood dance, practiced yoga, saw some traditional Indian dance and music performed by some of the local farmers, took an early morning walk through the forest, and of course…ate delicious organic Indian vegetarian foods. We were sad to leave Navdanya but we had more of India to see. We took what ended up being a 24 hour train to Varanasi! Once there we were bombarded with the smells, sounds, and shockingly colorful sites that make Varanasi one of the most fascinating places in the world. From sharing the narrow, twisting alleys with cows, buffalo, goats, monkeys, and dogs to visiting the body burning cremation ghats to the sunrise and sunset boat rides on the Ganges river to watching the performance of the ganga aarti ceremony…there was never a dull moment. We took another sleeper train to Agra where we spent some time with the children at the Mother Teresa home and visited the AMAZING Taj Mahal! A short(er) train ride to Jaipur and we were in the Pink City where we visited the Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, and City Palace, went shopping in the endless bazaars, and watched the Teej festival parade. The next day we wandered around the beautiful Amber Fort and spent an afternoon at the incredible Elefantastic elephant sanctuary. We took our last train back to Delhi for last minute shopping before flying back to Honolulu, Hawaii.