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Incredible !ndia

India is a country that everyone should visit sometime in their lifetime. There are many beautiful sights and there are places for everyone’s interests (whether it be relaxing or sightseeing).

Home to over a billion people, it is said that growth in the global economy will come from countries like India (and China). However, while there has been growth, much of the population remains poor. While the situation is not as bad as Nepal, it was still an eye opener to see how many people live in poor conditions.

My trip began in New Delhi where two Aussies joined my other two friends and I. We checked out several sights including the Jama Masjid, a mosque completed 400 years ago.

Sheena and Troy at Jama Masjid

We also toured around Old Delhi where we got a chance to see inside locals’ homes, check out a spice market, and see the crowded busy streets of the market.

Old Delhi - Locals' Home

Spice Market

Chandi Chowk - a busy street market

The next day we visited Agra, the city where the Taj Mahal is located. The history behind this magnificent structure is quite astonishing. Built 400 years ago by a Mughal Emperor for his wife, it houses his and her tomb.

In front of the Taj Mahal

I also visited Jaipur (aka the Pink City). This city was nicknamed the Pink City when the city was decorated in pink colour for the Prince of Wales’ visit in 1853. Today, remnants of the pink colour still remain on many buildings. The most impressive sights from this city included the Water Palace and the Amber Fort.

Parts of Jaipur are all pink

Water Palace

Outside Amber Fort

The fort was protected by its' own "Great Wall"

Our next stop had us visit Udaipur, a city that is known as the Venice of India. This picture will show why:

Udaipur and Pichola Lake

We spent a few days relaxing here and caught in the local sights including the Palace.

The entrance resembled that of a British Palace

Our last stop was in Mumbai. This city was like no other city we had visited before and more so like a regular North American city with an Indian twist. As the financial hub of India, and home of the Bollywood film industry, Mumbai commands some of the most expensive real estate in the world (greater than London, or HK).

A Swiss friend joined us one afternoon where my roommate and I took in the local sights of downtown Mumbai.

Mumbai Skyline at Sunset (Thanks Thomas!)

I also had a chance to visit Dhobi Ghat, a large outdoor laundromat where hundreds of men wash much of the city’s laundry (from hotels, hospitals, businesses) for 200 rupees a day ($2.50 CAD).

Dhobi Ghat - white shirts hanging are uniforms, and the green sheets are from a hospital

My last and one of the most significant experiences in my India trip was a tour of the Dharavi slum in Mumbai. This slum became well known when it appeared in Slumdog Millionaire. As one of Asia’s largest slums, it was quite interesting to see how much of the urban population in India lives. I want to emphasize that the living conditions that are shown in Slumdog Millionaire are over exaggerated (it is not as bad as it looks). It was actually a relief to see how many industries (plastic melting, tanning, clay pot making, etc.) were thriving in the slum and how there are basic supplies (water, electricity) provided. There are also schools, stores, and medical clinics in the slum.

I was not allowed to take pictures but here are some pictures I googled that resembled things I saw:

View from above of Dharavi

Actual sight I saw - square area where kids play and garbage is stored

While there has been progress made in urban areas of the country, India has a long path on its way to development as a first world nation.  I hope to visit it sometime again in the future to see the progress that has been made and also catch in other sights.

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