India Trip: Part One.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Our journey!
Map Source, Plane Source
Getting to India and coming back to America were probably the worst parts of the trip. Our flight to New Delhi was from Chicago so we had to drive three hours just to get to the airport. We ended up getting to O'Hare barely an hour before our plane was supposed to take off and at first they said we would miss our flight, but with some convincing they let us board. We ran to security and barely made it! Then we had two more stops, one in Brussels and one in Frankfurt, before we got to New Delhi. We also had to change airlines. ;p We were basically running the whole time trying to catch our flights, and when we were actually on the plane I was trying not to get sick (and failed); the smell of plane food makes me nauseous. ;p

A map showing the distance from New Delhi to Punjab.

So, after about 23 hours we finally got to New Delhi! We got through security and got all of our bags on time, but our journey wasn't quite finished, we still had to get to Punjab, which is about 389 kilometers (242 miles) from New Delhi. Our cousin came with a driver to come pick us up. It took us about 10 hours to drive from New Delhi to Punjab (we stopped a couple times, otherwise it would take about 7-8 hours). Even though I was exhausted from the plane ride I didn't mind the car ride because it was our first look at India in 5 years! The last time we came to India was in 2009 to see a wedding. This time we didn't have anywhere we had to be so our schedules were free!

When we visited India in 2009 almost our whole family went (my mom, 2 sisters, brother, and me), but this time it was just my mom, little sister and me so I wasn't really sure what to expect. I honestly didn't even want to go at first because it was just us three going, but when we actually got to India all those thoughts left my mind! I didn't realize how much I missed India until I got there.

This year we didn't travel as much as we did last time, probably because it was insanely hot and we were extremely lazy. Last time we went EVERYWHERE, literally everyday we were in the car going somewhere new. This time most of our time was spent at home just chilling with the family. The only tourist-y spots we went to were Anandpur Sahib, Ajooba, Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple), and the Haveli in Jalandhar.

Anandpur Sahib is located in Punjab and was about two hours away from where we lived. According to Wikipedia, it was founded in 1665 by the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji.

We went with our cousins and the gurdwara (temple) is beautiful! While walking around we ran into this guy holding a HUGE snake. I was too chicken to actually hold the snake so I just took a picture with it. ;D (Picture below)

We didn't really stay long. We took mathaa (going into the gurdwara and bowing in front of Guru Granth Sahib Ji (the Holy book) out of respect), ate langar (free food served at gurdwaras), walked around a bit, looked at some nearby shops and then made our way to Ajooba, a museum, which I'll be talking about next!

(L) When entering Anandpur Sahib // (R) Me being too chicken to actually hold the snake.

We traveled a couple minutes from Anandpur Sahib and arrived at Ajooba, the Khalsa Heritage Memorial Museum. This museum was spectacular. When you first enter there's Punjabi music blasting and the walls are covered with beautiful art depicting the Punjabi culture. (I would post pictures here but there was no photography allowed inside; IT WAS TERRIBLE) This is all seen as you make your way to the actual museum. When you get to the museum they hand you a little remote and a headset because as you walk around, there's someone telling you the history of Punjab and Sikhism. If you want to read more about what Ajooba is you can click here.

If you ever go to India you HAVE to go see the Golden Temple. I've been to India twice, when I've actually been old enough to remember the trip, and both times we have been we went to go see it. I swear it gets more beautiful the more you see it; it's simply breathtaking.

The Golden Temple, or Harmandir Sahib, is located in Amritsar, Punjab and according to Wikipedia, it was created by the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ram Das Ji, in the 1600s. The Golden Temple is probably most known for two things: 1) It's four doors, which symbolize Sikhism's openness towards all people and religions, and 2) It's made of real gold. It has also become quite the tourist spot with over 100,000 visitors every day, according to Wikipedia.

The line to get inside of the actual Golden Temple.

The fam bam; I'm in the turquoise.

Our last stop was the famous Haveli located in Jalandhar, Punjab. The Haveli is a famous theme-based restaurant with a traditional Punjabi village structure. When you go inside there's an open space with statues and performers dressed in traditional Punjabi attire.

The Haveli is open in the day time as well as at night, but if you want to go see it the best time to go is at night because there are performances and other activities like the opportunity to ride a camel or a horse! It's just a place you have to see if you visit India!

A replica of a traditional Punjabi village

(L) My cousin and me copying the statues putting on makeup // (R) One of the statues depicting two women dancing
My cousin and me copying some more of the statues, this one is combing hair. (-:
THE FOOD. o; (Sorry about the picture quality!)
So to keep this post from going on FOREVER I'll end it here. Other than these four places we didn't really go anywhere special. We basically stayed home or went to visit our other family in India. The next post will have more pictures than text, so stay tuned!

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