Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Phileas Fogg - India

So far, we've visited small bits of North America, Europe, and Asia in our quest to compile our own list of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Today, we're heading to the subcontinent and a look at India.

My husband and I made a trip to India a couple of months before 9/11, limiting our travels to Delhi (Hell) and the Indian Himalayas (Heaven). Stars and Stripes, my then-employer, had me pen a short article for their travel section:

With a backpack, $700 and a copy of a “Lonely Planet” guidebook, I landed in Delhi for a two-day decompress before what I thought would be an arduous trip to Dharamsala, my first stop in the Himalayas and the home of Tibet’s exiled Dalai Lama.

Delhi is everything the guidebooks describe, multiplied by 10. Crowding the streets are one-legged beggars, sacred cows freely roaming heavily trafficked boulevards and vendors hawking everything from brightly colored silk saris (clothes worn by Hindu women) and Spiderman undergarments to wooden statues of the Hindu god Ganesh and laminated pictures of Mother Theresa.

The most unforgettable part of the experience is the smell. Imagine the most unthinkable human decay and add to that exhaust pouring from hundreds of thousands of vehicles. Now add to that several hundred gallons of disinfectant. They don’t call it “Smelly Delhi” for nothing.

Because our vacation was only two weeks long, our experience in India was very limited. But, places in BOLD are places I've been. Readers can add their recommendations below. Also, please be sure to check out the State Department's travel advisory on India should you go.

You can find the rest of this post here.

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