After a week in Ladakh, we headed toward the region of Rajastan. Our first stop was Agra where, after a long and bumpy bus ride, we met several majestic elephants in the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Center. We were thrilled to interact with the elephants, but nothing could compare to going to the Taj Mahal. The site was astonishing. After taking several pictures, we discovered that our visit was coinciding with the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Hordes of people had descended onto the mosque alongside of the Taj Mahal to celebrate. We stayed to watch the ceremony, and I was overcome with the beauty of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
After Agra we headed to Bharatpur, Samode, Jaipur and Neemrana. Everything changed from one place to another: the people, their clothing, their faces, the weather… everywhere we went was something new worth seeing. We went from staying in small homes in the mountains of Ladakh to staying in forts and palaces in Rajastan. We talked to Buddhist monks, got red dot blessings on our foreheads in a Hindu temple and saw a holy Islamic ceremony at the Taj Mahal. We hiked the Himalayas, visited with elephants and rode camels. Our experience cannot be wrapped up in one simple blog. We had so many amazing times with the group, singing, dancing and laughing on bus rides. I learned from expert photographers, met incredible local people and made amazing new friends. All of this and more happened in 3 short weeks that will stay in my memory forever.
I am so grateful to AT&T, Nat Geo Mundo and National Geographic for making this trip happen and for giving me this once-in-a-lifetime experience. I will treasure it forever and look forward to returning to India, and its wonderful people, down the road.