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I Is for India and J Is for Jaipur

Our A to Z Blogging Challenge stops take us to India, and our first stop is the Taj Mahal

It was just about this time of year in 2005. I had gone through a number of changing circumstances and hadn't taken a long-distance trip in several years. I realized I missed the fun of planning and the excitement of far away destinations. I asked myself, "If I could go anywhere, where would I go?" Nothing immediately came to mind -- or rather many places came to mind. I started researching and thinking and my life-long dream of visiting the Taj Mahal kept appearing in my mind. 

India was the answer to the question and since I would be traveling by myself I chose to travel with a tour. I probably looked at a dozen tours and chose one that had a number of interesting stops besides the Taj Mahal and Delhi. The arrangements were made and in November, 2005 I left JFK airport, stopped in London and arrived in Delhi in the middle of the night. I expected to see the rest of my tour group at the airport, but instead of a group I found the representative for the tour company. I had changed my flight and unknowingly, I had opted out of the tour. I would be traveling through India with a guide for the first week and then different guides in the other places I would visit.  

After a moment -- many moments -- of panic and concern I decided to go ahead and enjoy my trip. Short of getting on the next flight back to New York -- at great cost -- I didn't see an alternative, plus I was excited about being in India. The trip was a great success. My driver guide was a safe driver and very considerate, the sights were fascinating and I visited places that were beyond my imagination. I also came to an awareness that things I might have thought were beyond me, were in fact, doable. 

The Hawa Mahal, The Palace of Winds

One of my favorite places was Jaipur, the "pink city." The red and pink sandstone, as shown in the Palace of the Winds above, gives the city its name.  Jaipur, Delhi, the capital of India and Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located, are the "Golden Triangle," the most popular places to visit in India. 

One of the places that was included was Ranthambore National Park. Ranthambore is approximately 100 miles from Jaipur and the former hunting grounds of the Maharaja of Jaipur. There are many animals there, but the focus of the park is the opportunity to view a Bengal tiger in their natural habitat. With only 3,000 tigers at the time of the 2018 tiger census (and only approximately 1,200 when I visited in 2005) many visitors don't get to see a Bengal tiger. 

But happily, I did!

It was beyond exciting to see a tiger and I enjoyed my stay in Ranthambore. But I discovered safaris were not my first choice of travel activities. The vehicle bounced over the terrain, there were tree branches everywhere and I had to watch out for monkeys in the trees. By the end of the ride I was completely dust covered, but I had seen a Bengal tiger. 

I also made a friend -- pictured above -- in Ranthambore. We were introduced by the wait staff at the camp where we were both staying. They thought the two English speaking women traveling alone would enjoy having dinner together, and they were correct. We had a very enjoyable time at dinner and then said good night and good bye, as we didn't expect to see each other again. But to our surprise we met again the next day at the Taj Mahal. Though the Taj Mahal looks so serene and uncrowded in photographs, the reality is very different. The day we were there we were two visitors among thousands. It was quite a happy surprise to see a familiar face among the crowds.   

I had such a good time re-visiting India and hope you have enjoyed our visit, too. We're going to take a few days off from traveling and resume our Around the World from A to Z adventures on Monday. We will be staying in Asia and then we're off to "L." I'm not sure where that will be, but please stop by for our surprises next week. 

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. Much love and wash your hands!


Ginny Hartzler said...

Wow! What a lovely and informative post today! I have finally become a world traveler! The palace of winds is stunning! What a surprise when I scrolled down and saw it. Why does it have this name? Who lives in it, is it a monastery? I do hope the tigers do not become extinct.

Agnieszka Mikołajczyk said...

A wonderful Easter holiday many blessings.

Kerin said...


Years ago, one of our friends went to India. Their favorite thing was riding the elephants.
They also brought us back dozens of spices.


Mevely317 said...

Oh my goodness on your accidental solo vacation! Pretty sure I wouldn't have been as brave and would have climbed aboard the next flight home. My parents loved their visit to India, too. I've a photo somewhere of them on the elephant. Seeing that tiger would have been the highlight of my 'virtual' trip!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

That would be quite an adventure not being in a group. Seeing tigers in there natural habitat would be like a safari, not my cup of tea for sure, but the rest sounds quite beautiful.

Theresa said...

Oh how I love following you on your travels to places that I will never get to visit! Enjoy your Saturday dear friend, I pray your beautiful city will return to normal VERY soon! HUGS!

LC said...

What a courageous, and practical, decision to continue solo. The photos are inspiring.

NanaDiana said...

What a fascinating post!!! You probably had a better time and saw more with individual guidance than you would have seen on the tour. Life is a daring adventure sometimes.
Have a blessed wonderful Easter and stay safe. xo Diana

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

You are a brave lady, Carol, and what wonderful adventures you have had.

Frédérique said...

Lovely photos, lovely places! Wow for the Bengal tiger!!
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