During the last Christmas Break, I got to go to India and Nepal. India is very heavily populated which made it difficult for us to travel within a time constraint. But my sisters and I got to go to Delhi, Agra, Varnassi and a few other cities.
This is the "backyard" of the Taj Mahal.
Probably one of the most interesting places in all of India is Varnassi, which is the holy city. When people are preparing to die, they come to this city. Then within three hours of their death they will be burned by the riverside by a priest. The priest then takes the remains and dumps them into the Ganges River. Yes, it does sound gross and is pretty gross considering that there is a man washing his clothes two feet away and another man washing his body four feet away. Even though it is gross, it was an amazing cultural experience. The sights, sounds and smells are all so unique to India. Since I know you are probably thinking that all you can smell is the body burning, I'll tell you that no you don't. Everything along the Ganges is inundated with the smell of incense.
I also got to see the Taj Mahal, which is in Agra. It was pretty interesting, but not as fantastic as Varnassi. The Taj Mahal was built by a king as a burial place for one of his beloved wives. He was supposed to build a black building just like it across the river you see in the picture on this page. The black one was to be his burial place. But, all of this elaborate construction was costing the country a lot so the king's son put him in jail. Fortunately, he was put in jail in the Red Fort, just a few blocks away from the Taj Mahal. In the fort, he looked at the Taj Mahal every day.
We rode a bus into Katmandu, Nepal. That was such a great place. The people are quite small and have beautiful smiles. I got to fly over Mt. Everest while I was there. I can honestly tell you that the size of that mountain is incomprehensible.
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