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And Now I’m: Planning Our Next Vacation March 28, 2009

Posted by KG in India, Photos, Travels.

Getting back to work after two weeks off has been relatively seamless, which I suppose means that we actually live here now — that is, Mumbai’s become home.  Scary.

But before shifting out of vacation mode — and consequently not writing about our trip anymore — I thought I’d write about a couple of notable moments and answer a few questions.

The Taj Mahal: By all means, if you ever plan to go to the Taj Mahal, go at sunrise. Not for any particular view of the sun actually rising, but because the only people there that early are western tourists, mostly quiet, polite, and respectful.  I was surprised at how peaceful and serene the Taj felt — not something I was expecting considering its the largest tourist draw in all of India.  Rumors abound that soon tourists won’t be allowed to climb up to the marble platform of the Taj to see the actual dargah; I’m glad I had the chance to watch my wife pirouette there while she still had the chance.

The Tiger: We saw two wild tigers at Ranthambore National Park, about two hours south of Jaipur.  The odds for an actual tiget sighting were low — we were in a huge 20 person “canter” that made tons of noise and took a path into the park that was (as we found out later) not very popular with the Wild Indian Tiger set.  But we got lucky.  You know your tiger sighting is a good one when your guide is taking pictures with his cell phone camera.  The entire experience at Ranthambore was an extended, uninterrupted highlight.  Once you get into nature, into the Indian countryside, the beauty of this country becomes abundant and awe-inspiring.  Our “hotel” near the park, Khem Villas, was incredible.  During the day, the wife and her mom took advantage of the resort’s spa, while I alternately swam in or baked by the plunge pool.  For two nights we slept in luxury tents, dined on locally grown vegetarian food, and went to bed listening to birds and crickets, under thousands of stars.

The Desert: Probably the other amazing part of the trip was out in Jaisalmer, in the middle of the Thar Desert.  It’s one thing to tour an old fort — something we did all over Rajasthan — but to walk around a living fort, where people still live, is something else altogether.  Further out from Jaisalmer, we rode camels to the Khuri sand dunes, where we watched the sun set.  The colors of the desert are not something I’m ever going to forget.

The Camera: When you have subjects that are so photogenic, I don’t think you need a fancy camera.  But for the record, I’m currently using a Canon 450D/XSi, and throughout the trip used my new EF 28-135mm lens.



1. ms - August 31, 2009

hey KG, Nice posts. We haven’t met but am an Indian expat living in DC. I was wondering if you used a travel agency to plan this trip to Rajasthan?

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