Personal Experiences & memories from India
The Aarti Ceremony: Varanasi by Laura, Head of Commercial
I left a little of my soul in Varanasi, that holiest of cities, on a bend of the most sacred of rivers, so far away, while following footsteps unchanged in millennia. The evening was sultry with a ridiculous temperature as we travelled by rickshaw through the chaos of Varanasi, a cacophony of noise; shouts, bicycle-bells, tuk-tuk hoots, and car horns. The skilful drivers avoid pedestrians, goats and cows but somehow find almost every pothole. Reaching the river we clambered aboard a small boat, joining thousands already watching this most mesmerising Aarti ceremony, joined in total silence; peacefulness pervades you thoroughly and you don’t notice until you start your silent journey home and re-join the chaos.
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The Golden Triangle by Melissa, Marketing Executive
In April 2015 I was fortunate enough to experience India’s Golden Triangle - a perfect introduction to its magical menagerie; the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, the ‘pink city’ of Jaipur, numerous palaces, and desert forts... the Golden Triangle is like picking out the favourites from an exquisite box of handmade chocolates! The sights and sounds of Jaipur will remain with me forever; it feels like a magical mix of Hollywood and Bollywood sets dressed completely in pink, part sandstone and part paint with buses dodging dawdling camels, cycle-rickshaws leisurely holding-up swarms of motorbikes and buzzing autorickshaws hawking for unhurried walkers.
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Holi: a Joyful and Colorful Festival by Samantha, Sales Manager
India is always a feast for the senses, but at Holi, the festival celebrating spring, love and new life, it really comes alive. Walking through a village close to Jodhpur, we were met with an explosion of colour; the air was full of the most vibrant powders in every colour imaginable and they covered everything in sight; the laughing faces of children and adults alike, the once-white marble walls and even the sacred cows. The pure joy was infectious; people shared food from the smoking stalls, they embraced and danced to the drums and sang without a care in the world and the celebratory atmosphere is one I’ll never forget.
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Falling in love with India by Abbey, Business Development and Communications Manager
I always felt that I knew what to expect from India as a destination to travel to; I felt that documentaries, travel blogs and tales amongst friends had prepared me for my visit. I was expecting an experience and assault on the senses, but I wasn’t prepared for the way India would capture my heart and leave me wanting more. From rickshaw rides through the streets of Delhi and hurtling through Ranthambore National Park in search of the elusive tiger, to a hot air balloon ride over Jaipur and the feeling of complete honour and wonder when visiting an almost empty Taj Mahal at sunrise, I completely fell in love! Every corner I explored I found something new, something magical. India is not just an assault on your senses, India can ignite all your senses! No place on Earth has ever made me feel so alive.
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Tibetan New Year in Dharamsala by Debbie, General Manager
My best memory of India was celebrating Tibetan New Year in Dharamsala. Whilst the Dalai Lama was in strict retreat, the rest of the Tibetan community were out in their best dress. There was such a peaceful energy to this special day with a real hive of activity around the Namgyal Monastery. The sound of the prayer wheels turning, the clapping and debate from scarlet clad Buddhist monks, the laughter from small children – all set against a backdrop of prayer flags flapping gently in the breeze, and the spectacular Himalayas, will always stay with me.
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