About Me

My photo
Wondering Wanderer!, South Korea


Magical India 25/06/2011
By Steven Moore

Magnificent. Filthy. Inspirational. There are so many expressive and flamboyant words to consider when regaling a tale about India, and all are relevant and appropriate. However, after my four week trip around this amazing country, one word leaps out as the most encompassing of all...magical.

A trip of four weeks really isn’t a sufficient amount of time to uncover even a fraction of India’s majesty and mysteries, but it is adequate to leave an open-minded traveller in awe of and overwhelmed by the immense beauty and diversity, and the abundant culture of this multi-faceted and historically rich nation. It is the stark extremes, difficult to conceal and impossible to ignore, that really penetrate deep into a visitor’s soul. On the one hand, there is the heartbreaking poverty of the vast population’s majority, transposed with the unrivalled splendour and lustre of iconic monuments such as the Taj Mahal. In fact at the Taj itself, and it’s surrounding city of Agra, can India’s extreme polarities be witnessed so clearly and acutely juxtaposed.

As an experienced, but nonetheless always wide-eyed traveller, I’ve had the good fortune to behold some of man’s most well known and impressive creations; the likes of the Inca's Macchu Picchu in Peru, and the Khmer people's Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Yet it is the sheer breathtaking brilliance and grace of Mumtaz Mahal’s tomb, that for me sets the Taj apart as a masterpiece of human ingenuity, and the world’s most beautiful building — and of course, everybody loves a love story.

However, outside of the Taj complex, another side of India bares it's tainted soul, and snapshots of Agra's streets scenes are replicated across all of India. The roads are squalid, and teem with tons of garbage, dog sized rats, rat sized dogs, beggars, cripples, filthy skinny children, monkeys, hookers, hawkers and emaciated “holy” cows. Evidently, holiness doesn’t pay in this corner of India...just ask the 'untouchables,' more than 160 million Indians that are considered, by their birth into a floored caste system, impure and less than human. And yet, the smiles and humility evident on the faces of the Indian people are genuine. There is nothing false about them, as quite simply, the average Indian has nothing, and thus has nothing to hide. Indians are warm and welcoming, friendly and fun loving, and transcend their daily struggles with pride and dignity. It is very humbling.

India was written about recently, in the novels “Slumdog” and “Shantaram” for example, and both give fascinating and legitimate insights into the stratification of Indian society. Reading such books is helpful, but trying to understand the power and personality of this exotic land is more rewarding when actually travelling through India, and experienced first hand at ground level. It is no picnic! At once India is exhilarating and exasperating, beautiful and vile. You will be shocked and inspired, appalled and enthralled. And you WILL get Delhi belly!
But for me, there is one adjective above any other that encapsulates all I adore about India. Magical.
Published on www.enjoybedandbreakfast.com