1. Up before dawn again and up onto the back of an elephant, through mist covered fields and spiders’ webs to the jungle – a magical experience, the dawn sunlight catching the trees and some spotted deer, some hug deer, peacocks in the trees, a jackal and then…..
2. A rhinoceros and so close!
3. There are some beautiful flowers at Chitwan. I don’t know their names.
Just look at how beautiful the ear of my elephant is.
1. There were two of these magnificent sculptures outside our hotel.
Outside our hotel
2 I summoned up some courage and went across the suspension bridge. In fact it felt safe and I had a lovely time! Over the bridge there were three beautiful young women who were putting red marks, tikas, on those who wanted it. For the festival this is made of red colour, rice grains and yogurt and is put there for good health and happiness so, of course, I had one done! Everyone around has one, children, women and men because this is day 8 of the festival.
This beautiful young woman offered to give me a tika
Me with a tika
3. I so love elephants and to be so close was magic! I fed one one of their sweet treats then they said Namaste by curling their trunks up. I am in heaven!
1. Up at 4.45 for a flight around the Himalayan peaks including Mount Everest, an experience that was truly awesome. We were very lucky to have the clearest of skies, the flight was a delight and the views of the mountains just so beautiful with the early morning sunlight on the peaks. The first photo was taken from the cockpit, the second from the side, rather grubby windows.
2. Kathmandu’s Durbar Square was humming. It is still festival time so there were families in abundance again, the shrines were all decorated with marigolds and there were people chanting, playing bells and singing. Because of the festival, there were few shops open but there were still stalls in the square selling all manner of trinkets and things too heavy to bring home! There are innumerable magnificent medieval temples, pagodas, shrines and pavilions – it’s quite remarkable.
3. We took the most exciting bicycle rickshaw ride to our next place, the huge Swayambhunath stupa. Our driver found the journey hard and from being third in line out of 15, we ended up being last as all the others overtook us and we lost sight of them for a street and a half!
The stupa is one of Nepal’s most sacred Buddhist shrines and beneath the all-seeing eyes and the streamers of prayer flags, there were many pilgrims spinning prayer wheels, murmuring mantras and strolling around the stupa in a clockwise direction.
1. The flight was only 40 mins from Varanasi to Kathmandu but we were at the airport very early and on arrival in Nepal were two hours in the queue for our visas so we arrived too late for any sightseeing today. The good thing about this was that we all talked to each other in the queue and had lots of laughs! Our first sight of Kathmandu and the mountains from the plane was beautiful indeed.
2. Our welcome in the hotel was lovely as it had been in India. There were bowls of flowers throughout the lobby.
3. After such a long day which was tiring despite doing nothing, we opted for room service which we have never done before. Our very simple meal was so beautifully presented on a trolley which became our dining table. Tomorrow we get up at 4.30 am to have our flight over Everest! I can’t quite believe we are really doing this trip!
1. Sunrise over the River Ganges was such a beautiful experience.
2. Towards the end of our visit to a silk weaving factory, they asked for one of us to model a sari so I offered. It felt lovely wearing it and even I began to feel elegant which is not my normal style! I wish I would have occasion to wear one at home and I now, really wish I had bought it even though I have no idea when I would be able to wear it. It would just be so lovely to have it just as a piece of art.
3. The streets are so busy and to Western eyes, chaotic, but we saw no evidence of any accidents; everyone was so skilful in steering around each other. Tuktuks share the roads with bikes and bike rickshaws, motorbikes and scooters, ( on which the women in their beautiful saris, ride sidesaddle ) buses and coaches, horse drawn carriages, motor cars and tractors, and cows, sacred and revered and for whom the traffic stops.
I will post many more photos on our return. It’s a bit tricky on limited Internet.
1. What remarkable temples with the most amazing carvings all over them showing all aspects of human life in all its glory! In the photos are some of the musicians and and elephant, horse and a boar.
2. We took a boat down the Ganges after sunset to see the amazing ceremony of saying goodnight to Mother Ganges. There were thousands of people there and they show their love of and thanks to the river every single night with such devotion. It was very moving to be a small part of this.
3. We bought small marigold and candle offerings that are made by the children, lit the candles and put them in the river with a prayer or a wish. I’ll put up lots more photos when we return.
1. We had a brilliant train journey from Agra to Jhansi, two and a half hours watching the changing landscapes. The stations were quite an experience, so very busy and full of wonderful smiley, helpful people.
2. There was a festival going on in Orchha and we moved among the crowds observing rituals and feeling very privileged to be allowed to do so. There were lots of flowers, mostly marigolds being made into small bunches for offerings to the Gods. Again we were of interest to passers by. Look at those beautiful smiles!
1. The Taj Mahal was so beautiful I can’t begin to tell you. On first glimpse my eyes just filled with tears, it just takes one’s breath away. This stunningly beautiful place was built by Shahjahan as a mausoleum for his Most Beloved Wife. What a gift of love.
2 It being Sunday there were families out in all their finery enjoying a day out together. Everywhere we passed beautiful families. We met one lovely family who wanted their photo taken with me when we were at the Red Fort. The Mother and I had smiled at each other several times as we had met around the site and then she stopped and asked if I would have my picture taken with them. She then put her hands on each side of my face and said, “Beautiful beautiful!” which was so lovely as to me they were the beautiful ones.
3. Late this afternoon I had the best massage ever and now feel relaxed and revived after three very busy days. By the time I came out it was dark and I got this photo of the steps down to the pool and the stone elephants.
1. There were lots of school parties visiting Humayun’s Tomb. On the back of the polo shirts the Indian youngsters were wearing were the words ” Learn Work Play Think Live” which I think are brilliant words!
2. As we were on the five hour drive from Delhi to Agra, we went though miles and miles of similar countryside. We were delighted to see so many peacocks, many of them perching on pylons. Mr S was lucky enough to see one flying!
3. Dinner tonight was Royal Dining! There were 10 small dishes to share, (we chose the vegetarian option) each absolutely delicious – indeed, a mouth watering feast.
1. The warmth of the sun as we stepped off the plane in Delhi at 8.30 local time.
2. The warmth and friendliness of the people, so many smiling and greeting us and wanting to take my photo. We think possibly they find blonde curls interesting! They were really pleased that we wanted to take their photos too.
3. A wonderful meal in the Indian restaurant in the hotel. My dish was beautifully flavoured without heat. Mr S chose something spicier but it was very hot. The lovely chef came out and took the dish away, did some magic on it and it came back perfectly spiced. The waiter gave Mr S a magic something to sip which immediately took the heat out of his mouth!