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Agra, Jaipur, Varanasi

View Holy Land & Nepal, north India, south India, Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Shangrila, Tibet, Philippines (2019) on ilovenewjersey's travel map.

Agra, Jaipur, and Varanasi
Taj Mahal, commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (reigned from 1628 to 1658), to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. She died after giving birth to their 14th child.

Visited Agra and Jaipur 3 years ago by myself and although it was a memorable experience, it wasn’t as intense compared with the experiences I had with Intrepid tour - which I highly recommend BTW. Traveling with a tour guide gave me a propound experience and awareness of the unique cultural practices and traditions in this part of the world.
Picture taken from the Red fort..Shah Jahan commissioned to built the Taj Mahal for his favorite wife but never had a chance go there because his son imprisoned him in the red fort. He can only view Taj Mahal from a distance .

This tour is a basic tour, meaning, we have to travel like locals, taking overnight trains(which I hated), local buses, some with AC and some are not. Riding on Tuktuks (auto rickshaw, like tricycles in the Philippines). Sometimes staying at Guesthouses, and budgeted hotels. The price I paid for the tour was cheap although I opted for a single supplement , so I paid a little more than the others but it was worth it sleeping by myself.
Group picture taken in Amber palace in Jaipur. One of the BEST group tour that I've experienced. From tour guide to fellow travelers. This 22 days tour to North India was just amazing. We were all sad when it was time to say goodbye.

Varanasi, is regarded as the spiritual capital of India. This city draws Hindu pilgrims who bathe in the Ganges River’s sacred waters and perform funeral rites. I think Varanasi should be a Must-see city in India, not only because of its religious significance but also for its uniqueness, and exquisite stories this City is known for.
Kashi Vishwanath by the Ganges River, the “Golden Temple,” dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Prayers are held here at sunrise and sunset every day where thousands of Hindu pilgrims pay their respect, chanting, performing rituals to their god Shiva. — at Varansi.

The Ganges River is the third largest river in the world by discharge. The river begins in the Himalayas' Gangotri Glacier flows through the nations of India and Bangladesh. It is a sacred river in Hinduism and considered a personification of the goddess Gaṅga(from the word Ganges).
Sunrise in Ganges River — at Varansi.

Traveling tomorrow to New Delhi where our tour ends. I’ll be flying down south the next day to meet my traveling friend from UK, and local friends from the south.

Went to eat at this popular restaurant called “Sheroes” In Agra. A women empowerment movement for ladies who’re victims of Acid attack in India. Waitresses are all scared... no prices for food served, you only pay as you wish!

Woke up early to be in line before it gets crowded with tourists and locals

Side view of Taj Mahal, everything is symmetrical in the construction of this building

Sunrise in Taj Mahal

Red fort near Taj Mahal where the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son. -- at Agra

Taj Mahal — at Agra

Floating palace on the way to Amber palace. — at Jaipur

Amber palace in Jaipur

Amber or Amer palace in Jaipur

Aghoris-mostly found in cremation sites in the Ganges River. There’s a documentary regarding this group characterizing them as necrophiliacs and cannibals. — at Varansi.

Aghoris-They will also eat rotten food, putrefied garbage, and even excreta such as human feces or urine. Often these items will be consumed out of a human skull bowl or some other dish made from human bones. To an Aghori, eating garbage is all the same as eating anything else(Wikipedia). This guy wanted to charge me a lot of money to take his picture with me...not sure if it’s even allowed or maybe he was joking. — at Varansi.

Another view of the cremation site from a distance with cows, birds, dogs wandering around. We saw legs hanging and skull burning in the funeral pyres. — at Varansi

This corpse (tourist from Canada), have been sitting by the tree along the Ganges River for years, rain or shine, according to our guide. Worshiping the Hindu god Shiva, had achieved Nirvana - a state of enlightenment, gave away all his procession, accepting food from strangers. He’s well known/liked in the area. We saw his body wrapped in white clothe. Not sure if families are notified, but I saw 2 Caucasian gathering his stuff, talking to police and wrapping him with blanket. Cremation is usually done within 24-48 hours before the body starts to decompose. — at Varansi.

One of the two cremation sites along Ganges River in Varanasi. Corpses are burned with wood, skull crashed to release the spirit of the dead, ashes are spread in the river. — at Varansi.

Placing lighted pans in Ganges River and making a wish... — at Varansi.

Ganges River st night — at Varansi

We lighted up candles from these small pans with flowers in our boat, made a wish before placing them gently in Ganges River, and watching them float. — at Varansi.

Pilgrims bathe and immerse themselves 7 times in the river. Hindus believe that bathing in the river causes the remission of sins and facilitates Moksha (liberation from the cycle of life and death), and that the water of the Ganges is considered very pure.

Boats lining by the banks of Ganges river — at Varansi.

Our boat going around Ganges River — at Varansi

Sunrise in Ganges River — at Varansi.

Story is, goddess Ganga(where the word Ganges came from), had descended from heaven to earth. She is also the vehicle of ascent, from earth to heaven. The dead are being bathed, wrapped in cloth and covered with wood for cremation. Those who are lucky enough to die in Varanasi, are cremated on the banks of the Ganges, and are granted instant salvation. If the death has occurred elsewhere, salvation can be achieved by immersing the ashes in the Ganges.

Early Morning rituals by young Brahmans priests honoring Ganges River — at Varansi.

Group picture taken in Abhaneri(another holy site for Hindus)

Me, Craig ( New Zealand), Alan ( guide). — at Varansi

Nice! Not much tourists????wearing traditional Indian shirt???

Nice guy Craig from New Zealand.

Group picture taken in Abhaneri

Posted by ilovenewjersey 12:06 Archived in India Tagged varanasi jaipur agra Comments (2)

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