In the summer of 2011, my family and I had the opportunity to visit India (for the third or fourth time) to see our relatives and see the wondrous, historic landmarks of India as well. We first arrived in a state called Kerala, where our relatives are located. From there we took a flight and drove to many historic sites, palaces, and mosques in Northern India such as the Taj Mahal, government buildings, Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort, and India Gate. Each building had its own amazing and unique architecture dating from different time periods.
Built in 16th century, the Humayun’s Tomb is one of the many examples of outstanding Mughal architecture. It was very interesting to see how kings lived in their palaces at the time; they lived lavishly surrounded by the finest luxuries such as Persian hand-made rugs, personal elephants for transportation, etc. At each site that we visited, we took an extensive tour of the incredible historical sites. From this trip, I personally learned to appreciate India for its historic landmarks and milestones, architecture, culture, and diversity. Throughout the journey in Northern India we went through well known cities such as Delhi (Capital), Jaipur (also known as the ‘Pink’ City), Rajasthan (known for its gemstones and granites), Agra, etc.
Hindi is the national language of India, but there are hundreds of other languages in India as well. Almost each state has its own language; some other common languages are Urdu, Tamil, Punjab, Gujarat, Malayalam, Kannada, etc. After our long tour of North India, we went to a well known tourist spot on the Southern tip of India called, Kanyakumari. This particular place is known well for its beaches, its special sunsets, and monuments (made from rock) of Swami Vivekananda and Saint Thiruvalluvar.
From my personal experience, I quickly learned toilet paper would be scarce, and that water would be my only option. I also experienced ‘tons’ of mosquito bites, so mosquito repellant became very necessary for my siblings and me. One thing that worked for me was wearing long sleeve shirts and pants, which protected me from most mosquito bites, but another thing to keep in mind is that India is known for its extremely warm climate. Unfortunately, especially in Northern India, I was surrounded by poverty and low living conditions.
The entire trip occurred over a time span of approximately one month. Overall, the trip to India was amazing and I learned tremendously about its historical sites, architecture, culture, and came to understand, appreciate, and respect its unique diversity. During the vacation to India, my family and I also had the opportunity to visit and volunteer at a physical disability center for children, which turned out to be a ‘mind-blowing’ experience. This trip entire changed me as a person because it helped me open my eyes to the whole world and become an open-minded person, not just focusing on a specific paradigm of the world.
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