So, having done two big trips over the previous two years, where could we go in 2003? We had not really given it much thought, and family + jobs had pre-occupied us. But then Deepak invited us to his "Big Fat Indian Wedding" and that got us thinking about making a proper journey around India and end up at Deepak and Nandu's wedding in Mangalore on 14 December.
A lot of reading and planning went into our India trip, and the more we read about India, the more bewildering, exotic, mysterious and vast it seemed to become. Although there was a definite "tourist trail", not all that many tourist were going to India these days (9/11 was offered as the main reason). Whilst we knew that India would be a very different experience from Argentina and Chile, we had simply no concept of how busy and demanding India would be. Stefan had even thoughts of hiring a car and driving ourselves, abandoned after 30 seconds of Indian traffic chaos!
Now, more than a year since we visited India, it has somehow got under our skin. It was also a good "warmer-upper" for our world travel plans.
Again, we booked flights, trains (yippee!) and hotels in advance, with the help of Jaya Arora at Travelbag.
Trip overview map
Books, Films, Music, Links, etc.
The Guide and Malgudi Days by R.K. Narayan
Shortened modern prose versions of The Ramayana and The Mahabharata, R.K. Narayan
An Introduction to Hinduism by Gavin Flood
Jogger's Park, cheesy film, fantastic.
Monsoon Wedding, beautifully filmed and characterised, a feast
The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy
Selected Short Stories, by Rabindranath Tagore, the "grand master of Bengali culture."