Day 25 and 26 - India- The land of dreams

Trip Start Sep 27, 2012
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17
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Trip End Nov 06, 2012


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Flag of India  , Delhi,
Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My trip to India is planned to be a religious and spiritual journey for my family and I. The main purpose is to do a Pooja (prayer) for my grandmother who passed away earlier this year. The ritual involves placing her ashes in the Ganges (Ganga) which is our holy river. I am hoping this trip will be educational for me in discovering my religion and culture as a Hindu.

History:

The Indus Valley civilization, one of the world's oldest, flourished during the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C. and extended into northwestern India. Aryan tribes from the northwest infiltrated onto the Indian subcontinent about 1500 B.C.; their merger with the earlier Dravidian inhabitants created the classical Indian culture. The Maurya Empire of the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. - which reached its zenith under ASHOKA - united much of South Asia. The Golden Age ushered in by the Gupta dynasty (4th to 6th centuries A.D.) saw a flowering of Indian science, art, and culture. Islam spread across the subcontinent over a period of 700 years. In the 10th and 11th centuries, Turks and Afghans invaded India and established the Delhi Sultanate. In the early 16th century, the Emperor BABUR established the Mughal Dynasty which ruled India for more than three centuries. European explorers began establishing footholds in India during the 16th century. By the 19th century, Great Britain had become the dominant political power on the subcontinent. The British Indian Army played a vital role in both World Wars. Nonviolent resistance to British rule, led by Mohandas GANDHI and Jawaharlal NEHRU, eventually brought about independence in 1947. Communal violence led to the subcontinent's bloody partition, which resulted in the creation of two separate states, India and Pakistan. The two countries have fought three wars since independence, the last of which in 1971 resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. India's nuclear weapons tests in 1998 caused Pakistan to conduct its own tests that same year. In November 2008, terrorists originating from Pakistan conducted a series of coordinated attacks in Mumbai, India's financial capital. In January 2011, India assumed a nonpermanent seat in the UN Security Council for the 2011-12 term. Despite pressing problems such as significant overpopulation, environmental degradation, extensive poverty, and widespread corruption, rapid economic development is fueling India's rise on the world stage.

Population: 1.2 billion

Religion: Hindu 80.5%252525, Muslim 13.4%252525, Christian 2.3%252525, Sikh 1.9%252525, other 1.8%252525, unspecified 0.1%252525 (2001 census)

Median age: 26 years
%252525 literacy (who can read and write over 15yrs) - males 73%252525, Females 47%252525

Day 25

I'm in India!!!! I've dreamed about this day! Cannot believe that I have been filling every form all my life as a person of 'Indian origin' and its my first time setting foot on this land...I came alone and was feeling a bit emotional. I met my aunt Pratima Masi just as I came out of arrivals and gave her a massive hug!

We headed to our hotel in Gurgaon and had lunch.

In the evening we went to a mall where I bought a lovely sari (yes already shopping! ;))

At 8 we went to 'the kingdom of dreams' and watched a show called Jhumro....I cannot put into words how amazing this show was! It was based on the life of a Bollywood actor and singer called Kishore Kumar. There were two main buildings....one where they had mini buildings representing all the major cities. It was so beautiful!

We had crispy jalebi for dessert after the show and got back after midnight...tomorrow...meeting the rest of the family and a long drive to haridwar.

Day 26

Met everyone at the airport at 12:30pm...group of 14 of us including me!! We got on the 18 seated we had hired and set off for Haridwar. Google maps suggests the journey wis about 4 hours long but it took us 8.5 hours to get there including a brief stop to grab food and a rest break. We stayed at a lovely hotel (Godwins) and the plan is to do a Pooja (prayer) for my nan who passed away earlier this year and place her ashes in the holy river Ganges.

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