It is on the rails with the Maharaja Express Train traveling to exotic places, castles, and remote towns. This excursion covers over 830 miles encompassing six days and seven nights. Like a sea cruise, you travel by night to arrive in a new city each day.
I completed three weeks in India a few years ago for a photography expedition, not searching out the splendor or palatial castles of the country. My wife and I chuckled how the USA, our country is new, and we were traveling West on wagons to build our fortunes.
The Maharajas of India had already created many palaces spanning acres of infrastructure, starting in late 200 B.C. One of the fortresses we encountered was built in only three years with over sixty thousand skilled artisans. The attention to detail is mind blowing, unequaled in my lifetime.
Many people have also traveled to the Taj Mahal, with over six million visits per year. My first opinion was incredible because of its beauty; it took over twenty years for the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to build. This is a tomb for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, and is arranged on forty-two acres.
The total journey traveled from Delhi to Ranthambore, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Orchha, Khajuraho, Varanasi, and back to Delhi. No worries about service with a multi-language staff of fifty-one for only thirty-one passengers. Each cabin has its valet on call. He even helped me get dressed in my turban for the Indian Celebration night party.
The passengers were very congenial from all parts of the world and as you would imagine all spoke English. A considerable portion of my love of traveling is meeting people, and this eclectic group was from Europe, the USA, South America, Canada, and beyond.
The food menus were varied but be careful if you don’t expect red-hot curry. Their subtle spice was still hot to me, but they also had non-hot spice items. That says a lot for a boy raised in the Cajun region of South Louisiana. My father used Tabasco on his breakfast eggs.
Visiting small farming towns offered insights into the world of serene family life. It makes me ponder the crime around the world; it is not a lack of monetary things but family values. The people we met were highly poverty stricken, but their homes were clean and full of family respect and discipline.
In India, there are several facts to ponder. Half of the population is under twenty-five years old, there are over 22 official spoken languages with over four hundred other languages spoken, and seventy percent of the world’s spices come from India. Currently, India has over seventy thousand births per day. It is one of the oldest civilizations and one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Over seventy percent of the population eats meat but consumes the least meat per person globally.
Many Americans have little interest in visiting India; my wife was one. Ironically, those who do, return with a changed and positive attitude. It is a country rich in color, with very kind people and adventure around every turn. It is so great to be able to travel again; my next place in one week… Paris, France.