India (Bus Ride Through The Hinterlands)

Sometimes the most revealing glimpses of a country are found on its highways and byways, which can make long journeys through unfamiliar places an illuminating experience. As such, one of the most enjoyable and memorable parts of my two-week journey to India (which included a few days in Nepal) was the bus ride I took to Khajuraho and its famous temples adorned with erotic––if not pornographic––sculptures. Rather than flying into Khajuraho from Agra, I took a train to Jhansi, and then boarded a bus to the ruins at Orchha. From there, it was a long bus ride (I forget how long . . . anywhere from three to five hours) to Khajuraho.

But the long ride along a sometimes bumpy and narrow road was fascinating because it offered a passenger-seat view of Indian’s countryside and small towns, and provided a glimpse of everyday life in India’s central hinterlands.

 

I flew in and out of Delhi, the national capital, and spent two nights and one day there. The city’s size, history and overall importance to the country means it has many notable places of interest. In Old Delhi, which was shaped by centuries of Muslim rule, some of the sites worth experiencing include India’s largest mosque, Jama Masjid (from left to right, the first two photos above), and the Qutb Minar Complex, another Muslim monument, which features an intricate, roughly 235-foot tall tower (the fifth and sixth photos from the left). New Delhi is the modern city built by the British, and includes government buildings and the India Gate (third and fourth photos from the left).

Of course, there is more to see in Old Delhi/New Delhi, but overall it’s a massive metropolis (estimated 2014 population of nearly 18 million) that’s not worth sticking around for beyond a one-day sightseeing blitz, particularly when the rest of India is so much more interesting.

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