Map.gifMap of the Indian subcontinent detailing where I have been traveling over the last 5 months. Started in Delhi, traveled north-east through Rishikesh, into and through Nepal for 2 months coming out in Darjeeling, India. From there I went north into Sikkim, did a loop and came back to Darjeeling for Christmas, then headed south to Calcutta. From Kolkata (Calcutta), I crossed into Bangladesh and made a big loop through the south to Chittagong before turning back, heading north through Dhakka and back to Calcutta, India. From there went to Varanasi, then did another loop through Satna, Khajuraho, Orcha, Jhansi, Mohranipur and back to Varanasi. Then it was up to Sarnath and finally back to Delhi! 37 KB  
Varanasi.jpgThe holy Hindu city of Varanasi (aka Bernares) by the banks of the Ganges. Beautiful twisted little streets, funny people, and one of the filthiest places I have been. Came across this goat while wandering along the Ghats. 27 KB  
Train.jpgNina and I decided (somewhat spontaneously) to leave Varanasi and consequently ended up with 3rd class tickets for the 6 hour train ride to Satna... which in the end actually took 12 hours. It was a cool experience though, so many people crammed into the most ridiculously small spaces, still smiling, sleeping, making jokes -- singing even! This is a photo of Nina as she literally crawls through people and luggage to get back from the bathroom. I wasn't brave enough to attempt the gauntlet. 45 KB  
khajuraho.jpgThe great temples of khajuraho. They were in kinda in the middle of nowhere, its a mystery why they were built there, but were pretty impressive. 38 KB  
khajuraho.jpgSome of the semi-erotic stone carvings inside one of the cool, dark temples. 38 KB  
khajuraho.jpgGot to attend a Shiva Puja ceremony at sunset in the sanctum of one of the temples. It was just about 10 of us standing around a huge Lingam, everyone was singing and playing instruments. The sound was a bit deafening, but the whole energy of the place was pretty exciting. 38 KB  
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Orchha_Sunrise.jpgFrom khajuraho, we took a local bus towards Jhansi, and got off early at a dirt cross road, then hopped in a shared tempo going to Orchha. Orcha was calmer, less touristy and more exciting than khajuraho with dozens of old palaces and temples scattered around the tiny town. This is a picture taken in the forest at the edge of town at sunrise. 37 KB  
Orchha_Sunrise.jpgThe deep blue Betwa river flows around the main fort. 28 KB  
Orchha.jpgIt was great because we got to just wander through these amazing stone palaces, crawl up 4 or 5 stories and into the towers, through twisted little hallways, into damp forgotten basements, etc. I felt like a kid with a real fort to play in! There were also local kids playing there as well! 18 KB  
Orchha.jpg 32 KB  
Orchha.jpgAlright... so I took a lot of temple pictures -- but they are amazing aren't they? 21 KB  
Orchha_Sunset.jpgSunset from this tiny forgotten mosque we found a couple kilometers to the west. 21 KB  
Orchha.jpgThe main building of the Raj Mahal. 30 KB  
Orchha.jpgI (and later a couple Indian men) had a daring climb into one of these domed towers. As usual... coming down the stone dome was slightly more difficult than I anticipated. 18 KB  
Orchha.jpgOuter wall of the Jehangir Mahal and the algae covered Betwa river. 29 KB  
Orchha_Cricket.jpgChildren playing cricket by the palace walls. 38 KB  
Orchha_Residents.jpgCurious, good humored locals that we came upon while trying to chart a path to the gardens we saw across the river. Everyone was really excited to have such strange people wandering around their neighborhood. 38 KB  
Fashion.jpgThis boy just ran up, requested a photo, made this pose, then ran off. 26 KB  
Orchha.jpgInside the walls of Jehangir Mahal. 38 KB  
Monkey.jpgA monkey. 31 KB  
Tourists.jpgSome tourists. 28 KB  
Vulture.jpgA vulture. 22 KB  
Kids.jpgArtistic license. 37 KB  
Dog_Tikka.jpg 21 KB  
Chai.jpgAhhh... nothing beats a nice glass of chai after a long day of playing in the fort. The best chai always comes from a well "seasoned" grungy little burnt pot like this one. 30 KB  
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Hospital.jpgAfter Orchha, we went back to Varanasi to see some more temples and just enjoy the atmosphere. But soon after arriving, I got really sick and was eventually diagnosed with an E. Coli infection. Nina also got sick from E. Coli, but the symptoms weren’t as bad. 32 KB  
Auto_Richshaw.jpgAfter being released from the hospital (each with a huge prescription of heavy duty antibiotics) we decided to lay low and go to a small town called Sarnath just north of Varnasi to recuperate. Sarnath is where Gautama Buddha is said to have given his first teachings. On the way our mini-taxi lost its breaks and we made an unexciting crash landing, nearly hitting a chai stall. Nobody even put down their glass of chai. We drove on (with no brakes), trying to find someone to fix the problem, but ultimately were begrudgingly handed off to another taxi driver. 39 KB