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Holy Sh*t I Finally Made it to India

Holy Sh*t I Finally Made it to India

India has always been one of those exotic places I've always wanted to visit. I never thought it would actually happen though! India was really cool (and hectic and terrifying at times.) Walking out into the streets of India every day = sensory overload. There are so many people, sights, smells, and sounds. 

A work trip brought me to India for about 10 days. (This is not long enough. If you're planning a trip there, stay for at least two weeks. ) I was in Bangalore for the first half of my trip and in New Delhi for the other half. Bangalore is the 'silicon valley' of India. Zynga's office is there along with many other tech companies. 

I stayed at The Oberoi Bangalore which was conveniently right across the street from my office. The Oberoi staff was an amazingly hospitable crew. They were always making sure I was comfortable, safe, and happy. Here's the best part of the hotel- the heated pool surrounded by the lush garden. 

Heated to a perfect 80 degrees. 

Heated to a perfect 80 degrees. 

Work crew. 

Work crew. 

The view from the Zynga offices. Monkeys loved to hang out on top of that red building. 

The view from the Zynga offices. Monkeys loved to hang out on top of that red building. 

Every day (if not twice per day) I would get chai from a cart across the street. 

Every day (if not twice per day) I would get chai from a cart across the street. 

Patiently waiting for chai. 

Patiently waiting for chai. 

Here's the crazy traffic in India. So many cars, rickshaws, motorcycles, and HONKING! I crossed this street many times per day to a. get to the office and b. to get chai!

Holy moly!

The adorable rickshaw's that swarm the streets of India. 

The adorable rickshaw's that swarm the streets of India. 

I did not want to leave Bangalore without having dosa! Thank you for fulfilling my dream Zynga India team! 

Masala dosa. 

Masala dosa. 

Ghee dosa. ( I can't remember the actual name of this one.) 

Ghee dosa. ( I can't remember the actual name of this one.) 

Big smiles after eating lots of dosa! 

Big smiles after eating lots of dosa! 

There was not much to see in Bangalore, other than my awesome team. Luckily, I had a meeting at Google in Delhi so packed my little carry on bag and headed that way! It was only a 3-hour flight from Bangalore. I made sure I had some free time in Delhi over the weekend, so I obviously made plans to see the Taj Mahal. But before I get to that, I have to rant about the even more awesome stay I had at The Oberoi New Delhi.

Just like the staff at the Oberoi in Bangalore, they were so attentive. Upon arrival, they had hot chocolate waiting for me in my room. They also called me while I was on my way from the airport to see if I would like to order any food since it was so late. So incredibly thoughtful. They even gave me a present at the end of my stay so I'll always remember my trip to India. 

The courtyard at the Oberoi New Delhi. Those floors! 

The courtyard at the Oberoi New Delhi. Those floors! 

The staircase that leads you down to the spa. 

The staircase that leads you down to the spa. 

The pollution in Delhi is insane. Since my skin was beyond parched, I booked a facial. It was heavenly. 

The pollution in Delhi is insane. Since my skin was beyond parched, I booked a facial. It was heavenly. 

The decor inside The Oberoi New Delhi. 

The decor inside The Oberoi New Delhi. 

My room. It was a lot fancier than what you see here. Everything you wanted to control (lights, blinds, etc) can be done form your bed. Right next to the bed is a butler button. They will assist you with whatever you may need 24 hours per day. Lastly, they let you chose what pilows you would like to sleep with. They had options like memory foam, duck feathers, hypoallergetic, you name it. 

My room. It was a lot fancier than what you see here. Everything you wanted to control (lights, blinds, etc) can be done form your bed. Right next to the bed is a butler button. They will assist you with whatever you may need 24 hours per day. Lastly, they let you chose what pilows you would like to sleep with. They had options like memory foam, duck feathers, hypoallergetic, you name it. 

On Saturday, I met up with my co-workers for a bit to explore the heart of Delhi. Something worth noting is that India is NOT a chill place for women to travel alone to. I was planning on shopping and doing my own thing on this day, and the concierge at The Oberoi highly recommend that I do not go alone. The more I went out, I can definitely see why. You just get a feeling that it's not the safest and you should be very aware of your surroundings. If you are a woman travelling to India by yourself, I recommend hiring a tour guide for your entire trip. 

We stopped by the India Gate- a memorial to 70,000 soldiers of the  Indian Army  who died. It was hard to stay and enjoy the moment as you get bombarded by people selling you trinkets. 

We stopped by the India Gate- a memorial to 70,000 soldiers of the Indian Army who died. It was hard to stay and enjoy the moment as you get bombarded by people selling you trinkets. 

The flowers surrounding the gate. 

The flowers surrounding the gate. 

Stopped to get some more chai of course! India serves most of their chai in these biodegradable clay chai cups. 

Stopped to get some more chai of course! India serves most of their chai in these biodegradable clay chai cups. 

Shopping for a Kurta! 

Shopping for a Kurta! 

In the evening I went to this incredible temple called  Akshardham . I couldn't take a single photo while here. (They take your phones, cameras, iPads...everything.) So I paid a couple hundred rupees for this pic to get taken of me. I recommend clicking on the link above to see how insanely beautiful this place is. 

In the evening I went to this incredible temple called Akshardham. I couldn't take a single photo while here. (They take your phones, cameras, iPads...everything.) So I paid a couple hundred rupees for this pic to get taken of me. I recommend clicking on the link above to see how insanely beautiful this place is. 

Now onto my amazing trip to the Taj Mahal! This took a little bit of planning as I wanted to be as safe as I possibly could. I hired a driver from India Private Tours. I highly recommend them. Our driver was very sweet and kept us safe! He picked us up from the hotel at 6am and took us around Agra (where the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort is) and even extended our trip so we could go to the elephant sanctuary.  

My new kurta that I wore to the Taj Mahal. 

My new kurta that I wore to the Taj Mahal. 

More traffic getting to the Taj Mahal. They refuse to walk on the sidewalk. 

More traffic getting to the Taj Mahal. They refuse to walk on the sidewalk. 

This is one of the 4 gates that surround the Taj and the one we entered through. 

This is one of the 4 gates that surround the Taj and the one we entered through. 

Excited to go in and see the Taj! 

Excited to go in and see the Taj! 

First glimpse of the Taj after walking through the West gate. 

First glimpse of the Taj after walking through the West gate. 

Excuse me?? Can I quickly get a pic by myself? 

Excuse me?? Can I quickly get a pic by myself? 

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I hired a photographer and took some pretty silly photos him. Get ready for a lot of solo Krystle pics below. 

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Basic. 

Basic. 

Chillin by the Taj. 

Chillin by the Taj. 

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This is the mosque at the Taj Mahal. It serves two purposes. You had to have a place of worship nearby according to the Muslim law. Second, the mosque and a mirror image of the mosque, a guest house that stands on the opposite side of it, together provide a perfect symmetrical balance to the architecture of whole of Taj Mahal. You can pray here on Fridays. 

This is the mosque at the Taj Mahal. It serves two purposes. You had to have a place of worship nearby according to the Muslim law. Second, the mosque and a mirror image of the mosque, a guest house that stands on the opposite side of it, together provide a perfect symmetrical balance to the architecture of whole of Taj Mahal. You can pray here on Fridays. 

The crazy intricate detail on the outside of the Taj Mahal. 

The crazy intricate detail on the outside of the Taj Mahal. 

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Another one of the gates. 

Another one of the gates. 

Looking back when leaving the Taj Mahal. 

Looking back when leaving the Taj Mahal. 

The Taj Mahal was breathtaking. I honestly could sit and stare at it for hours. I spent about 2 hours there. I could have spent 3. You should hire a tour guide. He'll tell you at least one story you haven't heard about the Taj before.  

We took a quick ride over to the Red Fort. There are no cars (unless they are electric) allowed in the town of Agra. So, this guy gave us a lift! 

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A crazy thing happened during this carriage ride. My worst nightmare happened. I lost my phone. Since the ride was a little bumpy, my phone slipped right out of my pocket. I realized my phone was missing after the horse and driver left us. My tour guide was like, 'Wait here. I'll try and track the driver down.' I was like, yeah right. There were hundreds of horse and carriages. I was also told by the locals if you lose something, you're never getting it back. Our tour guide disappeared into the swarms of people and 45 minutes later, he came back with my phone in his hand.  UNBELIEVABLE.

Entrance to the Red Fort. It was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and served as the capital of the Mughals until 1857

Entrance to the Red Fort. It was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and served as the capital of the Mughals until 1857

The gardens in the main court. 

The gardens in the main court. 

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This wasn't part of the plan, but we decided to stop at the Elephant Sanctuary called Wildlife SOS on the way home. There are really terrible humans out there that abuse these animals. The Elephant Conservation and Care Center is a safe haven and rehabilitation center for over 20 elephants rescued from abusive and deprived conditions in captivity, as working or performing animals. There were so many emotions I endured while visiting. I teared up as I was told the cruel things people did to these animals (I honestly can't even speak of them), I was in awe of how peaceful and beautiful these animals were, I was so happy to see these animals so happy. 

If you would like to sponsor one with me click here. Your monthly contribution helps feed and take care of the elephants. 

Get scratches from the tree! 

Get scratches from the tree! 

I love you. 

I love you. 

Right before she gave herself a mud bath. 

Right before she gave herself a mud bath. 

Look at that smile. 

Look at that smile. 

Doing tricks for peanuts! 

Doing tricks for peanuts! 

There were only a few males at the sanctuary. They always have to be accompanied by a trainer as they are a little untrustworthy and can get aggressive. 

There were only a few males at the sanctuary. They always have to be accompanied by a trainer as they are a little untrustworthy and can get aggressive. 

Getting their dinner ready! 

Getting their dinner ready! 

Sillies

Sillies

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Here's Suzie. The oldest elephant they had. She's 70 years old and can only eat melon! 

The last day I had in India was spent shopping. Particularly sari shopping. It was so much fun. Please invite me to your Indian wedding so I can wear one! 

Sari options! 

Sari options! 

This is the only Sari they had available for trying on as the others are made exclusively for your body type. The lady behind me said its nice, but don't buy it because you won't stand out at an Indian wedding!

This is the only Sari they had available for trying on as the others are made exclusively for your body type. The lady behind me said its nice, but don't buy it because you won't stand out at an Indian wedding!

My very last stop in India was a quick visit to  Dilli Haat . It's an open-air market where you can buy souvenirs from different states. I found the most fabulous rug and a few pashminas. (I got everything for a steal with my bosses bargaining!) 

My very last stop in India was a quick visit to Dilli Haat. It's an open-air market where you can buy souvenirs from different states. I found the most fabulous rug and a few pashminas. (I got everything for a steal with my bosses bargaining!) 

India was by far the most adventurous trip I've ever taken. I was taken out of my comfort zone, I have a new found love for elephants, and the respect I have for the Indian culture has grown significantly. I hope to visit again someday.

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