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.
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!
I did not want to leave Bangalore without having dosa! Thank you for fulfilling my dream Zynga India team!
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.
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.
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.
I hired a photographer and took some pretty silly photos him. Get ready for a lot of solo Krystle pics below.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.