Monday, 9 February 2015

The Big Trip - Part Three

After seeing some of the 'nitty gritty' of India in Delhi, Ahmedabad and Rajkot, we took a couple of flights down to Goa to see the side of India you see in the holiday brochures - the lovely sandy beaches, the palm trees, the gated resorts with the pools, the spas and the barbecues.

There is no doubting that Goa is beautiful and the views, the food and the weather is as lovely as you imagine, but it is hard to believe that it is just a couple of hours away from some of the poorest places in the country. Of course Goa has the tourist trade and until 2 years ago it exported iron ore so was a prosperous place, however it is now seeing a huge decline in the number of tourists coming - our tour guide told us they have seen a drop of 80% in tourists arriving from Russia since the strength of the ruble dropped and, as Russians made up most of their tourism income, this is likely to have a big impact.

Goa was colonised by the Portuguese in the 16th Century and did not formally become an Indian state until 1987. Goa has the most churches in India and the most practicing Christians. We visited the Basilica in the old town.

And we walked around some of the streets in the capital. The colours of the buildings are amazing - bright pinks, lime greens and purples set against faded olive shades and weathered oranges.

From Goa we flew to Hyderabad. We are here until tomorrow when we travel to Mumbai. Hyderabad is inland and is locally known as 'the rice bowl of India' and as such it is famous for Biryani!

We visited Hyderabad Fort - an incredible walled city dating back to the 13th Century. 

The fort was amazing, but my focus for my photographs always ends up being the people around me. These 2 ladies agreed to pose for me after they asked if they could take pictures of us. As I think Ive said already, Mum and myself are a bit of a novelty!

From the fort we made a short journey to the King's tomb complex. This place left me totally gob smacked. The size and beauty of these incredible tombs was breath taking.

The tombs are currently bring restored. The first image above (where the masonry is creamy white) is a restored tomb.

Whilst here in Hyderabad, we have also visited the Chowmahalla Palace which still belongs to the Royal Family. Built at the end of the late 19th Century it is a show case of opulence and can now be hired as a wedding venue - indeed preparations for a wedding were taking place during our visit.

The images below were taken in the thrown room. Incredible chandeliers!

These ladies were sat peeling hundreds of onions and cucumbers ready for the wedding feast.

These guys are polishing the huge copper serving dishes:

There are galleries surrounding the thrown room showing some of the Royal collections. I didn't enjoy the sword and knife room particularly, but did find a few pieces of inspiration in the china cabinets!

From the palace we walked through the busy market streets to the Charminar (Gate Of India). The streets were packed solid with bikes, motor bikes, tuc tucs and barrows. Walking through in the throng of people was both enthralling and terrifying at the same time and I have to admit to counting my blessings that we all made it out safe and sound!

Once again I am going to attempt to upload a video so you can see just what the Charminar area is like on a quiet Sunday afternoon!

We have been in India for 16 days and each new day seems to fly at a faster and more alarming rate. Really looking forward to seeing what Mumbai has in store for us, but wishing the days would slow down just a little so that I can really take in all the amazing things I've seen and done!