India is on Our List Once We Can Travel Again

As Willie Nelson famously sang, ”I can’t wait to get on the road again.”

During the travel restrictions that came with the COVID-19 pandemic we have been stuck in one place for longer than any other time over the last ten years.

For vagabonds like us, that has been a challenge. And to add to the frustration, our daughter had our first grandchild back in May and we still have not been able to see her yet because they live in Paris, France.

However, now that vaccines are coming there finally seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Obviously Paris will be our first trip when we can travel again, but it got us thinking “where should we go after that?”

Some place with a ton of history, world famous landmarks, incredible food, and somewhere we’ve never been before… India checks all of those boxes. So we started digging in to find out all we could about the subcontinent and the more we learned, the more we liked the idea.

Delhi seems like the obvious starting point and it is the most common place to fly in. But Then we though that we might want to save the bustling big city for last and begin somewhere a little more off the beaten path. The city of Pune fit that description, and luckily it is easy to find a Delhi to Pune flight.

Pune dates back over 1000 years, but is also modern enough that has become a major IT hub and automobile and manufacturing center. It is also known as the “Oxford of the East” because of the many educational institutions. These have attracted almost half of all the total international students studying in India.

This makes for a vibrant city, but we are more interested in seeing some of the many sights. The city has an abundance of fantastic museums, gardens, and historic landmarks.

Topping our list is the Aga Khan Palace. Built in 1892, this is truly a gorgeous structure but it is most renowned as the place where the British held Mahatma Gandhi and his wife, Kasturba, during the 1942 Quit India Movement.

The Gandhi National Memorial, which includes a museum devoted to his life, is within the Palace and we certainly don’t want to miss that. After that, the nearby Bund Garden, also known as the Mahatma Gandhi Udyan is a perfect next stop for reflecting and perhaps even an evening boat ride.

Speaking of rides, Pune is also known for gliding. The city is India’s oldest active center for soaring. There is even a school to learn how.

With that adventure under our belts, we will be ready to head back up north because we definitely need to stop at Agra for a look at India’s most famous building, the Taj Mahal. Finished in 1653, the white marble mausoleum has become the most recognizable symbol in the entire country.

But it is not the only amazing attraction in Agra, there are two other UNESCO World Heritage sites in the city, including the  Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. While not quite as impressive as the Taj Mahal, both are definitely worth a visit.

To round out our journey, we head back to Delhi.  It is, after all, one of the oldest cities in the world and as such has incredible historic sites, museums, temples, and numerous bazaars. It is also known for having the best food in all of India, especially street food, which is our favorite.

Before leaving we also must leave time for stops at some of The Tombs throughout the city. Our understanding is that Humayun’s Tomb, or the Red Fort, is one of the best. The walls are spectacularly built with red sandstone and topped with classic domes for a very unique look.

Not far away the India Gate stands as a memorial for all Indian soldiers. The monument stands in the center of a large circular plaza and is very reminiscent of the Arc du Triumph in Paris.

So now we have a plan, and hope that we can make it come true soon. In the meanwhile, guess we will just have to keep singing “I can’t wait to get on the road again.”

David and Veronica,

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