The Last Look at Incredible India

OG High Altitude India has had quite the six weeks, from adjusting to the frenetic capital city of Delhi, to fundraising and hiking in the mountains of Manali, to forming friendships with monklets in the remote mountains of the magnificent Himalayas in Ladakh to a challenging trek in the Markha Valley.
We parted ways to experience Independent Travel Time (ITT), where participants ventured to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s home of Dharamshala, the holy city of Varanasi, the yoga capital of Rishikesh and re-explored the relaxing beauty of Manali. We met back up where we started in Delhi and took a late bus to arrive in Agra, at the Taj Mahal, for sunrise. Amid a cooler temperature and less crowds, we soaked in the beauty of a monument that took 22 years to create and created out of love it was. It was the perfect opportunity to reflect on the trip and here are some final thoughts from everyone in the group:

Taj Mahal

“India taught me that… no matter where you go and how inhospitable you think the living conditions are, there will always be people thriving there. So be thankful for what you have at home” – Alex

“People assume that India is dangerous and desperate… but I learned that it is actually full of helpful and friendly people. The country is surrounded in beauty. The people here are the most hospitable people I have ever met. Their definition of giving runs deep.” -Ingri

“I was impressed by it all. Everything India has to offer – from food to the culture, to the amazing organizations we worked with. The contrasts of landscape, wealth, sounds, and even some of the smells. The vibrant culture had me in awe. The colours, the enthusiasm of the people and the encounters I had. More so, I was impressed by the group I got to share this experience with. Impressed with everything I learned from each individual. The culture and all encompassing aspects taught me so much and this experience as a whole left me impressed.” – Kandace

Manali Group Shot Silly

“The most shocking part of India was the harmony to all the craziness and the diversity, culturally and geographically. India never ceased to surprise me in various ways but there always seemed to be a balance to things. It could be overwhelming but it never felt out of control.” – Kyle

“The food was eclectic to say the least. Lots of rice, dal and curry – now I know what momos are and how to make a great cup of chai. Also that a great birthday cake can be made without an oven!” – Suzanne

“ITT was incredibly relaxing and adventurous. It enabled us to become closer to each other and locals in small groups. It was exciting to be able to plan out our days with activities which may not have worked in a large group. Oh and I loved Vashisht hot springs!” – Kat

One last hurrah at the Taj Mahal

“India is evolving like where we are from but a few decades behind. In this regard, it is like going back in time and I mean this in a good way because it helps one see the flow of history. In some of the places we went, it was interesting to see the different philosophical and religious backgrounds of the people – especially some ideas that were unconsciously ingrained in their psyche. Ideas that were obscure to me and I had only briefly heard about in books.” -Matt

“My favourite part of the trip was…
Seeing the smiles on the little monklets faces
Meeting new people and finding common ground for a 6-week trip
Learning so much about culture, adventure, who I am and what I want from life
And, of course, the bus rides!” – Caz

“The people are all different and yet the same. Different areas have such different cultures, clothing, food, language but all are friendly, and welcoming.I never thought that… I would get to meet such selfless people. People who inspire me to be better, better to myself and better to others.” – Bailey

“I was surprised that despite the huge magnitude of people, most, if not all, Indians were willing to lend you their full individual attention and respect on the fly.” – Connor

“The trip, in three words:
1. serendipitous
2. self-discovery
3. unbounded”

To repeat three words that have been used over and over again on this trip: This is India. Although it was overwhelming at first, each participant found their place in this chaotic country and for many, this won’t be their last encounter with incredible India.

Until next time,
OG India