A not so Yatra in Rishikesh

Blogger: Katie Burke

After a brief stop in Delhi to purchase an unnecessarily fancy 1st Class train ticket, which the travel agent insisted I needed  “It is most safe ticket for you”. This over zealous travel agent, who insisted on closing our deal (screwing me over) with a cup of chai and a “chat”,  was also the one that introduced me to the word Yatra- meaning Religious Pilgrimage. I noticed he had written “Happy Yatra” on the envelope containing my tickets and with some curious googling, I discovered the meaning and smiled. Not quite expecting a spiritual experience but hoping for at least a little Indian enlightenment I headed North once more for Rishikesh. (more…)

Rambling in Rajasthan – Part 3: Jodpur and Pushkar

Blogger: Katie Burke

The next day we decided to venture further west into Rajasthan. Our first stop would b Pushkar. We travelled from Jaipur on a five hour bus…one of the nicer busses we had encountered which is always a plus. The travel agent who had set us up with the bus had also given us a number for his “friend” who had a place we could stay. Another case of everybody getting a cut. (more…)

Rambling in Rajasthan – Part 2: Jaipur

Blogger: Katie Burke

We arrived in Jaipur Railway Station at 10am rather dazed after our sleep. We were met almost instantly by an eager tuk tuk driver named Shakir. He seemed pretty okay and we were feeling lazy so we accepted his offer and proceeded to two tuk tuks, the other driven by is friend Ali. Apparently having five people in a tuk tuk is illegal in Jaipur. (more…)

Rambling in Rajasthan – Part 1

Blogger: Katie Burke. Part 1: Train to Jaipur

We boarded the sleeper train to Jaipur as a group of five with (thanks to the incredible organisation of India Rail) only four sleeping berths and one random “no seat” ticket. But we were told it was fine for the 5th person to bunk in with one of the others so that was our plan. When we located our beds however we were a little surprised to see a whole Indian family sitting on them (Granny, Grandad, two sons, the wife of one son, one little girl and a baby girl). They were obviously on the “no seat” plan too. (more…)

Amritsar and the Pakistani Border

Blogger: Katie Burke

My first port of call on leaving Bir was to travel to Punjab and visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar. I don’t know why but I presumed Amritsar to be a sleepy little town with nothing really there except the Temple….boy was I wrong. There were people and traffic absolutely everywhere in crazy mix of horns, shouting and general bedlam. What I had failed to note was that The Golden Temple is actually an important pilgrimage site in the Sikh religion and so thousands of Sikhs descend upon the small town each weekend, so arriving on a Friday afternoon may have been a bad move. (more…)

Bye Bye Bir

Blogger: Katie Burke

Despite all of my gallivanting one of the main reasons I came to India was to spend a month volunteering as an English Teacher to what turned out to be the most adorable bunch of little monks in the making. Once Lohsar (Tibetan New Year) was over I finally got into the swing of things teaching wise. Myself and two to three others depending on the day took a class of eight little boys from 9:30am to 12:00pm each day. (more…)

Holi in Rishikesh

Blogger: Katie Burke

Unnoticed by me the dates of my trip to India managed to eradicate my annual celebration of Paddy’s Day. For the first time in many years I would not have the opportunity to spend March 17th in a drunken stupor with my closest friends. This year it would be much different but potentially as much fun because this year in India March 17th was to be the date for Holi. (more…)