Golden Triangle of India

Taj MahalWhen I was little, I remember going out of my way to walk past travel agencies.  I used to love looking at the promotional travel posters plastered around their entrances.  They always featured the most clichéd image of each country:  The Eiffel Tower, Great Wall of China, and the Pyramids were sure bets.

I also remember the pearly white, whimsical profile of the Taj Mahal.  I’d try to imagine the kind of exotic place that would build such a structure and in such a shape.

Little did I know at the time that I’d end up marrying someone from that part of the world, spending time in her home state and even revisiting some of her fondest childhood memories by participating in the local kite festival.

Well, we couldn’t bring our boys to India for the first time and not do the travel-poster tour.  Between the food, the turbaned staff, and its famous monuments, the Golden Triangle most likely represents your stereotypical images of India.

tl;dr

Watch the video for a few highlights.

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Uttarayan Kite Festival

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My wife:  “We need to have the boys miss a week of school right after winter break.”

Me:  “Even after the two week vacation?  Why?”

Wife: “Uttarayan.”

Every January 14, my wife’s former home state of Gujarat, India hosts one of the largest kite festivals in the world.  She, her brother, and cousins have fond memories participating while growing up.  I had heard bits and pieces about what it was like and had to see for myself.  Not to mention it would probably be a blast for our boys as well.

Uttarayan (pronounced “oot-tran” to my untrained ear) is part Thanksgiving, part 4th of July, part board-game night and 100% good old-fashioned fun.

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Freedom India!

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“Why is that guy painting a door in the middle of this busy road?”

“Wait!  Was that an elephant walking around downtown?”

“Are we really allowed to drive down the wrong way of this street just because it’ll be quicker?”

Maharaj, our driver, could tell he was ushering another set of new arrivals around his proud city as we were rubbernecking.

His simple, smiling exclamation to many of our observational outbursts was “Freedom India!

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