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India & Kashmir: One Tweet at a Time

In going to India, I decided to live Tweet my experience.  I actually found it was really helpful for documenting the many random, funny, and potentially interesting and helpful insights everyone has while traveling that are sometimes instantly forgotten. I’ll have more to say about India and will share better polished and more completed thoughts in future articles, but these tweets actually do a pretty good job of telling how my trip went.

I first arrived in India via a land border crossing from Nepal and went straight to Varanasi. This is likely the most intense city in India to visit and was the equivalent of me jumping into the deep end of a pool to learn to swim.  

*This tweet was supposed to say, “bodies,” not “babies.” Twittter and autocorrect can be a nightmare. There are several other mistakes like this throughout my tweets. Sorry.

Children swimming in the Ganges just a hundred meters from where bodies were being cremated and tossed into the water.
Children swimming and bathing in the Ganges just a hundred meters from where bodies were being cremated and put into the water.

From Varanasi I headed to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, for a day and then on to Delhi. This was all during the World Cup.

*Bad time zone for it plus no night life.

*Free Entry

The Qutab Minar in Delhi
The Qutab Minar in Delhi. It’s about 700 years old.

*descent not decent

From Delhi, two guys, both named Jack, and I made our way north to Kashmir, a lightly populated but heavily contested and heavily militarized region partially controlled by India, Pakistan and China. Kashmir is also home to a large Muslim population in the West, and has the massive Himalayan mountain range running through it. While the Jacks and I were there, Israel was bombing the shit out of Gaza.

Srinagar, Kashmir 

*This post got a lot of twitter replies from Kashmirs agreeing.

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After Srinagar the Jacks and I spent two 12 hour days in a car to go just a few hundred kilometers over some very tall mountains. An over night in Kargil and then on to Leh in the eastern part of Kashmir.

From the high deserts of Leh, it was just a quick 19 hour bus ride over two 17,000 ft mountain passes (one driver the whole way) to the beautiful, lush, alpine forest town of Manali. 

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From Minali, I left the mountains and went 16 hours west to Punjab and the city of Amritsar, which is right on the Pakistan border. It’s also home of the Golden Temple and a holy city for Sikhs.

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Soldiers returning the flag from the border crossing to loud applause and cheers and chants. The same thing was happening on the Pakistani side simultaneously.

*A worker swatted at my camera, but they have to go menus!?

At the bottom of the pic, you can see the guys hand coming at my camera.
At the bottom of the pic, you can see the guy’s hand coming at my camera.

From Punjab, I went 18 hours south to Rajastan, the Land of Kings. It’s full of holy towns, and ancient fortresses and palaces. I moved around a lot and really enjoyed that bus rides were only 3-6 hours. The highlight of the whole place to me was Jaisalmer, right on the edge of the Thar Desert.

*This tweet was about the “sleeper” bus I spent 18 hours on from Punjab to Jaipur, Rajastan. I was in a “bed” not sleeping because I was getting tossed 3 inches in the air every couple of minutes as the crazy bus driver flew down the bumpy road. When in India, take the train. Take. The. Train.

*Amber Fortress not Jade Fortress

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Everyone band member and their instrument got into this one auto tuk-tuk.
Every band member and their instrument got into this one auto tuk-tuk.

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*I timed my trip with the new moon for maximum star viewing.

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*The 500 to 600 year old fort in Jodpur. AMAZING!

Tweets relating to women

*This comment was mostly about all the Israeli women in Manali. But they are all military trained and I personally would have loved to have seen an India man make the mistake of trying something with them.

*Im not saying my attitude towards Indian men is correct, but after two months it was how I felt that night.

Tweets relating to religion

*Didn’t change my thinking about the religion, but certainly helped make sense of a lot of things I had been wondering about.

SideBar: For more travel info on India, please checkout my two previous posts with great tips from travelers from all over the world and India. One has general travel tips for anyone going to India, and one has travel tips specifically for women going to India.

Brian M. Williams
Brian is the author of the recently published travel memoir "Stranger in a Stranger Land: My Six Years in Korea." (Click this profile for more information.) He's also a law school grad with Southern charm and Virginia roots. He recently returned to America after nearly seven years traveling and working abroad. He loves dive bars, international travel and foreign accents. He's particularly good at small talk and was the first person to notice there's no "I" in "team."
https://www.facebook.com/StrangerInAStrangerLand/

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