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PTR: Athisayam pg 4 - Madurai, INDIA!!


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Like others have said, kudos for your effort in visiting these parks.

 

I have a little trepidation about going to a small park that is only 2 hours out of the way in a European country where many people speak English, the road are paved and the transportation is modern. My hats off to you!

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Fantastic report!! I love the culture tour you've taken us on, and the parks, wow, compared to US parks, seem really really relaxed. Obviously the rides were somewhat safe as you're still around. I have to say tho, the shot of the water coaster having to be pushed out of the trough was classic. How would you rate the overall upkeep of the two parks?

 

And here I thought India was just a place I called to get our HP equipment replaced.

 

Thanks, and again, great report, I've enjoyed the learning experience, travel safe!

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Nice trip report.

 

You've obtained some hard to reach credits. (Perhaps even beyond the reach of the Alveys)

 

I liked the row of beds, hasn't everyone at some point had a long day at a theme park when you didn't want to sit, but instead lay down? Great idea!

 

I hope you get the chance to visit more parks while visiting this amazing country!

 

Keep Posting!

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Just got back from Agra for the weekend trip with our class. Thanks for the comments - "A true credit whore trailblazer" - what a title hahaha

 

Yeah, while I did go by myself, I had asked Kameron if he wanted to come, but the prospect of two 14 hour bus rides was a bit of a turn off for him. It was manageable, just, you had to stay on your toes.

 

The overall upkeep of the two parks was fine, really. Esselworld seemed a little bit old fashioned, but they were still putting money into it, especially with the water park, and I wouldn't be surprised if it continued to grow over the years. And while Tikuji-ni-wadi was weird as hell, the coasters ran surprisingly well. And this is kind of India's off season, so it's hard to say what the parks are like when it picks up a little more.

 

I'll have some more general India pictures up some time soon, and hopefully pictures of a park in Madurai within the next two weeks.

 

Also, our visit to Nepal is now up in the air, as apparently there's a semi recent rule that necessitates two months before you can reenter India, if you have a short term American reentry Visa. And not that being stuck in Nepal would be the woooorst thing that could happen to us, but our flight home is from Delhi, and it'd be best to not get stuck in a foreign country.

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Your reports are always really interesting and hilarious...thanks for sharing this!

 

I wish you luck as your trip progresses. But it seems like you have been managing pretty well so far. How did you get involved with this class in the first place?

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Taj Mahal update woo woo

 

Simply put, the Taj Mahal was the most perfect building I've ever seen. Absolutely stunning

 

We also saw some big old Mughal tombs, Agra Fort, and Fatepuhr Sikri, Akbar's old "new city".

 

All in all, a fantastic weekend. The city itself was a bit city, but it's hard to care when you've got the most beautiful monument ever to be built.

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Holy Akbar!

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The gate to Akbar's tomb. Akbar was the third sultan of the Mughal dynasty, an Islamic empire that ruled India around the 1600s ish. Preeeetty incredible

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Sunset on Akbar

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The inside of my house one day

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Inside Fatepuhr Sikri

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A Mughal jig

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While not my favorite place, it was still nice

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a BABY!

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In the mines of moria

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World's most unnecessarily lavish gate

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AH! Greatest building ever

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I was more excited to see this than just about anything

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When we first learned the height, the first thing that came through my mind was "That's as tall as Silver Star". Weird

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Reflection pool

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An Indian pilgramage

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I could look at this building every day for the rest of my life

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Close up of the dome

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It's so big the floor itself is 15 feet tall

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Agra Fort across the river

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So many people

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Oh look, the entire facade is covered in marble and inlaid with finely crushed fine jewels in perfectly articulated shadings of floral patters. Story of my house's life

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I love this picture

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Reminds me of that Dali painting with the elephants... except with my friends instead of giant elephants

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Through the archway. So glorious

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  • 2 weeks later...

Athisayam, Madurai, southern India.

 

A 25 minute rickshaw ride from our hotel, and Kameron, Joey and I had reached Athisayam. We were most excited for their water park, which was billed as being the largest in India (which is interesting, considering that Esselworld in Bombay was billed as the largest water park in Asia...). The park was virtually empty - There were maybe 25 people there, which was great, we had rides and slides open and close for us exclusively as we walked up to them.

 

The park was only 400 rupees, which is around $8, and we were there from around 12:30 til 6, which was plenty of time. We started things off at the only credit in the park, another one of those water dive coasters. Park etiquette at this park didn't exist, and you would just walk up onto the ride platform and just step right on to the ride.

 

Ok, so there were a number of questionable, probably "unsafe" things that happened today, but we just kind of wrote them off as "when in India" type problems, but some of them really weren't good. This one in particular. We got onto the ride, Kameron and I in the front row, and pulled down the harness, when the woman who had just ridden in my seat came up to me and started speaking really fast in Tamil, doing a fair deal of pointing and talking to the "ride op" (one must understand that I use this term incredibly loosely, mainly because they did nothing, and there were hundreds of them). Well, turns out what she was pointing out was the fact that she had cut herself on the rusty metal shoulder restraint, and that her blood was smeared all over the harness, and was now dripping into my lap. But I was told no worries, because they had already put the restraints down, and the water was just going to wash it off anyways. Just watch out so that "I don't cut myself on the same sharp pointy rusty metal part that she did". Thiiiiiiiiiiis is not ok.

 

But besides THAT the ride was a blase. Nothing special, but once again an amazing display of how wet you can get at one time. The impact with the water was kind of like getting into a car accident though, so if you don't brace yourself for dear life, prepare to end up with nasty bruises.

 

The rest of the park we did a walk through of, before dropping off the camera and our shirts and our backpacks in a locker, and spending the rest of the day in the park almost by ourselves with very minimal amounts of clothing on. It was really quite a nice break from everything, and quite an enjoyable place.

 

Other things about the park: they have a dragon coaster, but it was both powered, and closed for maintenance. They had a lot of smaller flat rides, and a lot of small jungle gym type stuff, but the park was nicely packed with quite a lot of things to do, and the water slides were really quite nice. Except for the fact that the Tornado wasn't screwed together properly so you had large 1 inch ledges that your bum kept running over, and the fact that you bumped into the six inch ledge on the side of the sting ray with enough force to make you seriously concerned that you might flip over the edge, and the fact that one of their tube slides ended by spitting you out of the slide, and up a concrete ramp that had a narrow strip of carpets for you to decelerate on, and that the slide into the lazy river didn't have enough water in it to keep you moving ever, and the fact that you got 10 feet distance of airtime on one of the hills of the the mat slides, and the fact that one of their slides was partially supported by bamboo scaffolding, and the fact that their lazy river didn't actually have any propulsion jets and was technically a long thin lazy stagnating pool with lots of mini frogs and God knows what else growing in it, and the fact that not a single one of their rides had restraints that you couldn't manually open while on the ride... the park was fantastic.

 

But really, we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

 

Two quick disclaimers - 1, as I already mentioned, we put the camera away in a locker because the majority of the park was a water park, so we don't have toooooo many picture - sorry guys

 

and 2, my shaving gel was thrown out a week and a half ago when I foolishly packed it in my back pack on your flight to Madurai, and they threw it out, so I look like the Wolfman's socially awkward second cousin that they don't like to talk about very much - again, sorry guys

 

But here are some pictures, again thanks for reading!!

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Athisayam park entrance!!! So excited for something other than class work

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Holy giant King Kong animatronic what is this doing here?!

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Our first glimpse

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Doing the "Can't wait to ride this sketchy Indian water ride because it's at least a million degrees out here" dance

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Here's the majority of the layout. It's really quite simple

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But who could ever imagine that a simple oval layout could bring so many interesting stories??

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Refer to disclaimer number 2. Again, I'm horribly sorry you had to see me like this

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Water Chute, and a flower

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It doesn't look like it's capable of that much harm from this angle

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That's the one. That's the lady who got cut by the rusty restraint and got blood all over the harness that they didn't notice til after I was locked in, and decided it would just wash off, as it was dripping onto my shorts

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The water dip of destiny

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Up up and away

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And again, just like at Esselworld, it really is amazing how much of that water ends up back in your lap

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Again, notice the restraints. Nothing says "safety" like an unlocked metal cage.

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Documentation of our survival of ride 1. It was a battle

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Noted. If I see either a pregnant lady or child, I'll be sure to let them know. In fact, there are very few people I would deem qualified to safely ride this ride.

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Moving on! This is the first half of the water park

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I mean, some of it looks great, and I was really impressed by the ride selection

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But there alot of things, like when there were gaps in the slide, or when they'd send three tubes into the funnel at once, that just made me question ever so slightly...

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All in all though it was a lot of fun

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The park had some other rides though, so here are a few of them... not all them worked quite as well as one might hope, but nonetheless..

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Here's the park's "FREES BEE"

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And the greatest and the least safe of alllllll the "flying ships"

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And none of us had the slightest idea what "Torratorra" meant

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The frog hopper ride..

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And the parks other coaster, which was unfortunately powered, and inconsequentially closed for maintenance

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A look from the front

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Thanks, but no thanks. I think we'll pass

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And this is Kameron's impression of how they cut the heads off of the three very-much-alive fledgling goats at the temple sacrifice we saw earlier that morning... I wish I was kidding

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First glimpse of the long thin lazy stagnant body of water

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And here we see quite a lovely little slide into the lazy "river", that looks quite like Hobbiton, and would have been very enjoyable, if there had been enough water in the damn thing to actually make you move forward

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notice the giant waterfall in the back that you could walk under... pretty sweet

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Holy pavement too hot to stand on (notice the photographic expertise where each person in the photo is only showing one nipple)

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Here's the parks central play structure

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Ok, here's a quick layout (sorry I don't have better pictures of this). On the far right is the funnel slide of death where you drop out at the bottom. Thank God it wasn't open so that we weren't tempted to try it - we wouldn't have made it. Next is the yellow group tube slide, which is quite fast and direct and fun, and shoots you out and up a concrete ramp strip covered with a narrow walkway of towels to slow you down. Realllll advanced. Then the hard-to-see brightly colored ones are the mat slides- lots of airtime, lots of fun. Then the blue is the really painful body slides. Then behind the trees to the left are the nice open single tube slides. Quite a nice grouping, really

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This pretty much sums up the remainder of the afternoon

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And finally, one last shot of this half of the water park. Thanks for reading!

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^Well, yeah they have an "eco friendly" bus that takes you in the last kilometer, just to try and minimize pollution, but I wouldn't necessarily call it hard to get to. Actually, a bunch of the sites we've seen now have had these eco friendly buses take us the last little way. I'm not sure how much they help, but it's a nice thought. Agra itself is kind of an awkward trek, because it's a 4/5 hour drive outside of Delhi, and I don't think many places fly directly to it without going through Delhi first. But there are plenty of buses and trains and tours to get you there.

 

In response to Daniel's question earlier (sorry it's taken me so long), my school started up a new program a year or two ago called global seminars (I think they're unique to Princeton, all though other schools may have things similar), where they offer five or six different courses in various parts of the world, where the courses are relevant to that area. I heard about them through a friend, and have always wanted to go to India, so I just applied and got lucky.

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  • 2 months later...

Great to read your reports! In december, I will also be heading to India for a month. I'll start and end in Mumbai and will travel to some other parts of the country. Ofcourse I already checked if there are some themeparks over there. Your reports sure made it easier for me to decide what to visit and what to skip

Thanks for posting, and if you got some more recommendations, please let me know!

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Hello again,

 

I just thought that now that the club TPR magazine has a link to this report, I should probably actually finish it haha. So I know this is really late and long overdue, but here are some of the rest of the trip! The last couple weeks we stayed in Madurai down south, which is a holy city, and then Kameron and I stayed a week extra in Delhi and Jaipur where we were lucky enough to know someone there who we could crash with. So there are no more coaster shots and these are all really out of order, and a bunch of them aren't even mine, I grabbed some really nice ones from other people - but enjoy, and once again, thanks for reading.

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Cover yo knees, cova yo heads, we in a holy spot. Dang I look fine

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hahaha ha ha..

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Stunt fail

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I got yelled at for this.. by the security guard policeman.. who was blowing his whistle and brandishing his weapon. Hooooo boy

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children are the greatest. Well, these children

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us on our last day in Goa with the students from the local university. Love those guys

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Our home beach

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Stone workers.

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This was somewhere in or around Agra

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Early morning on a river

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OH! At this temple, during the middle of our professor speaking, I glance to the left and see a guy holding a chicken. Next thing I know, he whips out a knife, cuts off its head, throws it on the ground, and the chicken runs around flopping for a good 15 seconds, before he takes it and offers it up as sacrifice. Then ten minutes later, three young goats were brought forward. And at this point, whoever wanted to stick around could (I did, of course, how many times in your life are you going to get the chance to see a goat sacrifice). It was actually fascinating. The whole town was there and they herded the goats to the center, and then poured water on them until the goats would shake it off. That was their cue. Then a guy would pin that goat the ground, and start sawing through its neck witha huge knife til he got half way through the bone, then snap it's neck back and then continue cutting. The goat would then run in place on its side for about ten seconds as the head was laid pointed to the gods, and when it stopped moving, they cut off its right front foot (I didn't catch the reason for this). They did this to all three. I forget the occasion, but it was a huge deal, and actually one of the coolest most interesting things I've ever seen. But crazy

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Me Kam and Joey are up in the top right window in the white shirts. We're probably making some stupid face. This was I think at a museum

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Our group, formal night. One of our last nights

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Goa, the land of love

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This.was.the.happiest.moment.of,my.life

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SO MANY WONDERFUL CHILDREN!!!

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I love this picture. This was in the enooooooormous temple complex in Madurai

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A shrine of the ages

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A pretty darn cool traditional dancer

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All of Panjim, our base in Goa

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Calangute by night

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Old Goa, tons of beautiful Portuguese churches

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King Kong lives here

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So every week there was a karaoke competition at our favorite local bar, and Joey was literally third in the competition called "the Voice of Goa". Amazing. So, so close

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Cil Cuil Cudi. Or something. We climbed that mountain. Pretty neat stuff. One of the best things about India was that there was music EVERYWHERE. Awesome music. Even in the boonies, when we were on this mountain, some farmer somewhere was blasting music. It was awesome.

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A local God.

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Downtown Madurai

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coolest temple ever. I actually wrote my final paper on the curvilinear form of the exterior. By all means it doesn't make sense. But it's pretty neat stuff. I can't imagine that anybody here is actually all that interested though

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closer

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bag lady

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The.Best.Restaurant.In.The.World. Like, no joke. I also think I paid less than two dollars here.

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Love this lady

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We're Indian. It's fine

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In Tanjavur. This was the 476394100661st temple we saw..

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FLASH FLOOD WATCH OUT!

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Yes, yes, I got blessed by an elephant. It was the greatest thing ever

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Galit, admiring things.

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The Amber Fort in Jaipur

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The pool at the Monkey Temple.

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So, I actually think the monkey temple was my favorite place on the entire trip. During the day, the monkeys retreat into the forests at the mountain base to avoid the sun, but at sunset when it cools off, literally thousands and thousands of monkeys make the trek back through the temple complex

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Looks like it's from Jumanji.

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Elephant riding at the base of the fort. So, we were looking for an elephant to ride up to the top of the temple, and it was like 1000 rupees for the two of us, and then a guy came up to us and asked if we wanted to go via motorcycle to his house a few miles away and ride his own personal elephant for an hour through the jungle looking for tigers, for only 1500 rupees. Naturally, we accepted.

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Lotus temple in Delhi. Reeeeally really neat. It's actually for a little known religions called Ba'hai. Who knew

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The arch in downtown Delhi

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So I held a snake. Yeah it's real, and the guy had to keep the snake distracted on him so that it wouldn't bite me. Because although he assured me it's venom had been taken out, it still had rather large teeth, and looked much more agile than I

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Capital building

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It was around 115 degrees that day. Jesus, Delhi. This is disgusting. We were really only walking around for like 20 minutes

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Back at the monkey temple, monkeys in action

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amazing. So many monkeys

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CAMEL

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The wind temple in Jaipur. They really know how to sell things down there. We talked to these college guys who had a shop who knew 5 languages and have been all over, who gave us beer for two hours before he even tried to sell us things. Naturally, he won.

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Our own personal elephant

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"look like you're on a safari"

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In Jaipur. On top of everything

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And finally, back home. The Ganesh head, the formal wear, and the 2 foot giant wooden buddha statue are hands down the best three purchases I've ever made hahaha. Thanks so much for reading!!

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This is seriously the most fascinating thing I've ever seen on TPR. I should be paying you money. Thank you.

 

I was thinking the same thing. Some of your pictures are amazing, National Geographic quality. I don't want it to end.

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I agree with all the above. The anthropology student in me was thrilled silly to look at your pictures and to read your captions and stories. You are so lucky to have taken that trip to immerse yourself in an entirely different culture and to come away with such amazing life experiences. It's obvious you have a deep respect for the people whose lives and rituals you were able to witness. I really liked that temple on which you wrote your final paper--the intricate detail on it is stunning. I also loved seeing the monkey temple.

 

Thank you so much for sharing this.

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Danny - always great to see your reports. This is probably one of my favoritest most favorite yummy delicious favorite TR's. Thanks!

 

I'm totally jealous that you got to play with Elephants, Monkeys, and Camels on one trip . Also - the temple that you wrote your paper about = FREAKING AMAZING.

 

David

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