My journey through the North of India was at once enchanting and exhausting, full of the inescapable contradictions that are as inherent to India as dahl and roti. Never have I felt so much, or been so aware of my own emotions, pulsing quietly just below the surface of my skin like a heartbeat. By the time I left, flying to Kathmandu through a night sky full of lightning, I was done; asleep-on-my-feet-tired like a small child at the end of a long day. India takes everything you have and spits it back at you, irreparably changed.
I slept under the desert stars, meditated on a rooftop at sunset with a yogi, and crashed a wedding in Delhi. I watched the sun rise over the desert and set over the Ganges, saw children dance and bodies burn. I explored temples and palaces and ancient cities; travelled on trains and local buses, rickshaws and camels. My memories are a kaleidoscope of swirling colours that splinter and glow in a thousand glittering shards. It is for me to piece them back together into a picture that I can understand, but these things take time. For now, here’s some of the moments that echo in my head.
At Jantar Mantar observatory in Jaipur, a girl in a red dress considers the other-worldly structure of the ancient astronomical instruments.
A camel carries a family over the dunes of the Thar desert in Rajasthan at sunset.
A sitar player collects money on a lavishly embroidered shawl in Jaisalmer.
The Taj Mahal, breathtaking in its symmetry in the pale dawn light.
My favourite street stall breakfast, puri and dahl.
A woman sits thoughtfully in the courtyard at the red fort in Agra.
A local family on the blue streets of Jodhpur in Rajasthan.
The palace on the lake, Udaipur.
The blue painted walls of Jodhpur.