The temples of Angkor are ancient, massive, stunning feats of architecture. Angkor was the capital city of the Khmer Empire from the 9th century until the 15th century and may be the largest pre-industrial city in the world. “Angkor” is actually the Khmer word for “city.” There were more than 1,000 temples that made up the Angkor complex, although now many of them are just piles of brick and rock. The ones that still stand and have been restored include Angkor Wat (the world’s largest single religious monument & Cambodia’s #1 tourist spot), Bayon, Angkor Thom, and Ta Prohm. They are now protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Bedbug bites are torture.
Indian women are tough. Meanwhile, men do a lot of sitting around. This is, of course, a GROSS generalization. But during my time in India, I saw dozens of women doing strenuous manual labor, such as carrying a headful of bricks, working in the tea plantations, sweeping leaves on steep mountain sides (still unsure why they were doing this), carrying children, sweating over a huge pot of curry or rice, etc. At the same time, I saw probably hundreds of men sitting around on benches, publicly napping, sipping chai, or gambling in the street with their friends.
I spent my last 24 hours in India with Elizabeth, totally conquering Delhi. We took public transportation everywhere, saw some of Delhi’s most famous sites (The Baha’i House of Worship/Lotus Temple & the Mughal Gardens at the President’s Estate), ate our final authentically delicious Indian meals, enjoyed some cold Kingfisher beers, toured the world’s largest Hindu temple (Akshardham), and loved every second of it.
Delhi’s Main Bazaar Road by night:
The Indian Selfie
Photos with captions of Varanasi, India
Varanasi, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, is the spiritual capital of India. Thousands of Hindus make a pilgrimage here to bathe in the holy waters of the Ganges River and perform funeral pujas (ceremonies). It is believed that bathing in the Ganges (the 2nd most polluted river in the world) will wash away all of one’s sins. It is also believed that placing someone’s cremated ashes or body in the river will release them from the cycle of reincarnation (called ‘moksha’), thus avoiding returning to Earth in the next life as an Indian street dog. Rituals surrounding the cremation take place along the ghats all day, every day with up to 300 bodies being burned daily at the main ‘burning ghats’. If you stop and watch for a while, you’ll see body after body go into the pyres. You can observe people burn from as close as 30 feet away in some ghats. Bodies wrapped in orange and gold shrouds are carried down to the riverbed, dipped into the river, clothing is removed minus a white gauzy wrap, and then set onto the fire.