India, India. A phrase that accompanied us on the 21 days of our trip through the Northern part of India. Often, the fantastic phenomenon of this country could not be explained otherwise. The vast variety of cultures and religions, the great hospitality, the richness in colour, whether it was in nature or on women’s Sarees, or the many spices in the local food are only a few examples. The three weeks with the Young Ambassadors Program in India were filled with adventure, laughter and friendship.
We began our trip in Mumbai, India’s financial capital. Coming from a country with only approximately 8.5 million inhabitants, the vibrant life in a city with a population of more than 20 million people was overwhelming and fascinating at the same time. However, the fantastic hospitality of the 41ers in Mumbai made me feel at home instantly. Various activities, such as visiting the Siddhivinayak temple, a boat ride by the Gateway of India and a tour through the Dharavi slum, the largest slum in Asia, made the days in Mumbai unforgettable.
We then continued our journey to Pune, where various outdoor activities and great parties were on the itinerary. Always accompanied by the heavy rains of the Monsoon, we continued our journey towards Nashik, where we enjoyed a tour through a vineyard and tasted fantastic Indian wine. On our way to our next stop Surat, we got to experience the power of the Monsoon rains, which forced us to postpone our drive to the next day.
When we arrived in Surat, we enjoyed a dance class in traditional Gujrati clothing and visited a diamond factory the next day. After that, a chill afternoon at the beach and a great party completed another fun-filled day. From Surat, we continued our journey by train to Ahmedabad where we visited India’s space centre and learned all about their spaceships and the moon landings. The next day, we had a guided tour through the old town of the city, which is named a Unesco world heritage site. We also visited the Gandhi Ashram, where Mahatma Gandhi lived during his time in Gujarat. In the evening, we danced at a formal function with the 41ers of Ahmedabad.
The next day we continued our journey by plane to Jaisalmer, the first stop in the state of Rajasthan. Even though there is no 41er club in Jaisalmer, Dr Manoj Kapoor enabled us to visit this beautiful city and to be the first-ever YAP tour to see the wonders of the Golden city in the desert. We were kindly hosted at a resort just outside the town where we enjoyed great hospitality and a camel ride through the
desert. The next day, we continued our trip by bus to our next stop, Jodhpur where we stayed at a beautiful guest house. Accompanied by a tour guide, we visited the fort, the old town market and shopped at a beautiful textile store.
After another bus ride, we were warmly welcomed by the 41er Club in Jaipur. With an adventure-filled day of visiting the fort of the Pink City and feeding elephants and a wonderful evening at a cultural resort, we left with fond memories for our penultimate stop Agra. The trip from Jaipur to Agra itself was an excellent adventure for all of us. We went by night train in sleeping carriages, which was a fun and new experience for the group. In Agra, we were greeted by Vijay Kumar Aswani who took us to see the Taj Mahal, one of the “New 7 Wonders of the World”.
The final stop of our tour was the capital, Delhi. After another train ride, we were warmly welcomed at the train station. We then saw the President’s house and visited the Akshardham Temple. In the evening we enjoyed a great party with 41ers. On our last day, we visited an archaeological site and the National Museum. Our final night in India was a great party with our hosts and guests.
I was lucky enough to experience this tour with twelve other young adults from Germany, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Great Britain and the Netherlands. With the many impressions, experiences and adventures we shared, we became very close friends in only three weeks. I want to thank everyone who made this trip unforgettable, hosted us, looked after us, accompanied us from one city to another and most importantly, made us feel at home. A special thank you goes to everybody who helped to organise and to coordinate our activities: the teams in Mumbai and Delhi, Mr Vinod Advani from Nashik, the team in Surat, Dr Manoj Kapoor, the team in Jaipur, Mr Vijay Kumar Aswani in Agra, the team in Delhi and Pankaj Singh.