It's hard to come back after a trip like we just took and know where to begin in terms of recapping and also just making sense of everything that happened! I hope this serves as more of a storybook than an actual guide for Mangalore and Bangalore because there is no way for me to truly do justice to everything we saw, but I'll try! Fair warning - this will be long, but it does have lots of pictures!!
What a blur! After boarding our flight in Boston we made our way to Dubai only to have completely lost all of Saturday...the beauty of time zones! It took a full 24 hours to make our way to Mangalore, India. To say I was a bit delirious would be an understatement! I did a lot of research in terms of what was okay to eat and drink (steer clear of the water) in India...what I came up with, better safe than sorry and as we all know I packed enough food for our India portion to last more than the time we stayed there, but none of it came back with us, so I'd say that was a success!
We stayed at the Red Rock Hotel & Residency, a very authentic Indian hotel, which was a 3 minute walk to the beach - perfect since we caught 1 sunrise and 2 sunsets!!
The staff at the hotel could not have been more accommodating and after seeing how important WiFi was to most of us Americans (typical I know) they were able to set us up! We adjusted to the 10.5 hour time difference quite well and that was due in large part to melatonin! Seriously such a life saver when you're trying to adjust and get on track with your sleep!
Temple Tours & Touristy Things\\
Our first full day in Mangalore started out with a temple tour. We were lucky because Erik and Prassuna (and her family) did a wonderful job of keeping us all entertained and allowing us to see the sights.
I actually found the outside of the temple to be even more stately than the inside and loved the beautiful art work. We didn't spend too much time here, but once we made our way out wouldn't you know we found an elephant!
I'm sure this is a tourist trap, but to be up close with an animal of that size is incredible! Gary being the brave one actually interacted with him! One of the best things we saw in Mangalore is a beautiful botanical garden, which is part of an eco-educational program in the city.
We also visited the temple of the Krishna's. It felt like you walked into another little city - so much color and so much history! It was a sight to be seen!
When you see a fruit cart you just have to take a picture, the same goes for colorful fishing boats!
Cocktail & Henna Party\\
Two days before the actual temple ceremony, a cocktail & henna party was held for the couple - friends and family totaling close to 150 all came out to the hotel! There was dancing, toasts and did I mention the dancing!! So much fun!
Sorry it's blurry, taken from a friend's facebook page.
When Erik and Prassuna mentioned that we'd play a small part in the wedding I assumed we would just be handing something off. But this was quite different - this was incredible and something only a married couple is asked to do and is a blessing for us as well as the newlyweds!
Walking in was unlike anything I have every experienced and we were literally there on the stage with them as they were receiving their blessings! Such and incredible thing to be asked to do and something Gary and I will never forget!
I think it was quite odd for some of the guests and even temple go-ers to see me in a sari because the amount of times I was asked for my picture (or in some cases not asked) made me feel a bit like an exhibit, but it was all in good fun...I think :)
Final Days in India
After the wedding on Wednesday we hopped on a quick 45 minute flight back to Bangalore where we would spend Thursday. Checking into the Shangri-La Hotel was a welcome treat!!
It's brand new, only a few months old and when I booked it they actually didn't have many pictures online, so it was a bit of a gamble, but it paid off because we had the most incredible 24 hours there!!
We didn't see much of Bangalore - to say the city is huge would be an understatement - close to 4 million residents! Thankfully The Bangalore Palace was within walking distance of our hotel so we made our way there early in the morning!!
What I found to be most interesting is that there are weddings every single day in India - and not just town hall weddings but super elaborate affairs!! So much fun to see!!
We had planned to visit some of Gary's co-workers in the Bangalore office and after that we were beat- so we indulged because what else do you do in a 5 star hotel when the dollar is worth so much...you get a massage!! I cant say enough great things about the hotel, but with 8 restaurants to choose from and friendly staff it should come as no surprise that I didn't want to leave!! But, the second part of the trip was coming up and I was beyond excited!!
If you had asked me if I ever thought I'd make my way to India - my answer would have been NO! It wasn't a country that was ever on my travel list, but after seeing the beauty of the people and the way they live their lives - its truly something special! I had a few eat, pray, love moments...we saw some people living in pretty extreme conditions and it definitely makes you stop and realize what a luxury it is that we live where we do! I wouldn't have traded those few days in India for anything & the best part is NOT getting Delhi Belly (similar to what you get in Mexico if you drink the water)!!
I warned you that it was going to be quite the post...so thank you for reading this part!! Is India on your travel bucket list?
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