Yoga is my big hobby. I think it provides the most comprehensive approach to man by addressing all levels of his being.
Visiting country where yoga was born and taking yoga teacher training there had always been in my mind. Furthermore, I wanted to complete 300hr teacher training to become RYT® 500 (registered yoga teacher) according to the Yoga Alliance standards.
The trip to India had another meaning for me.
Whether I worked in tourism or later in the QSR business, I did not have the best experience with my Indian clients. When some of my close friends got to know that I was planning to go to India, they couldn’t believe it. “You and India?” They said, “You don’t have the best experience with these people?!” But I knew it would be different when it is not about business. I was curious and wanted to meet “normal people.”
I spent quite a long time to find the training I liked. The style of yoga was clear. Vinyasa had been my passion. I also wanted to dive more into yoga philosophy.
I found a course in Goa, a part of India that is a great intermediate stage between our world and “real” India. I decided to travel a bit before my training. I love old historical monuments and India has so many beautiful places to offer. I immediately got excited for several of them, but if you look on the map, you can see that India is a huge country. I could not spend another month there and did not want to rush while traveling.
Flight tickets set the boundaries. I flew to Mumbai, and from there, I had a great connection to Goa, so I decided to find something nearby.
I chose Aurangabad as my starting point. It is only about 1- hour flight from Mumbai.
I read various recommendations for travelers, especially women traveling alone on how to move around India. I was surprised that arriving in Mumbai at night was not recommended, especially if you had a connecting flight from another terminal. Terminals are not connected, so you have to take a taxi, and taxi drivers do not have a good reputation. Luckily my flights were all from the same terminal.
After studying the important things, I also had some less critical things to take care of. I went to a warm place in January, and I had no flip flops!
It seemed impossible to buy nice flip flops in Prague in winter. I decided to buy them on the way.
Terminal 2 is new and modern. It is a contrast to the life you see when you leave the airport. Fortunately, there were several shops with flip flops at the airport, so I could finally buy some.
From Mumbai, I flew to Aurangabad. When I got there, it was already dark. To feel safe, I ordered a taxi from the hotel where I was staying.
The arrival at the hotel was mysterious. All was covered with a veil of darkness. I could not wait for the next morning. The hotel staff was friendly, they helped me with money exchange and advised on how to move around.
Tired from traveling, I fell asleep quickly. I woke up in the night because it was too warm in the room. I’m not too fond of air-conditioning and fans, so everything was off, but I had to turn it on for a while so I could continue sleeping.
Early in the morning, the outside hustle and bustle of the city woke me up. There was big traffic on the road, and everybody was honking. I looked out of the window.
I immediately felt the outside heat and whirled dust stung my eyes. I looked down the street I was staying in, and my first feelings could be described with one word: CHAOS.
Early in the morning, I had an agreed transfer for my first trip. The driver arrived on time.
We set off for Ajanta caves, an ancient Buddhist complex listed in UNESCO.
It was only in the car that I could see where I was. I’ve seen several documentaries about India on TV, but being on the spot is entirely different.
I still can't believe that I am here!
Aurangabad is located in Maharashtra. In January, it has a minimum of precipitation and average temperature during the day is around 30 °C. It was a dry season. You could see mainly red-brown soil, and you could feel the fine sand fluttering everywhere. You could feel it in your eyes and throat.
I have to admit that I did not take pictures at the beginning of the trip. Although I knew I would see poor people and that everything would be different, it was somehow shocking. The driver was proud and told me everything he knew about this place he has always lived in. “It is the cotton harvest time. And here’s the most beautiful cotton valley we have. And there we sell the most beautiful things made of cotton and silk.” Some trucks passed us quite quickly, and the cotton was rising in the air all around us.
It took me a while to get used to the local environment. It was so different. There were no bins anywhere, so the garbage created a carpet around. There was even a man lying on this carpet and reading newspapers.
In India, you drive on the left side, and the whole life takes place on the road. Everyone and everything is there: cars, cows, buses, locals, trucks, markets and children playing by the road. I was happy I did not drive. Sometimes I even closed my eyes because the bus drivers rushed down the road like racers. In my opinion, those buses should no longer run. You could hear everybody honking all the time.
I slowly got used to the original Indian atmosphere.
I realized then I have to take this chaos as normal, and I started to pay attention to other things. When we stopped from time to time, so I could take pictures, I thought of a game—taking pictures of one place from two different perspectives, the reality as it is and without the omnipresent garbage.
To be continued 🙂