!ncredible !ndia!

I can't seem to use enough exclamation points to describe India without looking like I've been paid to do that, but I can't help myself as it's truly an incredible country with so many facets to it.   I recently joined six girlfriends on an India adventure that took us from Bangalore to Hampi to Badami and finally to Goa.  The journey was made entirely on the road with a driver and a van, many bottles of water, many bottles of wine, many pieces of luggage, many Pepto-Bismol pills (it worked!) and one snack bag. 

The roads to all our destinations were surprisingly smooth and well maintained, but I can't say the same for the driving or rather the India-way of driving.  The India way of driving is to assume that every driver on the road has their foot on the gas pedal to go-forward (of course, why else would you be in a vehicle??), and no one will brake.  And if there is a slower vehicle in front of you, the unwritten road-rule is you can't slow down, you must pass the slow-moving vehicle by going into the other lane irrespective of the fact that the other lane has on-coming traffic heading right towards you.  If I was a younger me and if my traveling companions were a younger them, I think we could have had some fun with this type of driving and made a game of how many vehicles we could tap out of our windows (and drivers we could have fist-bumped) as we passed them---because we most certainly could have, and with very little effort.   Despite this style of 'bumper-car' driving,  I would do it again and highly recommend it to get to Hampi and Badami, ancient cities with an incredible rich history, architecture and landscape.

However it takes to get you there.

However it takes to get you there.

After my road-shock finally wore off, I was able to enjoy all of the colorful and creative trucks passing by.

After my road-shock finally wore off, I was able to enjoy all of the colorful and creative trucks passing by.

Beautifully-adorned cows with tassels, and colors on their horns.

Beautifully-adorned cows with tassels, and colors on their horns.

India Colors

Against a backdrop of mostly beige, browns and grays, the colors of India pop out vividly and beautifully in stark contrast to its surroundings.  Even in the rural villages of Hampi and Badami, the vivid colors that are seen on homes, temples, architecture, textiles, cows...everywhere, is pure joy.  Even the simplest of homes are saturated in bright and rich colors.

Doorways + Windows

Temple Carvings

Captured from the beautiful, ancient temples in Hampi and Badami.

Goa

Goa was such a surprise for me.  I don't know why, but I envisioned a flat, beachy city, but what I got was a hilly, expansive state! The old city of Panaji was delightful with its Portuguese influence and art-deco styles.