Heading home after two fabulous weeks in India. Smoggy, foggy Delhi with its layers of history like a buttery paratha. Precarious Shimla clinging to the Himalayan foothills. A giant pink Hanuman, muscular monkey god, towering. The utterly romantic city of lakes: palaces, pelicans, a pied kingfisher. The phrase I'm left with is "no mud no lotus". Nowhere is this more apparent than the Taj Mahal (glorious, ethereal, breathtaking), rising from the filth and squalor that is Agra. In India you cannot experience the lotus without experiencing the mud. The chaos, the dirt, the decay, the dark and violent history, the vast poverty coexist with the vividness, the luminosity, the food, the textiles, the architecture. Visiting India is like looking at the night sky, vast, incomprehensible, an awe-inspiring reminder of how small and transient we are.
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