I got to visit India for 2 weeks back in 2015! My engineering job sent me to visit my colleagues and do some ethnographic research in hospitals near Mumbai and Hyderabad. This was a different view of India than most travelers see. Instead of yogi’s, mountains, and backpackers I saw bustling cities filled to the brim with working citizens, rural villages with just a few families, and cows – cows everywhere.
This was my first international trip and I loved getting a first hand look at a new culture. The people were intriguing, the food was SUPER SPICY (don’t believe what the locals say!!), and the views were eye opening. Since tourists don’t frequent this area and my red hair sticks out in a crowd, I got a lot of attention. Many people asked to take photos with me, even a few ladies wearing niqabs. To fit in a little more, I tried wearing some of the local fashions. Sarees were my favorite!
Between busy working days I got to explore the area and make many new friends. They took me to favorite local restaurants, introduced me to new foods (so spicy!), and even took me on an auto rickshaw adventure. Here are some of my favorite shots around Mumbai.
The hospitals are so much different in India. In the places I visited, the doctors and nurses do not wear shoes or socks. They’re barefoot throughout the hospital and sometimes wear plastic flip flops in the operating room. The conditions are drastically different than in the United States, especially in the smaller Indian clinics. Understanding what healthcare is like in different countries is important for my job but also for creating my own world view.
Hyderabad was the home base for my trip. This busy city is full of life and is a booming location for industry. While exploring, I came across many colorful markets. People set up shop nearly everywhere and sell their goods to anyone passing by. One of the preferred methods to transport these goods seems to be on their heads! At least, it was my favorite method to watch for. Hyderabad is known for it’s big monument and mosque, The Charminar. It’s composed of four enormous arches supported by four ornate pillars. I climbed the stairs to the top for a great view of the city and the huge market below.
View from within the Charminar
I also visited the Golkonda fort in Hyderabad. This huge estate looks like a castle - complete with drawbridges, apartments, mosques, stables, and even a giant iron elephant-proof gate! The architecture is stunning. If you clap your hands at a certain point below the entrance dome, the acoustics carry the sound all the way up to the highest point over a kilometer away. As the sun set the fort was lit up with a beautiful laser light show using colorful lighting to tell the stories of the past - in both English and the local language.
View from the top of the castle/I mean fort.
I had a great trip to India and I hope to go back again. Maybe next time I can explore the northern part of India and also visit the Taj Mahal! Below are more photos from my trip. (Many were taken with my camera phone between hospital visits, so the quality is not great.)
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