It sounded like a crazy idea. We had been invited to a dear friend's wedding in India, and we had realized that this might be our only/last chance to ever attend a wedding in India. The prospect of visiting India and witnessing an amazing wedding sounded very attractive. However, this was in the middle of the school year and we would need our little explorers to take a trip around the world for a few days of wedding delight, to just turn around and catch up on school right away. It felt a little crazy.
But then again the idea of giving them the chance to experience the Indian culture at a young age made up for all the school they would miss.
We RSVP-ed to the wedding and so it started.
After reviewing the schedule, our itinerary was as follows:
Left the Bay Area on a Tuesday night, via red eye to Delhi. With the time change, arrived around midnight Wednesday night in Delhi. We spent a short night at an airport hotel.
After a nice, tasty breakfast the next morning (Thursday) we drove to our final destination, Jaipur, which took the most part of the day. We arrived in mid-afternoon, just in time for a refreshing swim by the pool. Right after that, the wedding festivities started (part I). We had a beautiful event with dinner and music. By then, the kids had finally succumbed to exhaustion and 2 of them fell asleep during dinner, but not before enjoying the Indian pop-up shops around the pool and learning new local instruments.
Set-up for wedding, part I
Learning new instruments
After a good night rest, we were ready for some sightseeing the next morning (Friday), and we went to visit the Pink City and the City Palace. It was a great introduction to the history and the beauty of the city.
With the guards at the City Palace
We had lunch in a nice garden, next to a workshop where we could learn to print on fabrics. What a neat experience. We headed back to the hotel in the afternoon to get ready for wedding festivities, part 2.
Again, beautiful evening, this time with beautiful flower arrangements, henna, turbans, etc... It was magical; and the kids were fit the entire evening. By then, we knew it had been worth it.
The next day (Saturday) was spent visiting Amber Fort, which was beautiful and very interesting. We also got to see elephants closeby, which was a highlight for the kids.
Amber Fort from across the lake
In that afternoon we got to participate in the main part of the wedding, with all the music/dancing/fun that Indian weddings are known for. So much fun! It concluded with an amazing firework. This was definitely a wedding to remember - and to fly around the world for.
Indian dancers + California boy who loves to dance
After such a beautiful event, we spent the next day (Sunday) taking it slow, and driving from Jaipur to Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located. This was a good recovery day.
For our last day in India (Monday), we visited the unavoidable Taj Mahal. It was somewhat crowded but didn't disappoint. In the afternoon, we visited the Jahangir Palace, which was a nice walk (albeit it was hot!) and offers good views from the Taj Mahal from the other side of the valley.
Must-have Taj Mahal photo
Jahangir Palace overlooking Taj Mahal
We returned to the hotel for a last, refreshing swim, before our 3-hour drive to Delhi, to catch our midnight flight. By then Monday had started in California. We landed at 6am on Tuesday in San Francisco, just in time to send the kids back to school that morning. (Yes, we are these parents). And guess, what? They are so used to managing jetlag that they powered through the day. They had only missed a few days of school (and to his credit, our 12-year old kept up with homework even while we were in India, so he really didn't miss a beat!).
Now, it will be a forever memory we will have for the rest of our lives. It was a whirlwind but we used all the time we had to enjoy the highlights of Indian weddings and sightseeing. We couldn't have hoped for a better trip before the world shut down to travel because of covid-19.