Our trip to India, the motherland, in December 2016, was a first in many ways. This was our first homecoming as a married couple around our first anniversary :) Also my first time visiting the in-laws in their native city of Vadodara (old name Baroda), Gujarat. This visit was even more special for Yang as he had not been back in his home city in ten years! Crazy!
There's always something special about traveling to India. Spending time with friends and family, indulging in crazy food fantasies, shopping for Indian clothes, attending weddings and religious functions, celebrating festivals, visiting places of worship, and becoming a part and parcel of the Indian chaos- everything included!
This time, we traveled back to India with a different perspective. People come from far and wide to witness the beauty of our land's cultural heritage. Yang and I promised to look through a different and a more appreciative lens during our travels, perhaps a traveller's lens, to open our eyes to a whole new experience. We found joys in little things and felt blissful!
We spent four days in the western state of Gujarat, India, specifically in and around the city of Vadodara. We saw a small portion of this warm and welcoming city and definitely have to go back to experience this culture rich state in its entirety, to do justice to everything Gujarati:) In our blog today, I want to share my first visit to a real Indian village. Woo!
Located about 40 km from the city of Vadodara, the village of Vadhvana is dear to my in-laws as this is their native hometown. A convenient 1-1.5 hour train ride from Vadodara city, the village is pretty easily accessible.
Oh how I miss our fun family early morning train ride:) The hustle-bustle of Indian train stations, chit-chat over the wind noise, happy snacking on the go, the view of local folks, and pensive thoughts!
Vadhvana village is actually a well know wetland with the land nurturing Vadhvana Lake and it's popular bird-watching spots for nature enthusiasts.
I can't forget how excited my father-in-law was to get me to try all the local food. It was a must...and hey I wasn't going to complain. Yang and I devoured all the local delicacies at every little opportunity. Check out this yummy 'chana chor garam', a local savory from a train vendor!
Where do I even begin to document my excitement? The unpaved streets, rustic and raw brick walls, village tractors, fresh smell of the air, cows, and the beautiful village folk!
Most homes in the village had a huge wooden swing right at the entrance of the homes to adorn their open and breeze entrance ways #homedecorgoal
I quickly dressed myself in a beautiful silk sari before I stepped outside to meet family and local villagers. My mom and father-in law proudly showed me off and introduced me as the new bride in the house :) I must say Yang made quite the impression with his grand re-entry into the village after ten years, sporting that huge 'stache' on his face! You pretty well know how much we enjoy wearing our traditional swag:)
Oh yeah- those huge hiking shoes I wore with jeans (take a close look at the pic of me hanging from the train above) would not fly with the sari! (#badbeti) lol! But on a more serious note- the image on the side is philosophical in some sense. Me with my traditional toe rings, draped in my culture, standing on the threshold of my husband's home!
Don't we fit right in?
This little village had so much rustic oomph and charm! My family sure did have a hard time hustling me along as I stopped along every little alley trying to capture all this beauty in a frame! And look what we spotted....a local barber showing off his skill in his little shack, just like in the movies! Love:)
We stepped in and out of some family homes and I was dazed by the character of these old homes! Check out the images of the colorful walls, religious frames, and brick pathways leading to a backyard farm with cows and buffaloes! This place was so devoid of technology and so HAPPY! We got our much needed technology detox time!
And if you've seen enough of us by now, you know our happy vacations are never complete without some animal bonding time!