INDIA in July, 2019 (2)

INDIA in July, 2019 (2)

2019-08-04T06:37:36+00:00July 5th, 2019|Lee & Paul Update|

Well, we definitely know we are in India!

The power lines make an intriguing sight

Yes, it’s confronting – an assault on all fronts – but the people are immediately friendly. They are curious, intrigued and happy to converse. A group of school children coming out the school gates in Delhi are eager to say “hello” in English. Everyone seems happy to go out of their way to solve your question or your wish.

Our Sikh friend fits us all out to visit the Gudwara Temple

We are getting used to being on a tour with two very personable guides who speak great English and a great bunch of like-minded Kiwis, all around our age and all ready to ride. It’s fun for us to be in a group for the camaraderie and someone else to talk to. It doesn’t take long to get to know everyone as bikers seem to have a commonality.

The rural roads are busy and full of fresh sights

We jump in a van and head towards Agra – where the Taj Mahal is. Along the way there is lot’s of dirt as everything is very dry and dusty. They are waiting on the monsoon season to begin – and it’s late. Some rice fields are being irrigated but essentially they are dry and barren.

Hundreds of small brickworks dot the landscape towards Agra
Even the fuel station is colourful and busy

We stop for lunch at a restaurant in a small town where to be honest most people I know would not venture! The lunch is simply amazing with four different types of dahl, three types of  breads, a lovely potato dish, fluffy rice with spinach and fresh sliced vegetables with lime. Some of us haven’t had breakfast so the table of food is inhaled – the cleanliness check just goes out the window. The reality is you have to immerse yourself and trust the culture. We have always loved Indian food so quite frankly, we’re in seventh heaven!

The first gate to the Taj Mahal
Our first sight through the first gate

We head into Agra where an arranged guide takes us through the Taj Mahal and quite astoundingly there are very few people. Even our guide is shocked as over most weekends there are around 90,000 tourists per day. We all manage to get some of the iconic shots with no-one else in them!

The walk towards one of the world’s most iconic monuments
The colour in the women’s clothing is so eye-catching
Bikesnbeers makes it to the Taj Mahal
Everyone is here to make the most of this special place
We must cover our shoes before we enter the monument

The Taj is amazing, and as usual I am humbled by the incredible workmanship. The four outer minarets have been designed to lean outwards – so that if they were to tumble, they wouldn’t fall on the main structure. The white marble came from Rajasthan shipped by thousands of elephants. The inlaid stones came from Belgium, Afghanistan and Africa along the Silk Road.

The view up the river Yamuna from the Taj to Agra Fort
What an amazing, breathtaking vista

Agra Fort is next – a massive walled-city which housed the Mughal emperors before the capital moved to Delhi.

The walls are seventy feet high with two moats – the first had crocodiles in it and the second had leopards! Most of this structure is local red sandstone but there is still lots of marble and semi-precious stones – the same kind of inlay work as the Taj. The temperature soars into the 40’s as we wander through with a guide and I find it amusing that one of our party, Graeme, has to interpret our guide’s English! 

Check out the doorman at lunch – classic Sikh

We finish up the day with a late lunch at this incredible air-conditioned oasis of a restaurant where the food is just sublime. The standout dish is the butter chicken but we all enjoy the kofta made with soft cheese and dried fruits inside it. We order lachha paratha as we had it yesterday – a shallow-fried flat-bread pleated in various strips and layers – seriously one of the best gifts to the culinary world. 

If you look closely you can see the baby’s head on Mum’s lap

The competition is on to get a photo with the most people on a bike – my record stands with six.

“To step outside your comfort zone could be the most rewarding experience of your life” Lee O’Connor


  1. Rod Cochrane July 8, 2019 at 9:37 am

    Hi Lee & Paul
    Thanks for the awsome photos and narrative. Will save me the $s & stomach pains of going myself! Hope the old boy is a bit more relaxed with others doing all the planning & fixing. Enjoy every moment and safe travels.
    Rod & Susie

    • Lee July 11, 2019 at 12:06 pm

      Thanks guys, yes he IS more relaxed. We are definitely enjoying every moment…our hotel for two nights has a balcony view of several 6,000m mountains – mind-boggling to be honest. Can’t wait to check out your camper trailer xxxx

  2. Annemieke Baars July 8, 2019 at 8:25 am

    Both of you are looking wonderful. Hope you are having the time of your life.
    Love, Annemieke

    • Lee July 11, 2019 at 12:07 pm

      Thanks Anna, we definitely are – love India!!

  3. Julie Reading July 8, 2019 at 5:29 am

    Why am I not surprised about this new adventure. Go you two, have a wonderful time

    • Lee July 11, 2019 at 12:11 pm

      Thanks Jules…it’s definitely an adventure – every second of it!

  4. Laurence July 8, 2019 at 3:31 am

    Hi, Sharons laughing at the photos. It brings back memories when she was with her mum and Jondy with Mary and Luke in Puni for the Junior Commonwealth games. Tell Harry and Fiona that Katie spoke well at Scott’s funeral. There was a very large turnout. Ride safe ps we play India in the cricket World Cup semis on Tuesday night NZ time. Try and find coverage.

    • Lee July 11, 2019 at 12:15 pm

      I bet she is!! We thought of her when we first arrived. The cricket was a hoot watching it in the lounge area of the last hotel. It became quite tense there for a bit. We are now watching Aus v Eng in a tiny village up at 2900m…two nights here to acclimatise. This tour is so well organised and the group is very much our tribe! Love to all you guys xxxx

  5. Susie July 7, 2019 at 11:50 pm

    Every moment wonderful. Thanks for sharing. Will enjoy your journey.

    • Lee July 11, 2019 at 12:19 pm

      Thanks Susie, this is our last two nights with wifi so will hopefully get the next blog out while we chill in front of the mountain! xxxx

  6. Hilda July 7, 2019 at 10:16 pm

    Beautiful photos Lee!! I think Dave is seriously regretting staying at home!!

    • Lee July 11, 2019 at 1:29 pm

      I hope he is!! This tour is just amazing – it would have blown his mind!!!

  7. Ian Macartney July 7, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Good on you Lee & Paul , your going to have a blast. Spectacular scenery and out there roads. All the best

    • Lee July 11, 2019 at 1:46 pm

      This tour is just the bomb Ian, up at Kalpa and we have this amazing hotel and our balcony room overlooks the mountains…blowing us out of the water xxx

  8. Gay July 6, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    Fantastic! You two are living and acting out your dreams. Looks like a fabulous trip and it’s only the start. Bring it on!

    • Lee July 7, 2019 at 12:48 pm

      Thanks Gay, heading to altitude now so we are thinking not much wifi…but we’re loving every second xxxx

  9. Mal July 6, 2019 at 11:32 am

    You have taken some great photos. Six on a small motorcycle – no need for a family car!!

    • Lee July 6, 2019 at 1:43 pm

      There’s a different sight every way you look Mal

  10. Marian Ferguson July 6, 2019 at 8:51 am

    Oh how wonderful. Fabulous photos of an amazing place. I did wonder how you managed to get the “iconic” shot with so few people at the Taj Mahal. Thought you must have got there extra early, so much colour and vibrancy.

    • Lee July 6, 2019 at 1:41 pm

      Have you guys been? The crowds were piling in as we were leaving but it was definitely very special xxx

  11. Mark July 6, 2019 at 3:02 am

    Amazing sights!

    • Lee July 6, 2019 at 1:39 pm

      Thank you, we’ve finally got here!!

  12. Toni July 6, 2019 at 12:49 am

    Ah India! the colour, complexity, chaos and cacophony will assault you every day! Have fun.

    • Lee July 6, 2019 at 1:38 pm

      Yes, you’ve nailed it with that description – we start on the bikes tomorrow…bring it on!

  13. Sue Youens July 6, 2019 at 12:42 am

    And Mum is riding side-saddle too. I’m enjoying your tour already x

    • Lee July 6, 2019 at 1:37 pm

      Thanks Sue – later that day we saw a family with a 3-4 month old face down on the tank of the bike!! Scary stuff xx

  14. Sue McDonald July 5, 2019 at 11:08 pm

    Off to a great start Lee and Paul!
    As always great photos.
    Look forward to your next post.

    • Lee July 6, 2019 at 1:35 pm

      Cheers Sue, here’s hoping I can do one xxx

  15. Sue Hird July 5, 2019 at 10:24 pm

    I was so excited when I saw you’d posted your first blog. And of course it didn’t disappoint! Such wonderful photos and narration.
    What an amazing experience you’re having. Keep those blogs coming please. 💖

    • Lee July 6, 2019 at 1:34 pm

      Thanks Sue, it’s going to depend on the wifi now as we’ve hit the mountains…staying with the Indian Royal family tonight in this fabulous old hotel at 2200m. India is very full-on but we’re loving it and our group of Kiwi’s are totally our tribe xxxx

  16. Sandy July 5, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    Totally amazing and so extreme. Stay safe and enjoy

    • Lee July 6, 2019 at 1:28 pm

      Very extreme my friend! It’s like World War III at times but sooo interesting xxxx

  17. Gill July 5, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    Love it Lee! Feels like I’m traveling with you!
    Enjoy, Gill xo

    • Lee July 6, 2019 at 1:27 pm

      Cheers Gilly, this place is full-on but we’re loving it – such a great group we’re travelling with, lots of laughs and shenanigans xxx

  18. Jenni July 5, 2019 at 8:24 pm

    OMGoodness, what a start to the trip…look forward to seeing the remainder days….

    • Lee July 6, 2019 at 1:26 pm

      Thanks Jenni, will all depend on wifi in the Himalayas – could be very spasmodic

  19. Beverley July 5, 2019 at 5:26 pm


    • Lee July 6, 2019 at 1:24 pm

      Loving it Bev xx

  20. Kay Cotterill July 5, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    Amazing journey you’re on once again….super to read of your travels 👍

    • Lee July 6, 2019 at 1:24 pm

      Thanks Kay, hoping the wifi continues…

      • les buckton July 7, 2019 at 5:22 pm

        Hi Les Wonderful to have you back with your adventurous stories and amazing photos – living the dream Marlene &Les

        • Lee July 11, 2019 at 1:45 pm

          Thanks guys, it sure feels like it here in India! Glad you’re enjoying xxx

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