Sarah, a seasoned traveller wanders over to India for the first time. She documents her journey, as she goes off the beaten track. She meets with locals, school children, crashes a wedding and has fallen in love with the histories of India. “When coming to India, the real joys beyond the forts and palaces are the people of India.” Follow her Instagram account @Sarah_and_the_City #SarahGoesToIndia. Part 1 of 2.

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The excitement of travel and the preparation for a totally new experience even for this travel veteran, I’ve packed a charger that’ll cover me for 6 charges (thank you @birksun ) to ensure I won’t miss a street photography opportunity. Plenty of travel meds, accessories and all my harem pants and Kaftans. This is my third reading of Shantaram, My first reading cemented India as part of my travel destinations, years later fate caught up with my Plans. INDIA, I hope you’re ready for me.

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We decided to stop in Phandarej, for no reason other than we could make out a school there. We wanted to meet the students. The students all spoke English, in Rajasthan the free government schools teach them English in their primary years. The children are all from the area and their families are considered to be living below the poverty line. They get a free meal every day to encourage the parents to keep the kids in school. The kids loved the attention and all wanted to be in our photos.

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Beautiful Jaalis (latticed windows).

23Amber Fort in Jaipur.

16We visited a 300 year old temple, I couldn’t help myself with this shalwar kamees given to me by my dear friend back in Sydney.

19The mandatory staring up at the Hawa Mahal from the road trying not to get hit by a car/rickshaw/cow in the process.

4Outside of prayer times, mosque courtyard is a public space where I saw families, people napping in the shade and kids chasing pigeons. It reminded me of the great mosque i frequented in Tripoli with the way people always felt at home in a house of Allah. I really love this mosque and Old Delhi so much more than the ‘new Delhi’

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I’ve seen a few of these shrines in Jaipur with Masha Allah ‘ on them and Muslims stopping to make duas.

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It’s going to be so hard back in Sydney to look out the window in traffic and not see elephants or cows. I chose not to ride an elephant during my time here, entertaining middle class white tourists is not what they were created for I’m sorry but that’s how I feel.