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Ishani Shethia, an eighth grader at The Village School, explored India with her family this summer. She is pictured (at right) in a traditional Kashmiri outfit with her 10-year-old sister, Anika.
This summer, my family visited India, since that’s where my parents are from. I was astonished at how different everything was. The last time we visited India was five years ago, but everything seemed like a haze to me.
Our first week was spent with family in Calcutta. We went swimming at the Calcutta Swim Club every day. The pool was built during the British Empire, since Calcutta was the capital of India then.
Another memorable thing that we did in Calcutta was distributing food to people who live in the slums. The condition that they live in truly saddens me. But it was amazing that they were smiling and grateful for the food. Living in America, we don’t see as much poverty as other countries.
Next, we went to Kashmir. Arriving in Kashmir was like arriving in paradise. The first view was of the snow-capped Himalayas in the background of a field of greens. Kashmir is called the “Switzerland of Asia” for a reason.
One evening, we went on a shikara, a wooden boat, when the sun was setting and everything looked so beautiful, like a perfectly edited picture. Another adventure was when we went to the top of a mountain to see a temple that was over 1,000 years old. It took 200 steps to get up, but it was worth it.
Next we went to Gulmarg. My favorite experience there was a gondola ride up a mountain. At the top, we climbed about 75 yards and sledded down. We had a bird’s eye view of the city.
Then we went to Pahalgam, which is one of the most stunning places I’ve ever been. We went hiking every morning, and we also went horse riding. The locals who owned the horses said every night, the horses go up in the mountains, and by morning they return on their own.
Our trip ended in New Delhi, India’s capital, where we saw my mom’s side of the family. It was strange because it almost felt like being in the U.S., since everything seemed much more advanced than other parts of India. Overall, our trip was unforgettable, and I can’t wait to go back.
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