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Up, Up and Away in India

Anytime a vacation itinerary requires a 4-something wake-up call, I begin questioning the merits of the venture. I’m not lazy. I’m just sleep-deprivation averse.

After a rapid deployment out of bed and quick coffee, we met our driver to begin our dark journey through the streets of Jaipur, India. It seemed most of the city was already up, with people stoking their curbside fires and preparing their breakfasts.

About an hour into the drive on the outskirts of Jaipur, we exited the highway and began traversing bumpier and rutted dirt roads that did nothing to comfort my coffee-filled bladder. My husband and I began shooting each other dubious looks. Was this experience really going to be worth it?

Then we began to see a glow.

More than pink, Jaipur offers kaleidoscope of color

Scarves for sale in Jaipur, India

We weren’t sure what to expect from India’s “Pink City.” Jaipur, India, got its name from the distinctly colored buildings painted to resemble red sandstone. For good measure, the city later repainted the town in the same rose tone to impress the Prince of Wales during a visit in 1876.

For us, the color paled in comparison to the more vibrant city tucked past its larger tourist stops.

Taj Mahal Impresses With Scale, Detail

Taj Mahal at sunset

The Taj Mahal had been on my bucket list for years. Fog almost kept us from a sunrise pilgrimage to see this building at one of its best hours.

Our guide had told us the night before that we could “sleep in” the morning of our appointed sunrise visit because expected fog would make our early departure pointless.

Instead, we got an unexpected wake-up call around 4 that morning telling us our luck had changed. Get dressed and ready to head to the Taj, we were instructed.