If Buddha was a cyclist
For those of you who still do not know, our third Indian Adventure Bicycle Expedition will be starting in Agra on January 19th, 2014. Agra, of course, is the city of the famed Taj Mahal, situated in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. According to Wikipedia, Uttar Pradesh is one of the areas where a certain Gautama Buddha, also known as Siddhārtha Gautama, or Shakyamuni, or simply the Buddha, spent 45 years travelling and teaching – after he had his awakening and after setting up the Wheel of Dharmha.
Agra is not very far from Sankasia, believed to be the place where Buddha, along with Brahma and Devraj Indra descended after giving sermons to his mother in heaven. Agra is also the former capital of the Mughal Empire and features many architectural wonders in addition to the Taj Mahal such as the Agra Fort (also called the Red Fort), a wide variety of tombs, the Mughal Garden and Dayal Bagh Temple.
The original Mughal (also known as Mogul, the Indian version of Mongol) who conquered this part of India was named Babur. His ancestry could be traced back to none other than Genghis Khan and Timur, or Tamerlane. Babur was actually born in the Fergana Valley located in present day Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, countries we pedal through on the Silk Route. Babur started his career by conquering Samarkand – a wonderful rest day stop on the Silk Route – but was not able to keep it for long. In the process he was kicked out from the Fergana Valley and decided to switch directions and ended up conquering half of the Indian subcontinent. His descendants ruled India for a couple of centuries and had a huge influence on a place which was already the birthplace to Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.
But I digress. Why all this talk about Buddha? Well, you all know that we here at Tour d’Afrique are always preoccupied with why cycling is great and what amazing things it can do for you. A few months ago we took the liberty of imagining what Buddha would say about cycling. This is what we came up with.
Of course we can’t be sure that Buddha would approve, so we apologize ahead of time. I will, however, guarantee that if you do decide to cycle India with us, you will without a doubt have a little time for solitude, time to reflect on your journey (although at times you will need to compose yourself among the surrounding chaos). But you will be happy. Happy that you are a cyclist. A cyclist in India.
Enlighten yourself. Cycle the Indian Adventure in 2014.