My Journey Of A Lifetime?

A high school teacher who relied on statistics over story telling ensured I always lagged behind in history. 

My geography teacher – a catholic nun, who seemed to be uncannily familiar with every squiggly indentation of every coastline on the globe – however, instilled in me a true awareness of the wonderful world I lived in. Even when none of my meticulously hand drawn maps ever seemed to stand up to her exacting scrutiny. Or perhaps it was because of it.

It was the revelatory power of literature that first ignited my passion for history. The sizeable collection of books that I inherited from R’s dad, and all the time in the world to immerse myself in gripping stories. Of giddying power and political intrigue. Of devastating destruction and undying romance. Of the successes and misfortunes of individuals and kingdoms long lost and long dead.

Then travel brought those stories alive in a way no school curriculum ever could even with the most inspired of teachers. And my choice of destinations reflected my passion.

Our road trip across the Northern Indian state of UP, including stops at Delhi*, Agra and Lucknow, rekindled my interest in the considerable external influences on Indian history. While most invading armies arrived here from central Asia, it is Persia that has left a fascinating and long lasting imprint.

The largest number of Zoroastrians (or Parsis), who trace their origins to ancient Persia, live in India today. Persian, was the official state language of the Mughul court and has influenced Urdu language and Sufi poetry enormously.  And some of our iconic architectural gems are associated with two most influential Mughal empresses of Persian ancestry: Noor Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal.

It was also a Persian – Nadir Shah – who dealt the crippling blow to the Mughal empire and carted away its most precious treasures. The Peacock Throne and the Kohinoor diamond among them.  Get my fascination already?

Now club my abiding fascination with this country, with my long held desire to experience an iconic train journey before I die, and in comes the exclusive rail itinerary – ‘Heart of Persia‘ – from Golden Eagle Luxury Trains. A once in a lifetime exploration through the monumental remains of Persian empire, to its cultural evolution into Islamic Iran.

The stuff of dreams? YES!

But you, my dear readers, could help make that dream come true.

If every one of you were to vote for my entry for the ‘Journeys Of A Lifetime‘ contest over at Conde Nast Traveller before, April 10.

Would you? Please?

Much gratitude in advance 🙂

And while you are at it, why not write your own Journey Of A Lifetime story?

Thumbnail image courtesy the Golden Eagle Luxury Trains website

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Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on

90 thoughts on “My Journey Of A Lifetime?

    1. Thanks Ishita! I don’t expect to garner the numbers required for a win, but what’s the harm in dreaming? 🙂

      1. of course! And you know social media numbers can be very tricky… i am also going to participate – thanks for giving the cue. so many places I would like to visit… difficult to choose one though!

        1. The other day, I was thinking of 5 bloggers who I have been interacting with since I started blogging – you quite obviously are one of them!

  1. That does sound like the journey of a lifetime! And a love for history can inspire epic journeys… I’m reminded instantly of Dalrymple retracing Marco Polo’s sojourn from Jerusalem to Xanadu in one of my favourite travelogues. I hope you get a chance to embark on your own dream journey. I’ve voted for you; all the best!

  2. Oh, of COURSE we will vote for you, Madhu. What a thing! I loved hearing these great details about your teachers, too.

    Big good wishes. May the Persian deities (?) bless you with a win! 😉

    And I wish this for you for your own joy and dream come true. But the fact remains we will all benefit if you win. So maybe we can even claim this is for the greater good??!!? May the best right thing come to be. 🙂

    1. Ha, a nudge in the right direction by one of those deities would be good! But I am happy with the ‘best right thing’ Riba! 🙂 Appreciate your taking the time to vote.

  3. That would be awesome journey to have. Good luck!

    Mine would be through the streets of Europe, mostly Greece, Sweden, Switzerland, Poland, Netherlands.

  4. Great post!! You ought to win! India as whole fascinated me. Lived in Pune for three years… Loved the place!

    1. Thank you for the thumbs up! 🙂 I don’t usually take part in voting contests, but it was fun to put together a dream journey 🙂

      1. Just enjoying the fun already makes you a winner! That’s my belief! And taking us with you in your journey is sharing the fun you experience out of that journeying… I thank you for that! Namaste!

  5. You would have had my vote, but I’m not on Facebook, Twitter etc, so couldn’t sign in…. Anyway, great post and what a wonderful journey it would be!

  6. “travel brought those stories alive in a way no school curriculum ever could.” So true! I feel sorry for people who are content to spend their lives in their own little community. Some can’t afford to do otherwise but for those who can and don’t? They lead a shallow life experience. Of course we will vote for you, and that’s for two reasons. Firstly, we like you, secondly you will take us with you through pictures later.

      1. Well, Madhu dear – that website is one of the most user unfriendly sites I’ve visited recently – but I persevered and VOTED for you. All the very best and I dearly hope you win the trip 🙂

    1. He he, I wondered whether it was a bit over the top, but theyt did say ‘dream journey’ 🙂 Thanks Sylvia.

  7. Books off the history teacher. 🙂 Madhu, your words tugged my travel urges. You are one of a kind writer, and historian. You deserve the top spot in any travel competitions. Hihi Big fan, much. 😀

    1. Thanks muchly dear Rommel!! The chances of my winning are very, very slim….I am happy to settle for your compliments 🙂

  8. That would be a wonderful journey. Persia and Middle East is always fascinating. 🙂 Voted for you. All the best for the contest.

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