With its epicenter located 129km east of Sendai and 373km north-east of Tokyo, the 9.0 magnitude earthquake of March 11 was among the largest recorded in modern history. It caused not only great damage on its own, but also laid the groundwork for a tsunami that hurled itself towards the north-eastern coast of Japan’s main island Honshu, striking land with a maximum runup height of 29.6 m.The protective walls of the villages and cities along the coastline were not high enough and the waves surmounted them with ease. Houses and people were washed away and fortunate were those who made it to the mountains in time. With over 15 700 casualties, 4,647 missing, 5,314 injured and 130.927 displaced and with an estimated total economic loss of 309 billion us dollars, it was a natural disaster beyond imagining.
In the last couple of years India has experienced an economic growth unlike many other countries. The country has become a centre of information technology, and its trade is expanding. Shortly, India will become a powerful player in the global economy as well as in world politics, with a middle class that is growing fast. In spite of all this, India still battles with problems such as corruption, and a large part of the population suffers from poverty and income inequalities. The UPF Travel Committee wanted to know more about the home country of Gandhi and Tata, so we decided that the longer trip of 2011 would go to India. Once the decision was made it soon became clear that it would be impossible to try to cover all of India in the relatively short time we had. Instead we decided upon exploring some of the largest cities; New Delhi, Jaipur and Mumbai, as well as some of the smaller cities Agra, Patna and Udaipur.