Don’t be surprised to see two men holding hands in India. In most European nations and in the USA, this public display of affection can be mistaken for being gay or lesbian but not in India. Here we don’t see it that way. Just because two men (or women) are holding hands or they have hands on other’s shoulders does not mean anything. They just happen to be friends and there is nothing sexual about the whole thing.
My friend Natalia from Brazil was recently in India where she happened to visit the Taj Mahal along with other places in India. She sent me her account of her visit along with some of her photos that she took on her visit. This is the personal account of her visit to the glorious Taj Mahal. I hope you will like it and I hope her story will convince you to visit this amazing Indian monument of love.
You will remember that my friend Manuela arrived in Delhi from Colombia. Now she leaves Delhi to live in Chandigarh the capital of Punjab! She describes her leaving of Delhi and experience of Chandigarh in her own words. An interesting account.
Proving why Chandigarh IS the City Beautiful
Even thought India is becoming a really popular destination for people from all over the world, not a lot of travelers know about Chandigarh. Of course you’ve all heard about chaotic Delhi; Mumbai and Bollywood; the Holy city of Varanasi; Jaipur, the pink city; and all those ‘European’ paradises spread over the huge country like Shimla -also known as ‘the little Switzerland’- Pondicherry -‘the little France’- Kasol -the unnamed Israeli territory- and Goa, the party destination, where you can see the entire world hanging out together, especially on its famous Christmas and New Year’s parties… Would I make it to Goa on this December 31st? …
Most westerners prefer to come to India from September to March when the weather is cool in most parts of India. But a few brave ones arrive during Monsoons also, when the whole country is experiencing the magic of Monsoons.
There are a lot of things you can do during the monsoons to enjoy and have a pleasant stay in India like chasing the monsoon, enjoying the delicious hot Pakoras or bhajiyas with tea while it rains outside. But Monsoons also bring with them their own set of problems also like water logging, floods, a lot of mosquitoes and flies. All these factors combined can make anybody run away from India except for the very brave.
My friend Manuela writes about her experiences in India. She talks about coming to India and settling in Chandigarh. Read to find out more about her Indian fairytale.
My own Indian Fairytale by Manuela Osorio Pineda
From the very first moment I placed my feet in Indian lands, I had that strange but fascinating feeling of being walking in two different countries at the same time; not between a ‘rich’ and a ‘poor’ one – although the economic gap is so huge you can almost touch it- not between a ‘women’s’ and ‘men’s’ country – although gender equality is still a utopia as in most regions of the world- and not either between a religious divided country, although the conflicts involving the beliefs differences can still be felt in some parts of the vast subcontinent.
I am delighted to inform everyone that I am now part of the ixigo expert panel. Ixigo happens to be one of India’s largest and award winning travel search engines that was founded in 2006.
The panel of experts consist of travel enthusiasts who work towards simplifying the life of travellers and to make travelling in India a happy experience. Therefore the Ixigo experts advice and answer questions on a topic they feel most comfortable with.
My interests include my own state of Bihar, women’s issues and travel safety. This means that I answer questions relating to travelling to Bihar and questions related to women’s safety. Here’s my ixigo expert panel page.
Tarkarli beach is one of the numerous and amazingly beautiful beaches spread across the Konkan sea coast overlooking the Arabian Sea in the state of Maharashtra. The beach is situated almost 550 km from Mumbai near the village of Tarkali in district of Sindhudurg, coastal Maharashtra. The Mumbaikars (people of Mumbai) love visiting this place on the weekends.
The long coastline stretching across the beach with silky sand, its clean and clear waters, and the calmness of the place attracts tourists who are looking to get refreshed and rejuvenated both mentally and physically in natures lap. The place is also known for dolphins and turtles which can be sighted if you are lucky. The soft stretch of sand on the beach is ideal for romantic walks, on the long stretch of beach which seems to be never ending. The pristine and clear waters of the sea are untouched by pollution, so much so that on a clear day you can clearly see the seabed with snails, shells and other sea life up to the depth of 20 feet.
I would like to suggest that you try Uttapam for lunch when in India. Uttapam is a bit like a pancake or an omelette with toppings. It’s definitely not a pizza but it does look like one.
I am really surprised this elegant dish is not as popular in the north as the other South Indian dishes. Although it may not be as popular as the Masala Dosa but you’ll find this in all South Indian restaurants all over India. Good thing about the Uttapam is that it does not require a lot of oil so those travellers to India watching their weight can have this.
I am being overwhelmed with your many emails about travel trips to India and unfortunately I am not able to reply to every single one of them. A lot of you have been enquiring about India and asking for my help with your trip, which lead to me to find a solution which is a win-win solution for all.
I am excited to inform that I have joined hands with a Boutique Travel Company in India and together we will help you get the best India Experience. With their help, now I can attend to all your questions and provide you customised and personalised tours to India according to your needs, budget, interests, desires etc.
If you are white then perhaps you are not right in India. This is not me saying it – this will be the ‘first’ impression you will get in India especially if you are a white woman travelling alone.
Unfortunately, in light of the Delhi gang rape of an Indian student and of that of the Swiss tourist, India seems to have been given a label as a dangerous, misogynistic jungle for women. In fact, the reality is far from the truth. India is a country which is incredibly rich in warmth, kindness and humanity. You will also find people who will go that extra mile to help you out, you will find the people are extremely friendly and helpful, men will step aside for you, men will carry your luggage if you are struggling, people will offer you something to eat and much more. These are some of the things you never hear about.
Last year I attending a relative’s wedding and I had the pleasure of visiting Shiraz’s Orchid Restaurant located at 4 Queens Road in Amritsar. At the time of the visit, I took some photos although I had no idea that I will be writing a blog post about it.
Anyway, I found the restaurant quite nice. The staff were attentive to the customers and accommodating of special requests. The seating area was generally quiet and typical of any mid-level restaurant in Amritsar. I found the seating area slightly open with little privacy. The eating area was generally clean, including the off-white chair seats and white table cloths. Unlike some other local restaurants, dirty tablecloths are sometimes left on the table for the next set of customers but at Shiraz’s I had no complaints.
I had a talk radio interview by Hannah Murray, the presenter and producer of Talk Radio Europe of Spain, the Marbella based radio station covering the Costa del Sol, the Costa Blanca, Almeria and Mallorca – to talk about Indian breakfast.
She has a wonderful show about breakfasts around the world and Friday 17th 2013 was all about Indian breakfast and I was the one talking about it.
She called me few minutes just before the show and made me comfortable. She then played the track “Wanna Marry You” from the album “Raula Pai Gaya” (2007) by the Bhangra King Daler Mehndi. We then talked Indian breakfast.
Dilli Haat is an open air shopper’s paradise, covering an area of 6 acres; it is a destination for art, craft and food lovers. Situated in the capital city of India, Dilli Haat is visited by thousands of national and international tourists every day. Dilli Haat has food stalls representing various states of India, so that one can have breakfast of Kashmir, lunch of Andhra Pradesh and dinner from Manipur on the same day. The craft stalls exhibits ethnic and exotic products and materials exclusive to India. The shops are well organized so that the customers do not have trouble finding the products they are looking for.
In India, you’ll find lots of things for sale including services that some of you might find amusing. One such service is having your earwax removed. How cool is that? Where in the world are you going to get your earwax removed in this way? In fact, these “earwax removal guys”, we call them “walas” (or fellows) are everywhere. They are the so-called “professional” street-side ear cleaners or ear wax removers who are well versed in their job (by the way, we also have street toenail cutters, tooth pullers, head massagers, nail polishers, barbers and anything you can think of).