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Arriving at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport 101 travel tips to India

Arriving at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport

Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi will perhaps be the entry point for most foreign travellers to India. I have always wondered why this airport was not named after Mahatma Gandhi since he is considered as the father of the nation. Anyway, from a personal point of view, this is the worst International airport I […]

101 travel tips to India

India is a place that can capture your heart, no wonder tourists come back for more. India is a hectic, daunting place with overcrowded bazaars, noisy music, pungent spices, dusty roads, cow dung on the streets; a mesmerizing place that will make you addicted to this amazing country. It will cast a spell that few […]

Purana Qila in Delhi

Delhi happens to be one of the most visited places in India. It happens to be one of the most historical capitals of the world. In Old Delhi, you’ll find forts, mosques, Mughal monuments that represent India’s history. On the other hand you’ll find government and civil buildings, embassies of the world and many newly constructed temples and other attractions.

One such attraction of Delhi is the Old Fort known as the Purana Qila in Hindi. The Purana Qila is a must see for those interested in the history of the city and India in general or those interested in historical monuments. You can get to hear a show in the evening that explains the history of the entire city of Delhi.

Purana Qila (Old Fort), Delhi

Purana Qila (Old Fort), Delhi. Source: Flickr Prato9x's photostream

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The Bishnoi Village

By Marie McCarthy

This is another installment from my e-book, Travels in India, the tales of my first trip to India in 2011. In this segment, I’m in Jodphur, taking a day trip to buy a dhurry and search for the tradititional Bishnoi villages.

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I had seen photos of the Bishnoi traditional villages near Salawas and wanted to have a look. Prem had never been there and got directions from the hotel. As it turned out, it would have been better to have gone on one of the two or four-hour Bishnoi village jeep tours that the hotel could have arranged. I didn’t see anything like what I’d seen on the internet, but I had an interesting day all the same.

I wanted to visit Salawas because I’d read on the internet that Salawas is known for weaving dhurries. I wanted to see them being made and of course to buy one or two. Salawas was close to the Bishnoi villages and only about 25 kilometers from Jodhpur.

There were no road signs for either the Bishnoi villages or Salawas, but it was easy to tell when we were drawing close. Signs popped up offering dhurries for sale. The first one I saw had three attractive dhurries hanging outside, and I asked Prem to stop. As we were getting out of the car, the owner, who had been sitting across the street, dashed over to greet us. He was smallish and thin with a unibrow and a big smile.

Dhurry Maker Bishnoi Village

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State of Bihar – Places of interest and tourist attractions

I am happy to talk about my own state of Bihar. The more I learn about this state, the more I fall in love with it. The history of this great state to Bihar is essentially the history of ancient India. Its capital, Patna (ancient Patliputra) built by Ajatashatru in 490 B.C. as a small fort later became the capital of Magadha that stretched from Eastern India to Afghanistan. It was from here that the mighty Indian empires such as the Nandas, Mauryans, Sungas, Guptas and Palas used Patliputra as their capital. During the reign of famous Indian king called “Ashoka the Great”, the city became one of the biggest cities of the world. It was the Afghan king, Sher Shah Suri who made Patliputra the capital of his empire and changed its name to what is called “Patna” today.

Bihar is well known as the land of monasteries, which is well evident from its name itself, which is derivation of the word “Vihara”. The serendipity of the state offers a pleasant escape from the humdrum monotony of city life. The temples, monasteries, mosques, and mausoleums of Bihar boast of a great historic past, which are related to the all major religions of India like Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism Sikhism and Islam. The holy river Ganga flows wide and deep through the enriched plains of Bihar, and passes through the middle of the state from west to east. The other important rivers of the state are Kosi and Gandak which flow from the north, and river Sone which flows from the south join the Ganga.

Nalanda University Ruins

Nalanda University Ruins

The crowning glory of the state is its cherished linkage to the ‘Light of Asia’ Lord Buddha. The state boasts of special tourist attraction known as the Buddhist circuit, which is linked to the trail of the pilgrimage undertaken by Lord Buddha. The special circuit begins at Patna, the capital city, where you can view the exclusive Buddhist sculptures and the terracotta urns that contains ashes of Lord Lord Buddha at Patna museum. The trail then passes through Vaishali, Nalanda, Rajgir, Hills of Gridhrakuta and finally Bodh Gaya. All these places have special connection to the life of Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira.

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Corruption in India

Corruption in India is a story that can be traced back to the ages of king’s rule even before India got independence. In fact corruption has its birth in Indian history before the British rule was established. In olden days corruption prevailed as a means to accomplish immoral tasks such as bribing a cook to poison the King or a member of the royal family, to disclose the royal secrets, etc. But today corruption in India is everywhere; it is a means to get things done whether it is getting the right things done on right time or to speed up the process of the work or as usual getting the wrong things done.

Corruption in India

Corruption in India

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Visiting India in the summer

India is a tropical country and you are likely to meet the heat throughout the year in most parts of the country. Dirt, grim, pollution, sweat, sunburn and exhaustion become inevitable in the summer for us Indians. But if you are a tourist to India and do not come from one of the tropical countries then it is essential that you know about the weather and place you are travelling to. The summer in India approaches around May 20 to July 20 where the temperatures are extremely hot that can go up to 40 degree centigrade while 45-50 degrees in some parts of Central India. Nonetheless, you can still have great fun under the sun and find some cool ways of having fun in India while beating the heat with some of these handy tips when visiting India in the summer.

Tips to keep cool in the Indian summer

Visit amusement parks

Wonderla in Bangalore

Wonderla in Bangalore

Water sports and amusement parks in metro cities and other major cities offer loads of fun along with adventure and at the same time allows you to sooth your sweat glands.

Wonderla near Bangalore, Essel world and water kingdom near Mumbai which together form the Asia’s largest amusement park, the Ocean Park yet another sought after water park near Hyderabad and Fun and Food Village in Gurgaon (near Delhi) are some of the water parks in India that meet the international standards and allow you to soak yourself in the water. This is a perfect way to beat the heat while having fun and adventure. Read More…

Top chicken dishes of India

India is not only a great holiday destination but also has mouth watering dishes to offer. Apart from a large number of vegetarian dishes, India has large number of chicken dishes that can be considered the best in the world. No wonder, more Indian restaurants than ever before are coming up all over the world. Although, many people in India are vegetarians, there is significant appetite for chicken dishes. In fact, some of the best chicken preparations are from India.

It is thought that the domesticated chicken came to India around 2000 BC ago from the South East supposedly from Malaysia where it was first domesticated from the fusion of 2 varieties of foul. It is from India where the chicken was then exported to Africa and Europe. It then went to the Americas with the Spanish adventurers. Thanks to the British colonialism, the great culinary traditions of India, chicken dishes in particular were then exported to the rest of the world that still continues to rule the world.

Chicken dishes of India

Chicken dishes of India

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Badami Caves – Rocks with story to tell

Badami, situated in Bagalkot districtof Karnataka, was once capital of mighty Chalukya Empire, but is now famous as tourist destination for its historical monument – The Badami Caves. These caves are considered to be the most spectacularly carved caves found in South India. The four major caves, hewn out of the hill at great height, are temples dedicated to different deities of Hindu and Jain religion. They are considered to be places of utmost importance by the architectures and archaeologists, for the reason that these caves hold significant clues to the styles followed by the south Indian architectures of past. The caves were carved out of the Deccan sandstone that is abundantly available in the area, during the 6th century, under the rule of Chalukya Empire. The color of the Deccan sandstone is believed to have given the place its name, i.e. the color of Badam which means almond in local dialect.

Town of Badami seen from the caves

Town of Badami seen from the caves. Source: Andrea Kirkby’s photostream Flickr

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Red Fort of Delhi – Lal Qila

The Red Fort (known as the Lal Qila in Hindi) is an old fort complex located in Delhi. It was constructed by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, who also constructed the world-famous Taj Mahal, in the 17th century. The fort served as the residence of the Mughal emperor, his acolytes and their families. It was also the place from where the emperors ran their vast empire. Currently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage, the fort complex serves as a tourist spot and is a powerful symbol of the Indian Republic. The prime minister addresses the nation from this complex on the Independence Day each year. Today the Red Fort is seen as the symbol of the seat of power of government of India. The Red Fort is heavily guarded and has been a subject of a terror attack in 22 December 2000 by Lashkar-e-Taiba (one of the most militant terror outfit in South Asia).

Red Fort Delhi India

Red Fort Delhi India

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Train surfing, India’s extremely stupid sport

After gaining popularity among teens practising extreme sports at the risk of their own lives in South Africa, Russia, Germany and other European countries; train surfing has arrived in India. Hanging outside the trains is not new to Indian citizens, as it is a necessity for them at times when the trains are overcrowded and next available train is not scheduled for hours. Train surfing is different in a way, that instead of hanging there with their hearts in their mouths, these youth treat it as wave surfing, skiing or bungee jumping and enjoy it to the fullest even at the cost of risking their own lives.

Train Surfing in India

Train Surfing in India

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Top winter destinations of India

There are many winter destinations even in a tropical place. The scene is so true for a country like India. Come the summer and everybody has plans for one or the other hill station or snow adventure. The cool high altitude places puts the unbearable heat of the plains on somewhere forgotten and absolute bliss of the welcoming winter is on. It feels like somebody is constantly humming lines like these on back of his mind:

“”The rest is where 
“I” is either satiated
Or suffocated
Here, I avow
My “I” is merged
In the Pristine of Nature
I am at rest now
Even if it is
Just for a while!””

Such places, kind of which the poet is talking about, might include the following:

Auli

Lying on the way to Badrinath, Auli is a popular winter destination in Uttarakhand, more popular for its adventure of Ski. Bugyal is the local name for the place by which locals will brag about it. The meadow is also a part of popular trekking trips. Apart from Ski and Trekking, tourists can also enjoy views and boating in the artificial lake. Being surrounded by pilgrimages like Badrinath, Kedarnath, Joshimath, Nandaprayag, Rudraprayag; Auli is a must visit for tourists and pilgrims alike. April is best season to visit but skiing is good in November.

Trekking in Auli

Trekking in Auli. Source: Flikr Shikhar Sethi’s photostream

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Journey along the Ganges

Four cities on the banks of the holy river you should visit

Even if you have never before ventured to go on a trip to the magnificent country of India, the chances of you never having heard about the river Ganges are pretty slim. It is one of the world’s longest rivers and, according to Hindu mythology, is the daughter of the mountain God – the Himalaya. The river is of great cultural and religious significance for the whole Indian peoples. Not only do they believe that bathing in the river’s waters purifies one’s soul and heals the body, but the religious importance of the Ganges is so big that its banks are also used as cremation grounds. Those cremated there and their ashes immersed in the holy waters are believed to be granted instant salvation. All of this makes the Ganges a must for all tourists who wish to encounter all of India’s diverse beauty in terms of both culture and nature. However, this leads to an important question: Which city to visit in order to admire the holy river? Even though there are more than a dozen cities along the banks of the Ganges, following is a suggestion list of four cities that if you feel adventurous, you can even try and visit all.

Indian woman floating lamps in the Ganges

Indian woman floating lamps in the Ganges

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