Visiting places in Hyderabad

Hyderabad is fondly referred to as the city of Nawabs and sometimes also as the city of Pearls as till the 20th century it probably was the only global center for large diamonds. Hyderabad is also famous as the birthplace of Tollywood besides hosting a thriving IT industry. But probably the most distinctive aspect of this historical city is that it is the only city in South India with a distinctly North Indian culture. This makes Hyderabad a veritable treasure house of amazing buildings and great food – and me like a kid in a candy store.

"Mecca Masjid Hyderabad"
Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad India

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Poor people in India

India is already Asia’s third largest economy by Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It’s the second fastest growing country in the world after China. It’s one of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries, which optimists think, are rated to become world’s leading economies in the coming decades. Consumer surveys repeatedly talk of upbeat Indians, who are hopeful of the future. The country is young, and that adds more potential to its growth curve. Its dynamic software industry and huge internal market add to its attractiveness as a place to do business. Combined, all this presents a very rosy picture of India. However, this is only a part of the story.

"Poor people in India"
India houses some of the poorest people in the world

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What to buy in India?

India is a shopper’s paradise. India has one of the most dynamic retail industries in the entire world. For the shopaholic, it might be difficult in controlling the demon inside them.

When you visit India, there are a number of things you could buy to take home. However there are limitations of what you can actually take back home on your baggage allowance. Here is a compilation of the things that you could buy when you are in India at really cheap prices.

Remember that the currency in India is the Indian rupee coded INR which stands for “Indian National Rupee”. It is also called the “Rupaya or Rupya” in Hindi. The rupee is divided into 100 paisas.

"What to buy in India"
Indian handicrafts

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Tourist places in East India

Bodh Gaya Temple in Bihar
Bodh Gaya Temple in Bihar

Typically the states Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal are referred to as Eastern India; whereas Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh are referred to as North East India. But in a broader sense all these eleven states together form the Eastern part of India. This article will highlight the most popular destinations in East Indian states of Bihar, Orrisa, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Eastern India demonstrates the cultural riches, historical structures, Buddhist sites of importance, Hindu and Jain temples and the beauties of Indian wild life.

Places to visit in Eastern India:

Bihar

It is well known as the land of Lord Buddha. Ganges, the mother of all rivers in India flows along the state. India’s most powerful empires originated from Bihar such as the Mauryas, the Guptas and the Palas all ruled and built their dynasties in Bihar.

Patna is the capital city of Bihar. This was also the capital of ancient India – Pataliputra. If you are visiting Patna then you must not miss on these attractions – Hanuman Mandir, Khuda Baksh Oriental Library, Patna Museum, Kumhrar, Qila house, Gandhi Setu, Golghar, etc. Read, introduction to Bihar for further information.

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Jantar Mantar observatory

Jantar Mantar is the name of a series of astronomical observatories built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II during the early 18th century in five cities, which included: Jaipur, Mathura, New Delhi, Ujjain and Varanasi. The most spectacular and largest of them is the Jaipur Jantar Mantar. It’s also the only one to have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It’s the best preserved of the four (the one in Mathura no longer exists), in part due to the extensive efforts of a British officer and an amateur astronomer Major Arthur Garrett. Currently the Archaeological Survey of India oversees the preservation of these magnificent instruments. The Jantar Mantars in New Delhi and Jaipur are a major tourist attraction.

"Jantar Mantar Jaipur"
Jantar Mantar in Jaipur

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Ladakh: Visit The Paradise

Ladakh means “Land of high passes” and lies in the extreme far flung corners of north of India. Near the Indus valley lies the historic city of Leh, capital of Ladakh. Leh is the only city in Ladakh which has decent population count and offers you some basic amenities. Ladakh is surrounded by Kunlun Mountains in the north and The Great Himalayas in the south. It’s the one of the most picturesque but uninhabited place in India.

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101 travel tips to India

Delhi Street Food

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 will forget from the moment they step off the plane. Here is a compilation of travel guide and travel tips for India that you need to know before you make your trip to India. But mind you, these travel to India tips is not the complete list. Bookmark this page for more tips on India from me!

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Heritage hotels in India

The word luxury brings in different meaning to different people. It might mean indulgence, relaxation, comfort, sumptuous or enjoyment. When you are in India the luxury should definitely mean Royal experience similar to what you will get to the Maharaja Express. India has a rich history of Royal lifestyle with numerous kings ruling the country for hundreds of years. They have left behind a rich heritage to experience.

The palaces that are part of Indian luxury till date are something that you will defiantly not find in any other parts of the world. You can welcome yourself to India as a royal ambassador and give yourself the palatial treat by opting to stay in these heritage hotels. That is the reason I suggest you to experience the luxury of Indian Heritage hotels when it comes to choosing luxury hotels in India.

"Heritage hotels in India"
Taj Lake Palace in the middle of Lake Pichola

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Are cabs in Delhi safe for tourists?

"Autorickshaws"
Auto-rickshaws at Connaught Place, New Delhi. Source: Prolix6x’s photostream

Delhi is a big city. It’s home to more than 18 million people. More than 5.18 million foreign tourists came to India in 2010. (Annual Report 2012-11, Ministry of Tourism) A large proportion of those tourists first land in the capital and from there set off to explore this vast land. According to another report titled ‘Tourism survey in the State of Delhi,’ about 1.8 million foreign tourists and more than 21 million domestic tourists come to see the splendid capital each year. A large number of those tourists hire taxis or cabs to move around the city. Unfortunately, a small proportion of them become victims to impostors pretending as taxi drivers. This makes tourists uneasy and quite soon all taxis are regarded as driven by crooks. While it’s understandable why this happens, it’s not wise to put them all in the same category.

In this article, we will have a balanced look at the current situation and you will also read how you can stay safe while still enjoying your visit to this wonderful city in a taxi.

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On the Way to Jhujhunu

"Travels in India"On the Way to Jhujhunu by Marie McCarthy

In March of 2011, I made my first trip to India. I was not a backpacking, college aged woman. Rather, I was in my last decade of work before retirement. Adventure is not just for the young. Sometimes you’re better able to appreciate things when you have a few more years of life experience under your belt.

As I nearly always travel alone, I had engaged the services of an Indian based travel agency, which had an itinerary of Rajasthan which covered all the places I wanted to visit plus a few I hadn’t heard of. I was traveling in a private car with a driver, which I thought would be prudent for my first visit. I could stop or change the itinerary as I wished, and my driver would not only keep me out of trouble, but he would be my personal ambassador. I could ask him anything and everything I wanted to know about life in India, the people and the culture.

Having been invited by Shalu to share some of my travel stories here on ShaluSharma.com, here is the first one, an excerpt from my recently published book.

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Visiting the capital of India, Delhi

Parathe-wali Gali in Old Delhi

Delhi is a wonderful city with a fascinating history and a promising future. It’s a city of contrasts, where the old and the new exist simultaneously. It is the place where important decisions are made and what direction this nation of a billion people should take is discussed everyday. Despite having only a fraction of the area of Australia, it has a population comparable to that vast continent-size country. In terms of money, it’s one of the richest cities in India. However, unlike many other big cities, it has managed to preserve its heritage while keeping in pace with the rest of the world.

Map of Delhi

History of Delhi

There is archaeological evidence to suggest people were inhabiting in Delhi as long ago as third millennium BC. There are signs of urban dwellings going back to 6th century BC. From 12th century to until the arrival of the British in 17th century, it was one of the most powerful cities in the world. The English moved the capital to Calcutta (Kolkata). They later changed the capital to Delhi and since then it’s remained the seat of most powerful men and women in South Asia.

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How to wear a saree

"rani mukherjee saree"If you ever wondered what the women of India wear, then the answer is the traditional sari (saree). Majority of the Indian women wear it. Sari or Saree is worn in many different styles in India. The styles are either culture specific or region specific. A few styles are –

Nivi style and Kaccha nivi style– It is commonly worn in Andrapradesh where the pallu hangs on the left shoulder. There is slightly different form of Nivi called Kaccha Nivi where the pleats are passed through the legs and tucked back in the waist.

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Places to visit in Delhi

How can anyone describe Delhi, the 5000 year old capital city of the world’s largest democracy? Some call it the city of extremes; extreme weathers, from clean areas to congested ones, to open roads to chocking traffic, posh areas to poverty stricken. Whatever it may be, Delhi is best known as ‘Dillee Dilwalo ki’ which means ‘Delhi belongs to large hearted people’. Delhi, the capital India is the largest metropolis by area in India. It is also the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population. The city is also the one of the most historical capitals in the world and has a rich and numerous tourist sites.

The city can be divided into Old Delhi and New Delhi. Old Delhi represents the history of India with mosques, forts and other monuments. New Delhi is the seat of government and houses the government buildings and embassies.

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Top 10 foods to try when in India

Indian food is feast for the taste buds. The variety of food you can find in India is countless. The Indian cuisine is as diverse as India itself. Here in India the food can be categorized mainly as North Indian and South Indian food. It can be further divided into region sub-groups such as Punjabi, Rajasthani, Sindhi, Guajarati, Chettinad, Bengali, Mughali, Kashmiri and Hyderabadi. I will not be surprised if you add a few more regional cuisines to the list!

India is a land of festivals and every festival has its own special menu; every occasion also has a special menu and these are vary from region to region. Now, are you getting the idea of how many other varieties of cuisines you can expect in one cuisine called the Indian cuisine?

Most Indian dishes are full of spices hence the flavour and the colour. The most common spices and ingredients used in Indian cuisine include mustard, cumin, curry leaves, green coriander, garam masala (a masala made of select range of spices), tomatoes, onions, garlic, and ginger, along with the main ingredients such as the vegetables or lentils that go into it.

Do you know why did I am giving you this insight about the diversity and variety of Indian food? Because I find it very difficult to come up with the just top 10 amazing dishes which I can recommend to you on your visit to India. Yet here I am with my list of top 10 foods you cannot miss when in India.

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