“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi
India is the land of unity in diversity. You will find a multitude of cultures, religions, traditions, cuisines and people in India. It is a magical land and most people fall in love with this country as soon as they come here…and I also did ;)
As I always say, India is one of the places in my bucket list. I have always wanted to go there since my college years, but when I got here in Singapore, I don’t know why people have a different feedback of me wanting to go there, and yeah, it affected (a bit) my list actually. Then come my birthday, I wanted to visit Sidney but then my ever “supportive” boss did not give me any certificate of employment so my tourist visa in Australia was denied, waaahhh!!! So my friend and I changed our destination to India!
And I never regret any single moment I had during this trip!
We took a package tour coz of things we’ve heard about traveling there alone or if you are all girls. And guess what? It’s not as BAD as they say! I guess danger is everywhere. It really depends on you, on how you behave and take necessary precautions beforehand.
My tip: Read travel tips on line hehe! Hey, I’m serious!
Generally, (1) do not tell them it’s your first time in India, (2) agree with the price first before going or buying (3) drink only bottled water and bring along your medicines. You’ll get sick at some point, I got feverish perhaps of the weather, and my friend RH got a funny tummy (the latter is the usual one!)
And some tips for women: Do not wear revealing clothes, if you don’t want to attract attention. Do not be too friendly, if you don’t wanna be ripped off and misconstrued. Do not smoke in public, do it discreetly if you don’t want to be tagged as woman with loose morale. Lastly, do not travel alone, forget about being too adventurous, safety and comfort first :)
Tour package is a bit costly but the convenience it gives (like booking your hotel, booking your transpo, and choosing best place to eat and what food to eat, etc) is worth it. But the good thing about it was we were not a part of any group, it was an exclusive tour with a personal driver with a private airconditioned car and a personal one-on-one tour guide!
Our package only includes the Golden Triangle (Delhi-Jaipur-Agra) for 5 days, so we decided to extend 2 more days to Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, and this is where our real adventure began, in this trip, we are just by ourselves.
OLD DELHI & NEW DELHI
We visited Rudyard Kipling, where father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. Then we visited the largest mosque in India, the Jama Mosque and famous Qutab Minar 12thcentury 238 ft. high stone tower, indeed a masterpiece of construction. Then around New Delhi was the creation of the British Raj of the 30’s and includes the President’s House, Parliament, India Gate, The Rajpath and downtown Connaught Place. Then we had some shopping nearby our hotel (Regent Hotel) at Karol Bagh.
At Agra, we stayed at Utkarsh Villa just opposite the only mall in Agra (hehe). We went first at Agra Fort which was the centre of the Mughal Dynasty, and four successive emperors helped to create its massive walls, within which Hindu and Muslim styles merge into a splendid fusion of military might and lavish beauty. We visited of course the Taj Mahal, unquestionably the world’s most magnificent monument to over built in 17th century. A colossal, perfectly proportioned mass of white marble. it is literally a jewel, fashioned over 20 years of hundreds of skilled craftsmen and over 20,000 labores to float like some fantastic mirage upon the Yamuna. (Kidly note Taj Mahal is close on Friday). Since we were in time with an Indian holiday, a mass of people were there so it was really difficult to get good photos of the Taj. I don’t advise you to get inside the Taj if you have to line up for an hour like we did, coz inside you can’t take photos of the tomb that you could even hardly see coz there were no lights inside!
On our way to Jaipur, we stopped by Fatehpur Sikri : Its the magnificent deserted city of the capital of the Great Emperor Akbar. The story of his 3 wives is very interesting, he married a Hindu, a Moslem and a Christian woman (apart from his more other concubines), the Hindu wife has the biggest temple coz she was the one who gave him a son (the King who built the Taj Mahal). Akbar was finally forced to abandon his dream city due to scarcity of water and subsequently it became a ghost town.
At Jaipur, we stayed at KK Ryal Days at Amber City. We visited Amber Palace/Fort : It’s the original Palace of the local rules was built in the 17th century high up on a hill overlooking a lake, the towers and domes of the Amber Palace are reminiscent of scenes from some Fairy-Tale. We went up the palace and being toasted under the sun by an Elephant Ride.
Then after that we headed to Rajasthan, famous as ‘The Pink City”, because of the local rose-pin-sandstone used in its construction. Then we also visited Maharaja’s City Palace and Maharaja Jai Singh after whom the city was named, being a keen astronomer built an astronomical observatory which is still in use.
This is NOT the end of our India adventure yet, just the end of our tour package, a more touristic approach to see India. So, my friend and I decided to extend our stay for 2 more days, visiting Rishikesh at the Uttarakhand Region! It’s in the highlands close to border of Nepal. We are so excited to begin our REAL adventure! (to be continued on the next blog entry)