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A Short Trip to Incredible !ndia, It is! and It's Not...

Finally making it to India was life changing experience! Indus Valley civilization with vast empires comes alive visiting ancient attractions of the country.  With little know-how of the subject, exploring facts by gaining more awareness from books & talking to Indian colleagues in the Middle-East gives hint of the anticipated visit.  It grows deeper watching Mahatma Gandhi the movie, depicting the people's struggle for freedom from British-ruled India, and fighting the cause to unite the country among clashing Hindu and Muslim population. It made a great deal of impact to peoples lives for all time.
Visiting the famous Taj Mahal and sampling authentic North Indian cuisines are rather the highlights, indeed a tease to discover the whole country further. In fact I can't stop talking about how splendid Mutton Rogan Josh is and the whole good, bad and ugly side of this trip when I got back in Dubai.



A number of locals are accommodating, non-pretentious, and gratified of what they have, truly humbled to meet some. Aggravation and strain to tourists are the main concern of several otherwise. If there's anything good outcome about this trip, it's literally survival of the constant stress from those few who never cease to hustle, treating foreigners as prey to get ready money assertively. Travelling solo here without a plan is a huge oversight. While revealing vulnerability, this trip still thought me to further appreciate little things in life.

The Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum located on the southern bank of the Yamuna River in the Indian city of Agra.  It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife of three, Mumtaz Mahal.
With locals in the area. Lady on the left wasn't open about this, my guide convinced them that I don't bite... 
The GOOD

Landing in capital New Delhi was impressive! It is a place of affluent few and home to renowned UNESCO World Heritage sites, rich in history and culture. From the streets to restaurants, food scene is splendid and It's a consumer paradise for retail shopping spree. Affordability and easy to get to considered, this city by far can be visited all-year round.

The India Gate is a war memorial to 82,000 soldiers of the undivided British Indian Army who died in the period 1914-21 in the First World War. Located astride the Rajpath, the center of government buildings of  New Delhi, on the eastern edge of the ceremonial axis, formerly called Kingsway.
The BAD

Despite the right outline to be a tourist powerhouse, the city lacks sense of security for visitors, especially for women. With much publicized crimes against rape victims, it is more than enough discouragement for a place to visit. India is one of economic giants in the world, infrastructure and public transport does not reflect that reputation. Lack of proper facilities for tourists and filthy surroundings boosts much needed attention.

Waited for an hour 1/2 to get visa on arrival in New Delhi airport. 30 minutes per person, it was that bad! Wasn't in a rush so no biggie. 
India Gate Guards. Nope! not like the guards in Queens palace in London.
The UGLY

It doesn't matter if you're foreigner or not, once identified newbie, travel becomes adversity and it empties out the pocket. Some private sectors and even government-run arrangements are tourism rip-off.

This must be a the city of worst taxi drivers in the world. Claiming to be immune of travel scams, this city proved me completely wrong. Even with a five star hotel arrangement to drop me off less than 2km to the local bus station heading to Agra, the driver who doesn't speak English or pretends can't, managed to collect 2,800 Indian Rupees, argument was utterly worthless. It goes on and on, from restaurants charging more than the menu price, budget hotels staff and hagglers on the road...It's just so exhausting! 

Releasing the stress of waiting in immigration. This gigantic Kingfisher beer did the trick..
Places to Visit in New Delhi, avoid TAXI at all cost and take the metro....

Completed in 1986, this Baha'i House of Worship is notable for its flowerlike shape, it serves as the Mother Temple of the Indian subcontinent and has become a prominent attraction in the city.

Laxminarayan Temple
The temple is adorned with many shrines, fountains, large garden and also houses Geeta Bhawan for discourses. Also known as Birla Mandir was built from 1933 and 1939 inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi. The side temples are dedicated to Shiva, Krishna and Buddha.

Akshardham Temple
Also known as Delhi Akshardam or Swaminarayan Akshardam, the complex displays millennia of traditional Hindu and Indian culture. Officially opened on November 2005, this place attracts 70 percent of all tourist who visit Delhi.

Completed in 1656 AD with three great gates, the Jama Masjid was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and was inaugurated by an imam from Bukhara, present day Uzbekistan.

The Red Fort
Residence of the Mughal emperor of India for nearly 200 years, until 1857. It houses a number of museums. This magnificent infrastructure was the ceremonial and political centre of Mughal government.

World class New Delhi International Airport. It is the busiest airport in the country in terms of passenger traffic in the country since 2009.  While inside the terminal, it is spotless.  Going to arrival area seems contaminated by rubbish.
India's third urban mass rapid transport system of the country and the first modern system, Delhi Metro is a great transport for tourist for easy access to major attractions of the city.
NEED TO KNOW

APPROXIMATE COST OF TRAVEL ( 6 days & 5 nights)  3,900 AED or 1050 US$ per person, including return economy flight, hotel stay, transportation, food and accommodation.
( Delhi and Agra only. All other places costs varies.)  Return travel from United Arab Emirates.

FLIGHT TIME: 3 and a half hours from Sharjah

AIRLINES: Air Arabia  

CURRENCY: 1 USD is approximately 60 Indian RS

VISA: No visa for citizens of Nepal and Bhutan.  Visa on arrival will be issued to passport holder of the following countries, Burma, Cambodia, Finland, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam.  All other 180 countries will follow to be granted visa on arrival later this year except for Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan. They still need to apply visa in advance in  foreign embassies of India.


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