india : New Delhi and Agra

Other than Dharamsala, we decided to add New Delhi in our itinerary. It started with hanging out in the Connaught Place, visiting the love of Taj Mahal, exploring inner city of Delhi, and ending up in Select City, one of Delhi top malls.

Delhi is surely different with McLeod Ganj. The first thing that hit us was the temperature. It was really hot, nearly 48 degree celcius. The second was being white meaning being in the highlight. It is common that people will ask to take photo with you or even just look at you as you pass by. This is not a bad thing, its just for me, as very shy person, its a bit too much.

Delhi was dusty, hot, humid, and crowded in general. This condition was a bit different with what we saw in Parliament House area. A clean big complex with well-cared beautiful park. I guess you know what i meant by that.

How we get around?

To ease our travel, we chose to rent a car in exploring New Delhi and its surrounding. The cost was 1400 INR for inside Delhi and 6500 INR for trip to Agra. This included toll, gas, and parking fee. Oh! and one more thing, we can’t help to notice that the cars often lost side mirror or having dent in the its body. What does it mean to you? If you dare to drive, please be extremely careful.

Another way is to use bicycle. Yes, you read it correctly. But don’t worry, there is a bicycle tour founded by a Dutchman, named as delhibycycle (http://www.delhibycycle.com). They provide you with bicycle, a tour guide, and co-guides who will make sure no one is lost. This tour certainly an interesting tour. It brought us to places that we sure we won’t be dare to visit by ourselves. Things to remember for this tour, Delhi road is  crowded and has no rule. Always stays in the group. Make yourself noticeable on the road. Thats the function of your bell pals.

What to see in Delhi and its surrounding?

Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world, with a beautiful reason. This tomb was built by emperor Shah Jahan for his wife, often symbolised as a great love story.

Agra Fort. It is another UNESCO world heritage located in Agra. So if you visit Taj Mahal, you may also visit this venue.

Connaught Place. This is the heart of the Delhi, i think. It quite a big complex with a nice architecture and lots of shops.

Parliament House and India’s Gate in Delhi. This is the central governance of India with a very nice architecture.

Lotus Temple in Delhi. As represented by its name, its a temple with lotus-flower-like architecture. It has won architectural awards and featured in various media articles.

Qutab Minar. Located in Delhi, this is the 2nd tallest minar in India. This monument also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Jantar Mantar. Built by Maharaja  Jai Singh II of Jaipur in Delhi, this monument is served as observatory to compile astronomical tables and calculation.

And many more, like Akshardham, Lodi Garden, etc. Depends on your available time, there are lots of monuments in Delhi that represent its culture and religion (not only Hindu, but also Muslim). All of them are very beautiful.

What to eat? 

There are plenty kind of food in Delhi. The common one is the Punjab’s cuisine using ghee, butter, and cream. The popular dish from this cuisine is tandoori, naan, pakoras, and vegetable dishes with paneer.

The other cuisine we tried was Rajasthani and Gujarati food. The restaurant we visited has 37 dishes, named King’s Plate, and all of them are vegetarian. A bit confused at the first time because there are so much dishes, my friend was kindly enough to explain us about the 37 dishes and how to eat those. My favourite was the sweets from mango. Emm.. i need to warn you this, if you have a sensitive stomach, please be prepared. ^^

Things to remember… 

India is a safe place to travel. However, please be sensible. What sensible means? Stay in the place that safe (at least 3 stars hotel in Delhi) and don’t wondering alone at night – especially if you are drunk. As for us, we stayed in 4 star hotel and always be back to hotel before 9 pm, sober.

I would prefer not to travel alone by myself in Delhi and its surrounding. Especially in prone areas, for e.g. Uttar Pradesh. Always check the news or consult with your friend who live in India (if you have any).

Scam is common in India. Once again, use your sense and always bargain.

Tour guide in India can be very pushy. Its common for them to bring you to some souvenirs stores or restaurants, it simply because they get commission from it. If you don’t want to go, just say it out loud, and they will say “If you are happy, i am happy”. That usually the end of the debate.

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As other travel stories, every journey is different, including this one. As for me, the best moment was to meet my mentor. He was assigned to Indonesia back in 2011 to deliver a project. That was the time i first join the company and i was under his “wings”. We didn’t plan to meet in this trip. However, as strange as its may sound, a separate series of events made us possible to meet. World has its own way to show its magic, and i believe this is one of them.:’)

 

Note : this link might be a useful link about tourist attractions in Delhi, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tourist_attractions_in_Delhi

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