New & Old Delhi
Cows - There is a powerful reverence for both cows and bulls alike and the Hindu religion which is prominent in India prohibits their slaughter. If you ask someone if these cows are free roaming you will get a response that they all belong to someone who has allowed them to run free and is not acting responsible for their care. They often are seen feeding from the overflowing
garbage bins or trash alongside the roads where there are no natural growing plants for foraging. So you are inclined to think if their so highly revered why aren't they better cared for. To be certain they can also obstruct busy traffic and will even bed down at night along side busy roads. This seems dangerous to their welfare as well as the many drivers.
Traffic - the traffic in India is both chaotic and noisy. The horn is utilized as both a warning to get out of your way and to exhibit frustration. Most short distances cost you only 50 rupees by bicycle or motorized 3 wheel taxi which is the equivalent of .75 cents US. However Indian people love to barter and the uninformed traveler beware as they will often charge you for as much as they can get away with. But you may also barter them down to 20 rupees as the competition for your service is fierce.
Women of India - the traditional female garb is a Sari which consists of a un-stitched drape typically wrapped around the waist, with one end draped over the shoulder, and the other end forms a skirt, varying in length and tradition. The Sari is worn over a short sleeve blouse cropped at the midriff called a Choli and a petticoat on the bottom. The most elegant are made of silk. Younger women often choose to wear Westernized clothing as well.
Men of India - men may wear a traditional pajama type of outfit but the westernized shirt and trousers are becoming more acceptable. A lungi or sarong is also worn in the South because of the heat. Typical headgear is a Indian turban or pagri.
The Estate Bed & Breakfast - surprisingly spacious and economical. It is modernized with a colonial feel. In a nice neighborhood backing up to Old Delhi street commerce and lifestyle which one can easily enter and retreat through a back door of the facility. The metro is only a 10 to 15 min walk.
The Metro - the most important tourist sites other than the Taj Mahal and Fort Agra can be reached within a short distance from the stops they were named after.
Guides and Taxis - sometimes it can be both and for the amount of money a guide or and taxi charges to show you around in and out of attractions, also explaining the history, I believe it is well worth the cost which generally starts at 100 rupees. However like taxi fare the price of a guide needs to be negotiated before hand or you will find yourself at the awkward mercy of the guide or taxi driver at the end of his service.
Typically stay away from the taxi or guide who says just pay me what you think my service or time was worth, because he will almost certainly tell you that he deserves more at the time of payment. One time this happened to me and I luckily only had a 200 rupees in my wallet which I promptly showed him when he asked for 2,000 rupees.
Chandni Chowk - Oldest Delhi market bazar of organized chaos both inside and out. It is the largest, oldest, and busiest wholesale markets in Old Delhi. It was designed by the Princess Jahanara the daughter of the Shah Jahan who built the nearby Red Fort. He was also responsible for building the Taj Mahal and adding to Fort Agra prior to moving to the Red Fort.
The Red Fort - opposite sides of the metro to Chandni Chowk - Constructed in 1648 of red sandstone by the fifth Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as the palace of his fortified capital Shahjahanabad when he decided to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi. Its design is credited to architect Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, who also designed the Taj Mahal. The Shah Jahan's quarters were built of white marble just like at Fort Agra. The Shah's successor Aurangzeb added the Pearl Mosque to the emperor's private quarters. The Shah's palace had it's own entrance, the Diwan-I-Am. Shahjahanabad was once a medieval city and later became Old Delhi. The La Hori Gate is the main gate of the fort and the one mainly used by the public. After many successions and conquests the British took control of the fort in the early 1800's until India's Independence, 1947, and was responsible for the looting and destruction of most of the inner fort's archeological treasures and buildings.
Haus Kaus Village - located in Old Delhi, part of Siri, the second medieval city of India of the Delhi Sultanate of Allauddin Khilji Dynasty (1296–1316). Comprised of a water tank to supply the fort of Siri, an Islamic seminary, a mosque, a tomb and pavilions. You must travel through an urbanized village for tourist shopping and dining to reach it.
Select CityWalk - a premier shopping mall located in the Saket District Centre, in Saket, New Delhi. There is also an outdoor open plaza for shopping craft stalls. Indoor dining is representative of all countries and whatever your in the mood to have can be found within this large shopping complex.
Qutab Minar - A minaret is a tall tower, with a conical or onion shaped crown. Qutab Minar at 240 ft holds the distinction of being the tallest brick minaret in the world and the first built in India. The tallest minaret in the world is located in Casablanca, Morocco at 689 ft. It's three storeys are made of red sandstone; the fourth and fifth storeys are of marble and sandstone. At the foot of the tower is the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, the first mosque to be built in India. Some believe it was erected to signify the beginning of Muslim rule in India. Others say it was used to call the faithful to prayer. Others claim it was used as a watch tower for possible enemies.
Inside the tower, a circular staircase with 379 steps leads to the top. Qutub Minar station is the closest station on the Delhi Metro. In 1200 CE, Qutub-ud-Din Aibak, started construction. In 1220, Aibak's successor and son-in-law Iltutmish added three storeys to the tower. On 4 December 1981, 45 people were killed in the stampede that followed an electricity failure that plunged the tower's staircase into darkness. Most of the victims were children. Following this catastrophe entering the minaret is prohibited.
Temples - temples abound throughout India and almost anywhere one looks the outline of a temple can be seen on the horizon. While all temples are unique, like visiting museums, one can burn out so it is important to visit the most interesting temples according to your time schedule and historical or cultural tastes first.
Fort Agra - and the Taj Mahal are close together. A 3 1/2 hour drive by taxi from New Delhi. Fort Agra is best described as a walled city. Originally built in the 11th Century , it was rebuilt by the Mughals in the late 1500's with red sandstone under the rule of Akbar. He had 4,000 workers work daily for 8 years until it's completion in 1573. His grandson Shah Jahan, was responsible for the building of the white marble Taj Mahal, built for the tomb of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. He also rebuilt the interior of his own palace with white marble.
He then went from Agra to build the Red Fort in the area which is now known as Old Delhi. But Shah Jahan was later imprisoned inside Fort Agra in his original palace by his own son, Arangzeb, (something similar to house arrest), for using public funds to build the Taj. He remained there until his death. However he was able to view the majestic Taj Mahal from one of the towers. Fort Agra eventually came under British Rule in 1857 until India's Independence in 1947.
The Taj Mahal - built over 20 years by the Shah Jahan, Mughal ruler of Agra, in loving memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving child birth to his 14th child, and his favorite of his 3 queens. The Shah was ultimately buried there alongside his wife after a long stint under house arrest by his son.
The Imperial Hotel - New Delhi's first 5 star hotel, opened in 1936. The location recently where Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, stayed when he visited India to address the millions of potential Facebook followers.
The Trident Hotel, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai - 5 star hotel - in a planned commercial complex, called Bandra Kurla, in the suburbs of Mumbai.
Goa - it was conquered and colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century and remained that way for over 450 years until annexed by India in 1961. It has a hot and humid climate almost year round. One of the richest states of India it is located along the coast of it's SouthWestern Region. Recently Russians have been coming to visit and settle there although it is not clear if they do so legally. Resentment by local natives is openly spoken because they feel like they are losing the Russian tourist business to the new Russian residents.
Velaso, Baga, and Candolim beaches are the closest beaches to the airport. Velaso and and Baga beaches are the most heavily visited by tourists and have the most active night life. Most of my photos are of Candolim beach a much more tranquil beach than the other two.
Dudshagar Falls, Goa - one of India's tallest falls, it forms the border between the states of Karnataka and Goa. Surrounded by rich jungle and animal life it is a favorite tourist location. After a short hike you are rewarded by a swim in the cool waters below the tall falls. To arrive by car you must first take a taxi to the small town below then you must board a jeep excursion for another 30 - 45 min up to the main walking trail. The road up to the hiking trail is muddy, full of pot holes, and streams to cross. You can also arrive there by train which passes above the swimming hole out of sight but you can hear the train passing when not too close to the falls. The train stop is not an official stop so it is a little tricky because it is so steep getting off there. The presence of the falls, the swimming hole, the short hike, and the free roaming monkeys make this a must see attraction. The monkeys are very greedy even when their cheeks are poking out full of food and will still beg for more. Just be careful when feeding the monkeys because if your not paying attention they will try to grab your bag of goodies too and run away.
Old Church, Goa - located at the original Portuguese capital of Goa. It is another popular attraction for tourists and historians.
Since I love to travel and try local food I will comment on my experiences, places, and food that I encounter so that others may be inspired to travel to the same locations with some insight into the local food , restaurants, culture, places to stay (hotels or airbnb) and hopefully avoid some of the pitfalls and tourist scams so not to waste time and money unnecessarily. I would also appreciate posts and comments on the same locations by others!