Blogs from Uttar Pradesh, India, Asia


Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Agra February 2nd 2021 2nd February Taj Mahal - Agra A virtual treat today with our guide Ata. The Taj Mahal located on the right bank of the Yamuna River is in an area covering nearly 17 hectares. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal with construction starting in 1632 AD and completed in 1648 AD, with the mosque, the guest house and the main gateway on the south, the outer courtyard and its cloisters were added subsequently and completed in 1653 AD. The Taj Mahal is a perfect symmetrical planned building.The building material used is brick-in-lime mortar veneered with red sandstone and marble and inlay work of precious/semi precious stones. The mosque and the guest house in the Taj Mahal complex are built of red sandstone in contrast to the ... read more

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh March 18th 2020

Varanasi After our exciting journey from the train journey, we unfortunately had to wait rather s long time to check into our hotel as they were full and nobody was checking out until 11am. But they did give us an upgrade with our room, which was very nice. We also had a guide for the afternoon, which we didn’t realize and he took us around . We visited the University. One of the biggest in the Area especially for the medical department. A couple of Temples...a weaving village..and shop of course! Having never had a guide before we’ve missed out on the hard sell of these types of places. We then walked along the riverbank and watched all the goings on. He explained the ritual of the cremation . It did seem very odd sitting on ... read more
Evening ceremony
Kids playing with water buffalo
Stack of logs ready for the cremation

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh March 14th 2020

Our drive back to Jodhpur for our overnight train to Agra was such a contrast to the drive three days previously as it was Holi, and there were hardly any vehicles on the road... still plenty of cows and goats though. Our driver stopped at a beer shop saying that as it was Holi he should buy us a drink. He came out of the shop with a big bottle of Kingfisher beer, which is the local fizzy beer but this one was 7.5% proof and a little bottle for himself....I didn’t think we’d be drinking it during our 10 am..... Apparently the police are all on holiday so no rules apply and we had all day so didn’t have to gun it along the road. Back in Jodhpur to while away a few hours ... read more
Beautiful ceiling made of different stone
One of the gates to the Baby Taj
Can you see David's shirts?

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Agra February 19th 2020

Agra All tours to India would never miss the city of Agra because that is where the iconic 'Taj Mahal' is located. Completed in 1643 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his favorite wife Mumtaz, this magnificent structuer deserves all the acclamations travelers piled on its reputation, it is breathtakingly beautiful! This 'garden-tomb' was designed to replica a house of paradise. All exterior walls were covered with India white marble embellished with exquisite floral designs. I was told that only 15 families in India have the knowhow of hand shaping the minute pieces of precious stones into petals inlays in the marble. Needless to say that it is a complicated and slow process. When we visited one of the marble workshops afterwards, I couldn't tear my eyes away from these amazing marbles, each rose was inlayed ... read more
Charming in the fog
Magnificent with reflection
Intricate marble inlays

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Agra February 15th 2020

India is a country full of contradictory, it maybe the most populace democracy in the world but the rhetoric of Hindu nationalism and the violence against muslim exploded across the nation. As tourists, we didn't confront the problem directly but in discussion with both Hindu and Muslim young women, we got a glimpse on how far apart their lives, their idealism and their hope for future are, there is no easy solution to this complicated issue. India's inequality in wealth were evident in the upscale shops we visited and the number of homeless people sleeping on the streets. Gold and jewelry were highly valued commodity and families spent days and lots of money carefully selecting these items because what a bride wore on the wedding day reflected her worth as well as security guarantees for her ... read more
Young Hindu students we met in the park
Stop Acid Attack!
A surviver of Acid Attach

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Agra February 12th 2020

Travel in India, where do we start?! We'd heard of the numerous scams, people telling you " that train isn't running today " that hotel burnt down last week , I take you to mine " We heard them all. We had our train tickets booked and all the hotels too, we just needed to ' join' everything together when we were here. In Delhi a tuk tuk driver dropped us off at ' the government tourist office' . We hadn't asked him to he just did! It turned out to be an agent. A very persuasive one. He looked at our plans so far. He checked the train times were still on schedule and said it was good but he could help by providing a car and driver at each stop. He would collect us ... read more
First breakfast
Big group of Japanese tourists in front of us.

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Agra February 12th 2020

The Taj Mahal ! What can I say? It really is the jewel in the crown! We arrived in Agra at 8.30 am and luckily the hotel let us check into our room straight away. After a rest we went out to explore. The hotel was literally five minutes walk away from the West Gate entrance of the Taj Mahal. It was already mid day so we decided we would go the next day nice and early to beat the crowds. The streets here are just as bad as in Delhi. Actually worse but as our hotel was just inside the area that was barriered off and guarded by police it was a little haven. We wandered up and down looking for somewhere to eat. A few places advertised rooftop restaurants with views of the Taj ... read more
Taj Naval before the crowds
Marble archways
Part of the Taj Mahal

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Varanasi January 12th 2020

Over the past two days we've had three walking tours with Varanasi Walks, The Far North and Northern Bazaars and Hidden Alleyways, on Thursday and Death and Rebirth in Banares on Friday. Our guide Anmet, suggested we change the itinerary a little on Thursday and not spend all day in the northern part of Varanasi as the two tour areas overlap somewhat. We went with his recommendation of spending the morning in the north and the afternoon exploring around the very southern part of Varanasi, where we're staying. Anmet took us to places we wouldn't have found on our own, and over filled our heads with spiritual history and folklore we'll never remember. We visited the only mosque on the ghats, Alamgir Mosque, which occupies the spot where a Vishnu Temple once stood. The temple was ... read more
Varanasi's Best Dressed Dog
Old Cycle Rickshaw
Tourist Boat on Ganges River

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Agra January 2nd 2020

It's time to leave Beijing to explore Agra via New Delhi. The journey to get there was not at all smooth from Indian visa inspection, luggage check-in to immigration. it starts at Beijing airport, it took over 3 hrs to get my luggage checked in and over 2 hrs at the Chinese immigration queue. After loads of frustration and complain about the holdup, the customs finally let me go. I was very fortunate to caught my flights in time to Delhi via Hong Kong, which went according to schedules. I arrived at Delhi airport after midnight and was amazed how quick Indian immigration worked, they worked ten times faster than China. I felt alive as soon as my plane landed. I was free from surveillance cameras, free from internet restrictions, free from expressing my thoughts freely ... read more
Old Delhi spice market
Qutub Minar
Jama Masjid on a pedicab

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Agra January 1st 2020

Home to the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world, Agra is situated on the banks of the River Yamuna in the state of Uttar Pradesh, 200klm SE of Delhi. This beautiful city, where the Mughals have left a permanent impression, is rich with India’s heritage and culture. The magical allure of the Taj Mahal draws tourists to Agra like moths to a flame, and it never fails to mesmerise. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with magnificent Agra Fort and the deserted imperial city of Fatehpur Sikri. There are also many other buildings and tombs from Agra's days of glory as the capital of the Mughal empire, which we hope to visit. I had bought e-tickets to the Taj Mahal before I left home, timed between 6-9.00am, but after the fog ... read more
The Taj Mahal on a foggy day
Akbar’s Tomb
Akbar’s Tomb

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