Blogs from India, Asia


Asia » India » Maharashtra » Pune May 17th 2023

Pune – December – 2022 Although the title of this blog is “Pune”, there is very little about Pune and more about a few places around Pune that we visited in December of 2022. I had visited most of the local places of interest when I was here last in late 1980s. This time we had stayed in Kharadi, a southern suburb of Pune. In thirty years since my last visit, Pune has grown – or rather – overgrown tremendously. And with that all the vices of a big metro growing without proper infrastructure or planning. In Pune, I would suggest you not to leave your house unless it is absolutely necessary. You will spend more time on road – or rather – at traffic junctions and in traffic jams, than at your destination. We had ... read more
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Asia » India » National Capital Territory » Delhi May 4th 2023

Our final full day in India. Met Raj at 7.20am rather than the planned 7am as it was raining. It was a good decision as there was no more after that early morning rainfall. Aim on this outing was to visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple within the Shankaracharya Chowk Centre that we visited yesterday, which has a rooftop covered in one ton of gold leaf. We had passed by this temple yesterday but as we have a late flight back to Delhi, we have time to do a little more in Varanasi. Security is so tight that Raj told us to leave everything behind, even digital watches, bring only mobile phones, but they are also locked up before entering the temple. We also had to leave our passports at the ticket office which was situated away ... read more

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Varanasi May 2nd 2023

Pick up to the airport at 8.30pm. Arjun had helped us last night by getting the hotel to store our excess luggage for the short 2 day visit to Varanasi. Peter and Gordon had asked before and the hotel said they didn't have storage, but they did. Seemed they try to restrict storage as much as possible because it is a large hotel and they could run out of space fairly quickly. So we just took Daisy's small carry-on size bag and my back-pack for the short local flight on a local airline called IndiGo, which I think is a clever name. We were met at Varanasi airport by Raj, who is our guide for this leg of our tour. Our initial impression driving from the airport was that traffic was quieter here, but that impression ... read more

Asia » India » National Capital Territory » Delhi May 1st 2023

Very early start today at 6am for our visit to Taj Mahal. Supposedly for sunrise but it wasn't really. Sunrise was earlier than that and it was very overcast today so it wouldn't have been worth it to go any earlier. The complex is quite large and the building is in a large courtyard with 4 gates. Our first glimpse of the Taj Mahal was quite surreal as it almost blended in to the surrounding early morning mist. Arjun sold us on using one of the accredited photographers who followed us in and posed us for photos in the best spots. It was quite amusing as we felt like we were posing for wedding photos. It really is a stunning building to see, being completely made of white marble. Inside, it is decorated in a simpler ... read more

Asia » India April 30th 2023

Earlier start today at 8am. On road, we got pulled up by the police for running a light. We were going to chip in but Arjun said not to worry because the company would pay for it. Our first stop on the way to Agra was one I've been looking forward to, Chand Baori Step Well, located opposite a temple known as Harshat Mata Temple. It is believed that the Chand Baori step well has a religious connection and that’s the reason it was built in front of the temple. It was built around the 8th-9th century and is 19.5 metres deep with a series of double flights of steps on 3 of the 4 sides. It did not disappoint, an amazing sight to see. Along the way we were diverted off the main highway onto ... read more

Asia » India » Rajasthan April 28th 2023

Usual start at 8.30am after breakfast. Seemed like we were the only 6 guests but a few more turned up as we were leaving. First stop was Amber Fort, but instead of our mini-bus, we all hopped into a covered Jeep for the drive up to the Fort entrance. The old traditional method was riding up on an elephant, but tour companies no longer use this method because the elephants are badly treated. The Indian government does not allow any new elephants to be trained in this way. Amber Fort was fantastic. Located 11km from Jaipur, it was the old fort of the Kachwaha clan of Amber. The fort is built with white marble and red sandstone and many interesting parts to it, plus great views of the surrounding area. After that we had a stopped ... read more

Asia » India » Rajasthan April 27th 2023

Started our bus trip to Jaipur at 8.50. Entertaining journey out of Delhi watching how the traffic completely ignores the lanes marked on the road, like they don't exist. Stopped at 11.45am for an early lunch at a nice place in the middle of nowhere called the Siva Oasis Resort. We discovered today that all our dinners are provided, so we ate a light lunch of creme of chicken soup and garlic naan for Daisy and a grilled chicken sandwich for me. Arjun also asked us to tip the rest room attendants. 10 rupees per person is a fair amount. We left to continue our journey at 12.50pm. The landscape changes towards Jaipur from flat to hilly. Many trucks are colourfully painted and have decorations. Arjun says it's because the trucks are like their home because ... read more

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Jaipur April 26th 2023

Buffet breakfast was interesting. A lot of Indian style items we'd never heard of before. We went around and tried small portions of everything. Daisy had a dosa made which she really liked. Tour started at 8.30am and we met our guide Arjun and driver, Arjay. Surprisingly, there was still just the six of us for this entire tour. Certainly wasn't expecting a small group tour. Robyn and Anne however didn't opt for the Varanasi extension. First stop was a visit to Old Delhi. We were taken to the Jama Masjid Mosque (the largest mosque in India), which has three great gateways, four angle towers and two minarets constructed ofalternating vertical strips of red sandstone and white marble. First we had a rickshaw tour through Chandni Chowk, a colourful shopping bazaar in OldDelhi. Then a tour ... read more

Asia » India » National Capital Territory » New Delhi April 25th 2023

Fairly early start to the day . 4.40am wake up and our daughter, Krissy, kindly volunteered to drive us to the airport. Arrived there at 5.35am and a long line awaited us at the Singapore Airlines desk. Took about one hour to check-in and I mistakenly made the choice to get a small amount of Indian rupees at the foreign desk at the airport. Big mistake as the exchange rate was way under the official rate. Fee of $5 plus we only got 2,500 rupees instead of about 3,500. Never ever do that again. Having not travelled for so long, I had forgotten to do that earlier. Flight took off slightly .early at 7.55am and we arrived in Singapore early at 2:15pm.(8hours 20 min flight time). Our second leg to Dekhi was at 4.50pm. Timing was ... read more

Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Srinagar April 7th 2023

I had heard how beautiful Kashmir was and had always wanted to visit it. So, when my first leg of photography trip for the Holi Festival was completed, I decided to extend my trip and headed to Kashmir, along with my two friends. The flight from Delhi to Srinagar took only 1.5 hours, much shorter compared to 3 hours of being in the airport prior to departure due to lengthy security check. Once we landed at Srinagar airport, we were greeted by our driver, Museeb, who suggested that we drove right away to Pahalgam. It was an easy and comfortable drive as the road condition turned out better than what I had expected. In the contrast to the week earlier where I saw lots of women wearing colorful clothing everywhere, I hardly saw any women on ... read more
Military men on duty
The colourful minibus
Human pulled sledge

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