Deb Minic


Deb Minic

After months of research, the itinerary is set in stone and I am on the verge of departure for my second trip to India, this time with my sister Ginny. This isn't an organised tour, I have created our itinerary myself, visiting twelve fascinating destinations including Hampi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Orchha, and Khajuraho. We fly into Hyderabad in central Southern India and depart from Amritsar in the North. In between we'll have 35 days to enjoy all the colour and chaos India has to offer. We'll be sleeping on overnight trains, enjoying the luxury of travelling with private drivers for two sections of the trip and immersing ourselves in a vibrant culture very different to our Aussie lives. Stay tuned for some great blogs and photos...

Asia » India » Punjab » Amritsar January 18th 2020

Our train from Delhi to Amritsar left on time, and it was cold and raining by the time we disembarked in Amritsar. We raced for shelter and Ginny minded the bags whilst I stepped out into the rain and tried to hail a taxi, they all seemed to disappear rather fast today. We wanted a car, not a rickshaw, but that's what we ended up in. A crazy damp ride into town followed and we were dropped at the end of a pedestrian mall, the driver pointing down the mall to where our hotel obviously was. We found it, after racing straight past it the first time, in our haste to get out of the weather. We were soon settled in our cosy rooms at Hotel City Heart, I couldn't have chosen a better location. Amritsar ... read more
You won't see this sign in too many places
Inside The Golden Temple
Pilgrim Inside The Golden Temple

Asia » India » National Capital Territory » Delhi January 13th 2020

Delhi, India’s capital city, actually consists of two areas -the historic Old Delhi and New Delhi. Old Delhi was founded as Shahjahanabad in 1639, when Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor at the time, decided to shift the capital from Agra. This area is the chaotic and bustling heart of Delhi, crammed with narrow streets, crumbling buildings, laneways heaving with overstocked bazaars, vibrant colours, ambling cows, rickshaws, hand pulled wooden carts loaded high with merchandise, and lots and lots of people. New Delhi, designed by British architect Edwin Lutyens, the Indian capital is a striking modern metropolis. A gracious contrast to Old Delhi's winding streets, the grand avenues and stately buildings of New Delhi are rich with history and culture. New Delhi serves as the capital of India and seat of all three branches of the Indian ... read more
Decorative hangers with pom-poms.
Delhi Street Scene
Humayun's Tomb

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 » Madhya Pradesh January 10th 2020

Our Air India flight to Varanasi was delayed and we eventually got airborne an hour later than planned. The Khajuraho airport was large and modern but with no food outlets, too many boarding pass or security checks, and only two boarding gates, strangely enough, numbered Gate 6 and 7. When we finally boarded, and presented our boarding passes at the gate, everyone's name was manually ticked off a passenger list. Disembarking from the aircraft in Varanasi, an official at the bottom of the steps demanded to see boarding passes, requesting Ginny to step aside when she couldn't find hers fast enough. When we did hand it to him he gave it a courtesy glance and waved us on. Why would boarding passes need to be checked when you're getting off a plane? Made no sense to ... read more
Bright sari in  a laneway
Collecting rubbish
Man with load of saris on his  head

Asia » India » Madhya Pradesh » Khajuraho January 8th 2020

Leaving last night's restaurant where we breakfasted this morning, we passed a local art shop where an older man was sitting on the floor just inside the doorway working on his latest creation. We had browsed in several art shops over the past month and not bought anything, so decided to have another look. The man's nephew was there, who spoke excellent English, and we chatted as we browsed through the enormous amount of work for sale. We commented on the fact that there weren't many foreign tourists around, that we hadn't seen many at all in the past month. He couldn't speak for the rest of India but in Khajuraho tourist numbers were down by 70% this year, he told us. This was due to the collapse of a domestic airline, meaning less flights to ... read more
Karma Sutra Temples
The Western Group of Temples
The Karma Sutra Temples

Asia » India » Madhya Pradesh » Khajuraho January 7th 2020

India's most titillating town, located in the Chhatarpur district, Madhya Pradesh, is famed for the erotic stone carvings that swathe the three groups of UNESCO heritage listed temples. The Western Group of temples, in particular, contains some stunning sculptures that together make up some of the finest temple art in the world. They were dedicated to two Indian religions, Hinduism and Jainism, suggesting a culture of acceptance and respect for differing religious traditions. In a space of about 20 square kilometres, 85 temples were built by successive Chandela rulers, but only 25 remain. The road trip between Orchha and Khajuraho was the worst we've had. The 170klm trip took four hours to complete, the first two hours being through constant rough and dusty diversions, once again past roadworks where no one was working and no heavy ... read more
Shop near the Jain Temples between Southern & Eastern Groups
Old Woman sitting at the Jain Temples
Vamana Temple - Circa 1050-1075AD

Asia » India » Madhya Pradesh » Orchha January 6th 2020

On a seasonal island in the middle of the River Betwa, surrounded by a battlement wall, stands Orchha Fort, which was built in the 16th century. The fort consists of several connected buildings erected at different times, the most noteworthy of which is the Raja Mahal. The island is separated from the mainland by a multi arched stone bridge which we walked over this morning. The water isn't flowing in this section of the river, it lies as still as a millpond, tinged green with algae and full of the usual litter. Admittance to the fort cost R250 ($5) and we spent a couple of hours exploring the ruins and admiring the wall and ceiling frescos in some of the rooms in Raja Mahal, many of them still in excellent condition. We climbed up and down ... read more
Orchha Fort
The Cenotaphs
The Cenotaphs

Asia » India » Madhya Pradesh » Orchha January 4th 2020

Orchha, meaning ‘Hidden Place’, is a town in Madhya Pradesh on the banks of the Betwa River. This medieval town seems to have frozen in time, its palaces and temples still retaining their original grandeur. Orchha had the distinction of being the capital of one of the largest and most powerful kingdoms of Central India. At heart, Orchha is nothing but a tiny, agricultural village that shouldn't really be of much interest to anyone, but it was blessed by history. For nearly 300 years it was one of the most important urban areas in this part of India. Orchha owes its glories to the Bundela clan of Rajputs, who set up their headquarters here in 1531, though Orchha reached its zenith under Bir Singh Deo who reigned from 1605 to 1627. He was on good terms ... read more
Gulal Powder for Sale
Boy Selling Axe Heads in the Market
Someone's Front Door

Asia » India » Madhya Pradesh » Gwalior January 3rd 2020

Hariom was waiting downstairs for us at 10.00am as arranged, today we’re heading to Gwalior Fort. The fort complex includes several temples, palaces and water tanks. The palaces here include Man Singh Palace, the Gujari Mahal, the Jahangir Mahal, the Shah Jahan Mahal and the Karan Mahal. The fort lies on an area of three square kilometres on a huge hill in the centre of Gwalior, and has two entrance gates. The pedestrian entrance is called the Elephant Gate (Hathi Pul) with a long winding ramp leading up from the city, and the western approach for vehicles has two gates, one called Urwai Gate and the other called Badalgarh Gate. Much of the fort is occupied by the prestigious private Scindia School for Indian nobility, so is off limits for visitors. We approached the ticket office ... read more
 Man Singh Palace - Gwalior Fort
Man Singh Palace - Gwalior Fort
Man Singh Palace - Gwalior Fort

Asia » India » Madhya Pradesh » Gwalior January 2nd 2020

Gwalior is a historic city situated in Madhya Pradesh, south of Agra. It’s a cultural, industrial, and political centre and takes its name from Gwalior Fort, the historic rock fortress that forms the centre of the city. Gwalior is famous for this dramatic and dominant Hindu fort, which is situated atop a plateau nearly 3 km long that rises a sheer 90 metres from the plain, and is surrounded by the city on all sides. The fort has existed at least since the 10th century, and the inscriptions and monuments found within what is now the fort campus indicate that it may have existed as early as the beginning of the 6th century. The fortress contains several tanks (reservoirs), six elaborately carved palaces, six temples, a mosque, and several other buildings. Mughal emperor Babur reputedly described ... read more
Moti Mahal - Durbar Hall
Moti Mahal
Moti Mahal

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