2013 update: Women traveling in India have been assaulted.
My 2005 India adventure began April 19th. This was another Friendly Planet tour, the 'Taj Mahal Express'. I also purchased the Nepal extension, and all the optional local tours.
4/19 Departed JFK at 8pm.
4/20 Arrived Dehli at 10:30pm, after 15 hours on the plane plus 2 hours waiting at Heathrow for cabin 'grooming' and crew change, and 9-1/2 time zones. Stayed at Le Meridien in Dehli.
4/21 Went by tourist coach from Dehli to Agra. Saw the Taj Mahal at sunset.
4/22 Toured Agra.
4/23 Saw the Taj Mahal at sunrise. Traveled to Fatehpur, Sikri, Jaipur.
4/24 Saw Jaipur sun dial garden and City Palace Museum.
4/25 Went from Jaipur to Dehli. Delhi city tour.
4/26 Departed Dehli for Kathmandu, Nepal by Jet Airways. On this 1-1/2 hour flight, the meal was first class and the beverage service was generous.
My main objective for this trip was to see the Taj Mahal. I had wanted to see it in the moonlight. But that didn't work out. I did see it both at sunset and at sunrise, and took many pictures. Moonlight viewing is allowed only 2 days before the full moon to 2 days after, except that the Taj is closed on Fridays and Mondays and some other holidays. I would have had to ride all night in a taxi to catch up with the group. Maybe next time.
Mughal (Mongol) Emperor Shah Jehan had the Taj Mahal built in memorial to his Persian wife, Mumtaz-ul-Zamani. Construction lasted from her death around 1630 to 1653. His son had him imprisoned in the Agra Fort, where he could watch construction. Legend has it that he wanted a matching black marble structure built across the Yamuna river for his own tomb. While there is garden and some possible foundation structure across the river, this legend is unproven. Maybe the son didn't want his inheritance spent.
India is a land of huge population. I think people are mostly good everywhere, and the people I met were mostly warm, friendly, and helpful. India will overtake China in population, probably within 15 years.
Public schools are called 'Government Schools'. Private schools are called 'Public Schools', because the public can pay to attend. It's a British thing. British English is taught in the 'Public Schools', and many Indians use English for business and government transactions. This is a successful way of coping with the many 'official languages' of India.
Traffic is very heavy in India. Vehicles drive on British side of the road. Heavy horn use when passing is an important part of driving etiquette in India. Passing is allowed only on the right, or fast lane. Most trucks have 'Honk to Pass' painted on the rear. A cow may choose to lie down in the road. Traffic will calmly drive around the cow. If you collide with a cow or pedestrian in a rural area, you might be killed by the locals, on the spot.
We saw so many interesting things in India, temples, tombs, forts, cobras with flute dudes, yellow snakes, elephants, water buffalo, cows, monkeys all over. You could have your picture taken as close as you cared.
NOTE: Even though places like India sound fun and exotic, some of my friends and relatives would have been extremely uncomfortable there. It is necessary to be concerned about immunizations, insect repellent, food and water safety, and pick-pockets. Every member of our tour group, except for 2 of us, suffered stomach or GI problems. It gets extremely hot. We had daily highs of 104F. If any of this bothers you, it might be better for you to do less exotic travel.
|Door guard at Le Meridien in Delhi. Colorful military uniforms were the norm for hotel doormen.|
|In India, vehicles share the road with a wide variety of other vehicle types and creatures.
Note the elephant, which was pulling a cart beside our bus.
|English garden at one of the tourist rest stops.|
|Sikandra, at Agra, the first Mughal structure built from marble.|
|Gate House to the Taj Mahal.|
|Taj Mahal view, looking up from eye-level.|
|Taj Mahal at sunrise.
The east side is lighted by the sun.
Note the water in the reflecting pool this time.
|Taj Mahal at sunrise.
The sun had gone behind a layer of clouds.
|Hindu scallops inside the Agra Fort.|
|Hawa Mahal, Palace of the Winds,
is the signature building of Jaipur, and was built in 1799.
|India Gate, WWI war memorial in Delhi.|
|The Qutab Minar in Dehli is the tallest minaret in the world, at 243 ft.
The much shorter Iron Pillar on the right is over seven meters high and weighs more than six tons. It was built before 540AD. It does not rust.
India Country Information
Copyright © 2005 -
Dale Stenseth. All rights reserved.
These pages may be freely linked to, but may not be duplicated in any manner without the author's express consent.