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Top 5 Destinations in New Delhi: Travel Opinion and Analysis

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Qutub Minar and Iron Pillar, Photo by Dmitry B

New Delhi, the capital of the largest democracy in the world has a lot to offer to a traveler who is first time visiting India. Architectural relics dating back to Mauryan Period (300 BC) and its earliest reference as Indraprastha from the Mahabharat times, Delhi has been captured, sacked and rebuilt many times as the capital of the various kingdoms. With the kingdoms coming and going, Delhi has a significant history which can be seen from the historic monuments spread all over the city.

Traveling around Delhi you will also understand the way India has transformed itself from poor known country to the world’s third largest economy in terms of GDP (PPP). You will see some of the strangest things happening here, but still you will wonder how this diverse, huge and largely populated country has survived peacefully, efficiently since independence with the highest growth outputs. Traveling around New Delhi is easy due to availability of variety of modes of public transport. Delhi is not an expensive city compared to other Indian and international cities of the same level. However, in this guide we will still be stressing on making your stay and traveling even more economical and comfortable with the help of certain tips, information on travel and hotel coupons and other services provided officially by the government of Delhi or other private and commercial organizations.

How to Reach Delhi?

Delhi being one of the largest business, financial, tourist, educational and political hub of South Asia has one of the busiest airports and railway stations in the world.

buddha delhi airport
Buddha at Delhi Airport

 

Indira Gandhi International Airport is only 16 KM away from the city centre. The cheapest and fastest way to reach the city centre from the Airport is through Airport Express Metro Rail. It connects the New Delhi railway Station (adjacent to the city centre Connaught Place) with the Airport. A single trip costs mere ₹150 and around 30-40 minutes. If you are a frequent traveler on this line you can also buy a 45 trip or 60 trip monthly coupon pass which costs ₹2000 and ₹2300 respectively for traveling between these two stations.

Radio taxis are also a comfortable and easy way to commute from the Airport which have good and fixed fair and you will not have to bargain or fight with the drivers. You may find the coupons for Radio taxi in the stalls established as soon as you come out of the arrival section. Other cheaper taxi option is Government prepaid taxi, they will provide you prepaid coupon for much cheaper rate from the stalls inside the arrival section, before coming out.

Where to Stay in Delhi?

From low budget to high budget, Delhi has large number of options available for the travelers. There are large number of lodges to five star hotels on par with international standards. Almost all the big names in the category of luxurious and corporate five star hotels have their presence in the capital of India. But, if you are looking for the cheaper ones head to Pahargunj or Karol Bagh. Pahargunj has some of the cheapest lodges in Delhi and is strategically situated adjacent to New Delhi Railway Station and the centre Connaught Place. Pahargunj is often termed as the back side of New Delhi (not so good part of the city) the area is extremely crowded and the streets are narrow, however you will find cheapest food and lodges close to the central Delhi. (Note: Be careful when eating outside, always drink packaged mineral water).

There are also large number of normal and high budget hotels which often come up with schemes, try to grab those deal and keep checking travel and hotel coupons websites.

Top 5 Destinations and Places to Visit in New Delhi

 

1. Connaught Place

central park connaught place
TWR team at Central Park in Connaught Place, Delhi

Located in the central Delhi, Connaught place is one of the major financial and business hub of Delhi which reflects a flavour of English rule. The place has some of the best night clubs, bars, pubs and multi-cuisine restaurants in Delhi. Rajiv Chowk metro station of the Delhi Metro opens right at the central park in the Connaught Place. Use metro coupon passes issued as smart card in all the metro station to get 10% discount on your every trip in Delhi Metro.

Connaught place is coupled with Janpath Marktet and Emporium street (Baba Khadak Singh Marg). Janpath market has everything that you would need to give your friends once you return your home. From high quality souvenirs, Indian Jewellery and Aromas and other traditional items to low cost daily wear clothes. Be ready to bargain here, one tip is to directly reduce the price you are willing to pay to the half of what the shopkeeper told you. It would be good if you have an Indian friend to help you. Baba Khadak Singh Marg has some of the quality emporiums from different states of India exhibiting their culture and traditions. You can buy home decorative things to traditional clothes and souvenirs. All prices are fixed and maintained by the Government, no need to bargain. On the way to emporiums you will find Khadi Gramodyog Bhawan or Khadi Emporium, buy India’s pure and original herbal products and cosmetics from here, again it is a government shop and closes by 6 PM.

Places near Connaught Place: India Gate, Jantar Mantar, Railway Museum, President House

2. India Gate and Rashtrapati Bhawan ( President House)

Take a taxi or Auto Rickshaw (tuk tuk) from Connaught Place to reach Rashtrapati Bhawan, or get down at Central Secretariat metro station (Yellow and Violet Line) from Rajiv Chowk metro station and walk a bit to North Block/South Block (cheaper and recommended). Rashtrapati Bhawan is the largest residence of any chief of the state in the world. It is accompanied by huge twin structures of North block and South block. The view of Rashtrapati Bhawan is magnificent as you climb up the Raisena hill from the Vijay Chowk, as you climb you will feel the magnificent structure rising in the sky. Getting down to the same road will lead you to India Gate.

india gate
India Gate

India gate is walk able from Rashtrapati Bhawan, the road connecting these two is known as Rajpath where every year military parade occurs on Republic Day (26th January). India Gate is an arch monument, a first world war memorial dedicated to the Indian soldiers who were killed in action during first world war. Surrounded by the lush green grasses and wide roads of Delhi. India gate is one of the most popular destination for the tourists in Delhi. Best time to go there is in the evening and stay here till the dark. You will have one of the best experience here if you visit this place and Rashtrapati Bhawan between January 26th to January 29th at night, as these places are well lit because of Republic Day celebrations.

3. Akshardham Temple

akshardham temple
Akshardham Temple

Akshardham Temple in New Delhi is the world’s largest comprehensive Hindu Temple. Officially opened in November  2005, the temple is relatively new and has modern features. With its big size, big area, and beautiful carvings and paintings all over, you need at least one whole day to spend here to see, learn and admire most of the things presented here.

Apart from the regular temple functionality, this religious place offers more entertaining and informative ways to involve in the spiritual environment. There is a video presentation on a large IMAX theater featuring the early life of Swaminarayan. There is a boat ride in the cave exhibiting Indian culture and ancient Indian science and mathematical achievements. And there is musical fountain presentation after aarti based on the messages of Upanishads.

Please beware that camera, mobile phone or any baggage except female hand bag is not allowed inside the temple complex. Leave them in your car or in the cloak room. The earlier you go the better it is, as the crowd increases by time. There would be a huge queue for security check up. The complex is closed on Monday.

4. Qutub Minar

qutub minar
TWR Team at Qutub Minar

72.5 metres (237.8 ft) high, Qutub Minar is the tallest free standing brick minaret in the world. The complex is easily reachable from Qutub Minar metro station of Delhi Metro (Yellow Line). The main gate is however slightly far, but walk able from the metro station. The complex consists of variety of architecture from ancient Indian to relatively newer Islamic architecture including Qutub Minar built in 1193 A.D. The entry fees for Indians is Rs 10 and for Foreigners is Rs 250.

The complex has lush green lawns and other ancient and medieval period temple ruins. Qutub Minar was itself built with the materials of these ruins. Just nearby there exists an Iron Pillar which belongs to medieval Hindu period of Delhi. Standing tall for past 1600 years, this 7 m tall iron pillar has attracted the attention of metallurgists and archaeologists, as it has not rusted yet. The pillar has been called as “a testament to the skill of ancient Indian blacksmiths.”

If you are planning to go here, make it little earlier as this complex will start closing from 5:30 PM. After this if you have some time you can head to Delhi haat, which is a beautiful traditional style themed market where you will find handicraft and other traditional things and authentic Indian food, sweets and snacks from all over India. The best time to go to haat is March-April and September to December, as at this time weather is good, tourists are more and there are more stalls and colorful nights. We have been there in winters and I heard complaints from the people who were in stalls about the extreme weather, less number of tourists and pale environment.

Delhi Haat
TWR team at Delhi Haat

5. Lotus Temple

lotus temple
Lotus Temple

Completed in 1986, the temple has its faith associated with the Bahai community. With its popular lotus shape design, the temple has won several architectural awards. Come to this  place if you want to sit in peace and meditate. There are periodically short prayers in the temple sung by the members. Temple is open to the people of all faiths or religions to meditate together under the same roof. In 2002, the temple became one of the most visited buildings in the world surpassing Taj Mahal and Eiffel Tower. The temple is easily reachable from Kalka Ji Mandir Metro station (Violet Line).

The temple requires extreme discipline from the visitors, you can enter inside the main temple building in batches making queue. Mobile phones should be on silent mode and conversation or talking is not allowed inside the temple.

In the proximity of the temple, another internationally famous temple of ISKCON is present which is dedicated to Lord Krishna. It is worth visiting their during the time of Aarti. The temple is closed on Mondays.

Some Tips and Warnings

For experiencing Delhi properly you need at least two weeks dedicated to this city. Delhi has the ability to make you travel in time from ancient period to the modern era.

All the places which we have mentioned are connected with Delhi’s state of the art HOHO bus service (Hop On Hop Off) except the Akshardham Temple. You can buy HOHO bus travel coupon on their website HoHo Delhi. There are two dedicated bus routed (Red and Green), and covers a vast number of attractions.

Be careful before planning a week long trip for Delhi. Keep your Mondays free as on Monday almost all the major attractions in Delhi are closed including the HOHO bus service. On Monday you can plan to visit places like world class malls in Saket, Gurgaon and Noida where you can try ice skating, freeze lounge  amusement parks, an experience of being in the sea cruise and authentic Indian food or movie within these malls. Also visit Kingdom of dreams in Gurgaon which is a complete package of all entertainment.

Delhi at present is considered unsafe for women due to increasing number of crimes against women in recent days and it is recommended to be cautious on the street against eve teasers, it is better to be in group and avoid late nights outside.

There are a lot of places of interest in Delhi, please share your favourite destination or food joint in the comments section below.

Sanskar Shrivastava is the founder of international students' journal, The World Reporter. Passionate about dynamic occurrence in geopolitics, Sanskar has been studying and analyzing geopolitcal events from early life. At present, Sanskar is a student at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture and will be moving to Duke University.

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Europe

ETIAS, the new permit you will need to travel to Europe from the US starting 2021

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Last April the European Parliament and the European Council confirmed at the final agreement for the creation of the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), a registration system for all visitors from third countries that are now exempt from visa. In order to strengthen border security, the European Commission proposed the creation of this system which will enter into full operation in 2021.

The ETIAS authorisation is not a visa. Once operational, it will carry out pre-travel screening for security and migration risks of travellers benefiting from visa-free access to the Schengen area. When arriving at the EU borders, travellers from the United States of America will need to have both a valid travel document and an ETIAS authorisation.

What countries will require it?

The ETIAS will facilitate access to countries within the Schengen Area to travelers from third countries that do not currently require a visa in order to improve security and to prevent irregular immigration. Therefore, to know if you need to use ETIAS or not, you will first have to find out if the country you want to visit falls within the Schengen Area, and you will also need to know if your country was visa-exempt until now.

Schengen Area Countries

It is important to remember that not all 28 countries of the European Union (EU) are part of the Schengen Area and that not all Schengen countries are part of the European Union. Great Britain and Ireland, for example, are part of the EU (Great Britain is scheduled to leave after Brexit), but not the Schengen Area; while Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein are part of the Schengen Area, but not members of the EU.

Therefore, an ETIAS waiver will be required to visit the following countries: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Holland, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Sweden and Switzerland.

Countries’ citizens who will need to apply for ETIAS.

As stated above, ETIAS will be required to travelers from countries that do not require a visa. Currently, individuals from the following 57 countries do not require Schengen visas to visit countries in the European Union. However, with the arrival of ETIAS expected in 2021, passport holders of these countries will require an ETIAS waiver to travel to Europe for the purposes of tourism, business or transit for a short 90 days stay in any 180-day period.

How is it going to work?

Prior to traveling, those interested in acquiring an ETIAS waiver must fill out an online application providing with basic information (name, age, occupation, passport number, country of entry in Europe). In addition, they must answer a few questions on safety and health issues, among others. Approval often takes minutes once your ETIAS application is complete, and the maximum amount of time for approval is only four days.

What do I need to apply?

All you need to apply is a valid Passport, a credit or debit card to pay the fee and a completed ETIAS application. Since it’s a visa waiver, you won’t need any further paperwork. And, unlike visa applications, ETIAS doesn’t require an interview at any embassy or consulate.

How do I apply?

The ETIAS application form is already available online, although its use won’t enter into force until 2021. You can apply for your ETIAS until 5 days before your trip, but the sooner you start the process, the better. Once in the application form, you’ll be prompted to provide your passport details and asked to answer a list of security questions. It’s vital that your application be error-free and that the information is an exact match to your passport. Any discrepancies between your ETIAS application and your passport could cause a delay in processing and/or approval You’ll also need a credit or debit card to complete the process.

Once you’re finished, the form is submitted immediately and you will receive an email with the information of you of approval status. You should receive the email within minutes, although sometimes issues on approval status could take up to four days to be sorted out.

How much is it going to cost?

Each applicant over 18 years old will have to pay a 5€ travel authorization fee. The payment must be done online during the application process.

How long can I use it for and when does it expire?

The ETIAS can be used for stays up to 90 days in a period of 180 days. The travel purposes covered by ETIAS are tourism, short-term business such or conference and qualifying medical procedures. Your approved ETIAS will last for three years, but it might expire sooner if your passport does. You will have to re-apply for ETIAS when you get a new passport.

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Why is It Important to Cross-Check Hotels in Mussoorie In Advance?

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Mussoorie is one of the lovely places that one can visit while having a trip to Uttarakhand. The hill station is known for its majestic natural beauty that is always appreciated not only by the tourists who arrive at the location but also by people who listen about the place from others. Though Uttarakhand is known as one of the best hill station location in India, Mussoorie is known to be one of the best places in Uttarakhand. If you are planning a trip to this place, it is always necessary to cross-check the hotels in Mussoorie in advance for a number of different reasons.

To Get A Wide Range Of Options

It is always a great idea to search for the hotels well in advance as much as about at least two to three months. If you are planning to visit the place during the peak season, there are high chances that the hotels will get booked and you may land up with no much of options. Hence, if you have your tickets booked during the peak season that is from April to June, it is very much important for you to make the arrangements of your accommodation quite in advance.

You may come across a number of hotel options a few days before your travel date but you may not like them much or they may not meet up your requirements. On the other hand, if you start searching for the hotels at least one month in advance, you can come across a good range of options so that you can select the one as per your requirements.

To Get The Right Location

There are a number of factors that you need to have a check at while you are selecting the right hotel for you. One of the major factors is the location of the hotel. Apart from the peak season ranging between the month of April and June, there are also a number of tourists who prefer to visit the place during the winters in order to witness snowfall. It is a different experience to see everything getting covered under the white sheet of snow. But you can witness such beauty only when you are getting your hotel at the right place.

For this, you need to do a bit of research work and check on the various hotels and resorts that are available there. You can read reviews of various hotels to understand the facilities available and the view from the hotel. Also, you can take help from the experts such as the travel agent in your city to know about the hotel at the right location so that you can enjoy snowfall at its best. Even if you are not visiting the place during winters, it is important to have a proper hotel at a proper location so that you can enjoy the lovely scenic beauty of the place.

Get The Best Room

There are so many people who are not satisfied by checking in to the best hotel, they also crave for the best room in the hotel. Suppose, you are going to Mussoorie for your honeymoon trip, you will wish to get the best room to have some of the best moments spent. But getting the best room will not be that easy if you are not searching for it in advance. You might love to have a room that is perfect to make your stay a special one with your newly married partner. But to search for that perfect room, you need to take initiative in advance.

It is a great option to select the right hotel and check for the room availabilities and then directly contact the desk of the hotel to book your room for your perfect trip. Also, there are options at times to visit the site of the hotel and get the booking of the room done as per your convenience and requirements.

Get Cheaper Deals

There are so many sites available today that promise to offer best deals on hotels and other travel-related options. But you will be able to get such deals and discounts only when you search for them properly and also in advance. This is because the deals are normally available when the rooms of the hotels are not booked. Also, when it is not a peak season, the hotel rooms are sold out at a much cheaper cost. You need to find out such hotels in Mussoorie that are great in terms of facilities and other factors and also are available at cheaper tariff.

How will you come across such options? The best way is to search for them online. There are so many sites that offer you deals and offers on various hotels and hence you can get the best option for your stay. Even if you do not come across any of such sites that are offering you hotel rooms at cheaper cost, you can make use of various discount coupons and so on to get a good discount on the room that you have been booking.

Customize Your Timings

Though the check in and the check out timing are fixed by the hotel management team, but there are a lot of times when you can customize your time of check in. This is again possible when you are booking the hotel rooms well in advance. When the rush is not there, you can get some extra time for your hotel check-in, depending upon the staffs of the hotel. There are some of the hotels who are lenient enough to provide you an extra stretch in your timing, while there are many others who may not.

So, when you have time in hand, you can search the best hotels, contact them to know about the time stretch and then can get your room booked accordingly.

A number of people may think that booking any hotel in the hill stations will offer you a great stay and great experience. Such a thought can get wrong at times. Hence, the best way is to search for different hotels and them select the best one quite in advance to have a comfortable and enjoyable trip.

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Health

Dental tourism, actually one of the most popular

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Commonly known as dental holidays in Europe, it is actually a subset of medical tourism which is experiencing an important growth in this late times, since people from all around the globe is on a more frequent basis using their vacations to seek dental care outside their local healthcare systems. Today, globalization has created an interdependent market which is developing exponentially, where technologies spread out throughout the world quicker than ever, allowing people to find good dental care services at locations where costs are way lower than those at their places of origin.

But, why is this happening?

This has become an unstoppable phenomenon due to the economical differences existent nowadays amongst countries, especially between those that share borders. Obviously people seeking dental care, travel for a huge variety of reasons but an undeniable fact that affects decisions is driven by money, being able to have access to the necessary solution at a significant lower cost, is a strong element in decision making, even more when the quality of the service is as good as the local one only by passing over to a neighbor country.

For example, people from Austria travel to Albania, Hungary, Ukraine, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania and Bosnia. Citizens from the United States and Canada go to Dental Solutions Algodones Mexico in Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru and Ecuador; patients from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland, Turkey, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Hungary, Ukraine and Poland; and from Australia to other countries of South-East Asia. Some people travel because the funding of public healthcare at their place of choice turns out to be more convenient, or the general access to healthcare at that specific place fits their personal needs.

Freedom of practice

But not all the reasons for dental tourism are due to economics. In Europe, dental professionals are allowed to move their practice from one country to another and they are required only a minimum set of qualifications approved by the country of destination, giving them a greater freedom of practice. This is intended by the union to standardize dental services all over the areas of its members. Furthermore, dentistry universities of the union have developed programmes to help their students on completing some of their education at foreign facilities. This standardization brings down barriers for patients mobility within the area.

How about quality?

Since the main reason in most cases is related to pricing, low prices come with dentists that offer minimum fixed costs, less government issues and lower expenses including those derived from insurance to patients with a high income. Outside the country of origin, many bureaucratic steps are inexistent, allowing dentists to focus more freely on their task. Procedures such as porcelain veneers or dental implants become affordable for many people that can not pay for them back at home. And right here is where the main questions about this matter are focused. First, does price differentials imply lower quality results?, and second, Is it safe to undergo a large scale dental procedure abroad on a short period of time?.

The answers here are NO and YES, and here is why. As previously mentioned, globalization has a lot to do with this, because the latest technologies, materials and techniques are more accessible today than ever before anywhere in the world. In the first case, a dentist with a proven professional record, will charge the appropriate fees according to the country where they work, and the lower price does not necessarily mean poor quality, it means that the patient comes from a place where income is higher but expenses are higher too. In the second case, it is easy to figure out that the answer is affirmative since, as stated in the previous point, quality has nothing to do with the price in this case, and regardless of whether the procedure is something simple or complex, if the work is well done, there is no reason to expect any further problems.

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