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Top 5 Destinations in New Delhi: Travel Opinion and Analysis

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qutub minar iron pillar

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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Top packing hacks for all your summer 2019 festivals

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Summer is almost here and with it the prospect of lazy summer festivals and camping with your friends. It is a time for making memories, laughing a lot, listening to great music and soaking up the sun.  

What you definitely don’t need is arriving to find you don’t have half of what you need. Without good planning your great trip can suddenly become a thing of nightmares, with sleepless nights, sunburn, dehydration and blisters.

So to make sure you can sit back and enjoy the atmosphere get out a pen and paper and start your packing list now. Remember that you will have to carry it across the campsite so you need to pack light. Here are some tips on what absolute essentials you will need

Don’t underestimate the power of sleep

Sleep deprivation is part and parcel of any camping or festival experience, but you do need to give yourself the best chance to avoid the complete exhaustion that stops being fun. First things first, you need a tent. That goes without saying, and you can get some great one person options that are super lightweight.

Second up you need something to sleep on, a roll mat is easy but not all that comfortable, and an air mattress can be bulky and a pain to inflate. So consider the halfway option of getting a thermarest. These fold really small, need very little inflation, but give that little bit more comfort.

Pick up a sleeping bag and travel pillow too, but when it comes to keeping warm at night you want to layer up your clothing so you make sure you don’t freeze or overheat. Choose clothes that you can wear in the evening, but also to sleep in if you get cold. You are roughing it so make each item of clothing work extra hard to earn its place in your packing. You can’t go wrong with a good pair of tracksuit bottoms or yoga pants – warm and comfortable.

Take good care of your feet

While fancy fashionable sandals might seem like a great idea, the reality is you will be on your feet for hours and walking a lot across different ground. And if it rains you will very quickly find the ground is churned up into a muddy mess.

So you need to make sure you have good comfortable footwear, which doesn’t necessarily need to be ugly. You can browse all the available options on Buyviu US, including those all important wellies that will be your saviour if the heavens open.

One other thing you should not skimp on is socks – especially if your feet get wet or if it is cold at night. Think like a soldier and keep your feet clean and dry.

Take a decent medical kit for little emergencies

This will save your life. Because you can guarantee the pharmacy provision when you are in the middle of nowhere will be limited and expensive. So be prepared by taking your own.

You should think of all the ways you can be uncomfortable and pack accordingly a good place to start is painkillers, antihistamines, blister plasters, suncream, stuff for a bad stomach, and even some rehydration sachets with electrolytes for a little boost and replenish lost vitamins.

Get a decent rucksack with lots of compartments

Finding things inside a tent in the dark (top tip – remember a torch) is hard enough already. This is why a really good rucksack with multiple compartments for different things. This was you can easily find what you need when you need it without emptying out the entire contents every single time.

Prepare well and you will be all set to have the time of your life and creating memories that will laugh a lifetime. Summer here we come.

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The Best Handmade Souvenirs from Spain are Just a Click Away

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Artisan decorative figurines are one of the most common purchases among the tourists who visit Spain and want to get something special as a souvenir to remember their stay. Spain’s craftsmanship is known throughout the world for the enormous talent behind it, and for years it has prompted tourists to visit the country and purchase ceramic figurines as souvenirs or to complete a previous larger collection of antiques.

But the people fond of arts and decoration who want to get pieces for their collections can’t always come to Spain to buy them. Indeed, lot of tourist can’t bring craft souvenirs back home because they do not have enough room in their suitcases, or because they want to keep traveling before returning to their countries and they can’t carry them around safely. Luckily, shopping is easier now thanks to the Internet, and customers can get products made in other countries from anywhere in the world. What used to require to go to a specific place, look around and ask for prices, and then proceed with the purchase, now is as simple and convenient as entering a website, click here and there and waiting at home for the product to arrive.

The craftmanship field is not foreign to this new concept of shopping. Some companies, especially in the souvenirs’ field, have noticed the needs of the modern public and have wisely approached a niche as specific as this one. For  this reason, there are online companies such as Toledogifts which are dedicated to the sale and distribution of these decorative figurines through the Internet. The e-commerce technology offers numerous facilities for the sale and distribution of handcrafts online, which makes posible several websites such may offer plenty of options and fair prices.

Toledogifts has brought internet solutions to a sector as traditional as ceramic and porcelain figures, craftsmanship in general. It is no longer necessary to travel to buy collectibles or anything like that, now all you have to do is go to their website and proceed through the catalog to choose what you like. Their online store stands out for its variety and professionalism. They sell high quality handmade products crafted by Spanish manufacturers, and they ship to any part of the world, allowing the customer to confortably receive the products at home, forgeting plane incoveniences.

The first thing that stands out in this company is its catalogue. Scrolling down the webpage, the user can find a wide range of the most popular craft products from every Spanish region. Thanks to the number of filters and options available -essential tools to speed up the search and, of course, the purchase-, you can easily find what you are looking for.

Toledogifts complies with the standards of online stores to ensure consumer satisfaction. Besides high quality products, they also offer the best delivery service. They take care of shipping in the shortest possible time and ensuring, above all, the proper protection of the pieces so that they are not damage during in the journey. Also, they always guarantee that the price is as close as possible to their real value.

Amog the different great products that can be found on this website, the unique damascenes from Toledo stand out. Damascene is defined as the art of inlaying gold on a soft iron base. Damascenes take their name from the city of Damascus, because it is craft technique which originated in the Syrian capital. Their origins are remote -there are vestiges of more than 1500 years old, and pieces have been found in different civilization, but the Imperial City of Toledo became the world’s largest producer of damascenes.

There are three different styles of damascenes: the traditional and genuine Arabic modeling, where the gold or silver thread is highlighted with chisels; the Renaissance style introduced in the 16th century and which represents floral, animal or landscape motifs; and also the new model called “vistas”, in which the city of Toledo is represented often centred on motifs of Don Quixote, so logically rooted in these Castilian-La Mancha lands. The pieces are beautiful and not so easy to find outside Spain, which makes them perfect for picky art collectors.

Other best-sellers of the webpage are artisan ceramic plates and porcelaine figures. Porcelain is considered a luxury material and is widely worked by artisans in Spain given its moldability property. Porcelain’s composition is kaolin, which provides the distinctive with pigmentation after it’s baked, feldspar and quartz. An artisan creates a clay figures inspired in the given design, providing it with the details that will be seen in the final figure. Afterwards, the artisan takes molds of and pours liquid porcelain in them. When the consistency is adecuate, molds are retired and the artisan will paste, polish, sculpt and bake the final figure.


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Top 10 reasons to visit Iceland by car

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Iceland car travel

For a long time Iceland was a well kept travellers secret. It was not the typical choice of holiday, but now this wonderful country is becoming more and more well known for that holiday of a lifetime and a chance to see and do things that you can’t do anywhere else in the world.

And there really is only one way to really experience this wild country properly and that is using car rental in Iceland to explore it for yourself. It is far better, and far cheaper, than trying to take day excursions with the other tourists and so many great adventures can be had this way. Here are the top reasons why touring Iceland’s roads absolutely should be your next holiday without delay.

1.The people are really, really nice

This is absolutely true. Icelandic people are very proud of their beautiful country and very keen to show it at its best to visitors. Other places in the world are known for quite a surly reception, but this is absolutely not the case here. You’ll notice it the second you head of to the car rental in Keflavik Airport. The conversation is easy, and english quite widely spoken which can make travel easier. Of course once you are out on the road exploring for yourself you should absolutely get chatting to the locals as you explore, they often know the best places to visit or eat that simply aren’t available on google or tripadvisor. Local knowledge is key for getting off the beaten track.

2.Iceland is really easy to navigate by road

Iceland is not a huge country, and there is one huge road that traverses most of it for about 190 miles. It is known as the Golden Circle. So this means that you have a great point of reference for when you are exploring. You can easily slip away from the main road to explore into the countryside, and then hop back on the Golden Circle to get to your next location. The roads are pretty well kept here – even the gravel ones, so you don’t need to worry too much about the terrain when choosing a hire car. Unless you are planning to get really off road that is.

3. The night sky is a thing of beauty

The night time is truly beautiful, especially in winter when the nights are much longer. With so little light pollution and the chance to see the aurora borealis this is a sight few people actually get to experience for themselves. Of course to really get the best of this opportunity there is really only one way to do it, instead of a car look at camper rental in Iceland instead and stay out all night. This is especially useful in the summer when the nights are very very short. This way you have all night to enjoy it while snuggled up warm in your sleeping bag.

4. The unspoiled beauty of Iceland

Of course the other great thing about Iceland camper rental is that by getting out of the towns and into the beautiful countryside you can see Iceland how it should be seen as a beautiful, scenic natural landscape. Imagine being able to camp somewhere so inspiring and free from the intervention of man and waking up to the freshest air and sounds of nature.

5. Visiting the villages gives you a real taste of Icelandic life

Most of the population don’t live in the major cities of Reykjavik, Isafjordur and Akureyri. Most life in smaller communities dotted around the country, and bearing in mind how friendly the people are, it is a chance to really embrace a different culture and take part.

6. Get out there and try the amazing fresh food

The great thing about hopping from village to village on your tour is the chance to try real local food. It is not too dissimilar to Scandinavian food, and there is of course plenty of fresh fish available, as well as lamb. You have probably heard of Skyr, the Icelandic cheese a little like yoghurt. Well here it is made into all types of delicious dishes you absolutely have to try.

7. Iceland has so many different landscapes

It is almost magical the different landscapes you can see. From grassy fields with Icelandic horses, to snow covered tundra, from magnificent coastlines to moonscapes and lava fields it is really something quite special and like nowhere else on earth. With your car you can experience all this, jumping out to hike on foot and get close to nature, before driving to what might seem like a completely different world at your next location.

8. You can watch the landscape change before your very eyes

There are volcanoes in Iceland, and the geology is formed on an every moving tectonic plate that is actually causing the country to grow in size by 2 cm every year. Its impressive and by driving up to the Lake Myvatn area you can see where steam is being vented from the heat under the earth’s crust. The volcano fields are also very beautiful, and give a strange quality to the landscape, almost like you have landed on the moon.

9. Take your binoculars with you, the bird watching is fantastic

With very few predators on Iceland, bird populations are able to thrive here. There are so many varieties, and depending on the time of year there is a chance to see many migratory birds too. It is not just birds you have a chance to see, you can also opt to go whale watching too at certain location. Heading out by boat to cruise alongside the magnificent animals.

10. You will feel like you have had the most amazing adventure

There is nowhere in the world quite like Iceland. Heading out on your road trip with nothing but a map and an open heart will help you discover wonders only shown to the few brave enough to get off the well travelled path. You’ll create memories hear that will last a lifetime.

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