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Entries in india (13)


Mumbai’s Best People-Watching – Marine Drive

There is no better way to explore a city than on foot, and if that walk takes you along a sea-fronting 4.3km promenade, what could be nicer? Welcome to Mumbai's Marine Drive, a gently curving wide road that carries traffic to and from the busy Nariman Point, a hub of office blocks, government offices and shops. Marine Drive is rather picturesquely known in all the guidebooks as the Queens Necklace, and technically as Netaji Shubash Chandra Bose Road but everyone calls it, quite simply, Marine Drive.

Mansion blocks line one side of the drive, and anywhere else in the world they would be fabulously expensive pieces of real estate, not to mention eye-poppingly beautiful. Here in Mumbai they are indeed fabulously expensive but many of them are distinctly ramshackle, relics of a repressive rent control regime that means people paid virtually nothing for prime real estate, and so the landlords (naturally) didn't bother with the upkeep. Along with the mansion blocks there is the gorgeous 19th century Wilson College, sports clubs, equestrian shows, and a large aquarium that is a venerable institution, visited by generations of children on organized school trips. There are cricket pitches – always busy – a railway line, statues, hotels and restaurants, and a brand new hospital that looks more like a 7 star hotel from the outside. The variety is fascinating.

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India’s Republic Day Celebration

If you are anywhere near New Delhi in late January, then you have a treat in store, for on 26th January India celebrates its Republic Day. In fact, the holiday is celebrated all over the country, in every town, with flag hoisting, parades, military reviews, cultural programs and more, but the Parade To Beat All Parades takes place in New Delhi. This annual extravaganza really is one of the more spectacular events of the year and is a set piece absolutely not to be missed.

The parade takes place along Rajpath, a long, wide avenue that leads from the Presidential Palace, Rashtrapati Bhavan, to India Gate, the country’s iconic Arc de Triomphe-like war memorial.

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Traveling India in the monsoon

There are always advantages to every travel situation in life, and this is never more true than when you are planning a trip to India.

Never forget that this vast country is, geographically, a sub-continent.  From the snowy peaks of the Himalayas in the north, through the deserts to the west, down to the steamy heat of the south, there is a huge range of climatic zones.  So whenever you plan your journey, there will always be the weather factor to be considered.  Given the size of the country, there is no single ‘ideal’ time to visit India.

For example, if you wish to travel to Ladakh, high up in Kashmir, you can only do so during the hot summer months, when the snow melts in the passes, and the road and airport become, once again, accessible.

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Inside Kashmir: Snow scenes at Gulmarg

The little Indian Kashmiri town of Gulmarg is in a class of its own in the prettiness and quaintness stakes.

Nestled at 9,000 feet, accessible only by a switchback bumpy road up from the plains that takes you through miles of pine forest, you arrive in Gulmarg and enter a different world all together.

“Marg” in Hindi means meadow, and “Gul” means flower, and that is exactly what Gulmarg is – a vast circular meadow full of flowers, around which the town has grown.In the meadow horses graze amidst fields of lupins and daisies, looking too ridiculously picturesque for words.

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Top tips for traveling in the tropics: India

In a perfect world we would all travel when the weather was horrid back home and fabulous in our destination.

That weather would always be temperate and a little sunny, but not too much, and not too rainy.  As a result, we wouldn’t need to schlepp woollies and umbrellas around the globe.

However, as it stands, we all need to travel regardless of weather, and so for travelers heading towards India at this time of the year, there are basic precautions to take against the heat.

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Varanasi: River Ganges

Expectations were high as we flew into Varanasi's smart little airport.

Years of wanting to visit one of India's holiest cities had always been tempered with a slight fear as to how to handle the piety and religious fervour and, indeed, the spectacle of death that are an integral part of the DNA of this sacred city.

And now, at long last, here we were, barreling into town on a crowded road through suburbs which looked pretty much any suburb in any small town in India.

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Top Five Things to do in Rajasthan

How on earth do you choose the top 5 must-see places to visit in a state as fabulously picturesque as India’s Rajasthan?

With huge difficulty, is the answer.

Rajasthan is everything a visitor thinks and hopes India will be. 

And then some.

It is dramatic, it is colorful, it has forts and palaces and castles, it has camels and brightly painted elephants, and the men wear the most fabulous turbans you can imagine.  History, culture, amazing scenery, serious shopping…

…in other words, choosing the top of the Rajasthani pops is not easy, but here goes.

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8 Tips for Traveling India


Yes, India is big and noisy and crowded and hectic and hot and poor and… and… and… everything else you may have heard.

Yes, there are beggars.

Yes, the food is spicy.

Yes, you will probably get Delhi Belly on your maiden trip there.

But why should you let a few little details like these put you off?

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Insider guide to India: Diwali

Take one of the most important Hindu festivals of the year.  Combine it with the beginning of the festive season (read weddings, weddings, weddings). Add in a dash of deliciously pleasant weather after a long hot summer, and what do you get ?

Diwali, that’s what.

The Hindu festival of lights is an occasion that brings out the best in each and every inhabitant of India - shopping for gifts, eating rich sweets, visiting family and friends, lighting up your home, playing cards and gambling, buying new clothes, and ushering in a new year.  Realistically, what more can one ask ?

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goa, pearl of the orient: top five things to see

India's smallest state, Goa is the world's trance music capital and a party hub. Goa's dizzy reputation dates back to the age of the magic bus and dodgy trip, the 60s, when the first waves of its signature hippies arrived.

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