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India  

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Pedro
Reviewed by: Pedro
Location: Ahmedabad, Jaipur
Duration: 2 weeks
Departure date: from June 2006 to
Travelers: 1
Name of travelers: Pedro

Overview

14 days holiday was rather short but long enough to find out that India is an incredible country and a place to revisit!

Descrizione

I've already been to many places in the world and none of them has ever had such a big impact as my first trip to India! I've said "first" because I know there will be more trips to India to come soon. Well, 14 days holiday was rather short but long enough to find out that India is an incredible country and a place to revisit! Usually, the first thing you hear before you go visit India for the first time is "Either you will love or you will hate India!" Hum... You may guess my choice... I want to return so yes... I love India!

I've never planned a trip as well as this Indian trip. Long before the departure, I'd read about the country and its history, I'd seen plenty of pictures and I'd watched many movies (Bollywood and more). Besides the beautiful places I was going to visit, I also knew that it was going to be a shock because of the misery one we can find there and I thought that I was prepared for that… Well, it's only when you get there that one can really measure how basically a human being can live... And that hurts no matter how strong you are, or how strong you think you are!

This first time trip included Mumbai (or Bombay), Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Jaipur, Delhi and Agra and it was planned together with a friend from India, Lien, who accompanied me to all those places like a tour guide and friend. Well, to have someone with you who speaks the own language and knows how to deal and bargain with the local people was much appreciated. So, thank you Lien for showing me around. I was also pleased to have been introduced to some friends and family, and very happy to have made new friends in that part of the world. Raakhee, Lalneo, Lal, Vahsi were all very kind to me so, thank you also to all of them for such a great time together!

About the places:

MUMBAI - The landing place after 8 hours flight from Zurich! Overcrowded, lack of space, chaotic, crazy, extremely humid for the less good things... As for the good ones, a superb feeling at "Gateway of India", the remarkable Victorian buildings constructed on the edge of Oval Maidan in the Fort Area (High Court, Bombay University and Rajabai Clock Tower) as well as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus). A nice walk along the Marine Drive to Chowpatty Beach (day time) and a horse carriage (night time) were also very interesting and exciting. Another interesting visit was a day out to Elephanta Island where there are some rock-cut temples (caves). Leopold Café and Bar in Colaba was a lovely place to stop for drink and dinner, suggested by another Mumbai friend (Anil).

AHMEDABAD - Capital of Gujarat and a stop for less than 24 hours because of connecting trains from Mumbai to Udaipur. Arrived in the morning and left at night but long enough to not miss Sabarmati Ashram (Mahatma Gandhi's headquarters during the long struggle for Indian independence).

UDAIPUR - Rajasthan's most romantic city! A fantastic and very pleasant stay at the Udai Kothi Hotel with its lovely swimming pool on the rooftop will remain an unforgettable experience. The hotel food (the fish tandoori was really yummy!) and the "banana lassis" and cocktails by the swimming pool were also excellent. Another very good restaurant was the Ambrai. Visits included the City Palace, a boat ride on Lake Pichola passing by Jagniwas Island and its Lake Palace Hotel (James Bond movie's "Octopussy") and a quick stop in Jagmandir Island. Last but not least, breathtaking views from Sajjan Garh (Monsoon Palace) at sunset!

JAIPUR - The Rajasthan's pink capital! Excellent stay at the Trident Hilton Jaipur with a deluxe lakeview room (the lake was still dry!). Very friendly place with many staff from Manipur (Lien's origin), one of them, Lal, accompanied us on our second day visit. There was also good food with plenty of choice and a nice swimming pool. The visits included the most distinctive of Jaipur landmarks "Hawa Mahal" and the Old City (Pink City), the City Palace, "Jantar Mantar" (old observatory from 1700's) as well as Amber Fort, about 11km north of Jaipur. A very amazing experience was the thrilling elephant ride!

DELHI - The capital of India! Over crowded like Mumbai but less chaotic and with more open and larger spaces. Scary arrival at the Delhi railway station with two rickshaw drivers fighting because of us but all okay at the end. Very pleased to meet up Raakhee and Lalneo, Vahsi and my ex-colleague and good friend Myriam with her husband Arjun! The visits included Qutb Minar, Bahai Temple, Red Fort, Raj Ghat, India Gate and Rajpath (Kingsway) heading to Rashtrapati Bhavan (President's House) and the Secretariat Buildings.

AGRA - A one day tour from Delhi to Agra and where I was fascinated and speechless in front of the spectacular World Heritage white-marble mausoleum, the TAJ MAHAL, the most extravagant monument ever built for love! That was the summit of the whole trip to India and a place that I will never forget. The Palace of Jodh Bai in Fatehpur Sikri and the Agra Fort were also worth a visit.

Here's what a special friend on the Net has said after seeing some of my India trip photos: "I can plainly see you had the time of your life"... And that's so true! :-)

GOA - I've returned to India earlier than expected! After such a very good experience the first time (as per my description above), there I was again in India and that in less than four months for one extra week holiday! And this second time, it was to visit Goa! Goa that like Damao and Diu was Portuguese until 1961! So, again, although it was a different kind of holiday, it was still very interesting as it was amazing to find out a little of Portugal in India (i.e. catholic churches, local people with Portuguese names, etc.) as well as to enjoy the beautiful beaches and the yummy Goan food (a mix of Indian and Portuguese food).

A very positive note to Kingfisher Airlines (my favourite airline in India with brand new Airbus A320 and individual TV screen, very good service on board as well as on ground with a Kingfisher valet like a bellboy in a hotel, in Goa airport, carrying my suitcase to the check-in counter!) and to the Dona Sylvia Beach Resort in Cavelossim Beach (a wonderful place where this week holiday couldn't have been better thanks to the very good infrastructures, its superbe location and the very professional and friendly service!).
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