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Things to do and see in India

Mumbai (Bombay)


Bombay was established in 1509 when the Portuguese used it as a trading port. Later it became part of the British Empire and in 1858 it became the base the East India Trading Company and remained until Independence in August 1947.

Today the cities population is 15 million and it’s an important commercial centre. It’s at the heart of India’s banking industry and also it’s where the India film industry Bollywood is located. It’s a city of contrasts as you have places where you will see very modern buildings and yet 45% of the population living in slums, which is the highest of any Indian city. It is very big, noisy, and also a somewhat smelly city. If you are flying into Bombay and have to spend a few days here, we would recommend going to The Gateway Of India, and try and make it to The Chor Bazaar, or the "thieves market" as some people call it. Below is a list of a few other things you should do and see in the city. For more information go to www.incredibleindia.org 

 


Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)


This building was built in 1888 and at the time was one of the grandest railway stations, quite the equal of New York’s Grand Central Station or London’s St Pancras station. Built in the Italian Gothic style, it looks more like a cathedral than a railway station, and today it’s the headquarters of the Central Railway.

 


The Gateway of India


Built by the British to commemorate King George V and Queen Mary's visit to India in 1911, the Gateway of India stands as a monument to the importance of Mumbai as a port when the steamship was king. For many years was indeed the place where people arrived and departed from. The first time we arrived in Bombay it happened to be their Independence Day, which for you Australians, falls on the same day as Australia Day. We tried to go down to see the festivities, but there were thousands of Indians celebrating their Independence, and not much room to move. This was the sight where the British finally left India and gave control back to the people. Admission is free and definitely worth a visit.

 


The Chor Bazaar (Thieves Market)


This market is located south of Maulana Shaukatau Rd. (Grant Rd.). It is open every day except Friday at 10:00 am. You can buy anything from textiles to automobile parts at this market. It is a place we would recommend going if you are looking for a good bargain.

 

 

 

 

Goa


Goa is India's Resort area of the country. This province has miles and miles of white sand beaches. Goa has everything from the budget travelers to the celebrities coming here. You really aren't experiencing the real India when you come here, but it is definitely worth checking out if you are going to be in India. The one thing Goa is known for is their weekly market, which takes place in Anjuna Beach. Here you can buy anything here from handicrafts to clothing. This is a good place to buy your trance c.d., Henna tattoos, or any UV products for all you ravers out there.

Goa used to be Portuguese Colony until 1961 and after that it was replaced as new hippie destination. You have Indian and Portuguese cultures mixing together with food and culture. When you are in Goa many of the buildings have that Old Portuguese style. I would recommend going for a walk around the place and soaking in the atmosphere.

Accommodation in the region includes the luxury resort of Aguada, the Taj holiday village and the Aguada hermitage. There are also good, simple hotels and cottages for rent in villages along the coastline, notably Calangute, Baga and Colva.

 

 

 

Delhi


This has been India’s capital since 1947 and is the country’s third largest city and home to more than 13 million people. Delhi is officially comprised of two separate cities known as Old Delhi and New Delhi. Old Delhi, renowned for its labyrinthine streets and spectacular Mughal architecture, counts the Jama Masjid, India’s oldest and largest mosque, and the Red Fort among its treasures. Meanwhile, New Delhi was designed by eminent Raj-era architect Sir Edward Lutyens. This area of the city has wide, tree-lined streets which has most of the government and business buildings in it. The city has a young population and like Bombay has a huge slum population and you will see beggars at every corner. One other thing you will see is that there is a huge mix of religions in the city that can make things heated at times.

Delhi is really the starting point to the ‘Golden Triangle’, which includes ancient sites and monuments. In the southeast lies Agra, which is home of the famous Taj Mahal. Below is a list of a few of the things you can do and see in the city. For more information go to www.incredibleindia.org

 


Jama Masjid


Jama Masjid is India’s largest mosque and is one of the masterpieces of the Mughal’s greatest builder, Shah Jehan. A huge courtyard, bounded by an arcade and pierced with three gates, lies in front of the prayer hall, which can accommodate 25,000 worshippers, and is dominated by two red-and-white-striped sandstone minarets, 70m tall. The energetic visitors who climb the 122 narrow steps to the top will be rewarded with a magnificent view of Delhi, smog and all. You must wear shorts and short-sleeved shirts or you won’t get in. Admission is free into the mosque, but that is subject to change.


Qutb Minar

The Qutb Minar is an immense tower, started at the end of the 12th century, to commemorate the Muslim conquest of Delhi. Standing 72.5m tall and is built of fluted red sandstone and decorated with calligraphy representing verses from the Koran. The top two levels are faced in white marble. The Minar rises above a site that is home to the oldest extant Islamic monuments in India. There is the Ala-i-Darwaza, complete with horseshoe-shaped arches and elaborate geometric patterns. Next to that, stands the Quwwat-ul-Islam, the first mosque to be built in India. Admission is Rs350, but subject to change at any time.


Chandni Chowk

The bazaars that surround Chandni Chowk, in Old Delhi, offer an array of different goods, from jewelry to vegetables. Naya Bazaar is the spice market on Khari Baoli, where porters haul sackfuls of spices onto ox carts to be peddled in other parts of the city, while the covered Gadodial Market, just off Khari Baoli, is the wholesale spice market with an incredible display of turmeric, pomegranate, dried mangoes, ginger, saffron, lotus seeds, pickles, sugars and chutneys. Admission is free and definitely worth checking out. For more information go to www.chandnichowk.com


Red Fort

The Red Fort was completed in 1648 and it’s the largest of Old Delhi’s monuments. Its red sandstone walls dominate Old Delhi’s Muslim district, rising above a wide dry moat to a height of up to 33m, and are lined with turrets and bastions. The main entrance of the Red Fort opens onto a bazaar that was at one time home to the city’s most skilled goldsmiths, carpet makers and jewelers. It’s a fascinating place to visit and for more information go to www.incredinleindia.org

 

National Museum

This is arguably India’s most fascinating museum, as it has exhibits covering over 5,000 years of Indian history. The museum is definitely worth a visit and for more information go to www.nationalmuseumindia.org

 

 

 

 

 

The Rest of India


Taj Mahal

Built in 1653, this is one of the wonders of the world in stunning white marble and what more can you say about this unbelievable building. When you see most pictures of India this is usually the first one you see. It is in the middle of no where, but we do recommend coming to see it if you go to India. Admission is Rs900, but prices are subject to change. For more information on the Taj Mahal go to www.tourisminindia.com or www.incredibleindia.org

 

Ghats at Varanasi

Varanasi is one of the oldest and holiest cities in India and home to the most famous ghats (steps leading down to the river) in the country. Worshippers flock to these ghats every day to bathe in the holy River Ganges and then worship at the many temples lining the riverbank. Huge crowds of pilgrims gather to take part in this ancient ritual which involves making offerings (puja) to the rising sun; they are watched every morning by large numbers of tourists who come to take photographs of this unusual spectacle. This river is also a place where millions bath and use it for drinking water, so it’s not the most sanitary place to be. For more information go to www.tourismindia.com or www.incredibleindia.org


Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park
was set aside as a game sanctuary in 1926 and became a national park in 1974. It's made up of 688 sq km of breathtaking land, containing rainforests, rivers, sprawling grasslands and herds of wild elephant. It is best known for its thriving population of one-horned Indian rhino, which is the largest in the world. Visitors can use jeeps or cars to travel around the park or can opt for a more traditional mode of transport on the back of an elephant. The park has been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1985. It’s an interesting place and worth a visit.
 


Ellora Temple Caves

The Ellora Temple Caves consist of 34 separate religious shrines carved into the actual rock of a basaltic hill and containing a wealth of sculptural and architectural treasures. Carved between the fourth and ninth centuries AD, the caves represent three separate faiths: Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism. The 16 Buddhist Caves are the oldest in the group. The Jain Caves illustrate the non-violent, ascetic beliefs of this religion, depicting scenes of pastoral beauty and images such as lotus flowers. In terms of stylistic ambition, the Hindu Caves outdo their neighbors – one cave alone, the Temple of Kailasa, covers twice the area of the Parthenon in Athens and took 100 years to complete. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is the largest monolith in the world and is undoubtedly the most visited site at Ellora. For more information go to www.incredibleindia.org

 

Calcutta

Also known as Kolkata, this city was once the capital of the country till it was moved to Delhi in 1947. The city has probably the worst problem with over population and poverty than any other city in the country. During British colonial times it was a prominent British trading port and one of the most valuable ports the British possessed.
   
If you visit Calcutta, most of the sights can be viewed by foot and are in the centre of the city. There is a great heritage trail winding along the bustling streets revealing the city's vibrant past, including museums, churches, temples, atmospheric side-streets with tea stalls, and grand remnants of the Raj. The BBD Bagh area is to the north of the city centre and it has some amazing buildings from British India, including the Writers' Building and Raj Bhavan. To the south of the city is Victoria Memorial (www.victoriamemorial-cal.org), which one of the city's most famous landmarks. Around Sudder Street, the fascinating Indian Museum (www.indianmuseumkolkata.org) has treasures ranging from the archaeological to the artistic and is the largest (and one of the finest) in the country. For more information on the city go to www.wbtourism.com


Bangalore

Bangalore has changed its name to Bengaluru and it’s the proud capital of Karnataka, which is a region located in southern India. The region has over 250km of coast line and its where many locals go on vacation. In recent years the population of the city is rapidly growing, as it’s the main centre for most of India’s software companies. Most of the tourist attractions in the city are located on or around MG Road, which is an area always buzzing with people. If you are looking for a good place to chill for the day go to Cubbon Park, which is Bengaluru's equivalent of Central Park in New York. The cities nightlife is second only to Bombay, as with the increasing number of young people to the city, its always changing and improving. When you arrive check out the Trailblazer newspaper for the latest happenings in the city. For more information on the city go to www.karnatakatourism.org

 

 



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