Travel to India to See The Taj Mahal

When I went to visit India’s Taj Mahal the first time, I experienced massive crowds making it difficult to enjoy my time there. Recently, I went again, but this time I employed a different strategy. 
 
Get There Early 
The ticket booth at the Taj Mahal opens at 6 AM, but you want to get there about 45 minutes earlier. The best time to visit is between November and February when it probably will not rain and temperatures will remain cooler. While you will probably not be the first in line, you will be close. Speed up the process by having the exact change for your ticket. As of 2020, that is 1,100 rupees if you do not live in India. There is an added advantage of going as the sun rises because the light makes the building look magical. You will also beat the heat later in the day. Arriving before the crowds also gives you the advantage of seeing more because your ticket is only good for three hours. You may also want to plan your trip around the full moon as the temple is open two nights before and after the full moon along with the night of the full moon.  
 
Enter Through the West Gate  
There are three gates to the Taj Mahal. You will want to use the west gate. While it is a little further from many hotels, it is also less crowded so that you can get in faster. The east gate also opens early, but the waiting lines are usually longer. The south gate does not open until 8 AM, and it is near vendors who can be pushy.  
 
Plan Ahead 
You will be put in lines at the Taj Mahal based on your sex. If you are traveling with someone of the opposite sex, make sure that you agree on a meeting place inside the gates. Traditionally, the lines for men move faster than the lines for women.  
 
Visiting the Taj Mahal is a marvelous experience that many find incredibly spiritual. Follow these tips to make the most of your time there. 

Belly-Friendly Snacks to Bring on Your Next Trip

Most people will experience the occasional bout of travel sickness. Sometimes it comes from drinking unfiltered water. Other times, it comes from eating sketchy street food. But, when you travel as much as I do, you learn which foods will make you feel better. Ideally, you’ll also pack these items so they’re ready to eat as soon as you hit a low spot. If you’re starting to plan a trip to India, consider bringing along any of these stomach-friendly foods. You’ll thank me later.

Luna Bars – You can find Luna bars at just about any airport or pharmacy in America, and they’re widely available abroad. I like to pack a few in my day packs to supplement meals or, in dire situations, replace them. They have a great carb-protein-fat ratio and enough calories to keep you going through a full day of travel – or through a surprise stomach illness. Importantly, the flavors are easy on my gut, which let me get nutrition without risking upset. Lemon is my favorite, and I typically buy them in bulk on Amazon before a trip.

Smoked Salmon – It might sound strange, but I find smoked salmon to be an excellent salve for an upset stomach. It’s a great source of protein, B vitamins, and vitamin D, making it a good option for when I’ve been sick and need to replenish some nutrition. It also has plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help boost energy when you’re feeling low. Of course, smoked salmon does have quite a bit of sodium, but this can be helpful if you do a lot of rigorous activity when traveling in hot places. It can help replenish electrolytes lost while moving around or while sweating through a fever. I tend to order smoked salmon online from Lummi Island before heading out for a trip so I have my favorite brands with me.

Oatmeal Packets – When I’m feeling really terrible, I pull out a trusty packet of oatmeal. These are easy to use while traveling in India because nearly everybody has a tea kettle. Just heat that bad boy up, add it to your oatmeal, and you have a belly-friendly snack or meal ready to go. Bland carbohydrates are easily tolerated by the stomach, and they can suppress everything from nausea to heartburn. I usually bring a pack of Quaker Instant Oatmeal packets on trips. They’re great because you can pour the hot water directly into the packet and eat out of that – no bowls needed.

Applesauce Pouches – Applesauce is the best sweet treat to sooth a sick stomach. It’s easy to digest and has tons of nutrients, like pectin, which is a kind of fiber that dissolves in water. Pectin is great if you’re experiencing a case of food poisoning, as it can help to firm up your stool. I like to bring Braniac kids applesauce packets with me on trips. I might look a little silly while eating them, but they really hit the spot when I’m not feeling so hot.

Travel to India to See The Red Fort

The iconic Red Fort in Delhi is one of the country’s most popular attractions. The massive complex was commissioned by Shah Jahan in 1648 and required just under nine years before completion. The location served as home to India’s royal for nearly 200 years. The fort is octagonal in design and quickly became famous for the structure’s ornamentation, gardens and water channel. The Lahori gate serves as the main entrance, which is bordered by the Chatta Chowk bazaar. Guided tours are available.  
 
What to See  
Upon entering the fort, guests encounter the Naubat Khana or Drum House. Musicians entertained royals here on special occasions. The structure has since been converted into the War Memorial Museum with exhibits that include weapons dating back to the Mughal era. The stunning array of buildings includes the Mumtaz Mahal that was once the palace of the Shah’s wife before becoming an archaeological museum. Additional museums include the Drishyakala, which exhibits hundreds of historical artworks. Touring the palaces provides a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle back in the day.  
 
When to Visit 
The best time of year to visit India and the Red Fort is between the months of November to February. In this way, the weather is not too hot and guests avoid the rainy season. The fort is open every day except Mondays from 6:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. In the evenings, the staff presents a special multimedia show to further provide the fort’s history. Visitors are allowed to take small bags into the complex. But, all items are inspected by security first. The lines are separated for man and women. Thus, groups must decide where to meet to prevent losing each other in the crowd. Visitors must exercise caution, as the site is known to attract pickpockets.  

Travel to India to See The Golden Temple of Amritsar

If you are planning to visit India, there are many beautiful sights to see. However, there is one particular spot which stands out from the rest. Visiting The Golden Temple of Amritsar is a beautiful, once in a lifetime experience that you cannot afford to miss. As Sikhism’s holiest site, this temple offers all of its visitors a beautiful and spiritual experience. Your faith, race, and culture do not matter, as everyone is welcome to visit India’s shining star. The Golden Temple of Amritsar is located in Punjab, about 460 km from Delhi. 
 
It is important to note that both men and women cover their heads out of respect before entering the temple, and you will be expected to as well. It is also expected that you wear long pants and cover your shoulders. In addition to this, you are not allowed to wear shoes inside of the temple, like most other holy places. Do not fear, however, as there is a foot bath you must walk through prior to entering to make sure your feet are clean. Surrounding the temple is a moat, known as the holy tank. It is filled with holy water, which many people bathe in to wash away their sins and keep illness away. Men have an open area in which they can bathe in public, however, women have their own private area in which to bathe. Once you have bathed, you are allowed to walk to the most sacred and central temple, the Harmandir Sahib. What makes this temple special is that it is gilded in 750 kg of pure gold, not something you see everyday. 
 
In general, crowds are large for the better part of the day, but you are allowed to spend as much time in the temple as you like after waiting in the long line. Up to 100,000 people are usually expected at the temple each day. Locals are also very friendly, and will take the opportunity to speak with you and educate you about the temple and their religion. If you ever get the chance, visiting this site is truly a life changing experience. 

Travel to India to See The Holy City of Varanasi

India is a culturally diverse land of enchantment and spirituality with a lot of mysterious and unique places to visit. One of them is Varanasi – a cultural capital of the country and one of the most unique and fascinating destinations on the planet. Only in this city full of contrasts you can become shocked, impressed and fascinated at the same time. However, before visiting Varanasi, you should be well prepared and understand certain nuances of this holy city.  
 
The best and most comfortable time for visiting Varanasi is winter (from November to February) when the temperature is low and humidity is not too high.  
 
When traveling to Varanasi, try not to miss its famous spiritual and cultural festivals and celebrations. One of them is Mahashivratri (in February or March depending on the lunar calendar) – a religious festival worshipping Lord Shiva. During the festival, you can enjoy dancing performances, fairs, and temple rituals. Another event you should definitely see and experience while traveling to Varanasi is Holi. It is the most colorful Indian festival held in March. People throw water and color powders on each other by celebrating the victory of good over evil.  
 
Your visit to Varanasi will be incomplete if you do not visit some of the city’s famous attractions. They are ancient temples, River Ganges (the Holiest Hindu river), the sleepy village of Singhpur, and Ramnagar Port on the eastern bank of River Ganges.  
 
As for the money, one day in Varanasi will cost you approximately $17. This includes about $3-4 a day spent on food, between $1 and $1.5 on local transportation, and $13-14 on housing. So, a one-week trip to Varanasi will cost you about $240. 

Travel to India to See The Gateway of India

The Gateway of India remains one of the most popular attractions in the country and is situated in the southern region of Mumbai. Construction on the massive and intricate structure began in 1920 and was completed four years later. Yellow basalt was used to create the gateway, which is designed in Indo-Saracenic style with Gujarati features that include complex latticework. The Mumbai harbor and the famous Taj Mahal hotel are nearby.  
 
The arch is rectangular and contains three distinct sections. The center of the structure rises 85 feet into the air. The top boasts a dome that is 48 feet in diameter. The dome has four turrets adorned with latticework. On either side are expansive halls covered by intricately carved stone. The interior of each is large enough to hold 600 guests. Behind the arch are steps that venture down to the Arabian Sea.  
 
When to Visit  
Making the journey to India after September spares guests from the monsoon season. Venture to the site in the early morning hours or after sunset to see the structure illuminated. The entrance to the gateway is free. However, visitors are advised to bring cash in the event they decide to make purchases from local vendors who frequent the gateway.  
 
Additional Attractions  
As the gateway is situated along the harbor, guests often take boat trips to see the city from the waterfront. Local boats also venture for six miles to the Elephanta Caves, which involve a series of temples constructed in the caves to honor the Hindu God Shiva. The caves are open to the public daily from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Entrance fees for visitors is 250 rupees. One can easily spend up to five hours touring the site. 

Travel to India to See Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary

I recently returned from my trip to the 485 square mile Periyar National Park. While I had a wonderful time, there are some things I would do differently next time. To save you the hassle of having to visit this national park that costs 300 rupees to enter for foreign visitors, here are some of those things. 
 
Expect to Pay Extra 
Make sure to bring extra rupees with you. You will need to pay 100 more rupees for every still camera and 250 rupees for every video camera that you bring. You will also have to pay 50 rupees to bring a vehicle in. Each activity has its fees attached.  
 
Best Time to Go 
While October to February are popular times to visit this park, if you want to see elephants, then go in March or April. The elephants will be in the water, which makes them much easier to spot. Try to plan your trip on a weekday that is not a public holiday to avoid crowds.  
 
Take the Early Boat 
The best way to see the animals at Periyar National Park is from a boat. These 90-minute rides leave throughout the day, but the best chance to see the most animals is on the 7 AM trip. You may also want to opt for a night-time safari as many animals are more active at night.  
 
Go Trekking 
You will also want to go trekking while you are at Periyar National Park, but avoid the whole-day excursions. Instead, look for opportunities to go with local tour guides on trekking trips lasting about three hours. First, the whole-day trips are filled with too many people to make them worthwhile. Secondly, the local guides are former poachers and loggers who are now doing eco-tourism to make their living. 
 
Visiting Periyar National Park is a wonderful adventure. Follow these tips to make the most of your time in the park. 

Travel to India to See Amer/Amber Fort

If you are planning on visiting Amber Fort and Amer, then following some tips will help you maximize your time there. 
 
Use a Hired Car 
When visiting Amber Fort, go ahead and rent a car with a driver. The public buses in this area are dirty and very crowded. There are very few parking spaces available, and someone needs to design a better road system. Go ahead and rent a car with a driver for the day so that you can enjoy your time in Amer. 
 
Take the Jeep 
When you arrive at Amber Fort, you will see that it is located on the top of a steep hill. You have three choices on how to get up the hill. You can choose to walk, but that can be hard as temperatures are often hot. You can also choose to ride the elephants, but that is very expensive. Instead, choose to take the jeep, which brings people up the hill once an hour. 
 
Best Time to Visit  
Escape the summertime crowds and the brutal heat by touring Amber Fort between November and March. Try to go during the week and not on a public holiday. This is one attraction where going later in the day pays vast dividends because you can tour the fort, watch the nightly sound and light show, and have dinner at the restaurant inside the fort. 
 
Costs 
You can expect to pay 100 rupees to get into the fort. The sound and light show will cost you 295 rupees. Dinner at the 1135 AD restaurant within the fort can be expensive, but it is worth the splurge. 
 
Visiting Amer Flor is a memorable experience. You can expect to spend an hour touring the fort, 90 minutes at the sound and light show, and a couple of hours dining at the restaurant. Speed up the process by going during the week and taking the jeep up the hill when you arrive. 

Rajasthan Tour Planned Itinerary

Day 01 

Full day sight-seeing at Delhi and night halt 

Day 02 

Departure for Agra by road, 250 Kms 

After lunch, visit of Taj Mahal and Fort  

Dinner and night halt at Agra 

Day 03 

Departure for Jaipur by road, on the way visit Fatehpur Sikri, 250 Kms 

Afternoon arrival at Jaipur and check in at hotel 

Afternoon free, dinner and night halt at Jaipur 

Day 04 

Full day sight seeing at Jaipur and shopping 

Night halt at Jaipur 

Day 05 

Departure for Pushkar, on the way visit Ajmer, 150 Kms 

Evening arrival Devgarh Palace. Night halt 

Day 06 

After breakfast, departure for Udaipur, 150 Kms 

Shrinathdwara Darshan and lunch, departure for Udaipur for Udaipur after lunch, evening arrival at Udaipur, dinner and night halt 

Day 07 

Full day sight-seeing at Udaipur, night halt 

Day 08 

Morning free for shopping, after lunch departure for Ahmedabad, on the way visit Shamlaji Temple 

Evening arrival at Ahmedabad 

Saurashtra Darshan Planned Itinerary

Day 01 

Departure for Palitana from Ahmedabad 220 Kms 

Arrival at Palitana and check in at hotel 

Evening free to visit foot of the hill 

Night halt at Palitana 

Day 02 

Morning visit to Shetrunjaya Hills to visit 863 temples 

Atop the hill, lunch and rest at hotel, night halt at Palitana 

Day 03 

Departure for Junagadh 

Afternoon arrival at Junagadh, visit places of interest and departure for Sasan Gir, night halt in Gir forest 

Day 04 

Morning visit to sanctuary and witness wild life 50Kms 

After lunch departure for Somnath, attend Aarti at 7 p.m. in main temple, night halt at Veraval 

Day 05 

Departure for Dwarka after breakfast, 135 Kms 

On the way visit Porbandar and lunch, evening arrival at Dwarka, attend Aarti 

Night halt at Dwarka 

Day 06  

Full day at Dwarka and visit to Bet Dwarka and 70 Kms 

Nearby places, night halt at Dwarka 

Day 07 

Departure for Rajkot after breakfast 250 Kms 

On the way, visit Jamnagar, evening arrival at Rajkot 

Night halt at Rajkot 

Day 08 

Morning visit to places of interest and after lunch, 215 Kms 

Departure for Ahmedabad 

Evening arrival at Ahmedabad 

Kachchh and Gujarat Planned Itinerary

Day 01 

Arrival at Mumbai and board the flight for Bhuj 

Arrival at Bhuj, transfer to hotel, and rest 

Dinner and night halt a Bhuj 

Day 02 

Full day sight-seeing at Bhuj 

Night halt at Bhuj 

Day 03 

After breakfast, departure for Mandvi, 60 Kms 

Visit old city and harbour Laxmivilas Palace and beach 

Back to Bhuj by evening, night halt at Bhuj 

Day 04 

Full day visit of Banni villages, like Hodoko, Dhordo, 100 Kms 

Bhirandiyara for culture of Kachchh and handicraft 

With packed lunch, night halt at Bhuj 

Day 05 

Full day visit to Narayan Sarovar, Mata Na Madh, Koteshwar, 300 Kms 

Lakhpat, evening arrival to Bhuj, night halt at Bhuj 

Day 06 

Departure after breakfast for Jamnagar 

Afternoon arrival at Jamnagar, Check in at hotel 

Evening free, night halt at Jamnagar 

Day 07 

Departure for Dwarka after breakfast, 150 Kms 

Afternoon arrival and check in at hotel, attend evening Aarti and Darshan at main temple 

Night halt at Dwarka 

Day 08 

Morning Aarti at Dwarka and visit to Bet Dwarka 60 Kms 

After lunch departure for Porbandar, 105 Kms 

Evening arrival at Porbandar, night halt 

Day 09 

Departure for Somnath after breakfast, 135 Kms 

Arrival at Somnath and attend Aarti at noon in main temple 

After lunch, departure for Junagadh, 80 Kms 

Night halt at Junagadh 

Day 10 

Full day at Junagadh 

Day 11 

Departure for Ahmedabad, on the visit Virpur and Rajkot, 315 Kms 

Evening arrival at Ahmedabad, night halt 

Historical Rajasthan Planned Itinerary

You may know you want to visit India. You may even know where you’d like to go. The question, then, becomes how you want to spend your time. Here’s a great two-week itinerary of some hotspots in and around Rajasthan you’re sure to love. 

Day 01 Delhi 
 
Arrive Delhi meeting on arrival and transfer to hotel.  

Rest of the day free for independent activities. 

Day 02 Delhi  
 
Enjoy full day sightseeing tour of:  

New Delhi: designed and built by the British in the 1920’s it’s a city of wide boulevards impressive Government buildings, green parks and gardens. First you will visit two monuments from Delhi’s past Humayun’s Tomb and Qutab Minar. Then your drive takes you along the ceremonial avenue, Rajpath, past the imposing India Gate and Parliament House.  
Old Delhi: an ancient walled city. Here you will see Red Fort, the most opulent Fort and Palace of the Moghul Empire; Raj Ghat, the memorial site of the Mahatma Gandhi; Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India and Chandni Chowk, the bustling and colourful market of the old city.  
Overnight at the Hotel. 

Day 03 Delhi – Mandawa  
 
Leave Delhi for Mandawa by surface.  
In the afternoon enjoy sightseeing tour of: –  
Mandawa: A small town in the Shekawati region of Rajasthan with a unique medieval charm. The streets are lined with richly painted houses and each town is bustling with activity.  
Overnight at the Hotel. 

Day 04 Mandawa – Bikaner  
 
Leave Mandawa for Bikaner by road.  
In the afternoon enjoy sightseeing tour of: –  
Bikaner: a desert fortified city on the ancient caravan routes that originated from Africa and West Asia. 32 Kms. from Bikaner is Deshnoke, famous for its Rat Temple (Karni Mata Temple).  
Overnight at the hotel. 

Day 05 Bikaner – Jaisalmer  
 
Leave Bikaner for Jaisalmer by surface.  
Rest of the day free for independent activities.  
Overnight at the Hotel. 

Day 06 Jaisalmer  
 
In the morning enjoy sightseeing tour of: –  
Jaisamer : the citadel city built in the 12th century is an architectural dream in yellow sandstone lying in the lonely silence of the Thar Desert. The Forts and palaces and several superbly carved Jain Temples in and around Jaisalmer are all reminiscent of a glorious history.  
In the afternoon visit: –  
Sam: 40 Kms from Jaisalmer are the silver gold sand duncs of Sam. A camel ride at sunset, as the sky is set on fire, and Rajasthani musicians paly haunting tunes, can be and unforgettable experience. Overnight at the Hotel. 

Day 07 Jaisalmer – Jodhpur  
 
In the morning leave Jaisalmer for Jodhpur by road.  
Afternoon free for your independent activities. Overnight at the Hotel. 

Day 08 Jodhpur  
 
In the morning enjoy sightseeing tour of: –  
Jodhpur : The home of the Rathore rulers – the princely State of Rajasthan. A high 10 Kms. long stone wall protects the well-fortified city. Within, stands an imposing Fort on a low range of sandstone hills, about 125 mtrs. above the surrounding plains.  
Visit Mchrangarh Fort- founded in 1459 AD by Rao Jodha (after whom the city is named) the Fort is intricately adorned with long carved panels and latticed windows of exquisite designs in red sandstone. Also visit Jaswant Thada- an imposing white marble cenotaph built to commemorate the acts of bravery and generosity of the rulers in 19th century.  
Afternoon free for your independent activities. Overnight at the Hotel. 

Day 09 Jodhpur – Udaipur  
 
Leave Jodhpur in the morning for Udaipur by road and enroute visit: –  
Ranakpur: famous for the quadruple Jain temple dedicated, like the temples at Mount Abu to Adinath. The whole structure has 80 domes and of 400 pillars. Continue your drive for Udaipur.  
Rest of the day free for independent activities. Overnight at the Hotel. 

Day 10 Udaipur  
 
In the morning enjoy sightseeing tour of: –  
Udaipur City: Visit the City Palace Museum – grandeur and intricacy stroked all over in granite, marble and mosaic displayed in the sparkling white filigreed balconies and windows, ornate arches and cupolas atop magnificent octagonal towers, Jagdish Temple – built in 1651 AD. Also visit Sahelion Ki Bari- the spectacular garden displaying the unique life style of the royal ladies who once lived in the palaces.  
Afternoon at leisure. In the evening enjoy a most memorable boat ride with the reflections of the majestic Lake Palace Hotel at its best against the setting sun. Overnight at the Hotel. 

Day 11 Udaipur – Ajmer  
 
Leave Udaipur in the morning for Ajmer by road and enroute visit:  
Chittorgarh: home of the brave, 115 Kms east of Udaipur. The road to the citadel of Chittor Zig Zag steeply for a couple of Kms and passes through seven huge gates, each with watch towers and great iron spiked doors. The tower of victory is over 35 metres high and has nine storeys served by a winding staircase. It is covered from top to bottom with carvings, depicting the social life of the time.  
Continue your drive for Ajmer. Overnight at the Hotel. 

Day 12 Ajmer – Jaipur  
 
In the morning enjoy sightseeing tour of: –  
Ajmer City: Founded in the 11th century is the holy city of the Muslims. The Taragarh fort, Anna Sagar – an artificial lake, Akbar’s palace and the Durgah – Mausoleum of Khwaja Moinuddin-Chisti a Muslim holy man all combine to give the city its historical and religious importance.  
Continue your drive for Jaipur.  
Rest of the evening free for independent activities. Continue your drive for Ajmer.  
Overnight at the hotel. 

Day 13 Jaipur  
 
Enjoy morning sightseeing tour of: –  
Amber Fort: 11 Kms. from Jaipur – a marvellous example of Rajput architecture with its terraces and ramparts reflected in the Mata Lake below. The ascent to the Fort is on gaily caparisoned elephants. The Fort interior has various royal halls decorated with intricate ivory work, exquisite wall paintings and tiny mirror chips, which create a tantalising reflection effect.  
In the afternoon sightseeing tour of: –  
Jaipur City: City Palace Museum – an imposing blend of traditional Rajasthani and Mughal Art. The museum is resplendent with its collection of robes of royal princes, carpets, and armoury of old weapons, miniature paintings portraying court scenes, battle scenes and processions, Jantar – Mantar (Observatory)- an accurate observatory built in 1726 AD; Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds)- a five storeyed wonder with a spectacular pyramidal facade and overhanging windows with latticed screens, domes and spires.  
Overnight at the hotel. 

Day 14 Jaipur – Delhi  
 
In the morning leave Jaipur for Delhi by road and upon arrival check in at hotel.  
Rest of the day free for independent activities.  
Overnight at the hotel. 

Day 15 Leave Delhi  
 
Transfer from hotel to international airport in time to connect your flight back home.