05 October 2018

COLOR OF CULTURE - INDIA

ALRIGHT!!! If you've been following my instagram, I was not in town last week! It's no mystery since everything's been stated in the title. INDIA! WOOT WOOT (wait, should I have said KOOCH KOOCH?) Well, there have been a lot of arising questions about this country, and everything will be answered real soon! SO, where to start?


TRIP LENGTH
We used Malindo Air, and the guide said there is increased traffic especially in India tourism thanks to Malindo, the longer distance budget airline that belongs in the same group as Lion Air. There's a transit from Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur that takes 2 hours, then you get an excuse for a transit in KL before continuing your flight of 5 hours to Delhi!

DEMOGRAPHY
80% of the population believes in Hinduism (Idk why I thought majority would be Muslim), which explains the other nickname of India: Hindustan (Land of Hindis)! Second would be Islam, therefore you can hardly find anyone who sells pork, and especially beef because cows are considered holy here! (Meanwhile in Jakarta, Holy Cow is where we gleefully eat them... ) Also, there are a lot of vegetarians here resulting in a wide variety of vegetarian menus and restaurants! Btw, population is also DENSE. You'll find out what I'm talking about!

CLIMATE
It depends on the season, but during my visit it was perfectly like Jakarta which was HORRIBLE.

HYGIENE
There were also questions regarding this matter. Since I'm from Jakarta, I think they're more or less... the same? Which means it's as dirty as!


Here's their toilet sign! I knew upon arrival that this country is extra just by looking at these HA!
Anyway, Indira Gandhi Airport has 3 terminals, Domestic T1, Pilgrimage T2, and International T3! 


DELHI
Alright here's what I was talking about: DENSITY. Traffic is jammed just like Jakarta as well as their temperature so you'll get familiarized real soon! Anyway, they're more vicious since they honk all the time. Everything here is EXTRA. If you thought Jakarta traffic is savage, they drive against the current, stop in the middle of the road, and savagely honk at pedestrians! There are lots of Bajajs here (duh, it's their country of origin!) and not as many motorcycles as Jakarta. Important thing to know is that there are beggars everywhere and they're quite pushy (AND TOUCHY) so you might feel really uncomfortable. This sounds rude but some people are better ignored. Believe me, I've tried being nice. Kids are no exception!


Delhi street rules: you can't close the bus curtains, but allowed to do so in other cities!


India flag colored Bajaj!



Crowne Plaza New Delhi Rohini

Alrightt so here's where we spent our first night! Hotel lobby looks so nice and luxurious, huh?




I assure you, their meal is also as scrumptious as they look! Too bad we only had breakfast here, because I was curious of how their main course would taste!


A selection of toppings for salad/platter in western style breakfast! They also have Indian style breakfast, and everything tasted great!



Smoked salmon is always the bomb!


Now it's time for room tour!!!




Upon your entry, they will mark you with this on your forehead, pretty cultural, eh? It's called bindi, believed to ward off bad luck! In our case, I think it's just a warm welcome from the hotel!


JAMA MASJID

Anyway, off from the hotel on the 2nd day (we arrived late at night on the first day), we got to tour New Delhi's, no 1 India's largest Mosque, the Jama Masjid! Before we start, let me inform you something first:
  1. They have free entry, but they charge 300 rupee per camera (mobile phone included), so if you ain't here to pray, you get to pay! HA! But it's worth the sightseeing, you'll find out soon!
  2. It's a mosque, so it's mandatory to wear enclosed outfits, or you can cover yourself with their cloth pieces for free (it's not that fashionable, in case you were wondering)
  3. You're required to take off your footwear here, so don't think too much about your outfit planning!

Picturesque entrance!


I was lucky I wore simple sandals so it didn't take much time to take it off and wear it again!


Too bad the central roof was still being renovated when I was here, bet it'll look great!


Pattern and contrast, it's all about where nature meets architecture!



My first ootd spot!



Would you hang out in a mosque like this?







In case you were wondering, YES you can climb the watch tower only for 100 rupee! WORTH IT.


Climb a level of stairs and here's what you'll see; nowhere near the best part!


OK a little confession before you see the whole view: this was NOT part of the tour. We were too adventurous in exploring and ended up finding a way up! Anyway, we ended up being 15 minutes late and nobody could find us up here, but all in all, it was worth the judgmental stares!


BOOM! WHOLE DELHI BABY!



It's a scene that's still vivid in my memory!


INDIA GATE

Arc de Triomphe in Paris? Well they've got a competition here, the India Gate!



The complex was still renovated during my visit here, but there were lots of street vendors and city guards. Lively!



LOTUS TEMPLE

A temple for interdenominational, or inter-religional, if that's even a term, to just gather here and pray to each of their unique, individual belief. They only believe in "one God", so to India, perhaps a community for society other than the Hindis.


I'm scared.....


Lol just between us, we've breached the tour program twice on this day WAKAKAKA! Due to India's traffic jam and dense itinerary, we actually had pretty tight schedule, and the line to enter Lotus temple was LONG. Well what'd you expect, people come here to pray. However, we climbed up the stairs against their recommendation and found this beautiful entrance that could ONLY be seen if you climbed the stairs. Worth the slightly longer walk!



 AGRA
Here's a slightly smaller town and kinda give you the rural feeling... People come here just for Taj Mahal I reckon, and we took around 4+ hours bus ride from Delhi to Agra.


 Ramada Plaza Agra

2nd night's lodging! Here's the room tour of the hotel I stayed in Agra!





Rooftop Pool!


Important to remember: Taj Mahal is closed every Friday because they have active mosques where they hold Friday prayers every week. Anyway, yes there is a mosque, because Taj Mahal is NOT one. It's a mausoleum.


One of a better reason to have a tour: here's the queue on weekday SUNRISE. Can't imagine how long the queue would be in the afternoon!



Arch, pillars, and symmetry.


The gate itself is an awe!




Sneak peek :p


TADAAAA. Isn't it majestic?


Frontal view, where you can see the entirety of the Taj! As I said earlier, Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan, who lost his wife, and this is all for her! Ain't it romantic? Taj Mahal was built with white marble stones, and it was said that Shah Jahan was so shocked due to the passing of his wife that his hair turned white in a matter of days.


Here's how far the entrance is from the mausoleum building.




I wore their Indian saree, some sort of their traditional clothing! This one is a piece of cloth around 6m long that I bought for around 1000 rupee (the guide brought me to this store the night before). There were other forms of saree, in skirt, dress, etc but in the store they were priced at around 18.000 rupee (pricey sencinping). We also got some bindi accessories to put on our foreheads to look more Indian HAHAHA



Photography is forbidden inside the mausoleum.



My favorite pic in Taj Mahal!


doa dulu bep.


I love how diverse the people here are. Traditional and functional!


You gotta explore because there are great spots to take photos at!


AGRA FORT

2nd destination in Agra!




The great thing about this architectural trip is that they bring us to different buildings, so we get the architectural experience in a variety of function.


Yard is so beautifully preserved!




Red is a color here, which creates a great accent for a building!





Glad I got time to change my outfit!



You'll get used to this kind of grandeur scene son enough.



In case you were wondering, yes this place is HUGE. Get ready to WALK WALK WALK WALK WALK (Rihanna inspired).



Panas bep. Sweaty facey.


I absolutely love this exquisite work on walls and pillars! The extensive details and handiwork are just exceptionally breathtaking!!!



Beautiful on every angle.


Civilization kind of scenery.


If you noticed, you can see Taj Mahal in this photo. There's a story behind this, and a tragic one at that. Shah Jahan was later a victim of a coup d'etat by his own SON. He was later exiled to Agra fort, never having been able to see his Taj Mahal up close and here's as close as he could get. 


Po-po-po-po-poker face poo-poo-pooker face.


Here's a funny custom at India: they believe tourists to be a good luck charm, as they believe that we are sort of "masters" that make their country flourish. Hence, some of them would come to you and take for a pic together. Well, my case was kinda extreme.... SCROLL!


The whole extended family!! HAHAHA!!!



FATEHPUR SIKRI

Due to the experience, this place was not one of my favorites. It was really good to take photos though! Anyway, you should take the local minivan to get to this place. Before I forgot, all three of the places we visited in Agra are all subject to UNESCO's list of international cultural heritage!
Alright, about the experience. Just.... ignore all the street vendors. They'd force you to come visit their shops in a not so nice way. Forceful, even.


I was just trying to be nice and one of them literally followed me all the way to the bus BRINGING a full bag of merchandise. Terrifying.


Here's the van! Van~cy!



It's an ancient castle of the old king who couldn't bear a child. One of the prophecy given by his astrologer was to build a castle here.




Details, details, details. Anyway, they used to sit up there for political meetings. FAANCY.


Again, if you love to explore, this place has many hidden gems to take photos of! Take your time!


Up we go!


JAIPUR

Here goes my fav city!! Pink cityyyyy!! The journey from Agra to Jaipur takes around 5+ hours. Yup, lots of road trip. Earphone ready!

Crowne Plaza Jaipur

Stayed for 2 nights here! Food was delicious and to be honest it's also my favorite hotel out of the 3!



The room!




City scene. Ain't bad, huh?



HAWA MAHAL

You better come to this place in the morning because it turns to a market in the afternoon! One of the most instagrammable spot, the Hawa Mahal! Anyway, Mahal means castle, in case you're wondering!



If you want to get the full scenery of Hawa Mahal, you gotta cross the street and climb the stairs, and take photo on Tattoo Cafe's rooftop! WKWWKKWKW So much for a shot! But you gotta admit it's worth it!


Worth the walk? You decide!


AMBER FORT

It's an uphill ride! You can either get here by hiking, jeep riding, or ELEPHANT RIDING. I went for the latter! We went down with jeep though. The elephant ride costed 1,100 rupee excluding 100 rupee tip money, and 1 elephant is good for 2! The most annoying thing is that the elephants would sometimes "sneeze" at you. Gross!



View is wonderful though. For real!







Again, this kinda picture is FORBIDDEN. HAHAHA this was seconds before the security blew his whistle! You gotta have a safe distance from the elephants!



Let me tell you one thing: place is HUGE. Bigger than Agra Fort and you could literally get lost here. Because I did! Anyway, there are a lot of "guides" here. They promise you they could bring you to the nicest places... for a price. I didn't though, because just to be safe I didn't bring my wallet here! It also didn't feel right for me to pay for anything, which is a culture the people here seem to have. Economy is bad so competition is fierce, but come on...




Isn't it scenic?


Beautiful. Can't even.






Again with the details!! STAHPP


Patterns are so cute you could literally take photos on each walls!


Window display game strong!



Here's how you go down in style:



ALBERT HALL MUSEUM

Talk about being creative: this is NOT part of the tour but we saw this captivating building and just requested our guide to stop by! WORTHHH IT!!



Here's a friend I made during the trip: HAMES RODRIGUEZ.


 CITY PALACE


Yet another exotic architectural destination!


This is one of the loveliest place in terms of walls and pillars design! Well, it's a city hall, for goodness sake!






Here's the gate to the city PALACE. Yep, real palace. Wasn't part of the tour so we didn't go in, but you could pay for around 2,000-3,000 rupee to get in, they said (again, tip money culture..). However, it is said to be really beautiful!





Here's what I was here for! The 4 gates of the palace!! Each gate represents a god and a season!

This one below is the northeast Peacock Gate, representing autumn and Vishnu. 



Southeast Lotus Gate, representing summer dedicated to Lord Shiva-Parvati.


My favorite one is this Rose Gate!


Anyway, there's also a shopping mall in Jaipur called the World Trade Park!


THANKS TO:
Ken, my travel companion this time who took all my OOTD pics in India HAHAH!


Windol the noisiest chatterbox with endless mutual friend network!


ATS Tour Leader, Mr. Junus, our sugar papi!


Our Indian local guide, Hermendrahhhhh! Nicknamed Hamu!


Moustache on point!


 Our bus driver!


The kind and hardworking co-driver


The youngster gang hehehhe~ see u again!


ANYWAY TIME FOR THE GENERAL TRAVEL TIPS:

- If you ain't buyin', don't ask anythin'.... except you want to be nagged and followed everywhere!
- I used Telkomsel international roaming data plan, 2.5GB 7 days for IDR 250k that is available in the app or *266#
- Wear sandals to religious destinations, since they'll mostly require you to take your footwear off! 
- Don't bring anything that contained beef such as floss, cows are holy here!
- I used ATS Vacation, package is 10,700,000 for 5 days that include 4 nights hotel stay, meals, buses, attractions (all entry tickets are covered, including elephant ride).
- Currency is Indian rupee/ USD



2 comments:

  1. What a incredible pictures you captured in your post. Such a awesome post and article you write up! Loved this!! Thank you so much for sharing a great post and experiences.
    Same Day Taj Mahal Tour By Car

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