Photo Diary: Agra

There are those places that we all dream of visiting. One's the you must visit and experience for yourself, and Agra is one of them. The main reason why visitors come to Agra is to visit the timeless monument to love and one for the bucket list, the Taj Mahal.

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Photo Diary

Agra

It's the city of the Taj Mahal, in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, some 200 km from Delhi. Agra has three UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort in the city and Fatehpur Sikri nearby. There are also many other buildings and tombs from Agra's days of glory as the capital of the Mughal Empire.

Truth be told, the city has little else to recommend it making it a place for an over night stay before moving on to your next destination. You can also opt for a one day excursion from Delhi to Agra. Keep in mind that due to the very high number of tourists, Agra is a breeding ground for touts and people looking to separate you from your money. 

Getting into Agra from Delhi is a quick train or bus ride, and an experience to be had.

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The Agra Fort

The Agra Fort, built by rulers of the Mughal empire, is a sight to behold. It's sandstone walls and white marble interior will hold you in awe. But before you go, be sure to find your way to the back of the Fort and catch the view of it's sister monument, the Taj Mahal off in the distance.

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Taj Mahal

One for the bucketlist. Despite the hype, it’s every bit as good as you’ve heard. I know everyone takes this picture but when you capture it with your own eyes, it because something magical and a memory that will last a lifetime!

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Photo Diary: New Delhi

It hasn’t been long since returning back from my trip to India. It was a place I had always wanted to visit, particularly for the food and to gawk over the Taj Mahal. And, so I did. My journey to India was a solo journey, seeking an emotional closure of what has been one of the hardest years, but also to explore and find the world around me. My first stop: New Delhi.

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Photo Diary

New Delhi

New Delhi showcases India’s unique gift to modernize at a rapid pace without casting aside its cultural, historical, and spiritual identity. The capital city is a vast metropolis, with diverse neighborhoods that reflect different ethnicities, heritages, and movement. New Delhi, the government district of Delhi, is the administrative heart of India and an embodiment of the zeitgeist of this vast, diverse nation. Among the modern skyscrapers, award-winning restaurants, garden parks, and energetic markets, a series of remarkable monuments provide silent reminders of India’s legacy.

Delhi is such a multicultural society that each religious and ethnic demographic celebrates its own festivals. Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is celebrated in October/November with a profusion of lamps, fireworks, and anything that sparkles. Holi, the Festival of Colors, is a Hindu celebration at the end of the winter season. Bonfires are lit to signify devotion to Lord Vishnu, the God of Preservation, and people gather to throw colored powder and water at each other. Many children make a game out of throwing dust on foreigners—even hiding in trees to sprinkle handfuls of red, green, blue, and gold powder on the heads of unsuspecting tourists.


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Delhi is also home to an extraordinary collection of museums and cultural monuments. The National Handicrafts and Handloom Museum displays tribal and rural art and artifacts. With over 35,000 pieces ranging from textiles to clay, space is a welcoming community of artisans and art lovers. Each month, approximately 50 craftspeople from across the country are invited to reside on the property and demonstrate their talents. Don't miss the Village Complex, an exhibition that displays village life from varying regions in India. Akshardham, located across the Yamuna River in Noida, is an elaborate Swaminarayan temple complex that features an IMAX theater, musical fountains, sunken gardens, and the Mandir: a temple with over 20,000 statues of India's religious personalities. Be sure to experience the 12-minute boat ride that highlights more than 10,000 decades of India's heritage, including inventions, discoveries, and the world's first university, Takshashila.

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Old Delhi

Old Delhi is a culinary, architectural, and historical adventure. Start at the Red Fort, a sandstone fortress that covers nearly 255 acres. Consider returning in the evening when the fort comes alive with a sound-and-light show that recreates 5,000 years of India's history.

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Next, continue to Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India, which was commissioned by Shah Jahan. The same emperor who built the iconic Taj Mahal. Step outside the gates and enter Chandni Chowk, which is touted as the oldest and busiest street market in Delhi. Chandni Chowk entertains an exciting mix of shops that specialize in goods such as silk, silver, crafts, spices, and leather products.

Find celebrated restaurants, food stands, and sweet shops including the original Haldiram’s, Bikaner Sweet Shop, Ghantewala Halwai, and Meghraj and Sons. The street also houses many different religious shrines that represent a genuine cultural harmony: Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir and Bird Sanctuary, Sikh Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib, Central Baptist Church, and Gauri Shankar Hindu Temple. You'll also find old past private residences snuggled between a labyrinth of small streets and neighborhoods around Chandni Chowk.

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The Food Scene

Delhi has a lively food scene including award-winning restaurants, streetside stands, and comfort food.

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Veg & Non Veg

Restaurants typically drop into two categories: veg (vegetarian) and non-veg. Remember that cows are sacred in India, so beef is tricky to find, and when found, it's water buffalo, not cow.

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Follow along on @valeriefidan for more bits and bites of food, life and travel.