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The Survival Of The Fittest!

On the train from Agra to Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

On the train from Agra to Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

With 1.2 billion on the move, transport becomes a challenge. More and more Indians are able to afford private transport of various kinds, from scooter to large SUVs. Add an ill-adapted infrastructure in a megacity and you have got the picture… Continue Reading →

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Fatehpur Sikri Taking Its Toll

Panch Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, near Agra, Rajasthan, India

Panch Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, near Agra, Rajasthan, India

Despite being completely exhausted, we travelled the 55 kilometers to Fatehpur Sikri early, very early in the morning. Naturally we wanted this huge complex of palaces and majestic buildings to our own. Besides, with these temperatures you cannot afford a late start and who wants to miss the pleasant soft light for taking pictures? Once outside of Agra, traffic vanished and we covered the distance in less than one hour. The 20 € for a car plus driver were well invested! Continue Reading →

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It Is All About Symmetry – Mughal Tombs

Itimad-ud-Daulah, better known as the "Baby Taj", Agra, India

Itimad-ud-Daulah, better known as the “Baby Taj”, Agra, India

Mughal tombs and palaces are Rajasthan’s trademark. The delicate decoration inside (lots of tiles) and outside is a mélange of Islamic, Persian, Afghan and Indian styles, but the most striking characteristic is the symmetry and clarity. All tombs follow a certain format! Continue Reading →

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Agra’s Other Treasures – Agra Fort

Outside Walls of the Red Fort, Agra, Rajasthan, India

Outside Walls of the Red Fort, Agra, Rajasthan, India

Our entire focus was on Agra’s most famous sight, the Taj Mahal, so the beauty of 16th century Agra Fort, a mélange of red sandstone and white marble, came as a pleasant surprise. For its early Mughal ruler, Akbar, it served as a mighty fort. The huge moot running around is the first hint of its defensive character during times long gone. The impressive outside walls are dark-red and the majority of the buildings are of the same color. Later, Sha Jahan used his favorite building material, white marble, to turn this fort into a palace. Continue Reading →

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Exchanging Travel Stories With Jan & Paul

Paul & Jan in an Autorickshaw, Agra, India

Paul & Jan in an Autorickshaw, Agra, India

Heidi met Paul Dwyer in Ruanda in summer 2011. Paul, together with his wife Jan, had been riding their motorbikes through Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. After a few contacts through the Lonely Planet ThornTree, they met in Kigali and Heidi decided to join them and travel on Paul’s motorbike. An experience of a lifetime for her! Continue Reading →

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Riding those long Indian Trains

Train from Agra to Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Train from Agra to Jaipur, Rajasthan

Expectations were flying high when we arrived at Hazrat Nizzamuddin Train Station, one of the many in New Delhi… We had heard and read so much about Indian trains! Everybody will be after you, pushing their ware on you – food, drinks, porter service; they are crowded, filthy… Continue Reading →

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Breath-Taking Delhi

In the streets of Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

In the streets of Delhi…

Half an hour drive into New Delhi and the smell became nauseating, a kind of mixture between sulfur and exhaust fumes. We were bursting to ask our driver if this was the normal odor around midnight. But he had not uttered a word, nothing, since he met us at the airport, holding up a piece of paper with our names. He only pointed and grunted. We came to the conclusion that his speech was impaired and we did not want to embarrass him by making him speak. Luckily, he proved us wrong when he rattled off asking a policeman for directions. Our first lesson: don’t expect people to speak English… Continue Reading →

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Indian Efficiency?

Heavily loaded bike, in the streets of Jaipur, the Pink City, Rajasthan, India

In the streets of Jaipur, the Pink City, Rajasthan

Upon our arrival in Delhi Airport, we were struck by the well-organized infrastructure. We actually felt it was an oasis of efficiency, with swift and friendly service and an inviting ambience. Within less than 30 minutes after touch down, we went through immigration, collected our luggage and retrieved money from an ATM. Continue Reading →

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India Or Not India – That Is The Question!

Rajasthan-101

Procession in Jaipur, the Pink City, Rajasthan

India, although a backpackers’ paradise for decades, was never able to arouse that curiosity and passion we have developed for Southeast Asia, Latino American and especially Africa. Too big, too crowded, never the right season – all these were “excuses” that never made this trip happen… Continue Reading →

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