Asia

Exploring temples in Jaipur’s Old City

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The Old City in Jaipur is a great place to explore. Not only are there major sights here such as the City Palace, Jantar Mantar, and Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), but there are lots of small temples, which you can wander into. These can be more fun than the major sights as there […]

India

Things to do in Mumbai

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The world’s third largest city, with a population of over 17 million, Mumbai is also home to the Bollywood film industry. Capital of the state of Maharashtra and the financial powerhouse of India’s economy, Mumbai is a trilingual city with Marathi, Hindi and English as official languages. Mumbai is a peninsula city that has expanded […]

India

Four Doors in Jaipur

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The City Palace in Jaipur is an exquisite maharaja’s palace. I wandered around the complex amazed that each section seemed even more impressive than the last. Built in the 18th Century for the Maharaja of Jaipur, the palace is still a royal residence today. In an inner courtyard called Pritam Niwas Chowk, there are four […]

India

Victoria Terminus, Mumbai

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Chhatrapatri Shivaji Terminus (CST) or Victoria Terminus (VT) is the largest railway station in Mumbai.  From here one of the world’s greatest railway networks originates, and terminates.  Next to the station lie the Central Railway Headquarters, and behind that, Mumbai’s GPO (General Post Office). Opened in 1887 and named after Queen Victoria, the station is […]

India

GPO Mumbai

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One day I set off to the post office in Fort, which is Mumbai’s General Post Office.  I found the whole place had unexpectedly been decorated, inside and out, in celebration of the Post Office’s anniversary. On the floor there were these beautiful designs made in coloured powders.   There was a scale model of […]

India

St Thomas Cathedral, Fort

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I really like this church in Mumbai.  Bright white, offset with gold features, St Thomas’s Cathedral looks dazzling against the blue sky. It is situated in Fort, my favourite city precinct to wander around.  The cathedral provides a cool, quiet space for calm and reflection, away from the heat, noise and hustle of the streets […]

India

Ganesh Chaturthi

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The Ganesh Chaturthi is a 10 day festival, celebrating the rebirth of Lord Ganesha. Ganesha is the son of Shiva and Parvati, and his rebirth is an auspicious time in the Hindu calendar. The festival involves the immersion of Lord Ganesha idols, made from clay and plaster of Paris. These idols are painstakingly prepared before […]

India

Benaulim beach

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We hung out at Blue Corner, a restaurant on the beach with sun loungers out at the front.  You could stay there all day, resting on the sun loungers, going for a walk or a swim, and eating in the restaurant when you get hungry.  The seafood in Benaulim is very good.  The sun loungers […]

India

Benaulim, Goa (2)

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A walk in Goa We stay in a guesthouse tucked away in the forest, just outside Benaulim. We take this path through the forest, passing giant banyan trees. We walk towards the centre of Benaulim village. We take a side road through the fields, and pass these holiday homes with beautiful gardens.  The abundance of […]

India

Benaulim, Goa (1)

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We fly from Delhi to Goa with IndiGo.  Arriving in Goa’s airport, some way south of Panjim (Goa’s main city), we take a pre-paid taxi further south to Benaulim, a small and serene fishing village. On the journey south we pass forests of palm trees, fertile fields and unending blue skies. Our driver does not […]

India

Seven Islands of Bombay

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Bombay was originally a cluster of islands.  The seven major ones are shown on the first map below, and consisted of Mahim, Worli, Parel, Bombay, Colaba and Little Colaba.  Additional islands of Mumbai included Elephanta (Gharapuri) Island, and the Middle Ground Coastal Battery, which now belongs to the Indian Navy, and is a fortified defensive […]

India

Bandra Fort

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Bandra Fort lies at the extreme end of Band Stand promenade in Bandra West.  You walk all the way along the promenade and past the Taj Land’s End hotel, and there, on the last tip of land before it drops into the sea, is the fort. From Bandra Fort there is a very good view […]

India

Old Delhi

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Old Delhi We take an auto-rickshaw into Old Delhi, to the Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in all of India.  It is surrounded by a vast and sprawling bazaar, which fills up the labyrinthine streets made of compacted earth.  The bazaar is such a throbbing hive of activity that nobody notices us; they are too […]

India

New Delhi

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New Delhi We disembark from the rickshaw near Connaught Place, and wander off along the wide, clean streets lined with grand white buildings.  The cycle rickshaw ride was fun but none of us are sorry to get off.  Coming into New Delhi is like emerging into an entirely different place.  There is very little traffic […]

India

Paharganj, Delhi

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We travel from Agra to Delhi by National Highway – on broad, open, empty expanses of toll road, where our bus can drive fast all the way.  On the approach to Delhi we drive through two entirely new cities, being built from the ground up.  These are vast developments emerging on the open plain.  There […]

India

Agra

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The day after visiting the Taj Mahal we go to Agra Fort, a vast red castle strategically located on a meander of the Yamuna river.  It is built of red sandstone and dates from the 16th century.  Within its broad, high walls are several self-contained palaces, and mosques.  You can see the Taj Mahal across […]

India

Homesickness

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I have been in Mumbai for more than three months now, and when I left my brother at the international airport I started feeling homesick.  His presence here had thrown me back into a world where it is normal to have all my family and friends around me, and deeper than that – the comforting […]

India

Taj Mahal

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The road to Agra We travel by bus from Jaipur to Agra.  All the guide books and travel advice blogs I have read recommend train travel well above buses, but I cannot understand why.  Trains have to be booked in advance, and even then it is quite common for there not to be any tickets […]

India

Jaipur

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My brother and his girlfriend came out to visit me during my stay in India, and for the past two weeks we have been travelling within India.  Our first stop was in Jaipur, Rajasthan. We arrived in the evening, having flown from Mumbai.  It was 35˚C in Jaipur after 7pm when we landed.  From the […]

India

Bandra Skywalk

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Bandra has a skywalk, which runs for about 1.8km (1.1miles).  It connects Bandra East and West with the station, a series of interconnecting footbridges (or one long one), providing a safe, elevated platform for pedestrians to walk along. The Bandra skywalk was finished in June 2008 and was the first one in Mumbai.  There are […]

India

Haji Ali Dargah

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A photo tour of Haji Ali island tomb and causeway. On the approach to the Dargah. Inside the Haji Ali complex. This is the view upon leaving the tomb.  Note the stacks of sandals all around! An empty fountain beside the tomb chamber

India

Mahalakshmi

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Just beyond Mahalakshmi station and over the rail bridge lie the dhobi ghats.  These are concrete vats where dhobiwalas wash laundry every day; loads of washing are brought here from all over the city to be soaked and beaten at the dhobi ghats.  Mumbai’s dhobi ghat is said to be the largest outdoor laundry in […]

India

Holi – the festival of colours

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Holi, 27th March 2013 Today is Holi, the Hindu festival of colours. There is a drum and brass band playing outside my building, and the pigeons are busy dropping nesting material in through my window.  I clear the twigs, bits of plastic and twizzled curls of paper off the inner windowsill and out of my […]

India

Elephanta Island, and the spirit of E. M. Forster

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I visited Elephanta, an island that lies in Mumbai’s harbour, about seven miles north-east of the jetty in front of the Gateway of India.  I went down to the Gateway and bought a ticket for the ferry to the island (Rs 150 at time of writing), and then queued up on the jetty with groups […]

India

Practical Realities of Living Abroad

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This post is for those of you who might be feeling that I am living a glamorous and exotic life in the sunshine, while you suffer the ignominy of daily life.  This is to reassure you that my life is not glamorous, at all. I’ve recently realised that there’s going to have to be a […]

India

Nasik

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Last week I visited Nasik, a city about a hundred miles, and 4-5 hours by road or rail, north-east of Mumbai.  I took a rickshaw from Bandra to Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, where I caught the train.  For part of the journey I sat in a berth beside a family who were on their way to […]

India

Bombay by Night

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I went to an InterNations event, taking a taxi from Bandra over the Sea Link suspension bridge to Worli village. I met Hitesh, we got along well and at around 1am when the event was finishing, he took me on a drive through the city.  Surrounded by dark water and lights, Mumbai is incredibly beautiful […]

India

Life in Bandra

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I thought it might be interesting to write about some details of my everyday life now. My flat is a studio, one good-sized room with a bed and a kitchen at the end, with attached bathroom.  The kitchen windows open out onto a wire cage, which prevents the birds coming in (in theory), and can […]

India

Bandra West and Suburban Trains

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I’ve been quite busy in the past week or so acquiring a flat, and moving in.  I live in a suburb called Bandra West now, which lies north of Mahim Creek and west of the railway line, beside the sea.  I’ve been riding on the suburban trains, and doing a bit more wandering around and […]

India

Arriving in Mumbai

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I arrived yesterday and saw the sunshine and palm trees beckoning to me outside the airport.  Had a very interesting taxi drive from the north of the city where the airport is into south Mumbai.  Drove past the slum Dharavi, and saw in the distance the looming high-rises of the suburb Bandra.  The drive took […]