5 Points to Consider while First-time Traveling in India

This post is all about the five points that a traveler should put under consideration while traveling in India for the first time.

If you are visiting India for the first time, then let me warn you, this country is so different that you either going to hate it or love it. There is nothing in between.

Before we move further, let me first tell you that this post is the part of our travel series – ‘All About Smooth Travel’

Check out our all the posts in the series here:

Here, the 5 points that a traveler should put under consideration while traveling in India for the first time are given:

Follow Legal Compliances

First and foremost is to follow all the legal compliances. Though not following them is not going to kill you but it may ruin your fun.

While traveling, some of us have the habit to put all the documents in the bag and put that in the place where we are residing in. But in India, I suggest, you should carry your Indian visa and your respective country passport with you while you are traveling within the country.

Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from beyond stay in the country. Also, your passport should have at least two empty pages for Indian visa stamps.

A person while coming into India from abroad, can bring with him foreign exchange without any limit. However, if the foreign currency notes or traveler cheques exceed US$ 10,000/- or its equivalent and/or the value of the foreign currency exceeds US$ 5,000/- or its equivalent, it should be declared to the Customs Authorities at the Airport in the Currency Declaration Form (CDF). (updated as on 09-05-2019)

A person while leaving India, can take out with him Indian currency notes, up to ₹ 5,000/- to any country other than Nepal and Bhutan and any amount in denomination not exceeding ₹ 100 to Nepal or Bhutan. (updated as on 09-05-2019)

And also, when you are in India, and buy some stuff, make sure that in the bill they charged IGST instead of CGST and SGST. While leaving the country, this will help you to get the GST refund smoothly that you have paid so far.

Make sure to do Haggling

If you are a foreign tourist and wants to buy some stuff, then you must know how to haggle in India when you shop. The one thing you need to understand is that for Indian shopkeeper a foreigner means deemed rich guy. I have already explained this in our fourth post of travel series.

Indian shopkeepers have two prices in mind for a particular item, one is called as the ‘Price for Indian or Native People’ and the other one is called as the ‘Price for foreigners’. Trust me, they can quote you 3x, 5x, 7x or even the 10x of the price they charge from the Indians for the same stuff.

That’s Insane, right!!! That is the main reason why you should know how to negotiate with the Indian shopkeepers.

Before starting the negotiation, keep in the mind, that you can get the particular item for less than the half of the initial price quoted by the shopkeeper or sometimes even for a quarter of it. Like, if he initially quotes
₹ 1,000/- for something, then you should say, about ₹ 400/-.

Understand this, that as he is also a businessman, after seeing you that you are a foreigner, he has already increased his profit margin significantly.

Don’t act too be excited even if you are dying to buy it. Also, they can try to convince you emotionally, like, “I have a Poor family, I have to take care of them”. Don’t fall for it, and show disinterest in buying the same at that price, he will eventually reduce the price.

Warning: Spicy Food Ahead

‘Indian food is spicy’, yes, that’s true, but from a foreigner perspective. Indians usually have the habit of eating spicy food. If you are from a country that consumes fewer spices like Spain, Greece, etc. and eating the Indian food for the first time, then yeah, it’s going to be a bit spicy for you.

It is good to know about your enemy and then to fight him, right!!! Did you ever wonder why the chilies perceive so spicy and hot to us? Actually, it is because it has a chemical called capsaicin in it.

Capsaicin enters our bloodstream, significantly convince our brain that our body temperature is rising and that’s why we freak out.

So, what you should do to get the relief from eating spicy food. The answer is Milk. Yes, you read it right, Milk. Milk contains a protein called Casein. Casein molecules help to clear the Capsaicin molecules from the nerve receptors of your mouth and provide instant relief.

Other milk-based products also can help you with this. Other things like drinking alcohol, eating sugar, cooking food with olive oil, etc. also helps.

Be Prepared, Indians are Time-Insensitive

Respect Your Time. In India, everybody knows it, but they don’t do it. In fact, you can say that punctuality and Indians are the two sides of the same coin. I know I am a bit harsh, but sorry, it is the truth. In India, people take their and others time lightly unlike the west.

Now, you might be thinking, so what? How it is going to affect our trip? And I am going to reply, just wait for it. You will understand this.

Actually, you have to face this reality everywhere and that is the main issue. Starting from paperwork, bus and train schedules to meeting with friends.

You can find yourself waiting for your Indian friends for half an hour even when they promise to join you in five minutes. Also, generally the buses don’t follow the time schedule. The bus that should depart at 8 AM may leave around 8:45 AM etc.

You need to have patience and be a tolerable person for all of it. In fact, if you want to learn patience, just do one thing, visit India. I am not saying all are like this, but yes mostly are. So, be prepared for it. Having a good margin of time for your trip too can help.

Planning and Visiting time are Important

Planning, I have already covered this point in ‘Pre Plan your Trip and Wearing Outfits’ in the first post of the travel series. India is a subcontinent with great diversity – from the snow at Himalayan mountains to tropical beaches of Goa to Trisea at Kanyakumari.

Planning your trip is very important if you are visiting a country like India. India does have so many places to visit that will surely excite you as a traveler. But, if you are a first time visitor, then I suggest you should visit either India’s Golden Triangle, Kerala or Goa.

In India, weather is quite different at times in the various regions. However, overall the best time to visit India is the winter season. It usually starts in mid-October and till the first week of March. During this period you can also enjoy many festivals like Diwali, Christmas, Holi, and so on.

India’s Golden Triangle

This post is about what is India’s Golden Triangle, why it is famous amongst the tourists and what is the best time to visit it.

What is India’s Golden Triangle?

India’s Golden Triangle is a tourist itinerary which connects the national capital Delhi, Agra and pink city, Jaipur. A visit to these three palaces is known as the Golden Triangle because these locations together form a triangle on the map.

Generally, tourist prefers to start there Golden Triangle circuit with the exploration of the national capital. They usually visit the Mughal Era structures or ancient places with national and architectural significance. It includes but not limited to Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Humayun Tomb, Chandni Chowk, India Gate, Connaught Palace, and many others.

Then they travel to Agra to visit the beautiful Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, and others.

Last but not the least they visit the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur. Here, they visit the ancient forts, palaces, markets, and others. They usually go to Amer Fort, Nahargarh Fort, Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, Jantar Mantar, Birla Temple, Albert Hall Museum, World Trade Park and many others.

However, nowadays, the tourists do not limit themselves with just a visit to the Golden Triangle. In order to add flash to it, they add one or more destination to it which depends from tourist to tourist. Like some prefer a tour to Golden Triangle with Goa, some prefer it with Kerala or some with Ladakh.

Why It is famous?

It is quite popular amongst the tourists because of the following reasons:

Connectivity – The Golden Triangle is a great tourist circuit mainly because of its connectivity. The circuit is by road about 720 km long in which all the destinations are just about 240 km away from each other. Since the Golden Triangle is connected with a 6-lane highway hence it does not have any off the beaten route. The circuit is also well connected with super-fast trains and by the aerial route which makes it sweeter.

Even if you are a solo traveler this route is great for you. No matter when you are visiting these destinations, you will always be surrounded by a lot of tourists which makes it safer for you.

Unique Destinations – All the three destinations have a unique culture, different architectural design, even also have separate food cuisines. Since Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur were ruled by different rulers from time to time. Hence, you can enjoy three different dynasties in a single trip. And, the best part is due to such diversity, you will not get bored.

Some people prefer to visit only the UNESCO world heritage sites or 7 wonders of the world. Well in Agra, Taj Mahal is among the 7 wonders of the world. Also, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri are amongst the UNESCO world heritage sites.

In Jaipur, Amber Fort is a UNESCO world heritage site. And in Delhi, Red Fort, Qutub Minar, and Humayun’s tomb are also amongst the UNESCO world heritage sites. So, when tourists visit the Golden Triangle they also cover these sites in their visit list too.

Best time to Visit

If you visit a place at the right time on the calendar, then you can make your stay more memorable. So, you might be thinking what is the best time to visit the Golden Triangle.

Generally, tourists choose to visit the Golden Triangle in India in the winter season. Usually, the winter season starts in mid-October and till the first week of March. Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur can be freezing cold due to Himalayan cold wind influence especially during mid-December till the end of February.

But, trust me on this, it is far better than the summer season when the temperature is about 50°C that can scorch you. During the winter season, you can also enjoy many festivals like Diwali, Christmas, Holi and so on.

Read some of our post regarding the palaces of the Golden Triangle:

4 Places to Visit in Gaya

This post is regarding my travelling experience of visiting famous places in the holy city, Gaya. Come and join me on this journey.

Gaya is a sacred city in the Indian state of Bihar. It is one of the major tourist attractions in the state, due to its historic importance. It mainly attracts followers of Hinduism and Buddhism.

Also Read : A Solo Travel to Pink City | Jaipur

Gaya district has a town, Bodh Gaya. It is the place where Gautama Buddha, who founded Buddhism, had attained enlightenment. That is the reason, thousands of people visit this holy place from all around the world every year in India.

Me and my family visited this religious and beautiful place during the winter season last year. Here, I am sharing my experience of visiting this city and try to introduce you to some remarkable places that I have visited.

Mahabodhi Temple

Mahabodhi Temple situated in Bodh Gaya is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is among the most divine places for Buddhists. Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who later have known as Gautama Buddha, obtained enlightenment here under Bodhi Tree.

Mahabodhi temple is very old and built in around 260 BCE. It illustrates a very old piece of architecture. The main temple possesses a very delightful sculpture of Lord Buddha. People were chanting mantras there and were walking around the temple in a clockwise direction.

The whole place is very immense and has a soothing environment. There are beautiful gardens in the complex area. Different short sculptures of the Lord are also there.

The temple is situated in the east direction from the descendant of the actual Bodhi Tree. It is a fig tree (Ficus religiosa), also known as ‘peepal tree’ in the native language. Gautama Buddha attained perfect insight while meditating under it.

The Vajrasana or diamond throne is placed under the Bodhi Tree. It was built by Emperor Ashoka to mark the holy place. Nowadays, the throne and the trunk of the tree is protected with fences all around it.

We saw numerous monks and followers, who were meditating and praying under the tree, following their sacred rituals. One can feel calmness and peace while sitting there.

The temple premises also includes Cankamana. It is believed to be the way where Lord Buddha had walked during the meditation in the third week. The black stone lotuses on the platform specify the places where the Lord’s feet rested while walking.

I don’t have any photo of the temple as the phone was not allowed on the premises. But I must say, I was so pleased there, that is why I didn’t want to leave that place.

Vishnupad Temple

Me at Vishnupad Temple

Vishnupad Temple is another temple most visited by Hindu devotees. Built with gray granite stones, this age-old temple is an important place to visit. The temple is located along the Falgu River.

Vishnu-Pad (Vishnu feet) Temple was marked by the holy footprints of Lord Vishnu when he punished Gayasura. The imprinted stone slab is always decorated with sandalwood and various flowers. The temple also includes idols of other Gods.

On the other side of the Falgu River, there is another beautiful spot. According to Ramayana, it is the place where Lord Rama, wife Seeta, and brother Lakshmana came to offer pind-daan for their father Dasharath. Since then, this place is also famous for pind-daan as per Hindu mythology.

The Great Buddha Statue

See the Great Buddha Statue behind me

Also Read : 5 Unforgettable Moments in Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin)

The 25 meters (82 feet) Buddha Statue is located near Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya. The statue of Lord Buddha is seated above lotus flower in a meditation pose, under the open sky. It is made up of sandstone blocks and red granite. Statues of 10 disciples of Buddha in different hand postures are also erected there.

It took seven years to construct this marvelous piece of beauty, with the help of thousands of masons. The statue is among the top largest Buddha statues built in dhyana mudra (pose) in India.


There are numerous monasteries of different Asian Countries in close vicinity to Mahabodhi Temple. Monasteries include Thai Temple and Monastery, Japanese Temple, Royal Bhutan Temple, Tibetan Monastery, Chinese Temple and many more.

Japanese Temple

Construction of these temples and monasteries so diverge in shape, color, and style. They represent the tradition and culture of their own countries. They are all charming and graceful. Also, before visiting to see each one of them, make sure to keep in mind the timings.

Ngagyur Palyul Thupten Monastery and Temple

Also Read : A Day Trip in Agra | Taj Mahal and Agra Fort

There was tight security in that area, because his holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was there on a pilgrimage, for three weeks in India. I missed the chance to see him. We found that he was conducting a meeting with his fellow members when we visited there.

Royal Bhutan Temple
Sitting in front of Royal Bhutan Temple

Overall my experience of visiting this place was full of amazement and peacefulness. If you get a chance to go there, don’t miss. And do share your experience with us.

Happy Traveling!!

A Visit to Red Fort

This Post is all about my visit to the Red Fort which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and situated in Chandni Chowk, Delhi.

Red Fort is a historic fort situated in Chandni Chowk, Delhi. Being built by the Mughal Emporer Shah Jahan, Red Fort remained as the main residence of the Mughal dynasty for almost 200 years. The decision to construct Red Fort was taken by Shah Jahan in 1638 when he shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi. It took 10 years to finally complete the construction of this fort.

Also Read: A Guide to Chandni Chowk in Delhi | Where to go for Whom?

Earlier being known as Quila-E-Mubarak (Blessed Fort) by the local people, Red Fort is today a UNESCO World Heritage site. It attracts thousands of visitors every year.

We went to visit this fort at 1:00 PM. For visiting the fort, we bought the entrance token, which one has to keep for the exit too.

View of Meena Bazaar

Meena Bazaar

After the security check, we entered the Meena Bazaar in the fort. Meena Bazaar has near about 40 shops selling embroidered bags, carpets, artificial jewelry, Indian lehngas and much more. In the Mughal Era, Meena Bazaar was only for the women in the harem, Rajput ladies and the ladies of the noblemen.

This was only for the purpose of joy, entertainment, and charity. At that time, it was also known by the name Bazaar-I-Musaqqaf or Chatta Chowk (Covered Bazaar). The notion of this bazaar was stimulated by the one, Shah Jahan saw in Peshawar (now in Pakistan). During Shah Jahan’s time, there were shops on both the upper and lower levels, but today it is open at the lower level only.

British -Cottages-at-Red-Fort
A snap with British cottages

Also Read : 5 Unforgettable Moments in Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin)

As we move forward after exploring Meena Bazaar, there comes bungalows and cottages which were earlier made and used by Britishers during the 18th century and later used by Indian Army. The inner and the outer court are separated by the huge entrance gate called Naubat Khana.

Naubat Khana

Naubat Khana is basically a drum house, which was used to play the music during the Mughal Era. From here, the musicians used to play Nagadas, Shahnais and various other instruments to inform the arrival of the emperor and other dignitaries.

There was a tradition that everyone except the royal blood had to leave their elephants or horses at this place, in order to further enter into the inner complex of the fort. Naubat Khana was made with red sandstone and covered with white plaster. It has blooming floral designs on the walls, which was originally highlighted with gold.

One should note that opposite to the Taj Mahal in Agra, here all the designs on the back side of the house have the cherished flowers. It is probably due to the fact that King used to stay in this place. I am only guessing!!

View of Diwan-I-Aam


Diwan-I-Aam ( Hall for Public Audience) is an open hall which has nine front-facing engrailed arches. This is the hall where Shah Jahan used to meet the general public and resolve their grievances. Apart from this, he also used to pass the judgments and grants related to the matters of the daily administration of his empire.

In the middle, this hall has a white throne where Shah Jahan used to sit.
The throne was also referred to as Nashiman-i-Zil-i-Ilahi or ‘the seat of the shadow of God’. Nowadays, the same is covered with a boundary of transparent glass probably to save it from dust and from the visitors that may touch the same otherwise.  

Nashiman-I-Zil-I-Ilahi covered with Glass

Also Read: A Day Trip in Agra | Taj Mahal and Agra Fort

I thought that its time to break the glass, sit on the throne and rule the people of India. I was like its that easy to rule India, you just have to break the glass. Then I got a strike in my head, idiot!! India is an Independent Country. India is already free from the rulers about years ago. But honestly, just imagine you have a private fort with an army. it feels good, right!!

After this, we went ahead. Earlier, beyond this, it was a private area where the general public is not allowed to enter.

View of Diwan-I-Khas


Diwan-I-Khas (Hall of Private Audience), like Diwan-I-Aam, is also an open hall but with front-facing five arches. In this hall, Shah Jahan used to meet his ministers having high ranks, honorable guests and other important people.

In the Mughal Era, the main attraction of this place was the famous “Peacock Throne” which was entirely made up gold and also have rubies, gems, and emeralds of different shapes and sizes. Shah Jahan used to sit on this throne with a ring having attention grabbing Kohinoor diamond in it.

After the invasion by Persian Emporer Nadir Shah 1739, the original Peacock Throne was taken by him as the war trophy. Afterward, a replacement of the throne was commissioned, which remained until the 1857 Indian Rebellion. Nowadays, you can say that it just has the leftover.


Also Read : A Solo Travel to Pink City | Jaipur

Other Attractions

Rang Mahal – Rang Mahal in English means ‘Palace of Colours’. During the Mughal Era, it was used as residence of the Emperor’s wives and mistresses. In the center, it has a shallow canal which is known as Nahr-I-Bihisht. Under the palace, there is a basement which where used by the royal women to cool down during the hot summer days.

Khas Mahal – During Mughal Era, Khas Mahal was used as the Emperor’s private residence. It has three parts, namely, the chamber of telling beads, sitting room and the sleeping chamber. Khas Mahal is connected to an octagonal tower namely, Muthamman Burj, from where the Emperor used to address the people.

Mumtaz Mahal – In Mughal Era, Mumtaz Mahal was the part of women’s quarter or Zenana. Many queens used to live there and in several other buildings which were later destroyed by the Britishers. During British rule, the same was used as a prison camp. Now, the Red Fort Archaelogical Museum is situated here.

Moti Masjid – Moti Masjid in English means ‘Pearl Mosque’. It is a white marble mosque built by Aurangzeb for his second wife Nawab Bai. The main prayer hall has the three arches which are divided into two aisles.

Apart from all this, you can also see the Light and Sound Show which is of around 1-hour and showcases the history of Delhi and Red Fort. Every year on the Independence Day of India, the Prime Minister hoists the National Flag at the main gate and delivers a speech from its ramparts. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations and attracts thousands of visitors every year.

A Solo Travel to Pink City | Jaipur

This post is all about my visit to the different beautiful places in Jaipur.

If you are exploring a new place to visit with your family and loved ones, then your list should definitely include Jaipur.

Jaipur, also known as Pink city, is the capital of North Indian state named Rajasthan. Being founded and named after the Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amer, Jaipur is a part of India’s Golden Triangle tourist circuit.

I went to Jaipur on my vacations. It is one of the favorite places for tourists and vacationers due to its rich culture, heritage, and monuments. Among so many captivating places in Jaipur, I visited some, and I am sharing my experiences with you all underneath:

Front View of Amer Fort

Front view of Amer Fort

Amer Fort

Amer Fort or Amber Fort is located in rugged hills, away from the main city. The first impression of the fort for me was the strange royal feeling. ‘Amber’ Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

I was astonished to see that immense fort and the beautiful architectural designs of it from outside. For entrance, I had two options, either I could enter by simply walking or I could enter by riding on an elephant. I chose the second one.

Amer Fort was mainly built by Raja Man Singh, and later undergone improvements by Jai Singh I and Sawai Jai Singh II. Red sandstone work and glowing white marbles were the centers of attention. There was beautiful Maota Lake view from the top.

The fort was divided into four sections each having a courtyard. It consisted of Diwan-E-Am (Hall of public audience), Diwan-E-Khas (Hall of private audience), the Sukh Niwas and Sheesh Mahal whose walls are made with mirrors and precious stones, left us open-jawed.

I felt curious to know more about Rajput Maharajas’ life as I wish to live their life, which can’t be possible now. After spending some hours and witnessing a city glimpse from there, we left that place. In the evening, you can also see the light and sound show at the fort.

  posing with the Camel after the ride near Jal Mahal
Me posing with the Camel after the ride near Jal Mahal

Jal Mahal

Jal Mahal or Water Palace located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake, somewhere between the city and the Aravalli hills, was a very peaceful place. It looked more splendid with the combination of the deep blue color of water mixed with the soothing yellow color of the palace.

In total it has five storeys, out of which four storeys are in the water and only one exposed above the water level. We were not allowed to go inside the lake but could enjoy the stunning view from the shores. No doubt, visiting Rajasthan is incomplete without having a camel ride.

So, I did that alongside the lake and enjoyed the bumpy ride a lot. At last, we went for long walks in the pathways accompanied with mild air in the evening and ate some street food over there.

Jantar Mantar

Jantar Mantar is a great monument built by Rajput King Sawai Jai Singh II. Featuring world’s largest stone Sundail, Jantar Mantar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Jantar Mantar in layman term means ‘An Instrument that does the Calculation’.

I reached there during mid-day. It was not possible for us to gain in-depth knowledge of the observatory, so I took a guide. He told me that it consists of nineteen instruments like Vrihat Samrat Yantra, Rama Yantra, Jai Prakash Yantra and many more. These instruments were used earlier for measuring time, eclipses prediction, tracking locations of major stars, and other celestial movements.

Side view of Hawa Mahal
Side view of Hawa Mahal

Hawa Mahal

Located in the middle of the main street of the old Pink city, Hawa Mahal is a significant monument of Jaipur. It is constructed with red and pink sandstones and is famous for its marked architecture. ‘Palace of the winds’ contained countless small windows (also called jharokhas) and screens to provide ventilation. Though I am not able to recall the exact number of windows right now that I tried to count.

The reason it was mainly built was for providing Royal women the view of the city without having been noticed by other people. I  went for some shopping in the nearby market area after capturing some pictures with the Mahal.

In Jaipur, if you want to do extensive shopping, then you can hit Johari Bazar, Tripolia Bazar, Chandpole Bazar, or Kishanpole Bazar. They all can give you an amazing shopping experience.

Birla Temple

As we all know there are several Birla temples located all around the country, Jaipur also has one. Here it is also known as Laxmi-Narayan Temple. It is located at the base of Moti Dungari Hill. The temple is built on an elevated ground. I was astounded with the white beauty of the temple as it was built completely with marble. Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Narayan) and Goddess Laxmi (the Goddess of wealth and good fortune).

There were positive vibes all around the temple. The walls were depicting the old stories and events associated with Hinduism and other religions. There were alluring sculptures based on mythological themes near the temple premises. Overall I felt fascinating and pleasant.

Albert Hall picture captured in Mobile
Trying some photography skills at Albert Hall

Central Museum

Central Museum or Albert Hall Museum (named after Prince Albert) is among the old museums situated in the city. That adorable and unique piece of architecture was located in the center of Ram Niwas Garden.

The museum has a large range of collection of the King’s portraits and costumes, arms and weapons, wooden crafts, ivory objects, metal sculptures, and much other art and craft work. At night, The place appeared more vibrant and enchanting with many colorful lights.

City view from back of Nahargarh fort
City view from back of Nahargarh Fort

Nahargarh Fort

Nahargarh Fort was originally named Sudarshangarh, was built in 1734 by Maharaj Sawai Jai Singh II, primarily as a strong defense for Jaipur city. Later on, changed it to Nahargarh, which means ‘abode of tigers’. Fort is situated on the top of Aravalli Hills, which gives a picturesque view of the entire city.

The fort is popular spot among the locals for the sunrise and sunset views. We went to visit the back side of the fort in the afternoon and stayed there till the evening, in order to observe the beautiful view of the sunset from the top. The city consisted of so many widespread tiny buildings, stuck together which were looking like small boxes, and was surrounded with the hills all around it.

World Trade Park

World Trade Park (WTP) is one of the largest shopping malls in India by size, it has its own uniqueness. It was inaugurated in 2012 with construction cost worth 350 crores. It is royal blue in color with a very charming structure.

Ambience and the interiors will give you a wow feeling. WTP is divided into many sections. Some of them are namely Dubai Bazaar, Fantasy Street, Roman Street, Pyramid Street, Mexican Street and so on. WTP has many branded outlets with a multicuisine food court and a movie theatre.

At last, all I can say is that it was a wonderful experience to visit Jaipur as it added so much to my memories which will last forever.