The Road Taj Mahal

“I can show you the world..shining, shimering, and splendid” – this song plays non stop in my head when Taj Mahal cross in my mind. I would say the trip to Taj Mahal was something that i have in mind since long time ago. I didn’t get my VISA couple of years back ( not sure what is the reason ) it’s just stay there as in progress. So, when i have my e-Visa on hand there is no way i skip Taj Mahal.

It was pretty packed after our trip in Amritsar to see Golden Temple & Wagah Border but we continued on. We packed our bag to go to the next City – New Delhi. It was so early in the morning half awake, we dragged our body back to the airport. Amritsar and New Delhi are quite far from each other. We decided to take airplane for the trip as it will take just about an hour.

You know, Amritsar airport has its own uniqueness. It’s an international airport that is not to small but not to big either. It’s in a size that is just enough. The check-in process was easy but when we got into the boarding room and saw our boarding passes.. “hang on, where is Gate 5?” haha.. Ground floor only have 4 gates yet we are in Gate5. Nonetheless, we just carred on since it wasn’t boarding time yet grabbing some breakfast and drinks. but wait.. what is that? Did i hear bird chirping? OH YES INDEED! not only chirping from afar but inside the lounge just on top of the restaurant. LOL. India you really have my heart. 🙂

Once, it’s already nearing our boarding time, there is no announcement or anything until one officer comes around announcing our flight. Oh dear you really have to be alert all the time. It turned out that our gate is upstairs. A bit of a confusion due to all the development i would say. Anyway, New Delhi here we come.

The flight was short and when we landed we already have a our driver from the hotel waiting. You know what i would share with you that our accommodation this time was so awesome. We stayed at New Delhi Holiday Inn International Airport. The services was good especially for the staff that welcome us. One of my friend fell sick and they really assisted us nicely. We are a happy guest!

Continue on about the trip. I excuse myself from the group for a while to get a local simcard. LOL the problem with an internet addict. I actually felt very uneasy when i am not connected to the internet. Amritsar doesn’t really have the local simcard for tourist so yes, i had a bit of detox over there. Once i get into the stall, in the midst of setting up and only by then the seller told me.. okay this will be online after 8 PM and i was like?? what?? it’s not directly on line?? it was another awed for me. Long story short i returned the sim card and had to go through a tough discussion to get my money back. Dude! i will only stay for a day in Delhi so that is definitely not a kind of solution that i would like to have. so caution for you who have such itinerary like mine.I left off and there we are dropping our baggage at the hotel.

New Delhi Airport – Do you se the hand? – by Mondya P

Our hotel is in New Delhi while Taj Mahal is in another city – Agra. We have looked out for travel options mainly car and train. We were helpless with the train information and in the end decided to rent a car + driver. The trip was long it took around 3 – 4 hours drive one way. So you could imagine going back and fort already took much time…however, let’s just enjoy the ride, shall we? as usual, what is a road trip without rest area stop? we made a stop and i could finally get a taste of India Starbucks. before continuing the journey. :9 and btw, you could still see cow crossing the toll road and i even saw a car drive through another side of the lane. India you really have my heart.

When we reached Agra, it has passed lunch time and really all the snacking along the way didn’t really cope with the appetite. Hence, our local guide suggested us to eat first. It was raining anyway and we just about so lucky that Taj Mahal was closed for official visit from other country. There we are eating some local delicacies. I had to say i love it. I am not a fan of Indian food since i can’t really take some spices but by far staying in India for couple of days, i didn’t have problem eating at all. Now, it left a question : “then what was all those Indian food that i can’t eat before this?”

Indian Starbucks.. yeaaap.. freshen up a bit
This is DELISH! briyani and lamb.

With a full tummy, Finally our friend and i continue our journey to see Taj Mahal. The weather outside was still cloudy after big rain. It was still drizzling but we can’t delay our journey any further.

Reaching Taj Mahal Area, our driver dropped us off at the gate. It was by local regulation that there shouldn’t be personal vehicle within certain perimeter from Taj Mahal. So we got off walk a bit and took a the provided vehicle. It feels a bit like an open safari. 😉 everything was good until we reached the entrance. OH MY GOD. It was very packed. I think thanks to the temporary closure and the huge rain. You could take a glimpse of it over here.

It was chaotic, the queue was crazy. A separate lane for foreigner wasn’t a big help i would say. We were quite lucky since we had a local guide with us so we have things provided though we still need to wait under the rain. Once we got our ticket ( it is in a token form btw ) off we go passing through the entrance. Once we get in, we though that it wasn’t that bad, it wasn’t that pack. Little that we know that we haven’t really enter the place. LOL.

When we finally get in.. oh waw.. all the trip all the effort to get there was worth it! the scenery was so beautiful. No wonder it’s very famous. Oh my, i can’t really contain my happiness seeing that place. Finally, i could see it with my own eyes after hearing about this place uncountable times.

I will tell you about it more detail later on.. as for now.. here is the picture of majestic Taj Mahal for our eyes to see. Wish you were there with us having our eyes wide opened.

Cheers!

Triana Mustika Rukmi

One Day in Amritsar – Part Two Wagah Border

Continuing our journey in Amritsar, After visiting the Golden Template we visited Wagah Border. Wagah is a territory between India and Pakistan. Within the border, they have a Flag ceremony nearing sunset time when they put down the flag. We tried to look it up before we go to Amritsar and found that the ceremony itself is something festive, so we thought why not?

Going from our hotel area to Wagah Border will take around 1 hour drive. We went there by renting a car and driver. This is something that i will recommend you to do as well. The ceremony take place around 5 PM during our visit yet our driver suggested us to leave at 2 PM. He shared with us that it will be very pack and it’s better if we leave earlier. Off we go!

I don’t really have a good picture to share but i must say that the experience of driving in India ( Amritsar to be exact ) is something that is at a different level from what i’ve experienced else where. Jakarta traffic is already something, but oh my.. India is different. I still find the Honking most of the time, that we know. However, within the trip i could find so many things happening at once and that there are so many actors. You could find not only people with many types of vehicle but also various kind of animal e.g. dog and cow. It’s something that is very unique where you could find cows roaming around on the main road. WOW.. just WOW! and it’s something that captures my eyes up until our destination.. the Borders.

I was superbly excited with the fact that i could see giant India & Pakistan Flag not very far from where i was, there lies another land another country. I couldn’t contain my excitement and curiosity. Once we reached the parking lot, we prepare ourselves + our belongings. Please no bag when you get in bring only the necessary items such as some money, camera, phone, passport – no food / drinks. Once we were ready and got off the car some people approached us offering this and that and we surrendered to one guy who offered to draw a temporary Indian flag. ( see pic below ) then we proceeded to the lane to enter the place.

When you want to enter the stadium, there are two lanes. Make sure you go to the correct lane since there is a separate lane for foreigners. I guess because it’s not the time yet we have been requested to wait outside of the stadium. It was very hot so i would recommend you to wear your sunglasses and/or your hat. Once they allow you to get in, you can’t seat as what you want. The officer direct us to go into specific seating arrangement only for foreigner and we have to fill the space accordingly. Since we were the first we have to go the upper corner. Sitting there under the hot sun, i’ve learned my lesson. Make sure you are hydrated and do not drink the cold drink nor ice. Btw, the price over there for drinks has been standardised so don’t be fooled by the seller. Have a look around you since the price is being put on the wall / pillar. The standardised price is reasonable.

while waiting for the time to get in

Okay, now that we have been seated here comes the wait until the ceremony starts. While waiting, i could see my driver words come true. It’s packed with people. I have been amazed that there are many local comes to this place as well. So it’s indeed a tourist attraction. At the same time, i could also see people are passing by from India to Pakistan and vice versa. So, yep this is an actively used border between two countries.

When it’s started, India side starts with some acts by one officer to spice up the condition. It’s all in local language so i didn’t really understand. xD yet, it’s still captivating. There are certain formation that they have made, then it’s continued with some songs being played, big wave, and a gigantic Indian flag being passed on among the spectators moving from one end to another end. Not only that, i’ve been informed that if you are a woman you could join the ceremony bringing the flag from the stadium entrance to the center along with the rest and it’s indeed happened. It was very joyful. people are happy, dancing, singing along, and all before things get a bit more serious when the officers start their part.

After all the songs here comes the officers parts. They made so many formation. Too bad we couldn’t really catch all of that. It’s still enticing for the eyes though. All movement are quite attractive as if you are acting very big showing off your capacity and capability. It felt like it with some audio accent here and there to amplify the effect. All the formation start from the entrace towards the gate between India and Pakistan. All of our eyes are at the border when both countries’ officer meet each other when the gate is opened. btw, on India side they provided a big screen which could aid you in seeing the whole things.

Both Countries are showing their act when they are facing each other. All with the extravagant movement and sound. I tried to look for the meaning and it turned out to be some friendly figures between both showing the power of each. It is actually have a good meaning behind it not some agitation. happy to know 🙂

when the flag started to go down

After the gate is opened and the flag is coming down. That’s actually the cue for us to leave. Again, this is the notes from our driver since if you wait until everything’s finished you will have to move along with the whole stadium. You could see from the picture how packed is that so we decided to go of. even that, many did the same.

You will have to go out from the same place where you entered the stadium. Different from entering protocol, exiting protocol is more lax. the lane separation between foreigners and local is no longer there. Be aware of your belonging during that time since there are quite number of people around you. We managed to go out just fine until we reached the parking lot and meet our driver. The driver directly got off as he want to avoid the jam which we could understand as well there are many cars and buses parked so we could imagine how it will be.

Leaving that place i can’t helped but feel surreal. There are so many things that my eyes could see and my senses to experience. It leaves me in awe.. My visit in Amritsar is wrapped! or not yet.. since the experience in Amritsar airport on the next day is another story to tell.

See you in the next post and wish you where there to experience all that with us. 😉

Cheers!

Triana Mustika Rukmi

One Day in Amritsar – First Part Golden Temple

Good day! so after the long trip to go to Amritsar we had our rest and ready to start the day with Indian breakfast – pharata yums!:9 It was one bright morning perfect for city stroll. We divided the day whereby we will spend the first half to explore areas within Golden Temple, take a rest, then go to Wagah border. Once we finish our breakfast, we stay very near to golden temple so we could go by foot.

The city is very lovely. Well, you know India that i saw on tv or media weren’t shown during my stay over there though you could still hear all the honking. Haha i think that part of India authenticity that can’t be taken away. however, it might be due to the nature of the city it feels calming. Amritsar is one of the India holy city with Golden temple as its center of attention. We stay close so within just couple of minutes walk we could hear the chanting from the temple. Here have a look of it. 🙂

Golden Temple

This temple is indeed such a beaut for the eyes. Before you enter you will need to take of your footware, wash your foot, and put a modest attire. It is a holy place so please be respectful. People go here for praying and there are places where you could dip into the pool. Separate place is provided for the woman. While i was there, there are quite number of people drawing the temple and it turned out they are actually students. If you see my picture there is a lane to get into the temple. It was so packed and i didn’t go in. being there at the edge of the pool is calming enough for me. I just like the serenity. lovely.

The temple is the center but we came here to experience something else too. So when we looked up about this place, they provide food for free to the visitors. So off we go. First you will be given plate and the eating utensils ( caution : if you don’t want to eat that much just take one plate and share with your friend.do not take separate plate ) then you go along with people movement to an open space where you will be instructed to sit on the floor within lane.

Once you seat, you could see that there are number of people gathered around to eat and there are alot of things happening at the same time. People eat, finish, go then the people ( from the temple i suppose ) do the cleaning. Good type of busy, efficient i would say.

Uh oh here comes our food.. First person come, i lift my plate but he asked me to put it on the floor then he gave me something yellowish like sweet potato. Second person come, i have no idea what is that but it looks like bean soup? Third person came, He gave me bread. You will get 2 bread by default but you could ask for more. Fourth person come, another bean soup? Fifth person will pour water for you to drink. So there we have a complete meal. It was good but taste foreign for us yet still eat up guys!

People eat very fast. When they finish, they take away their utensils and go out to the exit lane. Following the lane i found that first they will take your eating utensils, then plates. Again. very efficient. People then will pass your plates etc around ’till the end where they clean it. What an experience which i will recommend you to try on.

Having our stomach full, we decided to take another round and having a better look over the vicinity. btw, they provide drinking water in several spots so you don’t need to worry over your hydration. when we feel enough, we took our exit to come back to our hotel for a bit of rest before the second place – wagah border.

During our way back, you know what.. we found MCDONALDS. LOL. i suggested to go in so we got in for some AC. Oh dear it was blazing hot. We ordered some items to know the difference compare to the one in Indonesia. When i paid for it, i was so surprised because the price is quite low.

okay now, with an even more full stomach, we really need to get back to the hotel to get some rest. way between the hotel and the temple is quite vibrant with all people and the building. So here are some snaps so that you could get a gist of it.

as for the other half day in Amritsar, i will tell you on the next post. 🙂

Wish you were there enjoying all this with us.

breakfast. :9

Cheers!

Triana Mustika Rukmi

This Is How We Meet India

“All my bags are packed i am ready to go” – or so i hope. FINALLY the day to go off to India! I still remember the hustle on that very morning of last minute packing and all. OMG! never again not taking an advance leave for a day before long trip. learn from my experience guys… it’s a much needed time. Thanks to my clumsiness i left my jacket which should be an integral part of the journey on second country – Nepal and only realised it when i already on my way to the airport. LOL. but that’s the beauty of traveling anyway with dozen of story to tell.

Arriving in the airport, i was surprised that another friend are visiting us! Cheering us up for a journey that made us question ourselves many times –> ” why did we do this to ourselves?” :”D We bid our good bye and went into our first flight was from Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur. Oh dear KL, A city that will always have special space in my heart. 🙂 It was a short transit but not bad i could at least taste a bit of Malaysia’s delicacy – Yong Tau Fu and my friend could finish her work over the ocean. 😛

The second flight ( Kuala Lumpur – Amritsar) wass a bit different where the language started to shift to a foreign language for me and my friends. Btw, that was the first time i took AirAsiaX. We got lucky in the seating arrangement where 3 of us could sit in the silent area. It’s quite enjoyable with these lovely ladies in which somehow made us bought a lot of food? haha.

With happy heart, full tummy, and tired body, we landed in AMRITSAR. it was quite late at night and the jet lag start to hit us yet we still have to clear our immigration. Remember the e-visa that i told you about? they are going to check it over here so please make sure it’s ready. You will also need to fill your arrival card and you are good to queue. It will be handy to have your own pen as it wasn’t provided thankfully i have mine covered within my traveling pouch.

Once you got all covered, they have a dedicated line for e-visa. The process was quite seamless is just that somehow things went slower than my expectation or maybe just because i was tired. i finished last and my other 2 friends had taken our baggage. Now, another challenge we need to find our driver. The airport provide a good internet connection thankfully so this wasn’t a big issue. What amazed us was the foreign kind of environment.

We walked out of the airport, at that time it was still under development so perhaps now it’s better, and we were puzzled. I can’t really describe it with words but it was something that will make you feel lost. Then there goes the famous BAJAJ and all the honking and India beautiful hustle bustle. 😉 We are ready to start the trip! Here we come India!

Sri Guru Ram Das Ji International Airport – from outside at night
Hi Amritsar!

ps. i am taking a little time here to pray for everyone’s well being wherever you are amid the coronavirus pandemic with specific regards to India. A beautiful country which has given me amazing experience. stay safe.

Wish everything goes well and we could travel as we used to be.

Cheers!

Triana Mustika Rukmi