The word "khana" in Indian Khana Made Easy means food. So come on, let's explore and cook some easy Indian food together including Gluten Free dishes.

March 4, 2020

Reflections on Our Travel to the Motherland

Who remembers this song from Pardes? My favorite part of the song is when Mahima Chaudhry (Indian actress) sings:

"Ye Duniya Ek Dulhan, 
Ye Duniya Ek Dulhan
Dulhan Ke Maathe Ki Bindiya
Ye Mera India
Ye Mera India
I Love My India
I Love My India"



That's how I felt when we landed at Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi last November. It had only been six years since I last visited the Motherland (India), yet it seemed like ages ago. It was also my husband's first time visiting India. 

We made meticulous plans before we left. Booked all of our tours with a Rajjas Tours and Travels, an Indian travel company my family used before. Our plans were made to a T. 




Our India tour included trips to Ajanta and Ellora Caves in Aurangabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and the Golden Triangle: Delhi to Agra to Jaipur, Udaipur and then back to Delhi. More posts to follow. 


Below are some tips we wanted to share with you based on our experience:

Do's 
  • MONUMENT TIMINGS/CLOSINGS - Make sure to look up and note down all the timings for the monuments - not all are open Monday through Sunday. You can plan your trip according to these timings so you don't miss out on the important sights.  
  • TICKET PRICING - The pricing is different for varies kinds of tourists: 
    • An Indian citizen with PAN card
    • NRIs / OCI cardholders - make sure to bring it with you when you visit the monuments so you don't have to pay foreigner fees. 
    • Non-Indian tourists or foreigners
  • PHONE/SIM CARD USE - Carrying an unlocked phone goes a long way when traveling abroad. We were able to swap out the US SIM for an Indian SIM card and use it over there. If you do not have an Indian SIM card, you can always buy it at the airports. It is much cheaper than getting an International Voice/Data plan from the US. 
  • BARGAIN, BARGAIN BARGAIN!!! Try your hand at negotiating when buying souvenirs, handicrafts, or fruits at street markets. If you are going to buy multiple items, there's more room for bargaining. It doesn't hurt and you can save some $$$
  • STAY HYDRATED - always carry bottled water with you when you go out on day trips. We actually bought a gallon water jug and refilled our bottles if we stayed in a hotel that didn't replenish the water bottles daily. 
  • Dress appropriately for the weather conditions. 
  • You can walk around where ever there are footpaths but be mindful that there's a lot of traffic in these metropolitan cities. Look both ways before crossing major roads during daytime and nighttime. 

Don'ts
  • FOOD ITEMS - Don't bring food inside monuments; be mindful and travel light
    • Places like Red Fort have security checkpoints where they will ask you to take out food items if you have any.
  • TICKETS/TOKENS - Don't lose your ticket token; keep it safe. You will have to pay a penalty if it is lost.
  • CURFEW - Don't stay out late or go to remote areas by yourself. Always travel with someone or in groups. 


Availability/Mode of transportation
  • METRO / SUBWAY - We took the metro a few times in Delhi for sightseeing and eating out. We rented a car and driver for full day travel or tours. 
  • UBER - Use the app for taxi service in various cities. 
    • We used the app to drop off to the airport in New Delhi and Hyderabad. We also used the app to pick up from the airport to our hotel in Bangalore.  
    •  You can use your credit card or pay with cash.
  • TAXI SERVICE - There is a taxi kiosk outside of the Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi where you can book a taxi to where ever you need to go. This worked out better for us because we heard that the Uber pick up area was really far from the other taxi spots. 
  • AUTOS or THREE WHEELERS - Only if Uber is not available. You can negotiate the rate by giving the auto driver the Uber rate so they don't rip you off. 
    • It's best to know the route ahead of time of getting into the Auto so they don't take you for a ride. 

Stay tuned as we explore more of what India had to offer through a series of upcoming posts, Reflections on Our Travel to the Motherland. 

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