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If you love shopping then this list is going to be your favorite one! It is time that you change your shopping bucket list to include one more thing- visiting all the best malls Mumbai has to offer.

Like most metro cities these days, Mumbai, too, has a variety of malls to choose from when you want to spend a day shopping, relaxing and generally having fun.

Gone are the days when shopping meant either going to high-end expensive boutiques or a visit to the local market to get the best bargains.

Malls today have become one-stop destinations for all your requirement.

They are specially designed with the aim to satisfy all your demands and enhance the overall experience. And no malls do this better than the ones in Mumbai.

The high ceilings, an amazing selection of stores, hundreds of food outlets to choose from and the recreational activities offered is what sets these malls apart.

The malls in Dubai are said to be some of the most luxurious and best malls in the world. But today we don’t need to go that far to get a similar experience. While the cool atmosphere of malls provide the perfect escape from the summer heat, the options of stores and activities that one has to choose from guarantees a fun day ahead.

Malls these days have everything from stores and boutiques with lucrative discounts, funky cafes and restaurants, movie theatres, spas, salons, and even special activities to keep children busy while you enjoy, all under one roof.

They give you the opportunity to browse multiple stores and select the one that suits you the best without having to go through the trouble of traveling far.

Mumbai has a large number of malls that are spread throughout the city. Each one aims to be bigger, more luxurious and a better experience for the customer.

The following is a list of some of the biggest and best malls Mumbai has to offer so you can start exploring and shopping!

  1. High Street Phoenix Mall, Lower Parel
  2. Phoenix Market City Mall, Kurla
  3. R- City Mall, Ghatkopar
  4. Infiniti Mall, Malad
  5. Inorbit Mall, Malad
  6. Oberoi Mall, Goregaon
  7. Infiniti Mall, Andheri
  8. Seawoods Grand Central, Navi Mumbai
  9. Atria Mall, Worli
  10. Viviana Mall, Thane
  11. Palladium Mall, Lower Parel
  12. Growel’s 101 Mall, Kandivali
  13. Inorbit Mall, Vashi
High Street Phoenix Mall, Lower Parel

Formerly known as Phoenix Mall, High Street Phoenix is definitely one of the biggest malls in not only Mumbai but also the country with a floor area of 33,00,000 square feet.

Developed on the land previously occupied by the cotton manufacturing Phoenix Mills, it is made up of the Palladium, SkyZone and Grand Galleria.

The mall has all kinds of brands depending on your preference and price range and you will definitely find what you are looking for in the mall.

It consists of high-end brands like Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Burberry, Calvin Klein, and many others. It was also India’s first mall to introduce the concept of the hyper market with the opening of Big Bazaar in 2001.

When it comes to dining too, the mall has a lot to offer. From national and international cuisines and restaurants to fast food joints like Burger King, Domino’s Pizza and McDonald’s, the mall has something for every person visiting.

The mall also celebrates all special occasions and festivals in a grand manner. They have special discounts, sales and fests to improve the shopping experience. It also has the Canvas Laugh Club which hosts stand up sets by comedians regularly.

For Kids: Apart from having several food outlets like the candy store PapaBubble, Mad Over Donuts and McDonalds you can keep your children from getting bored by letting them explore the big toy shop Hamley’s or depositing them in the safe play area while you enjoy your shopping experience.

Famished after shopping? Check this out: One place you must try while in High Street Phoenix is Grandmama’s Cafe where you can enjoy delicious Italian, Parsi and Continental dishes with great ambiance and service. It has some of the prettiest interiors and a great spot for all foodies!

  • Address– 462, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (West), Mumbai, Maharashtra- 400013
  • Nearest Station– Lower Parel railway station
  • Opening and Closing Time– 11:00 am- 10:00 pm
  • Website

If this is your First trip to India you will find these posts helpful:-

  1. When is the best time to Visit India?
  2. What should tourists wear in India?
  3. Should you tip in India? Read when, whom & how much to tip.
  4. 13 tried and tested Safety Tips for Train Travel in India
  5. Curious about Indian Culture? Learn how to drape a perfect Saree – Step By Step Tutorial.
Phoenix Market City Mall, Kurla

This mall is home to over 600 stores of domestic brands, foreign brands, PVR cinemas, and food outlets so you will definitely find something that is to your preference in Phoenix Market City.

The mall opened its gates in 2011 to the population of Mumbai. Even though the mall is in the center of one of the most crowded areas in Mumbai, the mall itself is spacious and stretches over a large area.

Some of the major brands that have their stores in this mall include Zara, Marks & Spencer, Lifestyle and many others where you might just get some of the best deals.

One of the most interesting things about Phoenix Market City is that it has a massive entertainment and performance are where regular live performances are held.

For Kids: The mall also has a bowling and games arena for children. Another quick and easy way to keep the kids from complaining is the Snow World in the mall which happens to be the biggest one in Mumbai.

I’m sure the adult won’t mind visiting either! The mall regularly conducts workshops, especially during the summer targeted at attracting the younger crowd.

Pro Tip: If you are fond of fine dining and are on a lookout for a great place to check out near Phoenix Market City you must try Cafe Delhi Heights. The trendy cafe specializes in Continental, Italian, Seafood and North Indian food. It is the perfect place to grab a bite after a long day of shopping and fun!

  • Address– LBS Road, Kamani, Kurla West, Kurla, Mumbai, Maharashtra- 400070
  • Nearest Station– Asalpha metro station
  • Opening and Closing Time– 11:00 am- 11:00 pm
  • Website
R- City Mall, Ghatkopar

Arguably one of the best malls Mumbai has to offer, R- City Mall in Ghatkopar opened in the year 2009 and has quickly managed to become one of the most popular malls.

After going through several development phases and renovations the mall has increased its area considerably.

And for the better, because the mall has almost all the brands that one could want under one roof, from the more local ones to international brands like H&M, Marks & Spencer.

The mall also includes a large Big Bazaar, a Decathlon store for all the sporty customers out there, several home stores for your home and interior decor needs, and even has jewelry stores.

There are over 60 food and beverage outlets from the Food Court to restaurants.

The mall also has an INOX theatre that screens the latest movies. There are many options when it comes to entertainment including live shows that are conducted in the main entrance of the mall.

When it comes to entertainment for children, R- City mall has you covered there, too.

For Kids: The mall has a Snow Kingdom, Red Carpet Museum, TimeZone, Laser tag, and live escape games. R-City mall is also home to the only KidZania Theme Park for children in Mumbai.

Famished after shopping? Check this out: If there is only one restaurant that you can try when in R-City Mall you must not miss the opportunity to grab a meal at Urban Tadka. The perfect mix between urban and desi this restaurant has some of the best North Indian food in the city. The ambiance of the restaurant just makes the experience of dining there even better.

  • Address– LBS Road, Amrut Nagar, Ghatkopar West, Mumbai, Maharashtra- 400086
  • Nearest Station– Ghatkopar railway station
  • Opening and Closing Time– 11:00 am- 10:00 pm
  • Website
Infiniti Mall, Malad

The last thing you would expect inside a luxurious mall would be a rollercoaster. But that is exactly what Infiniti Mall in Malad offers! It was the first mall to install a rollercoaster within it premise and has gained a lot of popularity from customers because of this unique feature.

With an area of 1.2 million square feet, this mall is one of the biggest in the western suburbs and was launched in 2011.

It is the home for many high-end shopping brands, has a multiplex cinema and some of the most popular restaurants in the country. It also has the popular club and bar Hoppipola which is frequented by the youngsters in the city.

When it comes to entertainment Infiniti Malad is not far behind.

For kids: In 2017, Fun City the biggest kid’s play zone in India was opened in the mall. It is a major attraction for families especially during the vacations when the cool temperatures of the mall provide a great option for parents and children. There are special live performances and brand endorsement events conducted and they aim to attract more people.

Famished after shopping? Check this out: For all those out there with a keen sweet tooth my suggestion would be to definitely check out Theobroma while on your shopping trip to Infiniti Mall. Theobroma is a patisserie that specializes in desserts and baked goods but also has a great savory menu. The cupcakes from here are to die for!

  • Address– New Link Road, Malad West, Mumbai, Maharashtra- 400064
  • Nearest Station– Malad railway station
  • Opening and Closing Time– 11:00 am- 11:00 pm
  • Website

The following tips will keep you safe and healthy during your travels.

Inorbit Mall, Malad

The second mall in Malad, Inorbit is also a great option if you are looking for a way to spend your day shopping. Though smaller than Infiniti Malad, Inorbit has an INOX cinema and a big food court apart from the extensive collection of retails stores to choose from.

The mall recently went through a series of renovations and was revitalized with new stores and better interiors.

There are brands to meet your every need in this mall including MAC Cosmetics, Lifestyle, Levi’s, Fab India and this is just the beginning.

INOX opened its first IMAX 4D screen in Inorbit Mall Malad and it is something truly worth experiencing.

For Kids: The mall has a Timezone entertainment centre which guarantees an exciting and entertaining time for children that will ensure they leave the mall with big smiles on their faces.

The mall has a slightly more cozy atmosphere than the other malls and that is an added advantage for the customers.

Famished after shopping? Check this out: After a long day of shopping and entertainment, you are bound to be craving some great food and what better way to satisfy that craving than dining at a restaurant which serves some of the crispiest pizzas and some juicy burgers.

Indigo Delicatessen promises both of those things and much more. Specializing in European and Italian cuisines, this restaurant is known to have some of the best services in the city and the specialty dishes are something you must look out for.

  • Address– Link Road, Malad West, Mumbai, Maharashtra- 400064
  • Nearest Station– Goregaon railway station
  • Opening and Closing Time– 11:00 am- 9:30 pm
  • Website
Oberoi Mall, Goregaon

‘Fun, Food, Fashion, Films’ the motto of this mall tells it all.

The Oberoi Mall in Goregaon promises fun from the minute you enter.

Having opened in 2008, it was one of the first big malls in Mumbai and also was the mall from where many international brands were launched in India including Forever 21, Starbucks and several others.

The mall has three levels and the topmost level is where you want to be for maximum entertainment.

The feather in this mall’s cap is definitely the fact that it was the first mall in India to be awarded the Gold certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

The mall has several hip and trendy restaurants and cafes, so there is something to meet every person’s tastes and needs.

For Kids: The gaming centre on the topmost floor is the perfect place for children to play and enjoy their time in the mall while you grab the amazing deals the shops have to offer. Oberoi Mall definitely takes care of all your needs.

Famished after shopping? Check this out: Along with cool spots like Goregaon Social and the British Brewing Company, Oberoi Mall is also home to the hip Farzi Cafe that specialises in Modern Indian food.

The variety that this cafe has to offer in terms of food and beverages is nothing like any other restaurant.

Any meal eaten in this restaurant will be the perfect fusion between Indian cuisines and international delicacies. Be sure to try Farzi Cafe’s take on the classic dishes we all love so much!

  • Address– Western Express Highway, Yashodham, Goregaon, Mumbai, Maharashtra- 400063
  • Nearest Station– Malad railway station
  • Opening and Closing Time– 10:00 am- 11:00 pm
  • Website

These posts will help you plan your trips so that you stay safe and healthy.

Infiniti Mall, Andheri

This mall is definitely the one-stop destination for all the fashion and food lovers out there.

Along with a six-screen cinema complex, a food court with amazing options to choose from, restaurants, Infiniti Mall in Andheri has several stores and Westside, Pantaloons, Pramod, Biba, Global Desi, etc., are only a few big names.

It is the perfect mall to stroll through on the weekends and enjoy the music events the mall is known to organize.

For kids: To keep children occupied there is a family entertainment centre on the topmost floor.

Famished after shopping? Check this out: The fine dining restaurant Zaffran is also in the mall. All those who love Indian cuisine must definitely try to grab a meal there. Other popular restaurants in Infiniti Mall, Andheri are California Pizza Kitchen, Maharaja Bhog and Mainland China.

The dessert parlor The Churro Co. is something you must make a point to try out while in Infiniti Mall. While much smaller than the other cafes on this list, this dessert parlor offers something the others don’t.

The crispy and sweet churro paired with dark or milk chocolate has quickly become a fan favorite because of how good it tastes and how unique it is.

  • Address– New Link Road, Phase D, Oshiwara, Andheri West, Mumbai, Maharashtra- 400053
  • Nearest Station– D N Nagar metro station
  • Opening and Closing Time– 10:00 am- 11:00 pm
  • Website

Need more travel inspiration?

Seawoods Grand Central Mall, Navi Mumbai
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If you love shopping then this list is going to be your favorite one! It is time that you change your shopping bucket list to include one more thing- visiting all the best malls Mumbai has to offer.

Like most metro cities these days, Mumbai, too, has a variety of malls to choose from when you want to spend a day shopping, relaxing and generally having fun.

Gone are the days when shopping meant either going to high-end expensive boutiques or a visit to the local market to get the best bargains.

Malls today have become one-stop destinations for all your requirement.

They are specially designed with the aim to satisfy all your demands and enhance the overall experience. And no malls do this better than the ones in Mumbai.

The high ceilings, an amazing selection of stores, hundreds of food outlets to choose from and the recreational activities offered is what sets these malls apart.

The malls in Dubai are said to be some of the most luxurious and best malls in the world. But today we don’t need to go that far to get a similar experience. While the cool atmosphere of malls provide the perfect escape from the summer heat, the options of stores and activities that one has to choose from guarantees a fun day ahead.

Malls these days have everything from stores and boutiques with lucrative discounts, funky cafes and restaurants, movie theatres, spas, salons, and even special activities to keep children busy while you enjoy, all under one roof.

They give you the opportunity to browse multiple stores and select the one that suits you the best without having to go through the trouble of traveling far.

Mumbai has a large number of malls that are spread throughout the city. Each one aims to be bigger, more luxurious and a better experience for the customer.

The following is a list of some of the biggest and best malls Mumbai has to offer so you can start exploring and shopping!

  1. High Street Phoenix Mall, Lower Parel
  2. Phoenix Market City Mall, Kurla
  3. R- City Mall, Ghatkopar
  4. Infiniti Mall, Malad
  5. Inorbit Mall, Malad
  6. Oberoi Mall, Goregaon
  7. Infiniti Mall, Andheri
  8. Seawoods Grand Central, Navi Mumbai
  9. Atria Mall, Worli
  10. Viviana Mall, Thane
  11. Palladium Mall, Lower Parel
  12. Growel’s 101 Mall, Kandivali
  13. Inorbit Mall, Vashi
High Street Phoenix Mall, Lower Parel

Formerly known as Phoenix Mall, High Street Phoenix is definitely one of the biggest malls in not only Mumbai but also the country with a floor area of 33,00,000 square feet.

Developed on the land previously occupied by the cotton manufacturing Phoenix Mills, it is made up of the Palladium, SkyZone and Grand Galleria.

The mall has all kinds of brands depending on your preference and price range and you will definitely find what you are looking for in the mall.

It consists of high-end brands like Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Burberry, Calvin Klein, and many others. It was also India’s first mall to introduce the concept of the hyper market with the opening of Big Bazaar in 2001.

When it comes to dining too, the mall has a lot to offer. From national and international cuisines and restaurants to fast food joints like Burger King, Domino’s Pizza and McDonald’s, the mall has something for every person visiting.

The mall also celebrates all special occasions and festivals in a grand manner. They have special discounts, sales and fests to improve the shopping experience. It also has the Canvas Laugh Club which hosts stand up sets by comedians regularly. Apart from having several food outlets like the candy store PapaBubble, Mad Over Donuts and McDonalds you can keep your children from getting bored by letting them explore the big toy shop Hamley’s or depositing them in the safe play area while you enjoy your shopping experience.

One place you must try while in High Street Phoenix is Grandmama’s Cafe where you can enjoy delicious Italian, Parsi and Continental dishes with great ambiance and service. It has some of the prettiest interiors and a great spot for all foodies!

  • Address– 462, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (West), Mumbai, Maharashtra- 400013
  • Nearest Station– Lower Parel railway station
  • Opening and Closing Time– 11:00 am- 10:00 pm
  • Website

If this is your First trip to India you will find these posts helpful:-

  1. When is the best time to Visit India?
  2. What should tourists wear in India?
  3. Should you tip in India? Read when, whom & how much to tip.
  4. 13 tried and tested Safety Tips for Train Travel in India
  5. Curious about Indian Culture? Learn how to drape a perfect Saree – Step By Step Tutorial.
Phoenix Market City Mall, Kurla

This mall is home to over 600 stores of domestic brands, foreign brands, PVR cinemas and food outlets so you will definitely find something that is to your preference in Phoenix Market City. The mall opened its gates in 2011 to the population of Mumbai. Even though the mall is in the centre of one of the most crowded areas in Mumbai, the mall itself is spacious and stretches over a large area. One of the most interesting things about Phoenix Market City is that it has a massive entertainment and performance are where regular live performances are held.

The mall also has a bowling and games arena for children. Another quick and easy way to keep the kids from complaining is the Snow World in the mall which happens to be the biggest one in Mumbai. I’m sure the adult won’t mind visiting either! The mall regularly conducts workshops, especially during the summer targeted at attracting the younger crowd. Some of the major brands that have their stores in this mall include Zara, Marks & Spencer, Lifestyle and many others where you might just get some of the best deals.

If you are fond of fine dining and are on a look out for a great place to check out near Phoenix Market City you must try Cafe Delhi Heights. The trendy cafe specialises in Continental, Italian, Seafood and North Indian food. It is the perfect place to grab a bite after a long day of shopping and fun!

  • Address– LBS Road, Kamani, Kurla West, Kurla, Mumbai, Maharashtra- 400070
  • Nearest Station– Asalpha metro station
  • Opening and Closing Time– 11:00 am- 11:00 pm
  • Website
R- City Mall, Ghatkopar

Arguably one of the best malls Mumbai has to offer, R- City Mall in Ghatkopar opened in the year 2009 and has quickly managed to become one of the most popular malls. After going through several development phases and renovations the mall has increased its area considerably. And for the better because the mall has almost all the brands that one could want under one roof, from the more local ones to international brands like H&M, Marks & Spencer. The mall also includes a large Big Bazaar, a Decathlon store for all the sporty customers out there, several home stores for your home and interior decor needs, and even has jewellery stores. There are over 60 food and beverage outlets from the Food Court to restaurants.

The mall also has an INOX theatre that screens latest movies. There are many options when it comes to entertainment including live shows that are conducted in the main entrance of the mall. When it comes to entertainment for children, R- City mall has you covered there, too. The mall has a Snow Kingdom, Red Carpet Museum, TimeZone, Laser tag and live escape games. R-City mall is also home to the only KidZania Theme Park for children in Mumbai.

If there is only one restaurant that you can try when in R-City Mall you must not miss the opportunity to grab a meal at Urban Tadka. The perfect mix between urban and desi this restaurant has some of the best North Indian food in the city. The ambience of the restaurant just makes the experience of dining there even better.

  • Address– LBS Road, Amrut Nagar, Ghatkopar West, Mumbai, Maharashtra- 400086
  • Nearest Station– Ghatkopar railway station
  • Opening and Closing Time– 11:00 am- 10:00 pm
  • Website
Infiniti Mall, Malad

The last thing you would expect inside a luxurious mall would be a rollercoaster. But that is exactly what Infiniti Mall in Malad offers! It was the first mall to install a rollercoaster within it premise and has gained a lot of popularity from customers because of this unique feature. With an area of 1.2 million square feet this mall is one of the biggest in the western suburbs and was launched in 2011. It is the home for many high end shopping brands, has a multiplex cinema and some of the most popular restaurants in the country. It also has the popular club and bar Hoppipola which is frequented by the youngsters in the city.

When it comes to entertainment Infiniti Malad is not far behind. In 2017, Fun City the biggest kid’s play zone in India was opened in the mall. It is a major attraction for families especially during the vacations when the cool temperatures of the mall provide a great option for parents and children. There are special live performances and brand endorsement events conducted and they aim to attract more people.

For all those out there with a keen sweet tooth my suggestion would be to definitely check out Theobroma while on your shopping trip to Infiniti Mall. Theobroma is a patisserie that specialises in desserts and baked goods but also has a great savoury menu. The cupcakes from here are to die for!

  • Address– New Link Road, Malad West, Mumbai, Maharashtra- 400064
  • Nearest Station– Malad railway station
  • Opening and Closing Time– 11:00 am- 11:00 pm
  • Website
Inorbit Mall, Malad

The second mall in Malad, Inorbit is also a great option if you are looking for a way to spend your day shopping. Though smaller that Infiniti Malad, Inorbit has an INOX cinema and a big food court apart from the extensive collection of retails stores to choose from. The mall recently went through a series of renovations and was revitalized with new stores and better interiors. There are brands to meet your every need in this mall including MAC Cosmetics, Lifestyle, Levi’s, Fab India and this is just the beginning.

INOX opened its first IMAX 4D screen in Inorbit Mall Malad and it is something truly worth experiencing. The mall has a Timezone entertainment centre which guarantees an exciting and entertaining time for children that will ensure they leave the mall with big smiles on their faces. The mall has a slightly more cozy atmosphere than the other malls and that is an added advantage for the customers.

After a long day of shopping and entertainment you are bound to be craving some great food and what better way to satisfy that craving than dining at a restaurant which serves some of the crispiest pizzas and some juicy burgers. Indigo Delicatessen promises both of those things and much more. Specialising in European and Italian cuisines, this restaurant is known to have some of the best service in the city and the speciality dishes are something you must look out for.

  • Address– Link Road, Malad West, Mumbai, Maharashtra- 400064
  • Nearest Station– Goregaon railway station
  • Opening and Closing Time– 11:00 am- 9:30 pm
  • Website
Oberoi Mall, Goregaon

‘Fun, Food, Fashion, Films’ the motto of this mall tells it all. The Oberoi Mall in Goregaon promises fun from the minute you enter. Having opened in 2008, it was one of the first big malls in Mumbai and also was the mall from where many international brands were launched in India including Forever 21, Starbucks and several others. The mall has three levels and the topmost level is where you want to be for maximum entertainment. The feather in this mall’s cap is definitely the fact that it was the first mall in India to be awarded the Gold certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

The mall has several hip and trendy restaurants and cafes, so there is something to meet every person’s tastes and needs. The gaming centre on the topmost floor is the perfect place for children to freak out and enjoy their time in the mall while you grab the amazing deals the shops have to offer. Oberoi Mall definitely takes care of all your needs.

Along with cool spots like Goregaon Social and the British Brewing Company, Oberoi Mall is also home to the hip Farzi Cafe that specialises in Modern Indian food. The variety that this cafe has to offer in terms of food and beverages is nothing like any other restaurant. Any meal eaten in this restaurant will be the perfect fusion between Indian cuisines and international delicacies. Be sure to try Farzi Cafe’s take on the classic dishes we all love so much!

  • Address– Western Express Highway, Yashodham, Goregaon, Mumbai, Maharashtra- 400063
  • Nearest Station– Malad railway station
  • Opening and Closing Time– 10:00 am- 11:00 pm
  • Website
Infiniti Mall, Andheri

This mall is definitely the one-stop destination for all the fashion and food lovers out there. Along with a six-screen cinema complex, a food court with amazing options to choose from, restaurants, Infiniti Mall in Andheri has several stores and Westside, Pantaloons, Pramod, Biba, Global Desi, etc., are only a few big names. It is the perfect mall to stroll through on the weekends and enjoy the music events the mall is known to organize.

To keep children occupied there is a family entertainment centre on the topmost floor. The fine dining restaurant Zaffran is also in the mall. All those who love Indian cuisine must definitely try to grab a meal there. Other popular restaurants in Infiniti Mall, Andheri are California Pizza Kitchen, Maharaja Bhog and Mainland China.

The dessert parlor The Churro Co. is something you must make a point to try out while in Infiniti Mall. While much smaller than the other cafes on this list, this dessert parlor offers something the others don’t. The crispy and sweet churro paired with dark or milk chocolate has quickly become a fan favorite because of how good it tastes and how unique it is.

  • Address– New Link Road, Phase D, Oshiwara, Andheri West, Mumbai, Maharashtra- 400053
  • Nearest Station– D N Nagar metro station
  • Opening and Closing Time– 10:00 am- 11:00 pm
  • Website
Seawoods Grand Central Mall, Navi Mumbai

This shopper’s paradise offers one of the most hassle free and convenient transport options since the Seawoods railway station leads right into the basement of the mall. Best fashion brands and mouthwatering cuisines, Seawoods Grand Central is a hub of retail experiences. It is a premium, fun and exclusive shopping experience and enhances the shopping experience. The mall is home to almost all high-end brands and its rare that it doesn’t have something you’re looking for.

The mall has a wide range of options to entertain children including fun arcade games, a jungle gym, play areas, etc. A unique option that the mall has to offer is a library for children in the open space where they can sit among cozy cushions and flip through picture books under the supervision of trained staff while you enjoy your shopping experience. A second phase to the mall which will include a movie theatre and many more brands is currently under development and is sure to make the shopping experience in Seawoods Grand Central Mall even better.

If you are a fan of open restaurants in malls, this mall has just the right cafe for you- Olde Bailey’s Popular for it Italian and Mexican dishes, this cafe has great service and cute decor. The pasta in white sauce and lasagna are to die for!

  • Address– Plot No. R 1, Seawoods Station Road, Near Railway Station, Nerul East, Sector 40, Nerul, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra- 400706
  • Nearest Station– Seawood railway station
  • Opening and Closing Time– 11:00 am- 10:30 pm
  • Website
Atria Mall, Worli

This mall, too, has gone through a renovation and revitalization phase that changed it from a normal neighborhood mall to one of the best ones to visit in Mumbai. The major things that contributed to this revamping were the opening of the INOX theatre in the mall and the launch of Decathlon Sports. The mall quickly went from being one which was sparsely populated to one which today sees hordes of customers every day.

The mall has a 25,000 square feet amusement arcade made specifically to entertain the younger lot of their customers. The arcade has so many attractions and activities that it easily keeps kids busy for hours while you can go enjoy shopping at the various retail shops the mall has to offer.

A great casual dining option in Atria Mall is the Bombay Street Co., where you can enjoy a wide variety of mouth-watering street food in the same space as North Indian and Italian food. The restaurant offers several fusion dishes which are interesting and worth trying out. It is a must visit for all the chaat lovers. Do try the masala chai if possible!

  • Address– Dr. Annie Beasant Road, Opposite Poonam Chambers, Worli, Mumbai, Maharashtra- 400018
  • Nearest Station– Mahalaxmi railway station
  • Opening and Closing Time– 10:00 am- 11:00 pm
  • Website
Viviana Mall, Thane

Located on the Eastern Express Highway, one of the best things about Viviana Mall is that it is accessible and well connected with all areas of the city. There is a wide range of retail stores and entertainment options to choose from including a Cinepolis movie theatre for all the movie buffs out there. It is India’s first and only visually impaired friendly mall and is also environment conscious as it uses solar energy for all its functions. There are 128 shops in the mall including a BMW showroom!

The mall was named ‘The Best Retail Project’ in 2014. Spreading across 1 million square feet this is one of the bigger malls in the city. The mall has a Fun City arcade for kids to play and win many attractive prizes. Viviana Mall has one of the biggest food courts with all kinds of cuisines being offered. The best way of experiencing this is by being in the court and enjoying something from every outlet around.

If you love Parsi cuisine or are yet to try it a restaurant in Viviana Mall that you must try is SodaBottleOpenerWala. Its unique decor, the casual yet charming ambience, the service and a menu filled with delicious dishes and refreshing beverages, this restaurant is a brilliant option for a post-shopping meal. Definitely make it a point to try out their Chicken cutlet as it is some of the juiciest cutlets!

  • Address– Eastern Express Highway, On Service Road, Thane West, Thane, Maharashtra- 400601
  • Nearest Station– Thane railway station
  • Opening and Closing Time– 11:00 am- 10:00 pm
  • Website
Korum Mall, Thane

The second mall in Thane, Korum despite being smaller has a wide range of international brands lining its corridors. It is one of the most crowded malls and has the best places to shop till you drop. The mall also has a movie theatre and a large number of outlets to choose from in the food court. Whether it is fine dining, casual meals, fast food or a revitalising cup of coffee Korum’s food outlets will surely brighten your mood. The mall has a solution for all your fashion and lifestyle needs.

The mall has regular activities and workshops that aim at bringing the community together. There is a plethora of options for all your entertainment needs including a movie theatre and a gaming zone for children. The play area too is attractive and safe. The mall offers the best deals and discounts to their patrons and thus, the mall has successfully become a shopaholic’s dream.

A great casual dining option for people visiting Korum Mall is Indiana Water’s where you can enjoy mouthwatering Chinese, North Indian, Italian and Continental food and even buffets. The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating and is suitable to entertain all kinds of customers depending on their requirements.

  • Address– Eastern Express Highway, Samata Nagar, Thane West, Maharashtra- 400606
  • Nearest Station– Thane railway station
  • Opening and Closing Time– 10:00 am- 10:00 pm
  • Website
Growel’s 101, Kandivali

The first theme based mall in India, this mall has a Venetia design and features Neo-Classical architecture that takes all the customers through a European journey due to its atmosphere. From being a local mall to one of the best malls the city has to offer, Growel’s 101 has gone through a transformation. It is home to big brands like Pantaloons, Reliance Trends, AND, Esbeda, Crossword, and many others. The mall has a large variety of food outlets to choose from and no one can resist the amazing cuisines.

Growel’s 101 also has a Timezone where your children can play games and enjoy themselves. What better way to spend your day! The mall also organizes activities for..

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As soon as you enter Rajasthan, you are hit with colors. It’s such a sensory experience. You see women in bright pink and yellow saris, camels pulling carts, historic forts – history on each and every corner.

Maneet Chauhan

Rajasthan just like Rajasthani royal thali gives you a taste of everything. Rajasthan has everything that royal dreams are made up of. There are magnificent forts, mesmerizing palaces, beautiful clothes, and mouth-watering delicacies.

I am listing here some travel tips that will make your trip to Rajasthan an amazingly beautiful experience.

Best time to visit Rajasthan

Rajasthan basically has three seasons- winter, summer, and monsoon. The best time to visit Rajasthan would be winter when nights are cold but days are warm with temperature ranging from 10 to 27 degree Celsius which is ideal for sightseeing and to explore different places.

Here are 10 awesome tourist places to visit in Rajasthan, India.

Visiting Rajasthan in Winter

Rajasthan experiences mild winters from November to February when days are warm and nights are cold.

Carrying light woolens or jackets is highly recommended as there may be a drastic difference between temperature during day and night. It is also the time peak season when tourists from all over the world arrive in Rajasthan.

Visiting Rajasthan in Summer

Summer season starts with March and ends with June.

During summers temperature can go up to 45 degree Celsius and it is scorching hot.

Rajasthan gets very hot during this season. It is still pleasant during the morning and night. However, it gets very hot to go outside and explore.

This is the lean period for Rajasthan tourism.

Light, breezy cotton or linen cloths are best if one chooses to visit Rajasthan during this time.

Visiting Rajasthan in Monsoon

With the onset of monsoon in July, the temperature starts dropping and greenery starts enhancing the beauty of places like Udaipur and Mount Abu.

Days are still hot but it gets bearable due to rains in between.

August and September are good months to visit Rajasthan when it starts preparing itself for the upcoming season. 

Jaipur is one of the three cities of the golden triangle circuit with the other two being Delhi and Agra. Here are 15 iconic attractions and places to visit in Jaipur.

Is Rajasthan safe for tourists?

Yes, the state of Rajasthan is safe for tourists but taking basic safety precautions is the key. Few safety tips for traveling in Rajasthan would be to avoid going out late at night, avoid using unlit lavatories, remember to keep Your Valuables On You and don’t Trust People (especially touts) too quickly. Your safety should be your priority so do what helps you feel safe.

I have traveled solo in Rajasthan while volunteering in a village school in Udaipur district for a month. I extended my stay for a week when I initially wanted to stay for 3 days only. So I can tell you from my own experience that Rajasthan is safe for tourists including women who are traveling alone.

  • My advice for Rajasthan travel would be to avoid going out alone late at night.
  • Keep emergency numbers with you (in a diary) or memorize them. I had once lost my phone and had a very difficult time recalling phone numbers of my near and dear ones.
  • Keep all your important items like your passport, your camera, your medication, and any other essentials in your day pack and never leave sight of this bag.
  • Always have a torchlight in your bag.
  • Many places lavatories are not well lit. Avoid using unlit lavatories.
  • A friend of mine keeps a taser gun with her whenever she is traveling solo.
  • Don’t book your tour or stays with unregistered agents.

Rajasthani people are very warm, friendly and helpful though you should be careful with touts whose sole intention most of the time would be to fleece you.

Often referred to as the ‘Venice of the East’, Udaipur is a popular tourist attraction in Rajasthan, India. Here are 7 Awesome places near Udaipur for tourists that not many tell you about.

Is it safe to drive in Rajasthan?

Driving on Rajasthan roads can be risky and frustrating. Avoid driving on Rajasthan Highways at night. The drivers driving on Rajasthan roads seldom follow the traffic rules. This can be a safety hazard for, I guess, everyone on the road!! If you have prior experience of driving in India, then you won’t be surprised. Driving on Rajasthan roads is just like driving on the rest of India’s roads.

To add to this chaos, you will also find stray cattle roaming on the roads.

Thankfully, the condition of roads in most part of Rajasthan is good with the roads in small villages being an exception where the roads can be bumpy and narrow.

Intercity travel in Rajasthan better by road trip or railways?

Intercity travel in Rajasthan is best with a privately owned car or a hired cab, next best option would be to travel in train and I would put Interstate traveling by bus as the last option. A reserved seat in the AC compartment of railways is more comfortable than a bus ride on a bumpy road. Trains also come with an additional benefit of toilet facility throughout the journey.

Having said that both road trip and railways have their pro and cons. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative opt for state-run buses. The state-run buses offer a discount to ladies.

If money is not a constraint, luxury train tour in Rajasthan is an experience not to be missed.

Palace on Wheels is a luxury train where the opulent lifestyle of the royals has been replicated. Spacious deluxe cabins with attached bathrooms, restaurants, lounge bar, and spa provide luxurious stay and royal travel experience.

It is a week-long tour with route Delhi-Jaipur-Sawai Madhopur-Chittorgarh-Udaipur-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Bharatpur-Agra-Delhi.

What clothes to take to Rajasthan?

For your Rajasthan trip, wear anything that covers you from your cleavage to your knees and you should generally not have a problem. Given the heat of Rajasthan, I prefer to wear something that covers my arms and legs as well. I carry a scarf to protect my face from the scorching heat.

Rajasthan is a state that’s a blend of tradition and modernity.

You will find men dressed in Pant- shirts, Jeans-t-shirt, and women in saree, salwar kameez, jeans-top, long skirts with kurta/top, etc.

If you go towards small towns or rural areas, you can find women dressed in traditional lehenga- choli and men in dhoti kurta.

(Richa from Light Travel Action’s Pro Tip):

  1. No matter which season, wear plenty of sunscreens.
  2. No matter which season carry a scarf, in summers it will protect you from heat, in winters from cold waves. You can use the scarf to cover your arms when you visit any religious place.

As Compared to the Great Wall of China which is 22,000 km (approximately) in length, the Kumbhalgarh Wall which is 36 km long may seem relatively modest, but is, in fact, the second longest wall in the world. It is popularly known as The Great Wall of India – Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan

What do you wear to camel safari?

If you are riding a camel, you DO NOT want to wear a thong, a skirt, hot pants or a sari. Instead, wear something that covers your legs and cushions your hip joints. Avoid flip-flops or loose sandals as they are likely to fall off along the way.

A pair of trousers/pants or leggings with a top or tunic are good.

A dupatta or stole can be used to cover the head/face and goggles to protect your eyes from sand and scorching sunlight.

How to travel locally in Rajasthan cities?

With the options of local buses, auto, jeeps, taxi, manual and e-rickshaw, cabs like Ola and Uber, traveling locally is now hassle-free.

You can choose any according to your budget and comfort level you want. While choosing any rickshaw or taxi, agree upon the fare first and then board. Fare is automatically calculated in apps.

You can also book a tour with Pink City Rickshaws while in Jaipur where women from poor families drive the rickshaw and give you a tour of the city.

One can also travel by Metro train within Jaipur.

Where to stay in Rajasthan?

Rajasthan has a lot to offer when it comes to stays. You can enjoy staying like a royal in forts and palaces, enjoy the luxury of hotels or live like a local in a family run homestay or stay in traveler’s hostel and meet travelers from all parts of the world. Check out a few of the amazing places to stay in Rajasthan.

If you are traveling on budget, here is a list of hostels in Rajasthan.

  • Gypsy Child Hostel Udaipur
  • Zostel, Gostops, The Hosteller, Moustache Hostels at various cities in Rajasthan

Make sure to check if the charges to be paid are inclusive of all the taxes or not, else even a good deal can make you part with a lot of additional money.

Chittorgarh is home to the Chittor Fort, the largest fort in India and Asia. Find out if CHITTORGARH FORT is worth visiting?

Vaccination

The WHO emphasizes that all international travelers should be up to date with routine vaccinations, which vary according to the traveler’s age, immunization history; existing medical conditions, duration, legal requirements for entry into countries being visited, traveler’s own preferences, and values.

Travelers should consult with physicians at least 4–6 week prior to travel in India so that there is sufficient time for completion of optimal vaccination schedules.

The WHO recommends (Source) these vaccinations for travelers to India (as well as being up to date with Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccinations-

  • Adult diphtheria and tetanus vaccine
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Oral Polio
  • Typhoid
  • Varicella
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Meningococcal
  • Rabies
  • Yellow fever
What to shop in Rajasthan?

The local bazaars of Jaipur and other tourist cities of Rajasthan are paradise for shopaholics that offer everything like apparels with tie and dye, leheriya and block prints, traditional footwear, kurtas, skirts, handbags, handmade décor items, bedsheets, classical kathputlies (puppets), carpets, souvenir, pottery items, lacquer bangles, precious and semi-precious stones and jewelry.

The art of block printing originated in Rajasthan and you can find the best options in various varieties and reasonable prices here.

Miniature painting art is something that you will find in the streets of Udaipur.

These paintings are small in size but are very detailed and elaborate. Traditional crockery made of yellow stone is very popular in Jaisalmer among tourists. Jodhpur is well known for spices in Rajasthan.

I would suggest not to pack a lot for your trip to Rajasthan and buy locally as you won’t be able to resist shopping anyway.

Carry a foldable shopping bag with you and fill it with stuff you buy.

The grand scale and sheer architectural complexity of magnificent fifteenth-century Ranakpur temple in Mewar region of Rajasthan, India, is absolutely alluring.

What to eat in Rajasthan?

Rajasthan won’t disappoint you in this field either.

Rajasthani thaali, laal Maas, gatte ki sabzi, pyaaz kachori, maawa kachori, ghevar, daal baati choorma are some of the famous local food items in addition to the north Indian cuisine.

Rajasthani food can be very spicy for some especially foreigners. Be careful while enjoying the local street food.

Health and hygiene

Don’t forget to pack ORS in your First Aid kit, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Traveling in Rajasthan can be very dehydrating so increase your water intake to stay hydrated.

Sanitary pads are easily available in all cities, but tampons are not much popular hence, not widely available.

Don’t drink tap water and any food on the street that doesn’t seem hygienically cooked to you.

Comprehensive travel insurance is a good idea to keep your mind at peace though it’s not necessary for India.

Adapter for India

In India, power plugs and sockets are round pins and of type C, D, and M.

  • Plug C is the plug which has two round pins.
  • Plug D has three round pins in a triangular pattern,
  • Plug M looks like plug D with but with larger pins.
  • The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
  • If the shape of the Indian power outlet is different from the power plug you are using, then you will need a power adapter.
  • The best power adapter for India will be a Type D power adapter which is suitable for powering any 230-volt device.
  • If you need to safely use a 100, 110 or 120-volt device then you also need a step-down power converter for India.
Mosquito repellant

Mosquitoes can play a vital role in spoiling your trip if not taken care of.

To keep them away, use mosquito repellant cream or body spray.

Dress in clothes that cover your arms and legs. Mosquito/Insect repellant bracelets are also available to keep these pesky little beings away from you.

You can make your place of stay mosquito free by lighting mosquito repellant candles or using essential oils that help keep mosquitoes at bay.

Responsible Tourism

No matter which nationality, strive to be a responsible tourist. When in Rajathan, try to avoid wastage of water, riding elephants and expecting desert in all corners of Rajasthan.

At Amber Fort, there is a different kind of Traffic – the Elephant Traffic!

The Elephant Safari at Amber Fort costs Rs. 1,000/- for two people.

According to the Jaipur Travel Guide, elephants are only permitted to carry two passengers five times per day.

It takes around 20 to 30 minutes for the elephants to slowly trudge up the hillside to the main courtyard.

Unfortunately, mahouts and elephant owners train elephant calves in unfriendly conditions and with cruel techniques to become temple elephants or to be used for logging or the tourist industry.

I would beseech you to not opt for elephant rides so that the mahouts and elephant owners are encouraged (forced?) to adopt alternative livelihood options. This will help ensure that these gentle beasts of the forest stay where they belong.

Water is very scarce in Rajasthan. Women in rural areas still go miles to fetch water for their daily use.

So, use it wisely and avoid wasting water.

Don’t expect to find the desert everywhere in Rajasthan.

Only some parts of the state have desert-like Jaisalmer, Barmer, Bikaner, etc.

I hope these tips come handy during your travel to Rajasthan.

So, pack your bags as Rajasthan calls, ‘Padharo Mhare Des!’.

Places to visit in Rajasthan

With a whiff of royalty, the opulence of the palaces, the magnificence of the forts, the charm of vernacular songs and folk dances, and breathtaking sand dunes makes Rajasthan India a sort after tourist destination for both Indians as well as International travelers.

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Nestled in the laps of Hamta valley is a beautiful winter wonderland. Snow clad mountains and a blanket of snow lead us to the beautiful snow structure which the owners call an “Igloo”.

With a long weekend ahead, my 8-year-old son and I wanted to experience fresh snowfall and were scouting for places near Delhi when we heard about the coolest thing to do in winter – Stay at an Igloo.

Where is the Igloo house? Keylinga’s Igloo is located in the mountains (approx 10,000 feet MSL) in Hamta/Sethan Valley which is approx 18 km from the main town of Manali. Igloo Camp is about 200 m away from the road head. This trek in the snow takes around 20 mins. During snow time, the Igloo camp is accessible only by 4 x 4 vehicles or by trekking which normally takes 3-4 hours from Mall Road, Manali.

The weather forecast predicted snowfall in Hampta Valley during the days we wanted to travel. Few phone calls, few assurances, few bookings, and further assurances later we were done.

Just like many of our impromptu trips, we did the bookings for the Igloo just one day in advance.

My son was super excited. He told everyone on the bus we traveled in, that we are going to stay in an igloo. Many people were curious to know about the igloo stay and so here is my little guide for all the curious wanderlust travelers to know more about Keylinga’s Igloo.

Keylinga’s Manali igloo stay review

Keylinga Himalayan adventure is a winter sports company based in Manali, and the Igloo is their initiative.

So is Keylinga’s Manali Igloo stay worth visiting? Keylinga’s Igloo is one of the coolest things to do in winter and I would highly recommend it. If you are adventurous, travel addict, nature lover, a person in search of unique experiences then this is definitely the place for you. You don’t need to head to Iceland, Greenland, Sweden, and Finland to have an experience of staying inside an igloo, instead, you can go to Manali.

The entire process of booking to the overall experience of staying at the Keylinga Igloo was amazing. I have seen snow in Rohtang pass, Sach pass and even in Mt Titlis but nothing can be compared to this stay in Hampta valley.

IS the Igloo House in Manali safe to visit?

So if you are wondering if the Igloo house is safe to visit? I would say, been there and done that, I can vouch from my personal experience that Igloo House is safe to visit and travel to.

The Igloo House is at a remote location. When I came to know that my son and I would be the only occupants other than the organizer’s team, I was a little skeptical. Anxiousness, fear of safety, uncertainty all thoughts kept creeping in my mind. I spoke to a few friends who had been to the igloo before and they all vouched for the hospitality of the hosts.

It was an adventurous trip that included a Delhi to Manali bus journey of 14 hours, then an hours journey to the read head near the Igloo Camp and then a 20 minutes trek in snow to the Igloo camp.

Cold breeze welcomed us into Manali.

It was sub 5 degrees when we reached Manali. We freshened up and were eagerly waiting to get into snowsuits and head to our destination. Snowsuits, gumboots are part of the package of igloo trip.

Along with one of a team member from organizers group who was also our guide we headed to Hamta valley in a 4 x 4 vehicle.

We started from the Prini village in Manali to Hampta valley.

Our journey started with driving through the snow to reach the Hamta valley. It was a drive of approx 30-40 mins.

On our way, we spotted small eating joints selling magi, tea, coffee and stalls with snowsuits on hire

Once our road journey ended we had to walk through one-foot high snow.

The fresh snow was very soft and though my son found it little difficult to walk through we thoroughly enjoyed our “little snow trek”. Our guide had a basket in which he kept our bags and hung it on his back.

After 20 mins of walking in the snow, we finally reached the place which was nothing less than a dream. Everything was so perfect. The first site of igloo will be a memory I will cherish all my life.

Hot tea and sizzling rajma chawal were ready in no time.

Things / Activities to do near Manali Igloo

We were eagerly waiting to wear ski shoes and experience skiing for the first time.

Let me forewarn you, Skiing looks fun but it is not so easy.

Skiing, sledging and tube ride are the best activities to do around here. There is no restriction to play the rides. One can play it for as long as one wishes to.

The tube rides and the sledging kept my son busy for a long time.

As the sun started to set, it started snowing.

It was white powered snow.

It was the moment we were waiting for.

Powdered snow soon covered the entire place and the place looked like a winter wonderland.

My son and I enjoyed playing in the snow and throwing snow on each other.

The temperature started falling and it went as low as -7 to -10 degrees by night. We had an amazing dinner listening to old Hindi songs.

As it was snowing continuously we sat inside dining area with fireplace. Food was hot and yummy. They also set barbeque outside in open if it is not snowing. Small lights lit up the dining area and the trees around, making it look very pristine.

Enjoying the fresh snow fall

They also play movies in open area with projectors as entertainment for guests.

The inside of the Manali Igloo

The igloos are 8 x 9 foot wide and 6.5 feet in height and are made from blocks of compressed snow. Since the Igloos are smaller in size, one needs to sit and go inside.

We had to lift the door in order to open or close it.

Igloo was small and compact.

There was a box inside which we kept our jackets and bags so it doesn’t get wet in snow. They provided us with a bed light. Space was big enough for 3 people to sleep nicely and also to move around inside the igloo.

How warm is it inside the Igloo?

Keylinga’s Igloo is not warm enough but definitely warmer and comfortable to the cold climate outside and will protect you from freezing temperatures.

Inside the Igloo it was 10 degrees more than the outside temperature It was very comfortable and we slept very peacefully.

We were given thick beddings along with warm feather sleeping bags.

We wore our thermals and warm jackets to bed. Once we were inside our sleeping bags, the hosts put over us thick fleece blankets. They gave us hot water bags to keep our feet and thereby our entire body, warm.

What a Wonderful World!

“I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world”

Bob Thiele

“What a Wonderful World” is a pop ballad written by Bob Thiele (as “George Douglas”) and George David Weiss. It was first recorded by Louis Armstrong. I could feel the words when I saw the beauty of white all around me the next day.

The next morning when we stepped out of the igloo it looked like a snow blanket had covered the entire place.

Snowflakes had filled the trees.

I could just sit and gaze at the beauty nature had beheld. I walked around in the snow and sat down wondering how the place got completely transformed in one night.

Nature can surprise us with its beauty.

Our Trip back to Manali was no less an Adventure

Now came the most challenging part of the entire trip. As it snowed all night the whole place was covered with almost 2-3 feet of snow.

We had to take a walk down a slope full of snow to reach our car. It was extremely cold, snow was biting our shoes, and we were sliding and falling as we tried to walk down the slope.

It was fun and equally scary.

My son couldn’t walk in the snow as his legs had got very cold. One of the helpful organizers carried him on his back for the last stretch.

Our drive back to Manali city was nothing less than an adventure ride where our car was cutting through heaps of snow with very less visibility.

Till our eyes could see there was only snow all around.

Dining Area in the Keylinga Igloo

Beautiful dining area, kitchen area with fireplace, clean washrooms with ample water facility in such a remote location shows the passion and effort of the organizers to make our stay worthwhile.

There is a separate dining area with fireplace. There is a separate area for the kitchen and beside it, there is sleeping place for the hosts.

Washrooms in the Manali Igloo

The washrooms are set outside near to the igloo. The toilets are common for everyone and are clean. The washrooms are set inside a tent-like structure. There is a washbasin and a drum provided with water stored.

Planning a trip to the mountains? You will find these posts helpful:-

How to reach Manali

To go to Keylinga’s igloo you need to reach Manali. You can reach Manali:-

By Air: The nearest airport to Manali is located in Bhuntar, Which is near about 48 km from Manali.

By Train: The nearest railhead to Manali is Jogindernagar Railway Station which is nearly 162 km, Chandigarh Railway station (350 km) and Ambala (360 Km). These stations are well connected to major cities of the country with frequent trains.

By Bus: The Manali bus stop is well connected to major nearby cities with frequent bus services.

How to reach Keylinga’s igloo from Manali

During snow time Keylinga’s Igloo is accessible only by 4 x 4 vehicles or by trekking which normally takes 3-4 hours from Mall Road, Manali. If you decide to drive in your own vehicle you need to get a special permit. Trip organizers can help to get the permits.

Alternatively, (as was done by us) You can also avail services of their tour operating cab at nominal prices. There are no other means of public transport to go there. Private cars or cabs run by the travel company are the two options to reach the igloo from Manali.

A panoramic view of the camp

We hired the cabs run by hosts it cost us Rs 3500 to and fro.

When is the best time to visit the Igloo in Manali?

Igloo is only seasonal depending on the availability of snow. It is operative between January to March. Best time I would suggest is in the month of mid of Feb- mid of March. The Snowfall needs to be good enough to cover the structure with snow thereby converting it into an Igloo.

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Have you ever dreamed of a walk through a lane covered with lush greenery with slight drizzles? A place where culture and nature dance in perfect harmony? If you just answered yes, plan your next trip to Bangalore.

Bangalore (officially known as Bengaluru), a city with the perfect blend of quaint landmarks and modern architectural marvels, is close to my heart for several reasons.

What is Bangalore famous for? From wildlife parks and sanctuaries to theme parks, waterfalls to rivers, clubs, and pubs to peaceful temples, the garden city has it all. The pleasant weather all year round, quirky cafes, a dynamic and diversified blend of people, art galleries and culture are just a few to name.

A little hustle bustle, a tad bit of nature, lot’s of coffee shops and friendly faces is why Bengaluru should be on your bucket list this year.

Bengaluru (also called Bangalore) is the capital of India’s southern Karnataka state. Here are 13 places you must not miss to visit when in Bangalore.

1. Nandi Hills

Situated at a height of 4851 m above sea level, Nandi Hills is a favorite destination of nature lovers. This hillock is a must visit when you are in Bangalore.

Trek through the paved roads, rocky terrain, small streams, and grasslands to reach the top of the hills to catch the sunrise and to get a bird’s eye view of the entire city.

The view of clouds like cotton candy can drift you to a poetic place you could never imagine. Escape from the chaos of everyday life with a cup of chai by the floating clouds.

Tipu Sultan’s Fort is a significant attraction atop the hill. The beautifully designed towers and archways of the fort are fine illustrations of the architecture of the bygone era.

Travel Tip for Nandi Hills: You can also plan an afternoon visit to one of the vineyards nearby and enjoy a glass of wine to finish off the day.

Timings: 6 AM to 6 PMThe Hills remains closed on December 31 & Jan 1.

Entry fee: INR 20

How to reach Nandi Hills: Busses are available from the Kempegowda bus station. You can also ride/drive as the roads to the top of the hills are excellent.

2. Manchanabele Dam

Built across the Arkavathi River, Manchanabele Dam is a perfect location to unwind. The lush greenery is accompanied by a wide range of fauna enhancing your experience here.

Some of the birds which can be spotted here are Marsh Harrier, Blue Kingfisher, Oriental Honey-buzzard, Brahminy Starling, Common Tailorbird, Ringed Plover, Purple Heron, doves, and many more.

Kayaking at the Manchanabele Dam

If you are looking for fun-filled activities like trekking, rappelling, swimming, kayaking, this is the ideal spot for you.

Travel Tip for Manchanabele Dam: The ideal time to visit Manchanabele dam is post monsoon between the months of August and January.

How to reach Manchanabele Dam: Buses to Manchanabele Dam are available from Majestic bus station. Alternatively, you can rent a cab.

3. Lal Bagh Botanical Garden

When in “Garden city” you cannot miss this 240 acres lung space of Bangalore. Lalbagh holds a great historical significance as it houses one of the Kempegowda towers built to mark the boundaries of old Bangalore.

The botanical garden is internationally famous for its scientific study and conservation of plants.

This vast stretch of greenery houses a 3000 million years rock also recognized as “the Lal Bagh rock” which is a unique site that interests the crowds.

You can find vendors serving hot snacks and beverages around which makes this a perfect picnic spot.

Glass House at Lal Bagh Botanical Garden

The famous glasshouse, which is inspired by London’s Crystal Palace hosts two annual flower shows (26 January and 15 August).

People travel from all over the world just to witness this show.If you are living around the area, try to fit in an early morning jog by Lalbagh lake.

The migratory birds, lush greens and fresh air are just what you need to start your morning right. You can head over to MTR for a hearty breakfast after that refreshing walk.

The sky takes lovely hues

Travel Tip to Visit the Lalbagh Botanical Garden: Throughout the year. If you are visiting in January or August, do not miss the flower show.

Entry fee: INR 20 per person for visitors above 12 years of age. Visitors are allowed to take a camera inside with an extra charge of Rs.50

How to reach Lalbagh Botanical Garden: The nearest metro station to Lalbagh Botanical Garden is Lalbagh metro station. Alternatively, you can hire a cab and enter the park through the east gate.

4. Wonderla

Beat the sweltering heat the fun way at one of the largest amusement parks in India – Wonderla.

With more than 60 exhilarating rides, this park has been a world in itself. With thrilling land and water rides, you wouldn’t want to spend anything less than a day here.

You can spend the night at Wonderla resorts to relax after a fun-filled day at the park.

wonderla

Recoil, India’s first reverse looping roller-coaster ride is sure to satisfy your adrenaline cravings. Dance away at the Rain Disco or enjoy the wave pool, which is an absolute treat for people missing the beaches.

Travel Tip for visiting Wonderla: It is advisable to reach the spot as early as 11 AM.

It is mandatory to change into a nylon outfit before you enter water rides. If you don’t have one, you can buy a pair of a nylon shirt and trousers at INR 150 just outside the park.

Entry fee: There are two types of tickets – Regular and Fastrack.

Wonderla Offers Regular Tickets and Fastrack Tickets.Fastrack Tickets allow you to enjoy the rides with a shorter queue. Fastrack Tickets are sold in limited numbers.

How to reach Wonderla: Pick up and drop facility is available from various parts of the city.

Website: https://www.wonderla.com/

5. Bannerghatta National Park

When you are looking to get away from the urban chaos, there is nothing more refreshing than this 25000 acres of wilderness.

The best part of the Bannerghatta National Park is the Lion and Tiger Safari which provides a rare opportunity to see a family of White Tigers.

It also houses an animal rescue center, Butterfly Park, and a Bear Safari.

The safari rides begin at 10 in the morning and I recommend you start the day with it. The most pocket-friendly option is to take the buses.

Bannerghatta Zoo is sandwiched between 2 hills and houses nearly 1300 animals from 80 species.

The most popular animals to be spotted at the Zoo are King Cobra, Panther, Hornbill, Malabar Squirrel, Nilgiri Langur, Lion Tailed Macaque, Emu, Crocodile, and Wolf.

Entry Fee: Grand Safari which includes Tiger, Lion, Bear, and Herbivore costs INR 260, 130 and 150 for Adults, Kids aged 6-12 and senior citizens respectively.

There is a Grand Combo entrance fee of Rs 500 for adults and 300 for kids, which would include Safari in an AC vehicle, Zoo, Camera fee, and Butterfly Park.

Camera charges for the National Park are INR 25 and 200 for Still and Video respectively.

Timings: 9.30 am to 5 pmBannerghatta National Park is open on all days except Tuesdays

website: https://bannerghattabiologicalpark.org/

Nearest Metro Station: Bannerghatta National Park

6. Brigade Road and Commercial Street

Welcome to the shopping paradise of Namma Bengaluru. Commercial Street and Brigade Road, at the heart of the city, is a great place for street shopping and eye-popping bargains.

You’ll find narrows lanes crammed with stores. From top retail brand outlets to traditional markets and everything in between, this is where Bangaloreans swarm to shop.

It is the right place for people who like to experiment with new designs and have a completely updated, vibrant wardrobe.

Do check out The Qurio City Antiques Shop in commercial street. When on a budget, this is your place for guilt-free indulgence.

Bangalore, also known to be a city with the highest number of pubs in Asia, has one of the exceptionally best pub crawls.

From the traditional, light India Pale Ales to chocolatey stouts and everything in between, you have to taste the beers brewed in this city. You’ll find at least 10 to 15 pubs at Brigade road alone.

Best time to shop: In general, the earlier you arrive, greater the selection. Mornings are good to browse at a slower pace too. The later you go, the better the bargain as the closing time gives you a slight bargaining advantage.

Nearest metro station: MG Road

If this is your First trip to India you will find these posts helpful:-

7. Cubbon Park

Offering peace and serenity amidst the mad hustle of urban chaos, Cubbon Park is truly a picturesque tourist spot.

Mornings in Bangalore doesn’t get better than a stroll through Cubbon Park or perhaps a short bicycle ride.

There are so many unique and fun things to do such as poetry reading, vegan picnic, and community hangouts.

Within the campus of the park, there are some interesting points like Cubbon Park Museum, Attara Kacheri, Ringwood Circle, the bamboo grove nook, lotus pond, dancing fountain, and Sheshadri Iyer Memorial Park.

If you wish to cover the entire park, hop on the toy train and tour around in the most fun way.

Cubbon Park is a pet-friendly area that opens for your four-legged friends every Sunday.

So, if you have a dog, make sure you head over to the park on Sunday and give your canine the natural space it needs amidst the concrete jungle.

The famous theatre troupe Bardolators is active in Cubbon Park and is dedicated to the world-renowned playwright William Shakespeare.

The troupe has a range of productions in the park with the latest one being A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Timings: 6 am to 6 pmRemains closed on Monday.

Nearest metro station: Cubbon Park

8. National Gallery of Modern Art

The National Gallery of Modern Art encapsulates the art and cultural trends of the Karnataka region as a whole.

Surrounded by greenery and housed in the two-storeyed colonial-style building, this Gallery showcases modern Indian art and houses paintings by many contemporary artists.

The phenomenal photographs of earlier times, paintings, sculptures, and graphic prints are displayed.

Travel Tip for National Gallery of Modern Art: There are regular gallery walks (every Wednesday and Saturday), film screenings, talks, and workshops happening in the premises every now and then.

The visit isn’t complete without trying snacks from their cafe. From steaming coffee to sandwiches and pasta, they have it all.

Entry fee: INR 20 for Indians and INR 150 for foreigner nationals Professional Photography: INR 1,000/- per image

Timings: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PMRemains closed on Monday

Nearest metro station: MG road

9. Pyramid Valley

Constructed based on the inspiration by one of the wonders of the world, the pyramid of Giza, Pyramid Valley is an international meditation center and is home for the largest meditational Pyramid.

A Maitreya pyramid of 102 feet stands soaring in the middle of the valley nestled between lush green surroundings and rocky hills.

The interiors and exteriors of the Pyramid disperse energy that instills calm inside you.

There are numerous paintings, statues, and murals of Lord Buddha.

A flight of 21 steps leads you to the core of the Pyramid, which is strategically lit up to filter the right amount of light inside.

They conduct regular classes, workshops, and seminars on Science of Meditation and New Age Spirituality

How to reach: Pyramid Valley is around 35 kilometers from the city Railway Station and Majestic Bus..

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They say every stone in Hampi has a story to tell and I guess so does every visitor. so here I am narrating the historical and mythological stories associated with the Spectacular Hampi.

If you wondering if Hampi is worth the visit? Then the answer is Yes, Hampi which is a UNESCO world heritage site is a must-visit site for History and Art loversfor its spectacular monuments, riverside shrines, temple complexes with beautiful carvings, emerald paddy fields, best Sunset, and Sunrise viewing spots.

All these make Hampi a must visit place.

Hampi attracts a lot of tourists from across the world.

The UNESCO Heritage site is still under excavation.

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ASI officials excavating around Hampi’s tourist-attracting Virupaksha Temple expect many centuries-old structures connected with the existing temple buried underground.

History of Hampi

Hampi famously called the city of ruins is an ancient village in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

History of this place dates back to as early as 3rd century BC and known to be a part of the Mauryan empire. Later Sangama dynasty brothers Harihara 1 and Bukkayaya 1 formed Vijayanagara empire and named Hampi as its capital.

After Sangama dynasty it was ruled by the Hindu dynasties of Saluva, Tuluva and Aravidu.

Hampi became one of the richest cities in the world and a center of trade during the 14th century under the Tuluva king Krishnadevaraya, where there were rich bazaars selling rubies, diamonds attracting merchants from Persia and Portugal.

Cotton and spices were grown here in abundance which was bartered.

Fine arts, literature, Carnatic music reached its heights during this time. Great administration brought foreign traders and new technologies like water management system for irrigation.

All the glory came to an end when the Deccan Sultanate attacked the Vijayanagara empire which is called the battle of Talikota.

After its fall Vijayanagara empire was looted for months and numerous monuments were destroyed, thus making it a city of ruins.

Mythological importance

Hampi was formerly known as Pampa kshetra or Pampapura named after the river Pampa which now is Tungabhadra and Pampa was also the name of Brahma’s daughter.

Pampa was a devoted worshipper of Lord Shiva and impressed by it she was granted a boon and she asked Lord Shiva to marry her!

On Lord Shiva’s marriage with Pampa gods from the heaven showered heaps of gold on this place which is now the Hemakuta hill in Hampi, Hemakuta literally means a heap of Gold.

It has also been said that Hampi was the Kishkinda kshetra or the Kingdom of Vanara (Monkeys) where Lord Rama and Lakshmana met Hanuman and stayed while they were en route in search of Sita who was abducted by Ravana.

If this is your First trip to India you will find these posts helpful:-

  1. When is the best time to Visit India?
  2. What should tourists wear in India?
  3. Should you tip in India? Read when, whom & how much to tip.
  4. 13 tried and tested Safety Tips for Train Travel in India
  5. Curious about Indian Culture? Learn how to drape a perfect Saree – Step By Step Tutorial.
Places to visit in Hampi

The ruins of Hampi are spread over 40 km and easily takes 3-4 days to cover the majority of it. Must visit places include:-

1. Virupaksha temple

Virupaksha temple is the most famous temple in Hampi, dates back to the 7th century and is built by Chalukyas.

The temple has a tall gopuram and has many inner corridors with beautiful carvings. The temple is located on the banks of Tungabhadra river and is the abode to Lord Shiva or Lord Virupaksha.

The walls of the temple have beautiful and ancient inscriptions and carvings. At the back of the temple is a small room which has a small hole, through which we can see the gopuram of the temple inverted which acts as a natural pinhole camera.

The opposite side of the temple is the famous bazaar which was bustling with activity centuries ago. On the whole, this temple is a pure delight to architecture and history lovers.

2. Vittala Temple Complex

This temple complex has the most beautiful structure in Hampi, the stone chariot. This has become an iconic symbol of Hampi showcasing its rich architecture.

The entrance to this temple has an arch which has beautiful carvings and then opens into a huge courtyard.

The courtyard has other smaller shrines and also the stone chariot at the back of which is the Vittala temple which is beautiful with splendid carvings on pillars and walls.

We reached this place by walking along the river from Virupaksha temple. There are numerous riverside shrines to be visited in this route.

3. Hemakuta hill temple complex:

This hill temple complex is right behind the Virupaksha temple and houses many small temple shrines which look beautiful on the small hill against the beautiful skies.

This place was my favorite as it is super scenic and can witness the best sunset from here.

4. Kadalekalu Ganesha

This small temple is located on the Hemakuta hill temple complex and a famous attraction.

Ganesha idol is carved out of a monolith rock and is around 15 feet making it one of the largest of its kind in the world.

The name of the idol Kadalekalu Ganesh is due to the shape of belly of Lord Ganesha while is like Kadalekalu (Bengal gram).

5. Sasivekalu Ganesha

This is located in the same Hemakuta temple complex and is a monolith Ganesha idol of around 8 feet.

In this idol, Snake can be seen around the belly of Lord Ganesha.

6. Elephant Stables

Elephant stables once served as an enclosure to royal elephants of the Vijayanagara empire. It has 11 domed chambers to accommodate the elephants.

7. Riverside ruins

This was also one of my favorite spots in Hampi, these are clusters of ruins and small shrines along the river Tungabhadra.

The famous being an array of Shivalingas, one of 108 and other 1008 carved on a flat rock surface. Also can spot many temples and mandapas, some of them half submerged in the river.

There is an option to explore these ruins in a Coracle which can be opted in the non-monsoon season when the water levels are not too high.

The best activity for me here was to sit at the corner of an ancient mandapa which was a bit submerged where my feet could easily reach the river and to get lost in my thoughts about how was this place centuries back and who was here!

8. Mahanavami Dibba

This structure was the place where the king of Vijayanagara empire Krishnadeva Raya witnessed Mahanavami celebrations.

It was said that this structure was erected as a victory symbol for one of the battles that were won by the ruler.

Though most of the structure is ruined, we could see a platform rising in 3 ascending and diminishing stages, each being square in shape. Whatever was on this is however not clear from the ruins, but it probably was a pillared hall or something.

9. Lotus Mahal

This structure is named Lotus Mahal as the domes of it are arranged in the form of a Lotus and are quite different from the other structures in Hampi.

This is built using indo-Islamic architecture style. Lotus Mahal was the place where the women of the kingdom rested.

10. Pushkarani or Stepwell

This is a beautiful stepwell located in the Royal Enclosure. Stepwell has a lot of steps leading to the water, but yeah one is not allowed to reach up to the water and need to witness it from the top.

11. Pattabhirama temple

This is a beautiful temple, little away from the main sites of Hampi. The temple has a splendid architecture with intricate carvings on the pillars exuding the true craftsmanship of the Vijayanagara era.

Temple is surrounded by a huge rectangular walled complex and a pillared walkway runs around the inner courtyard. There is another shrine in the courtyard dedicated to the goddess.

It was a prominent place of worship during the Vijayanagara empire. This place had a unique charm and a serene atmosphere that left me mesmerized.

12. Ugra Narasimha monolith

This is also one of the trademark monuments of Hampi and not to be missed.

This structure was partially ruined and now has been restored to whatever we can see today.

It..

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I have been traveling in trains in India since I was a child and I have been traveling solo for years now.

I haven’t faced any major issue and have found it quite easy and safe to travel by train in India.

Train travel in India is crowded, often messy and loud, but a complete enriching experience in its own.

Railway network in India is one of the largest in the world and employs around 1.4 million people.

With the track length of 115000 km, it runs more than 12000 trains to carry over 23 million passengers daily.

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Are wondering if it is safe to travel by train in India? My answer is, Yes, traveling by train in India does come with its own set of problems but it is quite safe to travel as long as you are traveling in a reserved compartment. Staying cautious is the key. You can read this detailed 2500 words post on How To travel safely in Indian trains: 13 Awesome tips

Train travel in India can be confusing and intimidating. In this detailed guide, you will find the answer to frequently asked questions like:-

  • What are the different classes for train travel in India?
  • How to book Indian train tickets from outside India?
  • How to book Indian train tickets online?
  • Can I buy train tickets from any station in India?
  • Can I buy a train ticket at the station?
  • Can I buy a ticket on the train?
  • Can I travel without a ticket on the train?
  • What is a Foreigner Tourist quota?
  • What is the official website of Indian Railways?
  • Are there International tourist bureaux?
  • How to get food and drinks on board Indian trains?
  • What is the condition of toilets inside Indian Trains?
  • What are the provisions for the security of passengers?
  • Do Indian trains run on time?
  • Can I recharge mobile and camera onboard Indian train?
  • Are pets allowed in Indian trains?
8 Classes of Accommodation on Indian Trains

There are 8 classes of accommodation on Indian trains. Only a selection of a few of these classes will be available on any given train. 

Here are the classes, in roughly descending order of cost.

  • Air-conditioned first class (AC1 or 1A)
  • Air-conditioned 2-tier (AC2 or 2A)
  • First Class
  • Air-conditioned 3-tier (AC3 or 3A)
  • Sleeper Class (SL)
  • AC Chair class (CC)
  • Second seating or 2S
  • Unreserved
Air-conditioned first class (AC1 or 1A)

1st class or 1 AC as it is normally called is a fully air-conditioned coach and is the most expensive class with ample facilities and services to give you a great experience.

It could be as expensive as traveling by air but it gives a lot of space and privacy.

  • It consists of 2 or 4 berths per compartment and there is no side upper or side lower berths in these.
  • Compartments having 2 berths are called coupe and the ones with 4 berths are called cabin.
  • The coupes and the cabins are very clean, have a trash-bin placed inside and berths are much spacious and comfortable than other classes.
  • You cannot book a 2-berth or a 4-berth compartment by choice when you book. Even after booking no specific berth number is allocated. The specific berth numbers are reflected on reservation lists at the station before departure of the train.
  • You have separate light provided on each berth for reading.
  • The coupes and the cabins have doors that can be bolted from inside making it very safe and secure.
  • Washrooms are also cleaner than other classes.
  • You get clean bedding and blankets.
  • Food is prepared inside the train in pantry cars and you may have options to choose from.
  • If the train you are traveling in is Rajdhani, Shatabdi or Duronto express, the food is included in train fare.
  • An attendant is there in the coach at your service.

I traveled in AC First Class for my Honeymoon to Rajasthan. One thing we liked the most about AC 1st class was the privacy it provided that is missing in other classes. You can relax and are not be bothered by the hustle bustle of passengers or vendors getting in and out of the train.

Air-conditioned 2-tier (AC2 or 2A)

This is the class having some features less than the first class but is easier on the pocket than the first class.

  • Unlike AC 1st Class, AC2 tier is open-plan with berths arranged in bays of four on one side of the aisle and in bays of two on the other side of the aisle.
  • There is no middle berth like in 3AC.
  • It gives ample space to passengers and there are curtains for privacy.
  • You may order food paying for it separately when the attendant arrives to take the order for meals around an hour before mealtime.
  • You have reading light with each berth and a charging point common for 2-4 berths usually.

Most of the time I travel by 2AC because it’s not heavy on the pocket, it is clean and spacious.

First Class (FC)

The First Class has no AC and has been largely replaced by First AC and Second AC. I wouldn’t recommend First AC as the fares on First Class is higher than even Third AC with much lesser convenience. To find out which trains still have First Class check out this link.

Air-conditioned 3-tier (AC3 or 3A)

This is the most preferred class of travel by the Indian middle-class passengers as it is air-conditioned and cheap.

  • Just like AC2 tier, AC 3-tier is also an open-plan. In AC 3-tier, however, the berths are arranged in bays of six on one side of the aisle and in bays of two on the other side of the aisle.
  • The backrest of the lower berth is pulled up to make the middle berth.
  • You are provided with bedding, blanket, hand towel, and a pillow. Washrooms are okay but not as clean as in 2AC and 1AC.
  • There isn’t too much space to store luggage as all passengers keep their luggage under the lowest berth.

As per the Indian Railways rules, the sleeping hours for passengers have been earmarked between 10 PM to 6 AM. This means that the occupant of the middle berth cannot keep the berth up beyond the sleeping hours. This rule is in place to ensure smooth seating of co-passengers on the lower berth.

Sleeper Class (SL)

This is the actual class where you can see lots of action happening around.

This class has no air conditioning so it very cheap and it has openable windows.

It gets hot during summer daytime and cold in winter nights. Attendants are not available for these coaches and there is no provision for supplying linen/bedroll.

If being in a crowded place doesn’t bother you and you want to hear what’s going around in India from weather, politics, news, Bollywood, festivals AND OF COURSE CRICKET, you can get it all in the Sleeper Class of Indian Railways.

The Sleeper class is lively with people getting in and out at every station, vendors, and hawkers calling out to sell their stuff and so on.

It’s as if this place is never silent except for night.

My experience has not been very good while traveling in this class because it’s very normal here that despite having a whole berth reserved for yourself, you may find it already occupied by someone else and you have to ask them to vacate the seat.

Often they do but if it’s daytime, they would just move to the end of the berth and give you enough space to sit.

I have come to realize that usually, these are people who almost daily travel on these short distances with a pass or unreserved ticket and sit wherever they find a seat.

Once while traveling in this class, it took me around half an hour and a ticket examiner to convince a group of women that I had reserved the seat they were sleeping on and they have to vacate it even if they had arrived before me.

AC Chair class (CC)

This is a fully air-conditioned coach with seating arrangement of 3 and 2 rows on either side of the aisle with a total of 5 seats in a row. This class is available only in select trains like Shatabdi Expresses and a number of other inter-city daytime trains,

  • This is a good option for a short journey for around 5-6 hours.
  • There is space overhead to keep luggage which stays in your sight all the time.
  • Small tables are attached to the back of your front seat which can be opened to have meals or for reading etc.
  • These coaches are very clean, quiet and spacious.
Second seating or 2S

This is a Non AC class coach and a very cheap way to travel by train. This class is common in short route trains.

4 to 5 passengers occupying a bench made for 3 people is a common sight here. Travel by this class is advisable for short journey only. These coaches are mostly filled with daily passengers commuting for work.

Unreserved

There are many trains that have some coaches that are for ticket holders who do not have a reservation for a specific seat.

You can just buy an ordinary ticket from the station ticket counter for your destination and board this coach.

It’s not advisable to travel in this during rush hours, peak season, holidays or festivals. It often gets so overcrowded that you may find people standing or sitting in the passageway and near the toilets.

It can often be full up to double the occupying capacity of the coach.

Passengers arguing and fighting over seats is very common here.

NOTE: At times when you board the train you may find someone else occupying your seat.

If you let the person know that you have a reservation for that particular seat, the person is most likely to get up and leave.

This a common scene in Indian trains.

These are usually commuters of short distance who although have a ticket have no reservations. Since they are traveling short distance they unauthorisedly want to take advantage of the air conditioning Compartments.

Another common scene in Indian trains is getting requests from other passengers to exchange seats so that a family or a group traveling together may stay close.

Hope the above details help you in making an informed decision while booking your tickets so that you have a comfortable journey.

In the following paragraphs, I have tried to reply to frequently asked questions about train travel in India.

Can I book IRCTC tickets from outside India?

Yes, it is possible for foreign tourists to book train tickets from outside India for traveling in India. You can register with IRCTC at www.irctc.co.in and go ahead with bookings using international cards. For verification, while registering on IRCTC site, use your email id

Which are the other Sites from where online tickets can be purchased?

12go.asia is an easier way than IRCTC to book tickets online.

They do charge an additional fee but that’s nominal considering the time and frustration of booking through IRCTC for foreign tourists.

They sell for top 1000 most popular train routes and they sell only confirmed tickets not waitlisted or RAC.

There are many other apps these days through which train tickets can be booked like cleartrip, yatra, and makemytrip.

Are train tickets in India cheaper online?

Train tickets are not cheaper online but some apps provide cash-back when you book through them.

Ticket booking at railway counter is cheaper but it’s a tiring and time-consuming process not worth the money you save standing there in the long queue.

Tickets can also be purchased through travel agents on an additional fee which saves a lot of time and hassle.

In such case, the best thing is to check the fare online and then book through agents so that you have an idea what’s the actual price of the ticket and how much additional charges you are paying.

Can I buy train tickets from any station in India? 
  • Yes, you can buy tickets at almost all the stations (an exception being stations in small towns/villages) for any destination all over India. Reservations are now completely computerized.
  • There is usually a separate counter for current tickets (unreserved) and a separate counter for reservation.
  • You can fill the reservation form and book your ticket.
  • It’s better to check online in advance regarding the trains and seat availability.
Can I travel without ticket in train? 

No. If you travel without a ticket in train with the intention of defrauding the railway department, that would be an offense.

What Fine will be Charged if a traveler is found Travelling without a pass or ticket?

You can not travel without a ticket by train. If you are caught traveling without a ticket, you will need to pay the fare from the station you boarded the train or from the station which the train originally started or from the checking point with an equal amount of excess charge subject to a minimum of Rs. 250/- up to the point of detection.

Foreigner Tourist quotas

There’s a special Foreign Tourist quota on many trains. A foreigner quota means foreigners may find a limited number of places available on trains which are sold out for Indian travelers.

Tickets under this quota can be booked up to 365 days in advance.

All the details regarding the booking charges, cancellation, refund, etc of the foreigner tourist quota can be found by clicking here.

The International Tourist Bureau

The International Tourist Bureaus are located at various important cities all over India at New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Secunderabad, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Varanasi, Agra Cantt.

These provide assistance to foreign tourists and NRIs regarding enquiries, booking, reservation, and travel planning, etc.

International Tourist Bureau at New Delhi has started functioning round the clock w.e.f. 12-12-2014.

International Tourist Bureau, First Floor, Station Building,
New Delhi Railway Station, New Delhi- 110055
Phone : 91-11-42625156, Fax: 91-11-23343050

The Official website of Indian Railways

Indianrail.gov.in is the official website of Indian railway department which gives the details of all the trains, seat availability, fare, etc.

  • To find your train, you click on “reserved train between station” and choose your journey date, source station, destination station and click on GO.
  • The list of all the running trains on this route would be displayed.
  • Click on the train number to get the schedule of the train and on the available classes to check seat availability and fare of the various classes.
  • Sometimes direct trains are not available between two places so you have to search for the nearest major stations or you can look for connecting trains and change the train during the journey.
  • If you are looking for a seat under a particular quota, you select that from the drop-down list and then search.
  • Ticket Booking cannot be done at Indianrail.gov.in
  • You can book tickets at https://www.irctc.co.in/nget/train-search.
  • If you have a waitlisted/ RAC ticket and want to see its status, use PNR inquiry tab, enter your ten digit PNR number and submit. The current status of your booking would be displayed.
Food and drink on trains

Many Indians carry home made food while traveling in trains.

In some trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi, and Duronto, food is included in train fare and is served at your seat.

In most of the long route trains, attendant arrives in the AC coaches sometime before the meal to take the order for the food.

The only food option that you can choose is whether you want a vegetarian meal or a non-vegetarian meal. The meals are pre-decided set menus.

Food is simple and not expensive.

Though the Indian railways are improving a lot on its cleanliness and food people sometimes prefer ordering online.

These days you have many apps and online options to order your food such as railmitra.com, railyatri.in, railrestro.com, ecatering.irctc.co.in.

All you need to do is to choose your food, enter your PNR/seat number, choose the station where you want your food to be delivered, pay online or choose COD and it would be delivered at your seat.

It’s a good option as you get to choose out of many options of fresh food at a reasonable price.

Even Dominos deliver pizza in train these days at selected locations.

At most of the stations, one can also find hawkers getting on the train to sell tea, water, cold drinks, snacks, etc to the passengers.

Cleanliness, toilets & crowding 

There was a time Indian trains were dirty and smelled foul but things are improving these days.

AC coaches are quite clean as the cleaning staff comes regularly to clean and take out the trash.

Unreserved/general compartments are the ones that usually get overcrowded so it’s always better to travel with a reserved seat. Toilets are not squeaky clean but just clean enough to serve the purpose as it depends a lot upon the class you are traveling in and how many co-passengers are using it.

Recently during my journey, I noticed a train attendant coming with a feedback form regarding cleanliness and asked a few passengers to fill it.

There are both western and Indian style toilets in AC coaches.

It’s good to carry a toilet paper roll, wet tissues, hand sanitizer, paper soap, etc with you as per your requirement while traveling.

Only AC coaches are the ones not usually frequented by random people or passengers traveling with unreserved tickets and thus are not as crowded as other classes.

These posts will help you plan your trips so that you stay safe and healthy.

Security on Indian trains   

Though there is an attendant in AC coaches, most of the trains do not have staff that you can contact immediately in case of security or safety issues but there are helpline numbers that can be contacted in an emergency.

  • Customer care can be reached at number 139,
  • for grievance and complaints 138 and
  • 182 for safety/security issues.
  • It’s best to reserve upper berth if you are a woman traveling alone.

Read my tried and tested 13 awesome safety tips on traveling in Indian Trains.

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I was 11 years old when I traveled with my 12-year-old sister in the sleeper class of an Indian train. We were unattended by an adult. It was an overnight journey. A year later, at the age of 12 years, I traveled all by myself. I can safely and happily say no untoward incident happened with me (a solo traveling girl child) in Indian railways.

If you are still wondering if it is safe to travel by train in India? My answer is, Yes, traveling by train in India is quite safe as long as you are traveling in a reserved compartment. Staying cautious is the key. If you are a female traveling solo or with a child then try to get an upper berth where you are at a safe distance from the (unwanted) touch of passers-by.

Of course, there is much more to train travel in India than what I have just mentioned.

Now that I am a mother, I am not very sure if I will be as daring as my own parents and send my kids to travel solo in the train.

I asked Amandeep Kaur (an avid traveler who loves train journeys and is also the author of this post) to give her tried and tested tips on safe traveling in Indian trains.

Here is what she says.

I have been traveling in trains in India since I was a child and I have been traveling solo for years now. I haven’t faced any major issue and have found it quite easy and safe to travel by train in India.

Train travel in India is crowded, often messy and loud, but a complete enriching experience in its own.

Here are my tried & tested 13 awesome basic safety tips for traveling by train in India.

1. Wear suitable clothes

To be on the safer side, avoid expressing your personal fashion sense while traveling in train.

Dressing modestly in loose fitting clothes, keeping your shoulders and legs covered would minimize stares and unwanted attention that is common for foreigners and solo women travelers.

Preferably opt for something that local women wear so that it’s easy to blend in.

While choosing your train travel clothes, keep in mind the weather and class you are traveling in. During summers, Sleeper coaches (Non-AC) can get very hot.

During boarding or de-boarding a train, the crowd gets very pushy and too close for comfort.

I would highly recommend clothes which cover your cleavage for personal comfort from unwanted stares and “not so accidental” touches.

Avoid wearing too much jewelry and other expensive accessories.

Though sheets and blankets are provided in AC coaches, for overnight journeys I always carry a cotton dupatta/stole with me so that I can cover myself up with something that I am sure is very clean and smells familiar and comforting.

Read more on How to Dress in India: the Ultimate Dos and Don’ts.

2. Safety on station

When you reach the station, look for the display board that lists the train name, number with its arrival time and platform number. If in doubt about train arrival, platform number, etc, ask the officials at the enquiry counters or railway police or the shopkeepers at the platform.

Reach your platform well before time as Indian platforms tend to get very crowded with passengers, people who have come to bid farewell to the passengers, people who have come to receive the passengers, red uniformed porters and hawkers.

A common sight in India is people crossing the railway tracks to reach the platform on the other side. This is illegal and should not be done.

Use the foot over-bridge if you have to cross to the other side.

Don’t keep your belongings unattended anywhere.

Tickets are not usually checked at the station before you board the train.

You must have your ID card with you to show to the ticket examiner.

Enquiry counters, washrooms, waiting rooms and other facilities like chemist shop, book shop etc can be found easily on Platform 1 at most of the stations.

‘Women only’ waiting rooms are there at most of the stations.

The Good news is that the CRIS reservation system used by the Indian Railways uses an algorithm where a single woman traveling is always preferably given a seat where there’s a family or other women near her compartment.

3. Travel Light

All stations are not equipped with lifts and escalators. These are installed only at major stations. So, it’s advisable to travel light.

If you need the services of Porter/Sahayak (commonly known as Coolie) for carrying your luggage, you will find them on the platforms wearing the quintessential red-shirt, a copper-badge on their arms. They charge a fee according to the weight of the luggage. The going rate is Rs.100 per luggage.

Trivia: ‘Coolie’ is a colonial-era racist term. Now called as Sahayaks, they don’t mind being called a coolie. Perhaps it makes them feel like megastar Amitabh Bachchan whose movie ‘Coolie’ was a blockbuster.

Keep your money, cards, ID proofs, phone and other important documents in a separate bag/pouch and keep it close to you all the time.

Don’t keep all your money in one place. Keep a separate change of money with you that you might need in order to use washrooms at the stations or to buy something.

PRO-TIP FOR TRAIN TRAVEL: I always travel with only one backpack so that even if I need to use the washroom at such places, I can carry it inside with me.

Don’t forget to pack your First Aid kit. This post by a wanderlust doctor will give you a good insight into what you need to pack.

4. Know your train and seat

Usually, there are many display boards at the platform displaying the train number and coach number due to arrive at the designated place on the platform.

Look for the board displaying your coach number and wait at that place.

Sometimes, getting on or off the train may seem like a hassle due to the crowd as there is no queue to board the train. Just stand your ground, push a little if you have to and find your way.

As soon as you board, find your seat, place your luggage under your seat or nearby and settle down.

Also, look around for emergency exit so that in case of an emergency you know where to go.

You may sometimes find someone else occupying your seat, tell the person politely that you have a reservation for it. In all probability, the person would leave.

You may be approached by people wanting to exchange seats, do it only if you think there is a good enough reason and your comfort is not compromised.

Know your AM and PM – Once while traveling by train, I witnessed an incident, where two persons were arguing for a berth, both claimed to have a reservation for it. Later on, it came to light that one man had booked the train for the wrong date as it starts late at night around 12.30 a.m. The ticket he had purchased was for the previous date, the day that had just ended.

5. Stay connected

Always keep your phone and power bank charged. Indian train compartments have common power points for phones.

Use your phone to stay updated about the train schedule during the journey as stations are not announced in trains, unlike many other countries.

Once while traveling, I lost my phone and never got it back. Since then, I keep a diary with me where I note down all the emergency numbers and contacts of people I may need to contact.

Keep a friend or family member updated about your journey and schedule etc so that if you don’t reach a place on time, they can raise alarm.

6. Railway staff/ attendant

After settling in my seat, I look for train attendant so that I know in case of an emergency, complaint, etc, whom to contact.

Sometimes sheets/blankets are already placed on your berths and sometimes you have to ask the attendant for it so it’s good to know the person responsible for it.

They usually have a seat near the washroom so in case you are a woman traveling alone, you know if it’s a staff or a random person hanging around.

While traveling at night, I make it a point to use the washroom before the other passengers finally retire to sleep as most of the lights are shut out at night.

It is not compulsory to tip the train attendant. However, many people tip anywhere between Rs.20 to Rs.50. Read more about tipping in India in this post.

7. Stay aware and appear confident

Don’t get too lost in your devices that you are unaware of what is happening around.

Even if you are a woman traveling alone for the first time in a train in India, appear confident. It’s not as scary as you may have heard. Don’t let this fear stop you from experiencing the real India.

8. Food and drinks

Most of the long route trains have pantry cars where food is cooked and served to the passengers after you place an order to the attendant.

You have to pay for the food you order.

Food is already included in the train fare for Rajdhani, Shatabdi, and Duronto trains.

Many trains don’t have panty cars. While traveling in such trains, you can buy eatables from the vendors at the stations during the journey.

There’s a lot to choose from depending upon the area you are in. You can get pakoras, samosa, idli, bhajiya, kulcha, poori-sabji, wafers, biscuits, cold drinks etc.

There are many options to order food online during your journey and it gets delivered on your seat in train such as railmitra.com, railyatri.in, railrestro.com, ecatering.irctc.co.in at the stations covered by these.

Through these websites or their apps, entering your PNR/ journey details you choose your meals, place order, pay online or cash on delivery and have your meals delivered on your seat.

Dominos has started delivering pizza at some stations.

Avoid taking any eatables from strangers.

I prefer to carry home-cooked food and water bottle with me.

9. Conversations

In case you feel like striking a conversation with co-passengers, limit it to general topics and don’t disclose personal information that may put you in an uncomfortable situation.

If you like your privacy, it’s better to have a book with you to read or pretend to be busy with something all the time. A headphone is super helpful to avoid unwanted conversations.

Sometimes people initiate conversations even if you are not interested.

If I do not feel like interacting with someone, I just reply in one word. If the person still doesn’t get the hint then I make a phone call to some friend that I haven’t talked to for long.

If you are a female foreigner traveling solo, I would suggest you avoid conversations with men traveling without any female companion or family, unless you are yourself ok with striking a conversation.

It’s not that men traveling without female companions are a threat to your safety, it’s just that there are high chances of you getting unsolicited attention for the whole journey.

10. Avoid travelling during major festivals

Plan your journey in such a way that you don’t have to travel on major festivals of that place.

Trains get way too overcrowded and it gets difficult to even board the train.

It has happened to me once while traveling to Roorkee (Haridwar) from Patiala. When the train arrived, it was full already and the platform was so crowded that I was unable to board the train despite having a reservation.

People, especially men were pushing to board the train and I didn’t feel like risking my safety.

If you have to travel during such period, travel only by AC Class.

11. Be aware of the rules of railway

Smoking and consuming alcohol is not allowed inside trains and neither on the railway station.

Do not carry inflammable articles with you while traveling.

Littering the stations is also an offence.

Traveling standing on the footsteps/door of the train coach is an offense. You may still find some people doing all these things despite the rules.

12. Avoid getting down the train in between stations

Sometimes trains stop midway (where there is no scheduled halt) to let other trains pass.

It may also stop for more than the scheduled time at a particular station.

Stay inside the train and avoid getting out just to stroll.

13. Prevention of sexual harassment in trains

Many incidents of sexual harassment in trains have been coming into light. It is a serious punishable offense.

Railways and government are taking preventive measures for this and to make train journey safe for female passengers.

If you face any such situation, you don’t need to stop the train to visit a police station for registering your complaint, you can approach train ticket examiner or railway police personnel on duty in the train.

There is also a helpline number for safety during train travel. You can contact 182 (all India security helpline number) for safety issue during your journey. Click here for detailed information about all railway helpline numbers.

14. Female travelers should opt for Upper Berth

In addition to all the safety tips mentioned above, women traveling solo or with other females in groups should opt for upper berths or berths together in a cabin/coach while booking the tickets.

I don’t prefer side upper or side lower seats because that’s right next to the passageway.

15. Metros & local Trains

The Metro railway system and service are operational in 12 cities in India. These are Delhi, Gurgaon(Haryana), Noida (UP), Lucknow (UP) Kolkata(WB), Chennai(TN), Bangalore(Karnataka), Mumbai(Maharashtra), Nagpur (Maharashtra) Jaipur (Rajasthan), Kochi(Kerala), Hyderabad(AP) and Ahmedabad (Gujarat). The Kolkata Metro rail is the oldest metro service in the country.

While traveling in local trains (Mumbai) or metro trains, use compartments designated for women only, especially during rush hours.

I have met many amazing people while traveling by train.

During my recent train journey from Udaipur to Jaipur, I met a Belgian couple who were traveling in India. The girl wanted to have a gemstone called ‘watermelon tourmaline’ for her wedding ring. It is a stone having shades of watermelon and that’s why it is called so.

Their search for the same had brought them to Jaipur.

Our conversation mainly revolved around travel and Indian culture. They both were surprised to know that many Indians were fluent in English and many Indian women were choosing to travel solo.

Most educated Indians are bilingual. Amongst the urban elite though, there is a disdain for regional languages. That’s unfortunate.

Amish Tripathi

Hope these tips come in handy and you enjoy train travel in India.

If this is your First trip to India you will find these posts helpful:-

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The post How To travel safely in Indian trains: 13 Awesome tips appeared first on Light Travel Action.

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Are you in Agra, visiting the Marvelous Taj Mahal and wondering where to go next? I say, hold on. Allow another day in Agra and be prepared to experience an eerie abandoned royal Mughal capital of Fatehpur Sikri.

So, is Fatehpur Sikri worth visiting? Yes, located at a distance of around 60 KM from Agra, Fatehpur Sikri is well worth a visit from the magnificent city of Agra. With its intricate carvings on the red sandstone palace, the profound entrance doors, the Mughal courtyard, and court of the king, Diwan-i-Aam and Diwan-i-Khas, Fatehpur Sikri more than lives up to the reputation it’s held ever since it was built in the 16th century by Emperor Akbar.

Fatehpur literally means the victorious land (Fateh means victory in Urdu).

Myriad historical tales and legends are attached with Fatehpur Sikri. It

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It is now a world UNESCO heritage site and a pilgrimage spot for the believers of Sufi saint Salim Chishti.

There is of course much more to see and do in Fatehpur Sikri than what i have mentioned above. Get ready to fall in love with this architectural marvel.

History & Architecture of Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri was commemorated as the capital of the Mughal empire in India by emperor Akbar in 1571, around 500 years ago.

Salim Chishti was a Sufi Mystic who, it was believed by many, could perform miracles.

Why was Fatehpur Sikri built? Legend has it that the Mughal Emperor Akbar-e-Azam sought the blessings of the saint and wished for a male heir to his throne. Salim Chishti blessed Akbar, and soon the first of three sons was born to Akbar. In order to express his gratitude towards Salim Chishti, Akbar decided to build a great city around his camp. His Mughal Court and Courtiers were then relocated there.

Akbar named his first son Salim (the heir of the Mughal empire, later came to be known as Jahangir) in honor of Salim Chishti.

Akbar’s fort was built by the ridge of an old hillock. The sheer size of the fort talks in volume about the love and fondness Akrbar felt about the place.

There are courtyards, Dargah, a large mosque, multiple palaces, each taking up different style basis on the resident’s culture and ethnicity inside the complex.

The Buland Darwaja is the majestic entry point to Fatehpur Sikri. It’s excellent octagonal and precise structure announces the fort’s regal identity. There are steep staircase that proceeds towards the entrance.

“Isa, Son of Mariam said: The world is a bridge, pass over it, but build no houses on it. He who hopes for an hour may hope for eternity.” are the words inscripted at the entry gate. This shows Akbar’s affinity and tolerance towards various religion.

The central arch still harbors a horse shoe (thus referred to as the Horseshoe gate by locals) indicating good luck.

Why is Fatehpur Sikri called a ghost town?

Why is Fatehpur Sikri called a ghost town? A shortage of water is said to be the main reason due to which this Royal City of religious importance was abandoned. Perhaps, river Yamuna’s flow was not sufficient to provide water to the hinterlands. Fatehpur Sikri now sits in remarkably good condition as a deserted city popular with tourists, history and architecture lovers.

Jama Mosque

Also referred to as the Friday mosque, the Jama Mosque at Fatehpur Sikri is one of the largest and most visited pilgrimage spots among the Muslims in India.

It reflects a blend of Iranian and Indian architectural with “chatri” styled domes and Mirhabs.

The inlaid mosaic tiles of the Jama Mosque at Fatehpur Sikri is a missing link of the trade route that once thrived between India and Persia.

Floral painting, watercolor murals adorn the fifteenth century built mosque. The mosque was built by Akbar while the complex existed from the advent of Mughal occupation.

The Tomb of Salim Chisti

The mosque complex also houses the tomb or Dargah of Salim Chishti, the medieval Sufi saint who influenced the rule and thoughts of emperor Akbar immensely.

The single storied spotless marble enclosure is built around the grave of the saint.

Dainty mosaic encrusted in wood and made of mother of pearl beam from the canopy. The mausoleum has architectural influence of the preceding Gujarat dynasty.

Visitors are to cover their heads and enter and circumnavigate the tomb.

In the complex lies many other graves from Chishti family. Some nameless, some with vague indication of a Farsi name and a time.

Diwan-i-Khas

Diwan e Khas was the royal chamber where Akbar would consult Nabaratna (the nine pillars of his reign, 9 wise ministers of Mughal court. Birbal is one of the famed names of Akbar’s court).

Architecture of Diwan-e-khas, Akbar’s private courtroom justly describes the various virtues he implemented in his reign.

The chamber is innovatively structured, with a profound pilar erect in the middle connecting various corners of the royal court, indicating a melange of all faith and belief! Diwan i Khas is famous as one of the earliest cultural landmark of Indian courtroom. It is made of wood carvings and showcases detailed, intricate design.

Jodhabai Palace

Right at the heart of the Mughal Emperor, was carefully erected the palace of Jodhabai, Akbar’s Rajput queen. She remained faithful to her religious belief and worshipped Hindu God in a temple situated inside the palace. This was a pioneering practice of religious tolerance in that time.

You will be able to spot temple architecture and quintessential Rajpur motifs at Jodhabai’s palace. There are two palaces, Winter and Summer. They were engineered to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the wall.

Panch Mahal

The courtyard of Fatehpur Sikri also houses Panchmahal, a sprawling campus which was supposedly designed for the ladies of the royal family. It is a five stories open columned structure, separated by multiple carved pillars in red sandstone.

You have to leave the palace compound by 6 pm (after sunset). The city was and remains abandoned till date, even in a populous country as ours. That said, Fatehpur is easily accessible by public transport. Government bus ply regularly from Idgah bus stand, Agra from 7 am. Local trains also run from the closeby train station.

The best way to reach Fatehpur SIkri is to rent a car. The current rate is INR 1800 for a return drive. Make sure to have the driver agreeing to take you to the nearby points of interest, namely Sikandara (Akbar’s Mausoleum) and Mariyam Bibi ka Tomb (Akbar’s Christian wife).

Alternatively you can rent a bike and follow google map. The highway connects Agra with Fatehpur and road condition is commendable.

Since the old fort complex Fatehpur SIkri is situated afar from the urban area, you will experience a different local exchange. People are mostly simple, and welcoming. Tourist do not flock to Fatehpur in number as of now. There are plenty of pilgrims visiting the site too. Overall, Fatehpur was a different experience for me even after visiting various historical monuments in India.

Vendors might be pushy and demand you buy the stuff. But say a firm no and you will repel the nags and proceed easily.

Dress modestly since Fatehpur Sikri houses religious site in the complex. You are also expected to carry shoe in hand/bag.

If you are a solo traveller, I suggest leave the place well before sunset. There are report of Bus breaking down which means a very hard time getting back to Agra.

Summer sun scorched the land in North India. I would suggest visit during Spring or Winter months, from October to March. A cool weather will ensure you have energy reserve for the entire day. Fatehpur SIkri is open from Sunrise to SUnset, like every other Mughal monument of Agra.

I recommend staying in Agra instead of shifting to Fatehpur SIkri for this trip. It is far off from Agra and has basically zero to little things to do at night. Agra,on the other hand, has plenty of places to explore, even at night.

Entry to Fatehpur SIkri is charged at INR 40 for Indian adults. For foreigners, the entry ticket is INR 550. Additional camera charges apply. You are not allowed to enter the complex with a tripod. Entry to the Dargah is free of charge.

You may have got a glimpse of Fatehpur SIkri while watching the period film Jodha Akbar by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. However, to see “everything” and to have a feel of the place, I suggest keep at least 4 hours in hand. There are multiple palaces, courtyards, stables, remains of regal splendor. If you love history and culture, Fatehpur will easily keep you occupied for at least half a day!

Fatehpur Sikri is best travelled on a weekday except Friday. Friday being the prayer day,you shall have plenty of visitors in the Dargah complex. If you love to observe people, you will enjoy this experience. Weekdays are somber and peaceful at Fatehpur.

Keeping in line with red sandstone styles and marble work expertise, you can pick up your souvenir from Fatehpur SIkri. The finesse may be amiss if you are buying from Fatehpur compared to the art shops in Agra, however the prices are on the lower side. Pick up the intricately carved marble jewellery box, ornate lamp shade.

The famous Agra leather and Juttis are available as well. However, I always get drifted towards the pretty little edifice of Taj Mahal crafted in Marble stone

Bargaining is allowed and suggested however do keep in mind these souvenirs are handmade, hence takes a lot of time to be crafted.

I strongly suggest taking a guide at Fatehpur Sikri. For a group of upto 4 people, ASI assigns an educated guide for 2 hours. They are extremely knowledgeable and show you around every nook and corner of the sprawling fort compound. You will need to pay INR 450 as a group of 4, which is basically very affordable when divided by 4. Only hire a guide from the ticket counter. Please do not pay the kids to show you around. There are plenty of children who will ask for as low as 20 rs but will run at the speed of Rajdhani express as a Policeman catches his presence.

There is a toilet in the fort complex and Dargah as well. You are to pay INR 5 to enter. You will be provided with tissue.

The fort occupies a vast area, most of which is accessible by wheelchair or assisted accessibility even the Buland Darwaja which has a sloping pathway by the side. Since Fatehpur Sikri is a UNESCO heritage site, I have found that ASI maintains the fort with extreme care and provide every possible qualitative facility to the visitors.

The best way to explore Agra is to visit Fatehpur Sikri fort first, understand the foundation of the preceding Mughal emperors. The art and culture that thrived in the Mughal era had built before Shah Jehan took control and get a glimpse of the heydays of Mughal reign. The Agra Fort and Taj Mahal followed in upcoming Mughal rule after the Fatehpur Sikri was abandoned and Mughal capital was shifted. The order of Fatehpur-Agra fort-Taj mahal gradually showcase Mughal patronage of art and culture and its culmination. What started at the magnificent Buland Darwaja, comes to a full circle when you stand in front of the Taj!

There is a popular perception that the wife of Akbar, mother of Jahangir, was also known as “Jodha Bai”. Her name as in Mughal chronicles was Mariam-uz-Zamani. Tuzk-e-Jahangiri, the autobiography of Jahangir, doesn’t mention Jodha Bai, Harkha Bai or Heer Kunwari. Therein, she is referred to as Mariam-uz-Zamani (Source).

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“kesariya balam padharo mhare desh”, is a popular folk song of Rajasthan. In this song, Maru beseeches her Rajpur Warrior (warrior dressed in saffron colour – Kesariya) lover (Balam) to return back home from war.

As I grew up hearing this song I never knew Rajasthan would be my second home – My home after marriage.

Jaipur is the capital city of this magnificent and largest state of India by geographical area. It’s a beautiful amalgamation of ancient culture and modernity.

Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II shifted from Amer to Jaipur due to water problems and an increase in population in 1727.

Maharaja Jai Singh II commissioned the urban layout of the city of Jaipur to Vidyadhar Bhattacharya and Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob.

The architectural styles are largely based on a fusion of Rajput, Mughal and European styles.

During the visit of Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria to India, Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II got the city painted pink in order to extend a warm welcome to the royal guest into the city of Jaipur. Since then, it became famous as ‘Pink city’.

Even now many historical and government buildings are painted terracotta pink.

What is Jaipur famous for? Jaipur is famous for jewellery, textile, gemstones, lac bangles, and many other handicrafts. Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Jantar Mantar, Albert Hall Museum, Birla Mandir, Galtaji Mandir, Gaitore, Nahargarh Fort, Amer Fort, Jal Mahal, Abhaneri are few places that you shouldn’t miss to visit when in Jaipur. Jaipur is one of the three cities of the golden triangle circuit with the other two being Delhi and Agra.

Jaipur is one of the main tourist attractions of India as it has a lot to offer to its visitors including palaces, historical monuments, temples, museums, forts, markets and many other local experiences that keep bringing them back to this place again, and again.

Though with the passing time Jaipur has evolved as a modern city but it has still managed to retain its old world charm due to its well preserved monuments, art, architecture, culture and traditions.

There are many tourist attractions and experiences which Jaipur is famous for but I am going to list 13 such attractions here that one must visit in order to gain the maximum out of visiting city amazing city.

1. Hawa Mahal
Image by Walkerssk from Pixabay

Hawa Mahal is located in the heart of the city of Jaipur at Badi choupad.

Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh got it constructed in 1799. It is known for being ‘the world’s tallest building without foundation’.

It is a five-storey building with 953 small windows or ‘Jharokhas’. This allows the breeze to flow through the mahal and keep it cool and airy. It was used by the women of the royal family to view everyday life through the windows of the building without appearing in public.

Hawa Mahal is made up of red and pink sandstone and is a mixture of Hindu and Islamic architecture.

Entry fee– Rs. 50 for Indians, Rs. 200 for Foreigners

Visiting hours– Sun- Sat 9.00 AM to 05.00 PM

Websitewww.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in

Contact number– 0141-2822863

2. City Palace

The City Palace was built between 1729 and 1732 AD by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. Maharaja’s chief architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya designed the ‘Grid-Style’ City Palace in accordance with Vaastushastra.

Entrances to the palace are called Pol. The walls and gates are ornately designed to Mughal style, with various murals, lattice, and mirrors adorning them from sides.

Some of the famous Pol or gates are the ‘Udai Pol’, ‘Jaleb Chowk’, ‘Tripolia Gate’ and ‘Virendra Pol’.

The Palace houses various structures such as, ‘Diwan-I-Khas’, ‘Chandra Mahal’, ‘Mubarak Mahal’, and the ‘Govind Dev Ji Temple. As of today, the ‘Chandra Mahal’ has been converted into a museum which is home to unique handcrafted products, various uniforms of the rulers and other artefacts of the bygone era.

Entry fee– Rs. 190 for Indians, Rs. 500 for Foreigners

Visiting hours– Sun- Sat 9.00 AM to 05.00 PM

Websitehttps://royaljaipur.in

Contact number– 0141-4088888

3. Jantar Mantar

The observatories, or “Jantar Mantars” as they are commonly known, incorporate multiple buildings of unique form, each with a specialized function for astronomical measurement (Source).

In which cities are the Jantar Mantar located? Between 1724 and 1730 Maharajah Sawaii Jai Singh II of Jaipur constructed five astronomical observatories in north India at New Delhi, Jaipur, Ujjain, Mathura, and Varanasi. The first Jantar Mantar was built at Delhi in 1724 and the last to be completed is the observatory at Jaipur in 1738. All Jantar Mantars are open for public except the one in Mathura which is mainly in ruins now.

Why is the Jaipur Jantar Mantar Famous? Of the five astronomical observatories in north India built by Maharajah Sawaii Jai Singh II, the Jaipur observatory is the most elaborate one.It is a collection of 19 architectural astronomical instruments featuring the world’s largest stone sundial. It has been named as one of the UNESCO world heritage sites.

While visiting this place it’s better to get a guide so that one understands how all the instruments work. The observatory is located near city palace in Tripolia bazar.

Entry fee-Rs. 50 for Indians, Rs. 200 for Foreigners

Visiting hours- Sun- Sat 9.00 AM to 04.30 PM

Websitewww.jantarmantar.org

Contact number– 0141-2706560, 2706503

4. Albert Hall Museum
Image by Hitesh Sharma from Pixabay 

The foundation stone of the Albert hall was laid during the visit of Prince of Wales Albert Edward to Jaipur in 1876.

It was completed in 1887 by the architect Samuel Swinton Jacob. Located in Ram Niwas Bagh and also called Government Central Museum, it exhibits various collections of art pieces ranging from sculpture, pottery, jewelry, musical instruments, furniture and garments.

It looks best bathed into lights of various colours during evening hours in its architectural glory. It’s definitely a sight not to be missed.

Entry fee– Rs.20 and Rs. 40 for Indian students and other Indian nationals respectively. Rs.150 for foreign students and Rs. 300 for other foreign tourists.

Visiting hours – Sun- Sat 9.00 AM to 05.00 PM (except for a few days for maintenance, check website for regular updates)

Websitehttp://alberthalljaipur.gov.in

Contact number – 0141-2820388, 2820389, 2820390

5. Birla Mandir

Birla Mandir was built in 1988 by Birla family on a piece of land donated to them by the king of Jaipur at the cost of one rupee for the purpose of construction of this beautiful temple.

It is located on Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg in Tilak Nagar.

This temple is famous for both its architectural beauty and as a place of worship. It is dedicated to Lord Lakshmi Narayan. The temple is made up of white marble and is surrounded by gardens on the sides.

The temple is beautifully decorated on the occasion of Janmashtami which is celebrated with lots of zeal and enthusiasm here.

Visiting hours – Sun- Sat 06.00 AM to 12.00 Noon and 03.00 PM to 09.00 PM

Entry fee – free

Websitewww.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in

Contact number – 0141-2822863

6. Galtaji Mandir

This temple is located at a distance of 10 kilometres from Jaipur.

Cabs buses for auto rickshaws can be used to reach this place. Hiring a private cab is the best to go and return.

It is an ancient Hindu pilgrimage site. This temple was built by Diwan Rao Kriparam who worked for Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh during 18th century.

It houses various holy Kunds and natural springs. According to the popular belief, a saint named Galtav spent all his life here worshiping. Pleased by his devotion, God appeared before him and blessed this place of worship with copious water. Hence the temple is named after him.

One can see many monkeys flocking around the temple so it’s better to be careful of one’s belongings. Preferably don’t carry eatables in your hands in the vicinity of the temple.

Entry fee – free

Visiting hours – Sun- Sat

7. Gaitore

The word ‘Gaitore’ is derived from ‘Gaye ka thore’ which in local language means ‘final place of the departed one’.

This place is royal cremation ground of kachwaha Rajputs. It is located on the Jaipur Amer road at a distance of 15 kilometres from the city. Local buses taxi or auto rickshaw can be used for commute.

The cenotaphs or ‘Chhatris; as called in local language are built to indicate the cremation site of the people of royal family. These cenotaphs are a beautiful blend of Islamic and Hindu architecture.

There are numerous cenotaphs with intricate carvings on them.

Out of all these, the chhatri of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II is the most beautiful.

Entry fee– Rs. 30 for Indians, Rs. 100 for foreigners

Visiting hours– Sun-Sat 09.00 AM to 05.00 PM

8. Amer Fort

Amer fort was built by Maharaja Man Singh in 1592. This is a very old fort and may seem dull from outside but it’s amazingly beautiful inside.

It’s located at a distance of around 11 kilometers from Jaipur city and the best way to reach is hired taxi or auto rickshaw.

Consisting of various buildings like Diwan-e-aam, Sheesh Mahal, Sukh Mahal, it has been built with pale yellow and pink sandstone and white marble. This fort has stood the test of time and foreign invasions and still stands strong and magnificent.

Image by joakant from Pixabay

Many Bollywood movies have been shot here like Jodha Akbar and Bajirao Mastani.

During the evening, a beautiful light and sound show is held here. During my visit to this fort with a friend, we were so blown away with its sheer magnificence that we lost the track of time and passages.

It was almost closing time when we realized that there was not a single person around. That really scared us both. After walking down for some time, we found a guard who then asked a local guide to help us exit the fort.

Entry fee – Rs. 100 for Indians, Rs. 500 for Foreigners

Visiting hours – Sun- Sat 9.00 AM to 05.00 PM

Websitewww.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in

Contact number – 0141-2822863

9. Nahargarh fort

Situated on the ridge of Aravalli hills, Nahargarh fort was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II during the 18th century.

The palace has a separate Wax museum with wax statues of many famous people. Modern art creations by many famous international artists are also at display inside this fort.

There is a step-well or baori which is now almost dry where a scene from the famous movie ‘Rang de Basanti’ was shot.

If tired by walking for long inside the fort, one can visit the restaurant at the end of the palace to have something to eat and get a bird’s eye view of the whole city.

Traveler’s Tip – This place starts getting crowded by visitors and photographers from 5 pm as the sunset looks beautiful from the top.

We reached this place quite early, took the best spot and started the game of locating the famous city landmarks from there. It felt like sitting in a balcony of the highest building in the city.

Entry fee – Rs. 50 for Indians, Rs. 200 for Foreigners

Visiting hours – Sun- Sat 9.00 AM to 05.00 PM

Websitewww.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in

Contact number – 0141-2822863

10. Jaigarh Fort

Located about 15 kilometers from Jaipur on Amer road on a hill called ‘Cheel ka Tila’, this fort was built by Maharaja Jai Singh II during the 18th century.

It is spread over a range of 3 kilometers in length and 1 kilometer width.

This fort is famous for housing ‘Jaivana cannon’ which is the world’s greatest cannon on wheels. Many works of art are on display in the museum like paintings, carpets, arms, and armor, silverware etc.

There are secret tunnels that connect this fort to Amer fort.

Entry fee –  Rs. 70 for Indians, Rs. 150 for foreigners

Visiting hours – Sun- Sat 9.00 AM to 10.00 PM

Websitewww.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in

Contact number – 0141-2822863

11. BM Birla Planetarium

If one has some interest in the cosmos and heavenly bodies, a visit to this planetarium is a must.

It came into existence with the efforts of CK Birla Group which has such other planetariums at Hyderabad and Chennai.

This observatory was inaugurated on 17th March 1987 by Sh. G.P Birla and Nirmala Birla. Various seminars, presentations, and workshops are organised regularly here to educate the visitors about the celestial bodies and universe.

Entry fee – Rs. 60

Visiting hours – Tues- Sun (Monday closed) 11.00 AM to 19.30 PM

Website www.bmbirlaplanet.org

Contact number – 0141-2385367

12. Jal Mahal

Jal Mahal literally translates to ‘Water Palace’.

It is situated on the Amer- Jaipur road in the middle of Man Sagar lake. It is a five story building but looks like there is one floor only as the other four are under the water.

It was founded by Maharaja Pratap Singh in the 18th century and got renovated by Maharaja Jai Singh II.

It is built in a combination of Rajput and Mughal architectural style. One can enjoy the beauty of this place spending some time during evening at the lake as boating in the lake and entry inside the palace is not allowed currently.

Entry fee – No fee as entry inside is not allowed

Visiting hours – Sun- Sat

13. Abhaneri

Abhaneri is a village in the district of Dausa, at a distance of around 95 kms from Jaipur.

The Chand baori is around 1000 years old and was built by Kind Chanda of Nikumba dynasty in the 9th century.

This baori has 3500 narrow steps.

At 64 feet deep, it is India’s largest and deepest stepwell built for storing water. It attracts a lot of visitors due to its amazing architecture.

This place became famous after the scenes from movies like Paheli, The Fall, Dark Knight Rises was shot here.

There is no direct buses to this place from Jaipur. One can go to Sikandra from Jaipur by bus and then take a taxi or jeep to Abhaneri. The best option would be to hire a private cab to visit and return.

Visiting hours – Sun-Sat

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