Posts tagged: world travel

India: Taj Mahal, Love And Beauty All Wrapped In Marble

By , May 25, 2011 9:23 am
View Of Taj Mahal From Rooftop

View Of Taj Mahal From Rooftop

You might not know the city by its name but it holds one of the most recognizable structures in the world. Like many tourists in India, a visit to Agra to see the Taj Mahal is a required stop and this is where we are off to next.

In the evening of our first day in Agra, we find a rooftop restaurant with a view of the Taj Mahal. We have never seen so many tourists in India as we did when looking out at the Taj. It is nice just to enjoy the sunset over the Taj with the small company of other travelers.

Rooftop Restaurant With View

Rooftop Restaurant With View

Thousands Of Tourists

Thousands Of Tourists

Sunset In Agra

Sunset In Agra

Taj Mahal At Night

Taj Mahal At Night

The next morning, it is an early day for us, as we want to avoid the long lines. We learn the hard way that the ticket office is not actually near the entrance gate. When we are finally inside, our first reaction is how much bigger the Taj Mahal is in person.

Entrance To Taj Mahal

Entrance To Taj Mahal

Big Day, Visiting The Taj

Big Day, Visiting The Taj

Famous View

Famous View

It Took 22 Years & 22,000 People To Complete

It Took 22 Years & 22,000 People To Complete

It is a very photogenic building, which we learn is actually a mausoleum built by an emperor for his late wife. Their love story is as famous as the structure.

Khurram was a Mughal prince who knew he wanted to marry Arjumand Banu Begum, a Persian princess, the first time he met her. They had to wait five years and despite becoming his third wife, they were madly in love. When Khurram became emperor Shah Jahan, he gave her the title of Mumtaz Mahal, which translates to the chosen one of the palace. She was more than a wife, she was a constant companion and trusted adviser as she traveled with him all over the empire. She died while giving birth to their fourteenth child! He was heartbroken and ordered his court to go in mourning for two years. He dedicated this memorial to the love of his life, which he seeked to completion before getting ill.

Me & Frenchie

Me & Frenchie

Making Friends

Making Friends

28 Types Of Precious Stones Were Once Inlaid Into The White Marble

28 Types Of Precious Stones Were Once Inlaid Into The White Marble

When we get on the actual compound, we have to put covers on our feet to keep the place looking clean. We circle the building, walk inside, and forty-five minutes later, we are done.

Inside The Taj Mahal

Inside The Taj Mahal

Side Towers

Side Towers

Boris really enjoyed the Taj or should I say photographing it.

Feeling incomplete, I request for something away from Agra, 26 miles to be exact. Look out for our next post on Fatehpur, filled with wonderful pictures of people and architecture.

Parotta With Lots Of Butter

Parotta With Lots Of Butter

Potato Filled

Potato Filled

Dosa

Dosa

What We Paid: INR USD Euro
– Train 2nd class SEAT from Jaipur to Agra without AC [not recommended unless on extreme tight budget and for short rides during daytime only] 195/pp 4.30 3.05
– Private double room at Tourist Rest House [nice common space but very basic rooms, we had a rat run inside our room, no hot water for one day because they did not turn it on, staff is not friendly but the manager addressed our complaints, there are much better hotels than this] 500/double 11 7.85
– Dasaprakash Vegetarian restaurant [super clean, somewhat fancy, delicious food, recommend] 190/pp 4.20 2.98
– Lakshmi Vilas restaurant [very delicious, clean, friendly staff, highly recommend] 110/pp 2.43 1.73
– Bicycle rickshaw to Taj Mahal [20 minutes] 30/ride 0.66 0.47
– Auto Rickshaw from the train station [10 minutes] 30/ride 0.66 0.47
– Entrance to the Taj Mahal 750/pp 16.55 11.76
– Latte at Café Coffee Day 65 1.43 1.02

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

Yes or No to World Tickets

By , April 1, 2010 10:30 am

World Ticket:

Flights will be one of our major expenses. When we began planning, we looked into various world tickets. There are many options but each one behaves differently, so pay attention to details folks!

Most programs are based on distance flown. To cater to the number of countries and continents we want to visit, One World Alliance has a program called OneWorld Explorer, which is best suited for us since it does not have the mileage restriction. With One World Alliance, pricing is based on the number of continents you will pass through. In addition, there are a few major rules:
1) You have to pre-book all your flights in advance so a lot of upfront planning is required.
2) You can change your flights but it is based on availability and fees are applied.
3) You have to travel in one direction so you cannot backtrack to a continent you have already visited.
4) You cannot have more than 6 stops in the same continent which includes stopovers.

On the One World Alliance website, they have a very useful itinerary planner tool. It will show you the stopovers and help you understand the restrictions.

After reading a few travel blogs, we found that if we purchase the tickets starting in London, it will help save a significant amount of money. The grand total with One World Alliance for the OneWorld Explorer 5 continents package is around $5,500 each person (at time of research). Note: This pricing is just for major stops. We will have to purchase additional local flights within each continent.

Also, the One World mileage program allows us to earn miles within the program and by the time we finish our world tour, we may probably have enough points for a free flight.

Purchasing Flights As We Go:

Before we commit to 12 months of travel dates, we want to do some more research to see how much it would be if bought flights as we went instead of the world ticket. From using kayak.com and bing.com flight search tools, we are surprised to see the total is less than the world ticket.

Since this is only an approximate, we may end up paying more when it comes time to booking our actual tickets, but we will have greater flexibility.  Also, flight costs may remain low due to the bad economy.

Conclusion:

We will not purchase a world ticket and book only a one-way ticket to our first destination, Bangkok.  We’ll see at the end if we come out better or not.

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