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Dharavi Named India’s Top Tourist Experience
If you’ve never visited India, you would probably think of famous sights like the Taj Mahal and Hawa Mahal if you were asked to name the country’s top experiences for travellers.
However, the Taj Mahal was recently beaten into third place when travellers were asked to name their top experiences in India. At number one might be something of a surprise for those who’ve never experienced it - Dharavi.
This is the largest slum in Asia and it was named as the top experience in TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Experiences in India as part of its Travellers’ Choice Awards.
Republic World explained that many travellers who venture here do so on small group tours where they’re able to explore the narrow lanes of the slum with a guide. One of the things that draws people here is the crafts. There are pottery craftsmen and leather shops located here.
A bike tour of Old Delhi was named in second place in the list, with the private day tour to the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort by superfast train in at third.
Dharavi is located in the heart of Mumbai. It’s home to an estimated 700,000 people in a space of 0.8 square miles, City Lab recently explained. The neighbourhood was featured in the film Slumdog Millionaire, which is when it gained international notoriety.
If you’re planning a trip to India you may want to consider adding a tour of Dharavi to your itinerary. Make sure you organise your India Tourist Visa in good time before you travel.
If you want to explore some of the wild and natural parts of India you’re in for a treat. The country is home to some beautiful natural areas and these in turn are where you can spot some pretty incredible wildlife.
Good Housekeeping recently highlighted some of the best places to visit if wildlife watching is high on your wishlist for a holiday in India.
The first spot it suggests is Sundarbans National Park in West Bengal. This protected area is located on the Ganges delta and is a tiger reserve. While the big cats and the crocodiles that can be spotted along the tributaries are some of the most impressive creatures you can spot here they’re far from the only things worth looking out for.
Irrawaddy and Ganges River dolphins also live in the region, UNESCO notes, along with primitive horseshoe crabs and the king cobra, which is a threatened reptile species.
The Gir National Park in Gujarat, meanwhile, provides the only place outside of Africa where lions can be seen in the wild. The Asiatic lions found here are endangered and only remain in this small protected area.
Nagarhole National Park is another place to consider exploring, especially if you love bird watching. Some 270 species of bird inhabit the area, including painted stork, ospreys, blue-bearded bee-eaters and pied kingfishers.
Other animals found in the national park in Karnataka are barking deer, elephants, wild boars, leopards and hyenas.
Whichever destination you’re looking at for wildlife watching in India, make sure you arrange your India tourist visa in good time before you travel.
Where To See India’s Most Stunning Waterfalls
India is a country that has so much to offer visitors. As well as its famous heritage sites there are plenty of natural attractions worth exploring too.
If you’ve got your India tourist visa in your passport and are planning the finer details of your trip, you might want to see if you can include one of these locations on your itinerary. If you do, you’ll be treated to views of some of the country’s most stunning waterfalls.
CNN recently picked out some of the best places to go if you’re keen to see this particular feature, and recommended what time of year to travel there too.
At the top of the list is Nohkalikai Falls, which is India’s highest waterfall. You’ll find it in Meghalaya, in the east of the country, where it spills out of the forest and over the cliff, tumbling over 1,000 ft.
If you’re travelling to this part of India, you should also include Nohsngithiang (also known as the Seven Sisters) on your route. At this waterfall, the river splits into seven distinct streams (now you can see where the name comes from). These all plunge around 1,000 ft over a vertical limestone cliff.
Another place to consider exploring is Chitrakot Falls in Chhattisgarh, which is India’s widest waterfall. At its fullest point it spans 980 ft. It’s also a spiritual site that attracts pilgrims who pay their respects to the Hindu gods Lord Ram and Lord Shiva.
Meghalaya could be a good choice if you’re looking for a range of outdoor adventures during your trip. Fodor’s Travel recently described the state as having "otherworldly scenery" and noted that some of the adventures that await here include walking across a double-decker living root bridge and exploring the world’s longest sandstone cave.
Why Experience Goa In May?
May isn’t the busiest time of year in Goa, which is known for being one of India’s most stunning beach resorts, as well as something of a hub for those who like to party.
India.com recently revealed that visiting this part of the country in May gives you a sense of what it was like before it became so well known by travellers looking for pristine golden beaches and fun late-night parties.
If you’ve got your India tourist visa sorted and are ready to jet off in the next couple of weeks, check out these recommendations from the news provider.
There are some great opportunities to get up close with the region’s nature and wildlife, such as by joining a dolphin watching trip, going on a bird watching tour or even joining a tour on an Otter Trail.
You’ll find plenty of stretches of nearly empty sand at this time of year too, as it’s outside the main tourist season so many of Goa’s most popular beaches are practically deserted.
There are also some great festivals taking place in Goa in May, including the Goa Food & Cultural Festival, where you can see cooking demonstrations, sample local delicacies and listen to live rock music from bands who travel from all over India to perform.
Corjuem Fort also hosts an event that focuses on the local culture and heritage. Called Heritage Zatra, it’s a great way to spend a day.
If you decide you want to explore a bit more of the state, join the hop-on, hop-off bus to help you get to some of Goa’s most fascinating historical sites, including Panaji and Old Goa.
Sophie Wessex To Visit India For Diamond Jubilee Trust
The Countess of Wessex will need a fast track Indian visa for her trip to Asia next week to celebrate the work of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust before it closes down.
Sophie Wessex will include Mumbai, New Delhi and Hyderabad in her trip, which will enable the Vice Patron of the Trust to learn how the charity has helped premature babies avoid blindness in these areas.
Prince Edward’s wife will visit three hospitals in Hyderabad, taking a look at screening and treatment services used there to help newborns receive appropriate care if they are at risk of sight problems.
This cause is particularly close to the 54-year-old’s heart, as her daughter, Lady Louise Windsor was born with a severe squint, affecting her eyesight.
Sophie, who also has a son, James, Viscount Severn, will then travel to Mumbai to meet Queen’s Young Leader Deane de Menezes. She set up the ‘Red is the new Green’ initiative to help young girls access menstrual hygiene and reduce the number of females absent from school.
The royal will also learn about the Care Mother antenatal app when meeting with Aditya Kulkarni, another Queen’s Young Leader. She set up the app to improve maternal and neonatal health and reduce mortality rates among these groups in India. So far, the app has been pivotal in improving perinatal healthcare, and has helped 30,000 women from disadvantaged communities reach antenatal services.
In New Delhi, the Royal Highness will host a reception together with the British High Commissioner to celebrate the progress achieved by the Trust to advance eye health in India. Her trip will also see the Countess support Women, Peace and Security Agenda (WPS), and encourage girls to learn how to drive as part of the Women on Wheels project.
The Vice Patron’s tour – taking place between Monday April 29th and Friday May 3rd – will mark her final duty for the Trust, which is planning to shut down in January 2020.
India is known as a country that is a feast for the senses. All too often we focus on what you can see, but there's just as much to smell, taste and experience in this vibrant nation.
And now one tour operator has developed some trips designed for those with visual impairment. The Jakarta Post reported on the launch of a Sight-Feeling Trip, run by Rising Star Tours and Travels, which is based in Delhi.
The trip departs from Delhi and takes visitors to the city of Jaipur. It begins with an experiential bus trip between the two cities, making multiple stops to allow people to try activities like horse riding, camel riding and shopping.
One of the most important elements of this trip is that travellers are able to touch and feel everything. The Jaipur journey is one of three offered by the travel company, which also runs similar tours to Pangot (Nainital) and Rishikesh (Shivpuri).
Amit Jain, the company's founder, said that the firm's focus is to provide assistive travel for those with visual impairments. "We aim to help them discover a whole new world and become part of it. It is not about charity, it is about spreading happiness," he asserted.
So far, 70 visually impaired people as well as volunteers have been on these trips. The travel agency also revealed that it plans to continue expanding its offerings in this area.
At the end of last year, Heathrow Airport launched a free app to support blind and visually impaired travellers. The app connects the person using it to personalised assistance to help them navigate the airport.
If you're planning a trip to India, make sure you don't forget to arrange your India tourist visa in good time.
When you think of travelling by train in India, your first thought is probably the old-fashioned carriages with people and baggage riding on the roof as well as inside.
But the country's railways are undergoing a modernisation, with India Railways planning to add the high-speed transport across a number of routes.
The first bullet train route to be announced was that from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, Times of India revealed. However, the news provider revealed that National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited is set to explore the viability of ten more routes.
In total, these new train lines will cover 6,000 km. The news provider revealed that some of the routes under consideration include Delhi to Varanasi, Delhi to Lucknow via Kanpur and New Delhi to Kolkata.
There is still some way to go until India is crisscrossed by a network of bullet train lines, however. The route from Mumbai to Ahmedabad is expected to be completed by 2022 or 2023. When it's opened, this railway will slash the current train journey between the two cities from seven hours to two hours.
If you're organising a trip to India and have already applied for yourIndia e-visa, you'll therefore be taking the current rail network if you choose to travel by train, although this is an experience in itself.
Last month, India launched its semi-high-speed train the Vande Bharat Express, which runs between Delhi and Varanasi. However, the locomotive broke down on its return journey to Delhi, with all those onboard forced to take a different train back to the city.
If you're planning a getaway this year with some of your besties, India is a great place to consider for your break. It's a diverse and beautiful country to explore, but with so many great options where should you head to?
According to the Times of India , there are a few spots that are particularly well suited to trips with friends.
Goa is at the top of the list, with the news provider noting that this is the ideal place to go if you're looking for somewhere you can party. However, this corner of the country has plenty more to offer if you're looking for culture too, with the Portuguese forts among the top sights to explore.
Next up is the hilltown of Gangtok, which offers the best of India's natural scenery as well as a thriving nightlife and great restaurants where you and your friends can sample the best of Sikkimese cuisine.
Ladakh, meanwhile, is suggested if you and your friends have an adventurous streak. Because it's in the mountains it can be cold, but there are plenty of great activities to try that you can bond over.
Wherever you're planning to visit on your holiday, make sure that your India tourist visa is up to date and valid before you travel, otherwise you risk being turned away at the airport.
That might sound extreme, but it's exactly what happened to actress Tamzin Outhwaite recently when she tried to travel to Goa with her daughter on a visa that she'd used to catch a connecting flight in Mumbai earlier in the year.
EastEnders Star's Refused Entry To India Reminds Tourists About Visas
People who are hoping to head to India for a business trip, a yoga retreat, a backpacking adventure or a sun-soaked beach holiday have been reminded of the importance of attaining the correct express India visa to avoid being refused entry.
This is what has happened to EastEnders star Tamzin Outhwhite, who was left disappointed when she had to return to the UK with her daughter from Goa Airport as her visa was invalid.
The actress had planned to go on a yoga trip with her ten-year-old daughter Florence for a bonding vacation. However, because she had taken a connecting flight through Mumbai in the new year, this counted as entry to India, meaning her visa could no longer be used.
Taking to Twitter, she said: "My 10 yr old and I have just been refused entry into India due to my visa [sic]."
She went on to say: "We both sat crying in immigration at Goa airport [sic]."
The ordeal was a big disappointment for the 48-year-old star, who had long been looking forward to the special trip with her daughter "after a difficult year".
It serves as a reminder to other travellers intent on visiting the southern Asian nation to check their visas thoroughly before getting on the plane.
Outhwaite told her 205,000 fans on the social media site that she had been advised by her travel agent that her visa was still valid. However, tourists cannot enter the country more than twice in 60 days on the visa she held.
If the EastEnders actress had made it into India, she would have followed quite a line-up of celebrities who have visited in the last few months.
Nick Jonas' and Priyanka Chopra's wedding at the end of last year at Jodhpur's Umaid Bhavan Palace saw the arrival of both the celebrities, as well as brother Joe Jonas and Game of Thrones' star Sophie Turner, and his other brother Kevin and his wife Danielle Jonas.
If you're planning a holiday in India, there are some practical things you need to take care of, such as applying for your India tourist visa, before you can get on with the fun part of planning your route around this fascinating and diverse country.
One spot that you might want to include on your itinerary is the ancient city of Vaishali, with the Times of India recently revealing that it was the world's first republic.
It's now an archaeological site, which draws plenty of interest from tourists and pilgrims alike. The newspaper revealed that there are records of 34 monarchs in Vaishali, although little is known about the city's early history.
Among its most famous associations is with the Amrapali, a great courtesan who appears in much Buddhist literature and a number of folktales. She is described as being responsible for the city's success, and later became a disciple of Lord Buddha.
Her ties to Vaishali make it a popular location for Buddhist pilgrims. According to Tour My India, the Ananda Stupa, relic Stupa and Kutagarasala Vihara are some of the most important places in the former republic for Buddhists.
There are plenty of points of interest for tourists to enjoy, however. The Bawan Pokhar Temple, for instance, contains beautiful paintings of Hindu gods and goddesses, with the artwork here dating back to the Pala period.
Raja Vishal's Gar, meanwhile, is the old parliament house and another landmark not to miss as you explore Vaishali. Venture into the Vaishali Museum to see items that have been unearthed at the site over the years.