Monthly Archives: December 2013

Mumbai, India. December 2013.

http://www.svetanyc.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/IMG_0105-190x142.jpg

December 28. Oh, Bombay! Isn’t it the most populous, cosmopolitan, stylish, commercial, liberal, rich, Bollywoodish place in the whole of India? Take my word for that, it is. But also, it is home to infamous Mumbai mafia and the world largest slums (with 60% of Mumbai’s population living there). Most Indians would still call Mumbai by its Portuguese name – Bombay, and there is an on-going debate regarding the original name of the city. Some say, that Mumbai is a derivative of two words “Mumba” (the name of local goddess Mumbadevi) and “aai” (“mother” in Marathi), while Bombay is an anglicized version of Portuguese “Bom Bahia” – “beautiful beach”. Seven …

Posted in Asia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Aurangabad, India. December 2013.

http://www.svetanyc.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/DSC_7488-190x126.jpg

December 27. I have never heard of Ellora or Ajanta Caves and after seeing Agra, I haven’t expected Aurangabad to impress me, however, it turned out to be a pretty remarkable place, worthy of a detour from the “standard India package” destinations. Malik Ambar, the Prime Minister of Murtaza Nizam Shah of Ahmadnagar, made Aurangabad (at that time still a small village called Khadki, and later Fatehnagar) his capital city in 1610. Due to Ambar’s love and talent for architecture, it took only a decade for the village to become an imposing city. With the capture of the impregnable Daulatabad fort (i will talk about it later) by the Mughal …

Posted in Asia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Khajuraho to Aurangabad, India. December 2013.

http://www.svetanyc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/image9.jpg

I can’t call it anything but The Long March Forward. Just like Mao Zedong, we made a lot of sacrifices to get to our next destination, despite all the obstacles and obvious insanity of the idea. The original plan was to leave Khajuraho by train in the morning and transfer in Jhansi for an overnight train to Aurangabad, which would get us to the final destination by 11 am the next day. However, after listening to my complaints about the roach-infested, 8 hour delayed trip from Varanasi to Delhi, Dimitris came up with a “brilliant” idea to skip the train ride altogether and instead hire a car for a 1,000 …

Posted in Asia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Khajuraho, India. December 2013.

http://www.svetanyc.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/image41-190x142.jpg

December 25. The best way to get to the sexy temples of Khajuraho is to take a 45 minutes flight from a military airport in Agra. After a morning visit to the Tomb of Akbar the Great in Sikandra, we drove to the airport, where I, simply by chance, went through my belongings and found out that a significant amount of money was missing from my travel emergency cash. I have a long list of countries I have been to, and depending on the information I gather about my next destination, I usually decide the possible ways of payment while traveling. Obviously, Amex and credit cards with no foreign exchange …

Posted in Asia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Agra, India. December 2013.

http://www.svetanyc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/image2-190x142.jpg

After spending a day discovering the ancient cities of Vrindavan and Mathura, Dimi and I arrived to our hotel, ITC Mughal, in Agra very late at night. The hotel is an oasis among the dirt and ugliness of the city. I have read a lot about Agra and its importance as a Mughal capital, 300 years ago, but, unfortunately, very little dignity is left from that time. Behind the car window, it seemed hectic, over-crowded and filthy. Agra was first mentioned in Hindu epic Mahabharata and by Maharshi Angira in 1000 B.C. However, it is generally accepted that Sultan Sikandar Lodhi, the ruler of Delhi Sultanate, established the city in 1501 (or 1504) and it stayed …

Posted in Asia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vrindavan and Mathura, India. December 2013.

http://www.svetanyc.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/IMG_4352-190x142.jpg

December 22. I left Varanasi on the luxury overnight Shiva Ganga express train, which, according to the schedule, was supposed to arrive to Delhi at 7.40 am. Dimi arrived to India the evening before, thus it made me even more impatient to reach the final stop. Morning arrival would also give us enough time to explore some Delhi sights, however, as apparently everything else, time has different value in India. I arrived to New Delhi Train Station only at 3.30 pm. Having no time to explore the city, our friends Priyanka and Varun organized a very nice Indian/Lebanese dinner at Trolleys in Khan Market. The restaurant’s owner, besides the main hospitality business, …

Posted in Asia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Varanasi, India. December 2013.

http://www.svetanyc.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/image22-190x142.jpg

December 20, 2013 Oh, Varanasi! Brace yourself, you will either love it or hate it! Many say, it is a place of the best and the worst India has to offer, and even though it is only my 2nd and 3rd days in the country, I feel I’ve experienced India. The history, the river, the ongoing funeral ceremonies, the garbage, the animals, the holiness, the sadhus, the temples, the amount of people and touts – incredible! As one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Varanasi won’t leave you unmoved. Varanasi, also know as Kashi (City of Life) and for locals as Banares, is regarded as one of the seven …

Posted in Asia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Delhi, India. December 2013.

http://www.svetanyc.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/DSC_6641-190x126.jpg

Delhi, Dec 19, 2013 My Aeroflot flight to Moscow was delayed by several hours and I completely lost all hope in catching a transfer to Delhi, nevertheless, due to a large number of Indians traveling from the US to India on the same flight, the plane in Moscow waited for us, so we made it and arrived to Delhi not only with a minimum delay but also with all our luggage. Varun K., my classmate from Oxford, met me at the Indira Gandhi international airport and we went straight to his house. He and his family were kind enough to offer me and Dimitris an accommodation in Delhi and his …

Posted in Asia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Preface. India 2013-2014

http://www.svetanyc.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/21-146x190.png

The day has finally come to pack our suitcases and embark for yet another journey; this time, to India. I am excited to finally “live” the itinerary that took me 3 months to put together,  yet apprehensive to encounter dangers many of my friends warned me of – aggressive men, food poisoning, suffocating odors etc. Our 40+ day trip will take us to: Delhi Varanasi Mathura, Vrindavan and Sikandra Agra and Fatehpur Sikri Khajuharo Jhansi, Aurangabad, Khuldabad, Ellora and Ajanta Caves  Mumbai Mysore Kushalnagar, Bylakuppe and Bangalore All of Rajasthan Amritsar Literature and videos: Lonely Planet India 2013 India: A History by John Kaye Plain Tales from the Raj by …

Posted in Asia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Anniversary.

http://www.svetanyc.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/image12-142x190.jpg

It has been one of the most beautiful years, thanks to you. You let me be myself, yet your presence in my life, taught me quite a few things. You always made me feel loved and cared about, you always stood by me and my decisions. You were my greatest fan and faithful friend. You, who I can no longer live without.  Happy Anniversary, babychka! P.S. And never forget how much fun we have along the way….

Posted in Sveta's blog | Tagged , | Leave a comment