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INDIA | NEW DELHI & CHENNAI


We arrived at the airport in India and there was only one bus to take a plane full of Indians to disembark. There is no queue in India, so everyone runs over each other and tries to get on the same bus. When we arrived at the airport, there was a man waiting for everyone on the flight with a fax-printed list and a pen crossing out name by name of the people who were arriving and everyone wanting to give their names together. At that moment I could imagine what our time in this country would be like. When we left we went to look for an exchange to exchange dollars for rupees.


We decided to go outside because we wanted a better exchange, but there was no exchange rate. We tried to go back to the airport, but it was no longer possible because to enter the airport you have to pay 100 rupees, the country is so populated that only those who have a boarding pass, that is, family members, can enter the airport, so they say goodbye at home. Complicated. We explained to the girl that we only had dollars and cards, but she said they were not accepted and soon changed the subject and left. We spent around 30 minutes explaining to different people that without exchanging money we wouldn't be able to leave the place, everything would depend on this exchange (subway, entrance to the airport, food lol), finally they called some big bosses dressed as soldiers and one of them accompanied Rafael until the exchange. Ufa!


HOW TO PREPARE FOR INDIA?

Before planning our visit to India, we read a lot of blogs and talked to people who have already visited and lived in the country (thanks for all the tips @salvalindas). We were a little worried about so many warnings regarding hygiene and they were really necessary tips. We don't eat on the streets, we keep all our vaccinations up to date, alcohol gel is available all the time, most bathrooms don't have paper so wet wipes are everything! I think I got so neurotic that I brought a straw, bought mineral water and drank it happily with my straw hahaha. There were still 5 days of travel left and we didn't want "Indianitis", the famous post-India diarrhea. So far we are fine lol. All of our trips are planned by us, including tickets, hotels, tours, internal transport and visas, we never hire agencies as it is very expensive and it is very possible to plan after doing a lot of research.



WHAT TO DO ?

It was quite tiring because we walked a lot, but we got to know a very different culture. We visited several tourist attractions and I believe we went through metal detectors 15 - 20 times. There are detectors and inspections from the airport to the subways, shopping malls, shops, tourist attractions, food courts, there are detectors everywhere.


The most interesting tourism to do in New Delhi is cultural and religious, visiting markets and temples sums up the best of INDIA, the most interesting thing is undoubtedly the cultural shock you suffer when you set foot in the most proportionally populated country on the planet.


The coolest in New Delhi is the Arkshadam temple (photo above), a majestic temple, it is a large complex of temples made of pink sandstone and white marble. The complex features a water show, a beautiful garden and three exhibitions, including a cultural boat tour. The architecture, like many temples in India is impressive. The Akshardham mandir consists of 234 intricately carved pillars, 9 ornate domes and 20,000 statues of Indian deities. In terms of human constructions, this is undoubtedly the most impressive, beating out all the Western works we've seen! The coolest? You don't need to pay anything to enter, not even for luggage storage, you must leave your shoes, cameras, food, you must go through a detector and search and finally enter the temple that is little known worldwide but that we didn't miss as recommended by our traveling friends Teka and Chico.


Another really cool temple is the Lottus Temple, which is a Bahá'í House of Worship located in New Delhi, India, popularly known as the Lotus Temple due to its flower shape. The building was completed in 1986 and serves as the mother temple in the Indian subcontinent. It has won numerous architectural awards and has been featured in hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles.



We were together the whole time in India, but in one situation we had to separate because the Lotos Temple did not accept entry with backpacks and there was no luggage storage, so one had to go first and then the other. Indians like to start a conversation and sometimes they are insistent, they ask where we are going and I thought it was all very strange, I said "I don't speak English" and that was it. They look weird when we're alone. Rafael spoke to several people, they were extremely simple, they asked where we were from and then they talked about football.


Don't forget to visit the street markets, they are real open-air shops on the streets of New Delhi, if you think that in Brazil we have a lot of inequality it's because it wasn't India, the caste system is still in operation, and we saw a contrast absurdity between wealth and poverty in the country, as you can see in the photo below we saw a woman washing her pans in a puddle of water.



TRANSPORT?

Another moment we separated was on the subway, which is very good by the way, but the first cars are for women, and the rest are for guys, Rafa accidentally got on the subway with me and it was just embarrassing, riding the subway there is very easy, in Chennai, no subway, despite having 4 million inhabitants the structure of the city is terrible, and it's only worth visiting to see a side of India other than the tourist side, but the pure and simple reality, we also walk and we almost died in the famous motorcycle cars called tuk-tuk, they are very cheap, but it is a real risk to our lives, we paid R$50 reais and drove for 1 hour between honking horns and almost crashes, it was the radical part of the trip.



WHAT TO EAT?

Indian food, actually made in India, is always very spicy. Full stop. We are not fans of Indian cuisine, Rafael likes a bit of curry, I already hate the smell, we went through the shame of ordering meat in fast food, and we were super happy to find the best donut chain in the world (Kryspy Kreme ). A large part of the Indian population is vegetarian, which is why dishes based on greens and vegetables abound on the menus, always well marinated in a sauce… spicy, of course! Cow, you won't even see it, at least on the plates.


FINAL TIPS:

Visit India (no, we don't want to go back, but it's worth a visit)


Visas

Both Portuguese and Brazilian citizens require a tourist visa to enter India, which must be requested, in advance, through the respective consular offices. But if you are staying for up to 72 hours at each stop, just present your passport at the airport and get your transit visa for free.


Spoken languages

There are many official languages: Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Bengali, Kashmiri, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Telugu, Punjabi. In tourist areas everyone speaks or understands English.



Money

The official currency is the Indian Rupee, which is worth around 0.016 Euros. See exchange rate.

Code: INR

Symbol: Rs

It's easy to withdraw money from ATMs with a regular Electron card. Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit cards are commonly accepted in large cities, although some smaller locations may charge a surcharge. I always prefer to pay in cash. Indians are very good at “deceiving”, so you should only exchange money in duly authorized offices, at the airport or in hotels. Always refuse to exchange money on the street.


Most mid-range and top-end sites (hotels, restaurants, etc.) add around a 10% service charge to everything. In cheaper places, where this fee is not added, a tip is always much appreciated, even if small (you can take 10% as a reference).


Some reference prices

1L water bottle: 12-20 Rs

Coca-Cola 33 cl: 20 Rs

Meal for 2 people: 300-1,000 Rs

Auto-rickshaw short journey: 50-80 Rs

Electricity

The electrical current is 230-240V 50Hz. In principle, plugs with two round pins will fit into any socket, but it's never a bad idea to take an adapter.

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