Next stop Jaipur, the pink city


Next stop Jaipur, the pink city

When you visit India, Jaipur should be on your list of must see places.  It is called the “Pink City” because many of the forts, havelis and palaces are terracotta pink in color.  Jaipur is the most important destination after Agra where you will find the Taj Mahal.

You will want to take a ride up the mountain 11 km to the Amber Fort constructed of marble and sandstone in 1592 CE.  Here you will see the influence of Hindu and Muslim architecture.

If you like astronomy, be sure to visit the Jantar Mantar which was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in 2009. There you will see the world’s largest sundial.

Hawa Mahal of the Palace of the Winds is a 5 story palace constructed in 1799 CE.  It was built especially for the women of the royal household so they could watch the every day life in the city yet stay veiled behind the windows.

After Agra, your next stop should be Jaipur. The forts and palaces take you back to the times of royal families.


Tiger Reserves of India

Project Tiger, the National Tiger Conservation Authority(NCTA) has 50 tiger reserves in India. Seventy percent of the tigers in the world are in India. The number increased from 1,411 in 2006 to 2,226 in 2014. 

A non profit organization called Travel Operator for Tigers  (TofTigers)  was set  up in 2003 to protect the wildlife, wilderness and tigers through sustainable tourism.  Included in this group are 43 lodges and resorts which have the  TofTiger ecocertification denoting that they adhere to the sustainable standards for the wildlife and the local communities. 

Learn more about this and travel sustainably in India.  


You can also listen to the NPR Podcast on tigers in India





Should this actually be for tourists?

By Jonathan Levi, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017

During my time in India, I experienced the biggest cultural shock of  my time at Semester at Sea. I am very used to traveling, as I have been doing this my entire life. In India, 44 other SAS students and I commissioned our own tour guide.

We traveled through Delhi, then on to Varanasi where we saw the Ganjas River. I want to say that I disagree with this being a tourist destination. Local people take tourists on boats on the Gangas River to see  the thousands of people pray together and creamate their loved ones who had recently passed..

Going to the area of the river where cremations occur was the most eye-opening, sickening experience  of my voyage, and quite possibly by entire life. We were able to watch a family arrive on a small boat to cremate a family member who had passed within the last 24 hours. I witnessed a body being burned on top of a pile of logs. I can’t begin to tell you how shocking this was for me.

We sat there inhaling the ashes of a person who had recently passed. Not something you do or see everyday. I felt very disrespectful taking pictures and paying money to watch these people say goodbye to a loved one. 

Only a day to spend in India?


By Danielle Murphy, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017

Over 1 billion people live, work and find pride in the amazing country of India. As it being so large it can be difficult to decide what to do if you are only given a day, especially when we don’t want to waste a day with simply traveling. My recommendation would be to go to a tourism organization and try to set up a backwater tour. The term backwater is meant as a low current area of a river that has branched off of the main route making it ideal for leisure rides with canoes, kayaks or even houseboats. With a backwater tour in Kochi you will experience a small village hard at work. The harvesting of coconuts is a main source of profit for these villagers as they use it to make rope, cups, pipes, oils, pastes and so on to sell in the city and to tourists. As the tour moves along you get to see how they make nearly every item. About half way through you will most likely be fed a banana leaf meal. With this meal is a pile of rice in the middle with around 8 curries surrounding it. You will be prompted on how to eat it but all you do is mix it all together then eat it with you right hand.

A trip to the Taj

Taj Mahal, one of the finest architectural achievements of mankind, was builtby Mughai Emperor Shah Jahan over a period of 22 years for his Queen Mumtaz Mahai to hold her mortal remains.  It is one of the Seven Wondersof the World.  This destination is very popular and steps have been taken to preserve and maintain it for posterity.  For instance, visitors must remove shoes or wear shoe covers when entering the Taj. Careful and through security scrutinizes parcels, backpacks and visitors using a screening machine. Many items are banned.

Then, Agra Fort which was built by three Mughai Emperors and is a masterpiece of design and construction.  It includes Jahanfir’s Palace and Musamman Burj where the 5th emperor died as as prisoner.