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India Survival Guide Success! Police Arrest 4 in Connaught Place!

Success! Police Arrest 4 Scammers in Connaught Place, New Delhi

Good news! After my report with Zee News on scammers in Connaught Place, New Delhi the Delhi Police began a crackdown on people ripping off foreigners and taking them around to overpriced stores.

I never expected this to happen, but the Delhi Police have listened. Good work Delhi Police. I hope this continues during tourist season this year. Here’s the full news report translated from Hindi:

A gang of fraudster rickshaw drivers were arrested by Delhi Police. This gang used to scam foreigner tourists by fooling them in the name of taking them to shops selling jewellery and clothing.

Manoj Kumar aka Bobby (50, Geeta colony), Ritesh (36, Nabi Karim), and Jitendra Kumar (41, West Karaval), were arrested by Delhi Police.

Their rickshaws have been taken in custody as they were being used for the crime.

According to DCP (New Delhi) Madhur Verma, they were receiving complaints for quite some time that some auto drivers were scamming foreign tourists. The auto drivers used to take them to particular shops, which they said, sold traditional clothing, jewellery and decorative items of which they charged a huge amount. The auto drivers used to get fixed commission for this. Many tourists were being fooled by this gang.

To arrest these auto drivers, district police of Delhi had formed two special teams. One of them arrested Manoj and Ritesh opposite Royal Plaza on Ashok road. The other team arrested Jitendra and Amit at Jantar Mantar Road opposite MTNL building. Two FIR’s were launched at Sansad Marg Police station.

Delhi Police is now investigating further about how many other gangs like this are active in New Delhi.

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Lohagad Scenic View. Lohagad Trek. Lohagad Fort Stairs. Lohagad Scene. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Nearby Escapes from Pune, India

It’s almost monsoon hitting the Deccan part of India. Pune, is one of the most happening places in Maharashtra, and across India is an excellent place to start with weekend escape plans during monsoon.

Mulshi Ghat/ Mulshi Dam

A nice escape for a day from Pune. It has got a real natural beauty comprising of a huge lake, which gives a sense of infinite water body and is surrounded by lush green hills. During monsoons, you can see several waterfalls around.

Mulshi WaterFall. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Mulshi WaterFall. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Mulshi Water fall. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Mulshi Water fall. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Mulshi Lake. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Mulshi Lake. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Mulshi Garden Field. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Mulshi Garden Field. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Mulshi Village. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Mulshi Village. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Mulshi Lake. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Mulshi Lake. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Best Conveyance: Mulshi ghat is 43.6 km from Pune. It is better to have your own conveyance or book a cab from Zoomcar or Drivezy. The scenic beauty of the route itself makes the journey beautiful.

Best Season to visit: July to April is the best season. But this place can be visited at any time of the year.

Accommodation: There are various resorts around the place, so you can plan your stay during night, and wake up at sunrise. The place is situated around a village, it could be adventurous to take a tent and have a bonfire there.

Lonavala-Khandala-Lohagad

Lonavala is the most popular place around Pune. Foggy green mountains at 2,041 ft above sea level gives an adrenaline pump. There is a lot to do around Lonavala, as Khandala and Lohagad are nearby places. You can go to:

  • Tiger point and lion point – the two most popular peak points in Lonavala.
  • Bushi Dam – a small dam with a scenic view between mountains.
  • Sunny’s Wax Museum – you’ll find wax statues of popular Bollywood celebrities, politicians, and influencer.
  • Lohagad Fort – This can be a one-day trek.
Tiger Point, Lonavala. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Tiger Point, Lonavala. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Tiger Point, Lonavala. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Tiger Point, Lonavala. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Sunny Museum. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Sunny Museum. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Lonavala Dam. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Bushi Dam. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Lohagad Trek. Lohagad Fort Stairs. Lohagad Scene. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Lohagad Trek. Lohagad Fort Stairs. Lohagad Scene. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Lohagad Fort Stairs. Lohagad Scene. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Lohagad Fort Stairs. Lohagad Scene. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Lohagad Scene. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Lohagad Scene. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Best Conveyance: Lonavala is 64 km from Pune. It is better to have your own conveyance or book a cab from Zoomcar or Drivezy. Riding on Mumbai Expressway itself is an adventurous trip if you have a  love for riding.

Best Season to visit: June to April is the best season. Can be visited at any time of the year.

Accommodation: Being the most popular place around Pune, you can get accommodations easily. But do book in advance as the pricing might be higher at peak times.

Lavasa

It is known as India’s newest hill station. Lavasa is an amazing blend of beauty and modern infrastructure. Lavasa is a privately planned hill city located near Pune in Maharashtra. It is situated in Mose Valley.

En-route Lavasa. Photo by: vkpriyesh

En-route Lavasa. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Lavasa. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Lavasa. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Lavasa Lake. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Lavasa Lake. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Lavasa. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Lavasa. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Best Conveyance: Lavasa is 60 km from Pune. It is better to have your own conveyance or book a cab from Zoomcar or Drivezy.

Best Season to visit: June to April is the best season. Can be visited at any time of the year at the stroke of sunrise or sunset.

Accommodation: Lavasa can be pretty costly during weekends and peak season (monsoon). Pre-booking can be done.

Orchha, chhatris, MP. Photo source: Flickr

The Best Places to Visit in Madhya Pradesh

“See India’s heart,” that’s how the Government’s Incredible India campaign describes Madhya Pradesh, as it is located in the center of the country, resembling the heart of the nation. It’s a state with a blend of heritage, culture, wildlife, food, and one of the biggest rivers – Narmada.

Sanchi

This place has Buddhist Stupas – hemispherical structures typically containing relics of the Buddha or his followers. The Sanchi Stupas were constructed on the orders of Emperor Ashoka. There are numerous stupas, temples, monasteries and an Ashokan pillar.

Points of interest:

  • Unesco world heritage site ‘Mahastupa’ (The Great Stupa)
  • Gupta Temple
  • Asokan pillar at Archeological museum
  • Chaiyta, Vihar
  • Bija Mandal, Vidisha District

Best Conveyance:

  • Air Travel – Nearest airport is in Bhopal city. Sanchi is 55 km north-east of Bhopal airport, which is well-connected with other airports like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Raipur and Delhi.
  • Train – The nearest station is Bhopal. One can reach Bhopal by train and avail a bus / car from there for Sanchi.
  • Road – Sanchi is at a convenient distance from places like Bhopal (46 km), Vidisha (10 km) and Indore (232 km). Various tour operators provide private taxis and cabs.

Best Season to visit: July to April

Accommodation: Check availability on http://olrs.mpstdc.com/

Sanchi. Photo Source: flickr

Sanchi. Photo Source: Flickr

Khajuraho

Khajuraho is famous for its ancient temples that depict some of the finest art in the world. These temples depict various forms of meditation, spiritual teachings, kinship, wrestling, royalty and most significantly, erotic art.

Points of interest:

  • Kandariya Mahadeva Temple
  • Lakshmana Temple
  • Chitragupta Temple
  • Parsvanath Temple
  • Bija Mandal, Vidisha District
  • Can visit Panna National Park from there

Best Conveyance:

  • Air Travel – Khajuraho Aerodrome about 2 km from the town center and is well connected to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Varanasi and Indore. Taxis are available from the airport to reach the city centre.
  • Train – Khajuraho Railway Station, is around 5 km from the main town centre. The station is well connected to Delhi and Varanasi and (via Satna Railway Station) to Mumbai and Kolkata.
  • Road – Sanchi is at a convenient distance from places like Bhopal (46 km), Vidisha (10 km) and Indore (232 km). Various tour operators provide private taxis and cabs.

Best Season to visit: September to February

Accommodation: Check availability on http://olrs.mpstdc.com/

Khajuraho, MP. Photo source: Flickr

Khajuraho, MP. Photo source: Flickr

Kanha National Park

Kanha National Park is one of the largest parks in Madhya Pradesh. You can find Royal Bengal tigers there.  National Geographic’s award-winning ‘Land of the Tigers’ was shot here. A safari in Kanha is a must to have.

Points of interest:

  • Sonf Meadows
  • Kanha Meadows
  • Sindoor Trees
  • Shravan Tal
  • National Park

Best Conveyance:

  • Air Travel – Nearest airport is in Jabalpur (170 kms). The second best option is Nagpur airport (290 kms).
  • Train – The nearest railway stations are Bilaspur – 175 kms, Gondia – 127 kms, Jabalpur – 214 kms, Nagpur – 280 kms and Raipur – 216 kms
  • Road – The routes are: Jabalpur – Mandla – Kanha, cabs for hire available Raipur – Simga – Kawardha – Chilphi- Gadhi- Kanha, cabs for hire available Nagpur – Seoni – Balaghat – Baihar – Kanha, cabs for hire available.

Best Season to visit: September to February

Accommodation: Check availability on http://olrs.mpstdc.com/

Tiger at Kanha National Park, MP. Photo Source: Flickr

Tiger at Kanha National Park, MP. Photo Source: Flickr

Hanuwantiya

Located around Madhya Dweep which is a group of islands in the Indira Sagar dam and Hanuwantiya which is by the bank of Indira Sagar dam. Hanuwantiya also hosts India’s only and largest water carnival, Jal Mahotsav, every year.

Points of interest:

  • Boriyamal Island
  • The boat club/house
  • Tent City

Best Conveyance:

  • Air Travel – Indore Airport is the nearest (150 kms. / 03 hrs. approx.) to the Madhya Dweep group of islands.
  • Train – Khandwa is the nearest railway station is 50 km away.
  • Road – Connected by road from Indore, Bhopal and Khandwa

Best Season to visit: July to April

Accommodation: Check availability on http://olrs.mpstdc.com/

Hanuwantiya, MP. Photo source: Flickr

Hanuwantiya, MP. Photo source: Wikimedia

Bhedhaghat

Marble rocks along the graceful Narmada river. These tall mountains, are known to magically change shapes as you sail along the river, along with the Dhuandhar falls. Treat yourself with a boat ride on a moonlit night at the marble rocks.

Points of interest:

  • Marble Rocks
  • Chaunsath Yogini Temple
  • Dhuandhar Falls

Best Conveyance:

  • Air Travel – The nearest airport to this place is Jabalpur which is just 23 km away.
  • Train – Jabalpur is the nearest railway station to Bhedaghat.
  • Road – Easy to reach Bhedaghat by road, as buses, tempos and taxis run regularly from Jabalpur.

Best Season to visit: July to April

Accommodation: Check availability on http://olrs.mpstdc.com/

White Marble Rocks at Bhedaghat, MP. Photo source: Wikimedia

White Marble Rocks at Bhedaghat, MP. Photo source: Wikimedia

7 Must-Have Travel Accessories for India. Photo by Matthias Ripp (https://flic.kr/p/q2dgEV).

8 Must-Have Travel Accessories for India [Exclusive Video]

I arrived in India with none of these things, but I quickly learnt their importance! Here are the stop 7 things you need to travel India comfortably.

1. Ditch the suitcase & change to a travel backpack

Suitcases are useless in India. The roads and footpaths (if there are any!) are full of holes, dirt, and dust. Good luck wheeling your case around on these streets.

Use a large 55 L backpack instead. When it’s on your back, there’s no dragging it through the mud, and you have both your hands-free.

2. A cloth to clean your shoes

Your shoes collect a ton of dust, dirt, and if you’re “lucky” (as they say in India), cow poo. Don’t let the muck build up. Bring a disposable kitchen cleaning cloth and clean your shoes each night with water. Leave it out overnight in your room to dry.

3. Baby wipes, not toilet paperCloth for shoes

Toilet paper is a weird shape to pack and ends up getting squashed and perishing. Baby wipes are easier to pack, you get more use out of an 80 pack, and they do a much better job where it matters.

4. Carry flip-flops

Crocks Flip Flops

When you get back to your hotel, you’ll want to remove your shoes, but still, you don’t want to walk barefoot on the floor. Leave your flip-flops (sandals) by the door to change into when you enter.

5. Microfibre travel towel

Microfibre travel taowelDon’t use towels provided by hotels. People commonly use them to clean the muck off their shoes, and after all the stinky towels I’ve encountered I doubt they’re washed well. You’ll frequently see them drying on a dirty fence in the middle of busy roads.

A half-sized travel towel is small and will do the same job as a regular sized towel plus dry much faster. Most hotels have washing lines on their rooftops.

6. Sweat-wicking clothingNike Dri Fit

If you want to travel comfortably in summer what you wear will make a vast difference to how comfortable you are in 40 degrees. Use sweat-wicking clothing to achieve this. When summer comes, I’m thankful for my Dri-FIT t-shirts.

7. Padlock

Some hotels use old-school padlocks to lock their rooms. Use your own instead, that way you know no one has access.

8. Power bank & adapter

You can buy an adapter in India easily for around $1 USD but one thing to bring from home is a power bank. You never know when you’ll run out of battery on a bus or train. The higher classes on the train have power outlets, but only a few in each carriage and in weird locations.

The Best Places to Visit Near Indore (Omkareshwar, Ujjain & Mandu)

After having a full eating dose in Indore, I was all geared up for a three days trip to three different places around Indore. It consisted of Omkareshwar, Ujjain and Mandu.

Omkareshwar, Narmada River. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

Omkareshwar, Narmada River. Photo by vkpriyesh

Omkareshwar

77.6 km south of Indore exists a place of utmost religious spirit, Omkareshwar. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga (devotional representation) shrines of Lord Shiva in India and is situated on an island named Mandhata or Shivapuri in the Narmada river. A place full of sadhu babas, an amazing sunrise scene, rhythmic water waves, and Sangam.

Best travel connectivity from Indore

Frequent buses from Sarwate Bus Stand, Indore. You can also book a local taxi. Travelling by road is another add-on to the journey as the route consists of ghats on the way. It’s a 3-hour journey.

Food & Stay

Although the place can be fully experienced in a day. If you wish to stay, then Narmada Resort is a good option. The restaurant offers good quality food too.

Prominent Places

Standing on the bridge, you can experience a blissful sunrise over the dam. There are two main temples of Lord Shiva.

Narmade Har, Omkareshwar. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

The island is said to be in the shape of Om () symbol. Narmade Har, Omkareshwar. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Sangam, Omkareshwar. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

Sangam is wonderful place to sit and meditate. You can take a boat ride from the main temple to Sangam at a very cheap cost. Sangam, Omkareshwar. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Ujjain

55.4 km north of Indore exists another place with full of divine power, Ujjain. A city that hosts Simhastha, one of the biggest Hindu pilgrimages along the Kshipra River. You can visit infamous Mahakaleshwar Temple, another jyotirlinga out of 12.

Best travel connectivity from Indore

There are frequent buses from Indore. Taxis are good. You can also opt for the train.

Food & Stay

If you are a religious person, and you are in India to see innumerable temples, then you got to spend some time in Ujjain, as it takes a while to get a grasp on each and every temple. You can find some good hotels, and food similar to Indore’s food around the railway station.

Prominent Places

Shri_Mahakaleshwar_Temple_Ujjain. Pic courtesy: Wikipedia

Mahakaleshwar: As described, it is a must visit temple. Shri Mahakaleshwar Temple Ujjain. Photo by: Wikipedia

Ram Ghat and Kshipra river, Ujjain. Pic courtesy: Wikipedia

Ram ghat in the evening gives you a sense of complete serenity.Ram Ghat and Kshipra river, Ujjain. Photo source: Wikipedia

Kal Bhairav Temple, Ujjain. Pic courtesy: Wikipedia

Kal Bhairav: A very interesting temple where it is believed that the idol of Kal Bhairav drinks alcohol, as that is his favourite beverage. Kal Bhairav Temple, Ujjain. Photo source: Wikipedia

Iskcon, Ujjain. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

ISKCON Ujjain: Ujjain’s Iskcon is one joyous place to be during the evening. Iskcon, Ujjain. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Mandu

Nearly 100 km south of Indore, exists a wonderful place with beautiful places, and Mughal architecture. It’s an ancient town with humongous heritage.

Best travel connectivity from Indore

Book a private taxi, as the places are located pretty far.

Food & Stay

Malwa Retreat, the hotel by MP tourism is finest.

Prominent Places

Rani Roopmati Mahal, Mandu. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

Rani Roopmati Mahal (Palace) – Along the Narmada river, this palace was home to Rani Roopmati. Surrounded by thick stone walls, view from the top makes it a must to visit place in Mandu. Rani Roopmati Mahal, Mandu. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Rani Roopmati Palace Garden, Mandu. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

Rani Roopmati Palace Garden, Mandu. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Baaz Bahadur Palace, Mandu. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

Baaz Bahadur Palace, Mandu. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Jami Masjid

Jami Masjid, Mandu. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

Jami Masjid, Mandu. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

Jahaz Mahal, Mandu. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

Jahaz Mahal, Mandu. Photo by: vkpriyesh

Sunset Point, Mandu. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

Sunset Point, Mandu. Pic courtesy: vkpriyesh

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