by Sarah Johnson
(New Zealand)

Marine Drive in Mumbai

Marine Drive in Mumbai

As a person easger to know the heartbeat of vibrant India ? the world?s largest democracy, a fast budding economic power and second most populated country in the world after China ? I set out to visit India, a long cherished plan, with one of my bosom pals.

Our flight first kissed the Mumbai Chatrapati Sivaji International Airport. While peeping through the window panes of the flight, we could sense the plight of the Economic Capital of India. We saw Asia?s largest poor inhabited colony called Dhaaravi. Mumbai is a thickly populated Capital of Maharashtra State.

Our next stop (by road) was in Goa, a place embraced by beautiful beaches and boat journeys. A lot of sea-fish curries and a variety of hot drinks are available for the connoisseurs of taste.

A must see place, when one is in India. Our last stop (by Train ? a beautiful panoramic experience, passing through tunnels and over bridges) in South India was in Kerala State, the land of coconut trees. The word Kerala (Kera means coconut) derived from coconut trees. This State is full of lagoons, Back waters and beaches. Greenery and rains are the other highlights of this State.

Our final destination in India was in New Delhi, the Capital of India. A very busy city with a battery of places to see. Most important places to see in New Delhi are Red Fort, India Gate, Kutab-Minar, Tajmahal (6-8 hours journey from New Delhi), Jantar Mandir, etc. For local journey in Mumbai are well connected with Local Trains (a very famous commutation mode), buses, Taxis (yellow cabins are well-known).

Goa and Kerala are small States with boat and taxi journeys advised. New Delhi is also well linked by buses, cars, Rickshaws (peddled by humans). Recently added Metro Trains are .a welcome relief for the passengers. It is always pleasing to travel by Trains in India, if you are prepared to follow unscheduled timings, teeming with farmers & petty traders.

We advise you to travel by train when you are in India because nowhere in the world one can see people answering nature?s call by the side of rail lines. Like the Trains and Buses, the places also swarming with people, expensive and you may get cheated if you are not vigilant.

Nearly 50% of the population is living a poor life. More than 30% of the masses are falling under BPL (Below Poverty Line). You can see this on the roads, railway stations, bus stops, etc.

On the whole, a beautiful country studded with monuments, temples, churches, mosques, gurudwaras (worship place for Sikhs community), rivers, back waters, beaches, etc. By and large the people are lovable and helping.

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