Delhi, India. January 2014

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January 19, 2014 Sunil and I left Mandawa in the morning, shortly after the breakfast. After 16 days in Rajasthan and 35 days in India, it was my final road trip before reaching Delhi. Despite all the extremes that happened to me in Rajasthan, I made a right decision to come there and see with my own eyes this beautiful land of incredible scenery and rich history, learn about half-dozen of ancient kingdoms still co-existing within the Union of India, visit extravagant palaces and hear the secrets of zenana, witness the sunrises in Thar desert and spend a night on camel safari. At times, I felt exhausted to constantly look over my shoulder and …

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Aurangabad, India. December 2013.

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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 …

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Khajuraho to Aurangabad, India. December 2013.

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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 …

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Agra, India. December 2013.

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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 …

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