Agra, the city of love, the home of the Taj Mahal, and part of our Golden Triangle Tour Agra India is not to be missed. Everything that has ever been conceived has probably been said or written about the Taj Mahal. The epitome of love, the passion of a grief-stricken emperor, the legacy of a nation to the whole world. It is said that experienced travelers, those who have already seen the Taj before, envy those who see it for the first time, because it is a feeling that they cannot savor again. The initial moments of your first encounter with this magnificent 17th century specimen of Muslim architecture in India will be more of disbelief and awe than anything else.

Golden Triangle Tour Agra India

Agra forms a part of the legendary golden triangle of India which also includes Jaipur and New Delhi. But Agra is not only about the Taj. It is also about the whole experience of being there in the moment and savoring every bit of it. In this second part of the three part series on India’s golden triangle, we come to visit Agra.

Golden Triangle Tour Agra India – Some basic facts

Agra was once the capital of the mighty Mughal Empire and remained so for several decades before Shahjanabad (modern Delhi) assumed that position briefly and then finally with the control of the nation passing to the British, New Delhi became the capital of the sub-continent. It was from Agra that Mughals controlled their vast empire which at the height of their power, stretched from Afghanistan to Bangladesh, had control over 1/4th of humanity and 1.2 million square miles of territory.

Golden Triangle Tour Agra India

The city of Agra, today, is part of the Agra constituency and is in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Agra experiences a semi-arid climate, it can be very humid in the summers and enjoys a mild winter. Rainfall is less than the national average. The best time to visit Agra, if you are not a photographer, is in the winter – from December to February. If you are a photographer try coming a little later so that you can enjoy clearer views of the Taj.

Golden Triangle Tour Agra India – Places to see

Golden Triangle Tour Agra India

The 17th century mausoleum of Shah Jahan’s favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal apart, there are a number other archeological places of interest. Having played an integral part during the Mughal period, the city bears witness to a number of architectural exploits some of which still awes visitors.

The Agra Fort

As the empire’s capital you would expect the presence of a highly fortified and intimidating defensive structure and the Agra Fort is just what you would be looking for. Also known as the Red Fort of Agra, because of the Red Sandstone used to build it, it was built on an older fortified structure. Agra is commonly associated with the Lodi dynasty that preceded the Mughals in North India, and of course the Mughals after them. But the fact is that it has a much older presence. The city was known for more than a 1000 years and flourished even before the arrival of the Mughals.

Golden Triangle Tour Agra India

The present fort was built by Emperor Akbar under whose patronage Agra became the seat of power. The red sandstone used was classic to the building style of Akbar while the later additions in white marble were in line to Shah Jahan’s love affair with that rock. It is this fort which housed the legendary peacock throne of Emperor Shah Jahan. It used to be adorned with precious jewels, chief among them being a certain Koh-I-Noor diamond. His seat of power and administration was also his final place of incarceration as the aging emperor was imprisoned for eight years by his own son, before finally breathing his last. An entire afternoon spent walking the alleyways, steps and courtyards of the fort is like taking a step back in time. Don’t forget to see the Taj Mahal from the parapets of the fort in late afternoon light.

Sikandra

Golden Triangle Tour Agra India

The mortal remains of Akbar the great, widely considered the greatest of all Mughal rulers, rests at Sikandra. It is a pity, not too many visitors actually come here. But the ones who do experience a stunning example of Mughal architecture. Commissioned by Akbar himself during his lifetime, in keeping with the traditions, the structure is surrounded by acres of parks, a paved walkthrough leading up to the main mausoleum. The south gate is the largest and most ornamental and the usual point of entry to the complex. This gate is adorned with four minarets in white marble which are reminiscent of the minarets at the Taj Mahal. As a matter of fact local guides vouch that the idea for the Taj’s minarets had been taken from Akbar’s tomb.

Golden Triangle Tour Agra India – How to reach

Agra is well connected with the rest of the nation. Though the only problem is direct flights to and from connecting major cities. The newly constructed Yamuna Expressway is a six-lane access-controlled highway that connects New Delhi with Agra (a distance of 200Km) in just under 2.5 hours. If you prefer the relative comfort of train travel then the Bhopal Shatabdi leaves NDLS at 06:00 hrs and reaches Agra Cant (a distance of 195 KM) in 2 hrs. It gives you enough time to see the Taj Mahal the same day and also explore the Agra Fort later in the afternoon, before retiring for the night at Agra. A minimum of one night stay in Agra is recommended.

Agra India 10
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Golden Triangle Tour Agra India – Places to stay

Resplendent with such magnificent architectural examples from the Mughal period, it is no wonder that Agra is the most visited tourist destination in India both by local and foreign visitors. As such the city offers accommodation for all budgets. Right from the Oberoi Amarvilas (US$450 a night) to a homestay which you can book for less than US$30 a night.

Golden Triangle Tour Agra India
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For a more intimate look at day to day life in Agra, check out the video below.

The Golden Triangle Tour Agra India – By Rajib Mukherjee

Golden Triangle Tour Agra India
You are sure to run into a few of these little guys along the way – via

This concludes our Golden Triangle Tour Agra India. We hope you find this information useful. If you are looking for a specific piece of information, please do comment below as we may have just forgotten to mention it.

Golden Triangle Tour Agra India
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If the Philippines Capital is your next travel destination then our list of places to stay in Manila is for you. It is definitely a big must to know the places that you should go to when you are there. Manila is indeed very busy, indeed one of the busiest areas in the Philippines,, but amidst the traffic and seeming chaos, there are several attractions you can visit. Make sure that they are on your list of places to see because your trip will not be complete without paying them a visit.

Places to Visit in Manila 1 – Fort Santiago and Intramuros

Fort Santiago is where Dr. Jose P. Rizal spent his last days writing his extraordinary pieces before he was executed. The minute you arrive at this place, there is not a chance that you won’t be reminded of the country’s rich history and culture, and how much the Spaniards have had an influence.

Places to Visit in Manila
Image by Fechi Fajardo / Flickr

Located in this tourist attraction is the prison cell where Dr Rizal was held and it still contains his clothes and personal belongings. A part of Jose Rizal’s spinal bone can also be found here which is being preserved in the museum. You don’t need to spend a lot when you want to visit this place as they only ask for a little less than a hundred pesos as entrance fee.

Places to Visit in Manila 2 – The National Museum

If you want to see the famous painting of Juan Luna called ‘The Spolarium’ this is the place that you need to go. As soon as you enter the museum, you will be faced by this magnificent painting because it gives you a very mysterious and historical feeling.

Places to Visit in Manila
Image by Ree Dexter / Flickr

When you enter the museum, you will find more fascinating things about the Philippines especially when you visit the archives and other national treasures. You will not be prohibited to take photos but touching anything is definitely not allowed.

Places to Visit in Manila 3 – Baywalk and Manila Bay

This place is very hard to miss because it is a very long stretch.

Places to Visit in Manila
Image by Stefan Munder / Flickr

You can visit this place to watch the sunset, yachts, and get a view of the bay.

Places to Visit in Manila
Image by Stefan Munder / Flickr

It is located near the US Embassy and Manila Ocean Park.

Places to Visit in Manila
Image by Yujin =) / Flickr

Places to Visit in Manila 4 – Cultural Centre of the Philippines

Places to Visit in Manila
Image by Michael / Flickr

Located very close to Boom na Boom and Star City, this is a place where you will be able to watch concerts and other musical events, as well as admire the Brutalist style of architecture.

Places to Visit in Manila
Image by Michael / Flickr
Places to Visit in Manila
Image by Michael / Flickr

They also have plays and other attractions that you can watch to make your stay in Manila more enjoyable.

Places to Visit in Manila
Image by Michael / Flickr

Places to Visit in Manila 5 – The historical Rizal Park

Every Filipino knows about this place because it is where the National Hero’s monument stands.

Places to Visit in Manila
Image by Jason Audrey Licerio / Flickr

This is located across Roxas Boulevard and Manila Bay.

Places to Visit in Manila
Image by Stefan Munder / Flickr

You will find other tourists in that area any day having their photos taken and you don’t need to spend any money to enjoy this place.

Places to Visit in Manila
Image by Roberto Verzo / Flickr

This is an important place to visit in Manila and should not be forgotten.

Places to Visit in Manila
Image by shankar s. / Flickr

These are the top 5 most historical places to visit in Manila, but you can also go to Makati City, Bonifacio Global City, Eastwood City and other central business districts if you want to do some shopping. The casinos can be found in Resorts World Manila and Solaire Resort and Casino.

Make sure to take note of this list of places to visit in Manila to make your trip worthwhile and unforgettable.

Places to Visit in Manila – by Ysabel Carbalo.  Cover Image by Paul David and all Flickr Images licensed under CC BY 2.0

This concludes our article on ‘Places to visit in Manila’. We hope you find this information useful. If you are looking for a specific piece of information, please do comment below as we may have just forgotten to mention it.

Places to Visit in Manila
Image by Stefan Munder / Flickr

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The Philippines Corregidor Island is located at the mouth of Manila Bay which has a shape similar to a tadpole so it is very easy to spot.

Philippines Corregidor Island
Image by Ted Brown / Flickr

This place is very significant to the Philippines because during the Spanish invasion, it became a fortress in order to signal the Filipinos soldiers that enemies are approaching. It was also an outpost and a prison. The island’s name was derived from the corrective effect of labour to the prisoners that were being held there at the time. “Corregir” means corrector in Spanish and the word Corregidor is also known to be “the rock” due to the landscapes surrounding it that are full of rocks.

The size of Corregidor Island is 4 km in length, 1.5 km in width, and the overall area is 3 square miles. The tip of the island is where Caballo Island is found approximately 2 km south. These 2 Islands are part of the province of Cavite.

Philippines Corregidor Island
Image by Roberto Verzo / Flickr

A brief history of the island

In the year 1898 after being under colonization for 400 years, the country was handed to the United States by the Spaniards after they were paid $20.M. Since then, the island became the army post if the Americans and called it Fort Mills to honour Brig. Gen Samuel M. Mills. They started to construct bomb shelters, hospitals, trails, and concrete structures in the island. In the year 1922, they built Malinta Tunnel to shield their military installations and creations against war. They placed 56 Coastal guns within the island, 13 anti-craft batteries for artillery, searchlights were installed in 10 different locations.

Philippines Corregidor Island
Image by Stefan Krasowski / Flickr

During the year 1941, after the Japanese bombed the Philippines for several hours, it paved the way for the Japanese to invade the country. The Corregidor Island was where the Filipinos sought resistance after they have retreated while the Americans were battling the Japanese. From the year 1941 to 1942, the island was used by Gen. Douglas MacArthur as a base for the allied forces. Aside from the Americans using the island, it was also a place for President Manuel L. Quezon and his family to have a shelter for 2 months which happened before exiling Philippine Commonwealth Government. When the fall of Bataan happened in April 9, 1942 because of the Japanese the island had to surrender after 27 days.

Tourist attractions in Corregidor

You will find the Malinta Tunnel (Featured Image), the memorial for Filipino Heroes, Pacific War Memorial, the Spanish Lighthouse, concrete emplacements for guns, the Eternal Flame of Freedom, ruins of the barracks, Filipino-American Friendship Park, Aviary, and a theme park.

Philippines Corregidor Island
Image by yeowatzup / Flickr
Philippines Corregidor Island
Image by Rosa Anajao / Flickr

Accommodations in Corregidor

You will find the Corregidor Hotel, which has amenities like a swimming pool, souvenir shop, restaurant, and bar. You will also find a tennis and basketball court in the hotel. You can easily walk to the North Dock and the beach near the wharf from the Corregidor Hotel.

Philippines Corregidor Island
Image by Gareth Williams / Flickr

Make sure when you visit the Philippines, Corregidor Island will be one of your stops because it will take you back to a history that should not be forgotten about the Philippines.

Philippines Corregidor Island
Image by yeowatzup / Flickr

Philippines Corregidor Island  – By Ysabel Carbello

Featured Image by Reuel Mark Delez and other Flickr images are licensed under CC BY 2.0

This concludes our Philippines Corregidor Island. We hope you find this information useful. If you are looking for a specific piece of information, please do comment below as we may have just forgotten to mention it.

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Philippines Corregidor Island
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Street Foods are a big part of Philippines food culture, so here are a few of the more popular ones for you to try.  

When you are in Manila, the true street foods that you will find being sold represent the culture and character of the people in the Philippines. Aside from the street parties, traffic, and vendors everywhere, the street foods will definitely make you feel adventurous and determined. In this article you will find some of the street foods you need to try in the Philippines.

The Banana-que

This is a very popular “merienda” food in the Philippines. The only type of banana used for this is called “saba” that will be deep fried in sugar that is caramelized giving it a coating of crunchy goodness. After it has been fried, it will be poked with a stick.

Philippines food culture
Image by Andrew Abogado / Flickr

You eat it from the stick and it is nothing like the normal barbeque you will taste elsewhere.

The Kwek Kwek

This is one of the most popular Filipino street food made from hard boiled quail egg and deep fried in batter that is coloured orange. When you hear the sound “quail egg” being said with a local accent, it will seem like the 2 words have been mixed together making it sound like kwek kwek. Some also call this “itlog ng pugo”.

Philippines food culture
Image by digipam / Flickr

There is another version of this called Tokneneng which is technically the same, but made with hard boiled chicken egg.

Philippine food culture
Image by shankar s. / Flickr

Taho

You will often hear a street vendor shouting “Tahooooooo!” and you will see most people drinking it. The taho is like a tofu milk drink that is warm, and has more volume compared to the normal soy milk. They add in brown sugar that has been perfectly caramelized and “sago” or tapioca balls.

Philippine food culture
Image by John Ong / Flickr

A taho vendor can be identified if you see a person walking while carrying a long stick over his shoulders with 2 buckets on each side. The taho is easily enjoyed by anyone even if they’ve tried it for the first time.

Isaw

Philippine food culture
Image by Micah Danao / Flickr

The isaw or chicken intestine is one of the most popular Filipino street foods that should be tried especially if you are the adventurous kind.

You might be disgusted by the sound of it at first, but they are thoroughly cleaned before being sold. They are also boiled to get rid of any bacteria that can cause harm to the health when ingested. They are curled up and grilled on a barbeque stick.

Philippine food culture
Image by Josh Aggars / Flickr

The best way to eat them is by dipping them in vinegar and you can also add a s sweet or spicy sauce to it.

A lot of first timers get surprised by the goodness of Isaw because it sounds gross at first.

The “Dirty Ice Cream”

This ice cream is not literally dirty.  It got its name from the outside appearance of the carts that sell it. The vendors walk the streets and they don’t use any gloves or sanitising liquid to clean their hands before serving you.  Even if that doesn’t sound very appetising, these ice cream carts are what you will wish for on a very hot and sunny day.

Philippine food culture
Image by fitri agung / Flickr

The usual flavours of the “dirty” ice cream are Ube (purple yam), Cheese, and Chocolate.

Don’t forget to walk through the streets of Manila and look for these street foods to make your experience even more memorable.

Philippines Food Culture and Street Foods  – By Ysabel Carbello

Featured Image by Carandol Eruaphadion and other Flickr images are licensed under CC BY 2.0

This concludes our Philippines Food Culture and Street Foods. We hope you find this information useful. If you are looking for a specific piece of information, please do comment below as we may have just forgotten to mention it.

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Philippine food culture
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If you are thinking of making a trip to incredible places like Brazil, Argentina or Peru then you could use some handy South America travel advice. This will make it a far more enjoyable trip that you will never forget.

south america travel advice
Image by Geraint Rowland / Flickr