Access between Canada and India will be greatly enhanced when Air India’s Amritsar-Delhi-Toronto flights commence this World Tourism Day (September 27 2019). The timing of the announcement seems fitting; WTD celebrates the importance of tourism and the role it plays in social, cultural, and economic issues.
Currently, only three airlines offer direct flights between India and all of North America, and Air India’s newly announced route will save both time and money for people traveling between the two countries. So it’s quite an exciting announcement.
The flights will be offered weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; it will take roughly 15 hours, and cover a distance of around 7,000 miles. Passengers can expect to be flown on Air India’s Boeing 777-300ER which will accommodate around 350 passengers.
To celebrate Air India’s new launch of their direct cheap flights to India from Canada, we have compiled a list of highlights from each of the three cities involved in the new route. The following are exciting things to do in Amritsar, Delhi, and Toronto.
Air India Launches Direct Flights to Toronto
Things to do in Amritsar
One of the most revered cities of the world, Amritsar is located in the Indian state of Punjab near the border of Pakistan. Founded during the 16th century, the city has become a pilgrimage site for Sikhs due to its grand temples and shrines.
There are a huge range of things to do in Amristar, so it’s quite exciting that Air India has included this city on their newly announced Canada route.
Image: Swaran jeet singh dhami [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikipedia Commons
One of Amritsar’s grandest temples is the Golden Temple, or Harmandir Sahib as it is known locally. The temple gets its name from the fact the entire dome of is gilded with around 750 kilograms of pure gold.
It has become a top pilgrimage site for Sikhism as well as other faiths and holds the Adi Granth, a sacred Sikhism scripture that contains some 6,000 hymns. In addition to being adorned in gold, the temple features beautiful marble floors as well as numerous hand-painted mosaics.
The city of Amritsar takes its name from the waters that surround the Golden Temple, which go by the name of Amrit Sarovar. This manmade lake means “Pool of Holy Nectar” and people from all around the world make the journey here to bathe in the sacred waters.
In addition to offering these spiritual waters, the temple serves up to 50,000 free meals each day.
While Jallianwala Bagh is now a peaceful public garden, it was once the sight of one of India’s most tragic massacres.
Exactly 100 years ago on April 13, 2019, the British Indian Army fired over 1,600 bullets into a crowd of unarmed peaceful protesters. The massacre left 379 people dead and around 1,200 wounded.
The Jallianwalla Bagh now houses a memorial, with reminders of the atrocity still evident to this day. Visitors can witness the bullet holes that were left in the walls as well as the original well that many of the protesters jumped into to avoid being shot.
It would be hard to miss one of Amritsar’s busiest and oldest markets. Just beyond the giant 18th century red sandstone Gandhi Gate, you’ll find the Hall Bazaar.
Loaded with a vast array of different products including local handicrafts, the bazaar also features a number of restaurants and food stalls. You will definitely find it difficult to walk away empty-handed.
Seek out local items like native shoes called Punjabi Juttis with their incredible embroidery, phulkari suits, and shawl-like scarves called dupattas. You can also pick up Chinese lamps, carpets, electronics, jewelry, and home décor.
More exciting than the sheer amount of shopping available is the bustling atmosphere created by the ever-present large crowds.
Things to Do in Delhi
Filled with impressive mosques and monuments, Delhi is a city and a union territory that houses India’s Capital, New Delhi. It is home to India’s second highest population after Mumbai, and is among India’s wealthiest cities, home to well over 20,000 millionaires.
Delhi is one of the world’s most visited regions by foreign tourists. When you’re packing for your direct flight fro Toronto, use this helpful India packing list for anything you may have missed.
Image: Red Fort by Dennis Jarvis / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr
Named for its 30 meter tall red sandstone walls, Red Fort is a historic fort that was constructed during the Mughal dynasty back in the early 1600s. Originally built to keep invaders out, the fort now invites visitors in where they will find museums, palaces, an imperial bath, and a teahouse.
The fort is used for important political and national ceremonies, as well as offering a nightly one-hour sound and light show that showcases important Indian historical events.
The fort was once captured by both British troops as well as Sikhs. Today you can catch the Republic Day celebrations where the Prime Minister raises India’s national flag along the fort’s walls.
With looks that are strikingly similar to Agra’s Taj Mahal, but with a red sandstone hue, Humayun’s Tomb is an example of Mughal architecture in the 16th century; it was built to be the tomb of Mughal Emperor Humayun.
Humayun was the Mughal Empire’s second emperor. The tomb actually predates the Taj Mahal by roughly 60 years and is said to have inspired the Taj Mahal’s design.
This garden tomb has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers up the graves of several Mughal rulers. The tomb’s beauty is only rivaled by the manicured gardens that surround it, and the entire complex offers a relaxing oasis in busy Delhi.
Image: Arian Zwegers / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the tallest building in the world made of bricks, Qutub Minar is a 73-meter high tower that consists of five storeys and a spiral staircase with 379 steps.
Built-in red sandstone, Qutub Minar is a real masterpiece of Mughal Islamic craftsmanship. The design is based on the Minaret of Jam located in Western Afghanistan, which marks where the ancient city of Firuzkuh once stood.
The complex in which it stands is regarded as one of the most famous arrays of historical monuments in Delhi, so if you’re traveling to India it’s highly likely that you’ll find yourself (at some stage) in front of this famous minaret.
A Mosque lies at the foot of Qutub Minar which is a special site in itself; a beautiful blend of Indo-Islamic architecture that showcases how the Mughal Empire (1562) influenced Indian culture.
Things to do in Toronto
Toronto is Canada’s most populous city and its residents are comprised of around 200 distinct ethnic groups. The city consistently ranks as one of the world’s most livable cities as well as one of the most business-friendly cities.
Toronto is home to lively markets like the St. Lawrence Market and Kensington Market, as well as offering around 8,000 different restaurants to choose from. Here are a few of the best places to visit.
Declared one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World, the CN Tower once held the title of the world’s tallest free-standing structure. It was eclipsed by the UAE’s Burj Khalifa, but still remains the tallest in the Western Hemisphere.
In addition to being able to marvel at the 550-meter tower from below, it also features a thrilling Edge Walk, the SkyPod observation deck, and a revolving restaurant.
Those without a fear of heights can walk across the glass floor to the outdoor SkyTerrace. The top of Toronto’s most famous landmark offers exceptional views of the city below as well as Lake Ontario.
Accessible via a short ferry trip from Queen’s Quay Terminal, the Toronto Islands offers a natural escape and outdoor recreation paradise just a kilometer outside the city.
There are several islands to explore, all of which are connected. Summer activities include biking, kayaking, swimming, and all day fun at the Centreville Amusement Park.
Winter may bring a bit of a chill, but the islands remain popular for those looking for a bit of cross-country skiing and ice skating. The mostly car-free islands also feature a number of beaches and peaceful picnic areas to enjoy.
Image: Boris Kasimov / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr
No trip to Toronto would be complete without making the daytrip to see the mighty Niagara Falls. The falls separate Canada from the United States and can be reached in less than an hour and a half from Toronto.
Many visitors claim the Canadian side of Niagara Falls boasts more impressive views, offering up postcard-perfect panoramas of both Horseshoe Falls and American Falls.
Take an elevator down behind the falls or see them from the glorious elevated vantage point offered by the 520-foot Skylon Tower, which features a revolving dining room much like Toronto’s CN Tower. Enjoy views of the falls from the Canadian side’s Cliffside Park or make your way across the Rainbow Bridge to the US (if you have your passport and a valid US visa).
Both Ontario and New York have cities aptly named Niagara Falls, and visitors can experience the falls through a range of different exciting adventures such as zip lines, helicopter tours, and river cruises.
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