In October 2015, I had the opportunity to attend a summit about TV white spaces in New Delhi, India. The conference featured presentations, and panel discussions by solution vendors, service providers, researchers, global telecommunications regulators, and Indian government officials addressing the topic “Accelerating the Promise of Pervasive Broadband Using Whitespaces”.
What is white space (radio)?
In telecommunications, white spaces refer to radio frequencies allocated to a broadcasting service but not used locally. Like Wi-Fi which operates in 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, TV white space is a wireless connection that uses different radio frequency bands from 470 MHz to 698 MHz. A traditional Wi-Fi router has a limited range, around 100 meters under ideal conditions. It can be blocked by walls or other environmental barriers. TV White Space technology, on the other hand, can cover about 10 kilometers in diameter (100 times the distance), thus making it potentially available to support the delivery of other services such as wireless broadband Internet. This breakthrough technology was nicknamed “Super Wi-Fi” because of its superior range and ability to penetrate obstacles such as trees, buildings, and rough terrain.
Source: Whitespaces (radio)
The outdoor dining area of the hotel.
There were only two of us from Indonesia attending the Whitespace summit. We stayed at the Royal Plaza Hotel, next to the Shangrila hotel, where the India - Africa Summit was held. At first, we were a bit surprised by the tightness of the security and inspection but later found out the date of the Whitespace Summit coincides with The India - Africa Summit. Fully armed police and soldiers were seen patrolling 24 hours around the hotel complex and the main road. All hotel entrances were also heavily guarded, and security staff did a thorough inspection of baggage and all hand-carried items.
Conference room atmosphere with around 35 participants.
The Whitespace summit was held at the BSNL building, about 750 meters North of our hotel. It took about 10 minutes to walk, perfect for a little bit of morning exercise, and the weather was pleasant at that time of year, around 20ºC. The 2-day Whitespace summit was quite interesting. We managed to stay awake even during the after-lunch session.
Source: Unsplash Ravi Sharma
The first day after the summit, we decided to eat out. We knew there were no restaurants around when we walked to the BSNL building in the morning, so we just walked in the opposite direction. We walked for almost an hour looking for places to eat but to no avail. Eventually saw an auto-rickshaws (TukTuk) by the side of the road, and the driver was resting. He greeted us when we passed him and offered his service. He spoke good and clear English. We told him where and which hotel we stayed in and that we wanted to find a good authentic Indian restaurant. He told us he knew an excellent resto about 15 minutes away and said he would wait and take us back to the hotel for a price of around 10 USD. I thought that was a reasonable price, so I agreed, and we took the ride. He was very friendly and talkative too.
First night eat out at an authentic Indian resto. We invited the Tuktuk driver to join us.
The Whitespace summit was held only for 2 days, the 26th and 27th of October. The following day, October 28th, a day tour to visit the Taj Mahal had also been arranged for those interested and had the time. Since our return flight was at 20:00 on the same evening, we had free time the whole morning - afternoon. This was a rare opportunity I could not pass.
The 4 hours bus ride to the Taj Mahal in Agra.
The Taj Mahal is an Islamic ivory-white marble mausoleum on the right bank of the river Yamuna in the city of Agra, 220 km from New Delhi. Our tour started at 6:30. We had to assemble at the lobby to be picked up by a bus. We did our hotel check-out the night before to ensure we could meet the morning pick-up schedule. The trip took around 4 hours, and we arrived just in time. Crowds started to appear at ticket booths as soon as we entered the complex.
As we entered the town of Agra, traffic became more crowded and chaotic. You see livestock crossing and walking on the main road, and some even lazily lying in the middle of the road.
As we passed thru the town of Agra, we could see the outer wall of the Red Fort or Agra Fort, another tourist destination.
The statue of Rani of Jhansi Lakshmibai (1828–1858). She was the queen of the Maratha-ruled princely state of Jhansi. She was one of the leading figures in the Indian Rebellion of 1857, and for Indian nationalists, she is a symbol of resistance to the rule of the British East India Company.
Source: Rani of Jhansi Lakshmibai
The Taj Mahal complex occupies an area of some 17-hectare (42-acre), which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenelated wall. It is a mausoleum of white marble, built between 1631 and 1648 by the order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife.
Source: Taj Mahal Complex
Camel and horse cart rides are available for tourists due to the prohibition of gasoline/diesel vehicles within 500 meters radius of the complex.
We arrived just in time. See the crowds lining up at the ticket booths. The admission fee for foreign tourists was 22x more expensive than for locals. Source: Ticketing
Also known as the great gate, it is the main gateway to the Charbagh gardens, symbolically representing Paradise. It stands to the north of the entrance forecourt (jilaukhana) and provides a symbolic transition between the worldly realm of bazaars and caravanserai and the spiritual realm of the paradise garden, mosque, and mausoleum.
The mosque stands along the western wall on the lower platform. It is one of the two grand red sandstone buildings that mirror each other, and face the sides of the tomb. The other building on the eastern side is the jawab (answer), thought to have been constructed for architectural balance.
Thought to have been constructed for architectural balance, the Jawab (answer) may have been used as a guesthouse. Also known as the Jama't Khana, it is located along the eastern wall exactly opposite the Masjid (mosque). Architecturally it is exactly as the mosque, except a few differences in decorations and absence of Mihrab and musallah markers.
This is NOT Photoshopped! Finally, the Magnificent Taj Mahal is in my background!
The wall, the floor, and the interior was built from white marble and filled with beautiful Islamic calligraphy, mosaics, and carvings.
The Trip Back
We spent about two hours exploring the Taj Mahal complex and agreed to meet back at the main gate at 13:00 for lunch somewhere on the way back. On our way to lunch, we made another quick stop at a renowned marble souvenir shop to observe and appreciate the craftsmanship that has been handed down from generation to generation by the craftsmen's ancestors who built the Taj Mahal palace.
The workshop behind the gift shop to demonstrate how local craftsmen use simple traditional tools in carving and shaping marble.
The souvenir shop specializing in marble crafts.
We spent around 30 minutes at the souvenir shop and we had to hurry as we had not had our lunch yet. We drove a little outside Agra when we finally stopped for lunch, and that was already past 14:00. We had to hurry as we still have 4 hours to drive back to New Delhi. By the time we were back on the highway, it was already 15:00. I also learned that 4 people in the group had the same 20:00 flight as us.
It was already around 18:00 when we arrived in the suburb of New Delhi. Traffic had become so congested as it was rush hour already. We got anxious and really worried as the minutes passed. When we finally arrived at the airport it was 19:45. I was not too sure if we were still allowed to board. The six of us ran pulling our luggage from the drop-off point to the check-in counter. We got lucky this time! Our flight had been delayed for 1 hour, and we managed to check in with no problem, and at the same time, we were all drenched from sweating.
Visiting the magnificent Taj mahal had been one of my dreams since childhood, and I'm grateful to have fulfilled that dream. Even though it was a short trip but it was a memorable one.
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|A baby boomer who's trying to embrace and adapt to the new digital world. Worked for over 30 years in the IT industry before retiring and now run an online vegetable delivery and hydroponics equipment business. Enjoy traveling, cooking, writing, playing pool, and all IT-related stuff. You're always welcome to leave a comment or feedback, and an upvote or reblog is also greatly appreciated.|