Exploring the Many Wonders of India - United Hub

Exploring the many wonders of India

By Nick Harper

A land of extraordinary beauty, history and diversity, India should be on every traveler's bucket list. With more than a million square miles to cover, one visit just wouldn't be enough. Often times, visitors to India try to cram too much into one trip. Seeing each city at a slower pace and experiencing the culture will be more rewarding than hurriedly checking off as many cities as possible. Here are five cities that should be at the top of your itinerary when visiting India for the first time.

Delhi

The temptation for many international travelers is to land in Delhi and head straight to Agra to see the majestic Taj Mahal or to visit the many ancient fortresses in Jaipur. To overlook India's capital is a crime — the city is a historic heavyweight and symbol of the old and the new.

From a tourist's perspective, the city can be split between New and Old Delhi. The latter is a frenetic maze full of backstreet bazaars and home to the mighty Red Fort and the Jama Masjid, India's most imposing mosque. Founded in 1648, Old Delhi was built as a walled city within Delhi that was home to elegant mansions where nobles and members of the royal court lived. To the south, the British-built New Delhi is a district of wide, tree-lined boulevards, museums and the impressive Rajpath, a ceremonial boulevard whose name translates as 'King's Way.' Now, New Delhi serves as the capital of India with all three seats of India's government residing there.

An incredible array of markets, some of India's most delicious street food and a growing number of chic cafés and bars should convince you to prolong your stay, before you head off on your next adventure.

Agra

A four-hour drive or two-hour train ride south of Delhi, you'll come to Agra. More specifically, you'll come to Agra and India's monument to eternal love, the magnificent Taj Mahal. Completed in 1653, the Taj Mahal was commissioned by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, as a symbol of love and final resting place for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Believe the hype: the ivory-white marble mausoleum is everything you imagined and reason alone to visit India — as eight million visitors do every year. Pro tip: visit as early as possible to give yourself a chance of capturing a photograph without anyone else in the frame.

As impressive as it is, the Taj Mahal is by no means Agra's only attraction. As India's capital under the Mughals, that empire also left behind a magnificent fort and a number of must-visit mausoleums and tombs. Most of the major monuments, including the Taj Mahal, are lined up along the banks of the Yamuna River, which runs down the city's eastern edge.

It's possible to visit on a day-trip from Delhi, but a fleeting visit won't do the city justice, so plan to spend a couple of days here. Most tourist itineraries include Agra as one part of India's classic 'Golden Triangle,' alongside Delhi to the north and Jaipur to the west.

Jaipur city palace in Jaipur city

Jaipur

Rajasthan's capital is the doorway into India's most flamboyant state. Juxtaposing centuries-old institutions and bazaars with its modern charms, the 'Pink City' (named for the color of the buildings in its historic center) is a tumultuous but utterly intoxicating city that dizzies the head but enriches the soul. Head for the heart of the city for a trio of must-visit attractions: the opulent City Palace, still home to India's royal family, the 18th century Jantar Mantar observatory, and the honeycomb Hawa Mahal palace.

The jewel in the city's crown lies further out, however. The 400-year-old Amber Fort is a shimmering complex of palaces and fortifications 8 miles north on the Delhi Jaipur Highway. It's home to countless treasures, artworks and the dazzling Sheesh Mahal hall of mirrors.

No trip to Rajasthan is complete without traveling to Udaipur. If you have a few extra days, head southwest from Jaipur to Udaipur, or the “City of Lakes," known for its lavish royal residences and opulence. While you're there, stay at the magnificent Taj Lake Palace located on the island of Jag Niwas in Lake Pichola. It's recognized as one of the most romantic hotels in the world — you'll feel like you're staying in a palace where luxury abounds.

Mumbai

After exploring the classic Golden Triangle, add Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) to your itinerary. India's most westernized city is packed onto a narrow spit of land curling out into the Arabian Sea. Mumbai is technically an island, connected to mainland India by a series of bridges and causeways. Expect heat, humidity and an almost overwhelming number of human beings — the Maharashtra capital draws comparisons with New York City, but there's far more hustle and bustle because this city never sleeps.

Relatively young, the city was transformed from a fishing settlement into a trading hub in the 17th century, then slowly turned into the megalopolis it is today. India's largest city and financial hub, glass and concrete superstructures dominate the skyline, particularly in the city's center and along the opulent waterfront, yet historic treasures are there to be uncovered. From the gothic Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus to the city's most celebrated landmark, the Gateway of India, to Elephanta Caves, Mumbai has enough landmarks to sate your thirst and fill your phone with photos.

But to immerse yourself fully in the city and its people, consider taking a bike tour at dawn, or gazing in awe on a Bollywood studio tour.

Palolem beach in Goa

Goa

Tucked into the south-west coast of the sub-continent, India's smallest state is among its richest, in large part thanks to the tourists who flock here each year. With over 80 miles of coastline and a famously relaxed beach vibe, it's easy to understand why. While overcrowding has blighted the likes of Anjuna, Calangute and Vagator beaches, the alternatives further south still offer a taste of paradise.

For five-star resorts, long, empty beaches and the most obvious evidence of more than four centuries of Portuguese rule, head for Central Goa and the capital Panaji.

The north offers the best boutique properties, a beautiful crowd, India's most inventive food scene and a strong emphasis on yoga and wellness. Aim for the beaches of Mandrem, Ashvem and Arambol.

But, to escape the crowds as much as possible, head to the South Goa coast, from the Sal River to Canacona. There you'll find palm-fringed beaches, temples, coconut groves, fishing villages and an inner peace you never knew existed.

The basics

When to go

As a general rule, avoid the monsoon season and punishing heat from May to September and aim instead for the cooler and, dry season that runs from October to March.

The logistics

A vast country with huge distances to cover, where possible, take internal flights that will minimize your travel time. The largest distance of these five cities – from Delhi to Goa – takes 35 hours to drive, or around two-and-a-half hours to fly. Happily, all of the cities listed here can be reached through direct or connecting flights. If time isn't an issue, take a train at least part of the way. India's national rail network reaches every city listed above and is an experience not to be missed.

To first get over to India, United Airlines flies to both Delhi (DEL) and Mumbai (BOM) from New York/Newark (EWR). For further details and to book, visitunited.com or download our convenient United app.

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Celebrating immigration perspectives and diverse journeys

By The Hub team, September 25, 2020

From Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, the U.S. celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month, a chance to pay tribute to the history, culture and contributions that generations of Latinxs have paved to enrich U.S. history. It is also a reminder to celebrate our differences and spark difficult, yet important, conversations.

To kick off the month, UNITE, our multicultural business resource group for employees, did just that by hosting a panel discussion about the immigrant experience and what it means to be an immigrant in the U.S.

United Litigation and Managing Counsel Elizabeth Lopez, who is a pro bono immigration attorney, moderated the panel, and was joined by Ashley Huebner, Associate Director of Legal Services at the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) and Magdalena Gonzalez, Program Manager, Leadership Development Programs at Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement. The three women shared their insights and personal stories, while addressing some misconceptions and highlighting the contributions of immigrants to our company and country.

Participants' headshots from United's Hispanic Heritage Month Panel From left to right, Elizabeth Lopez, Ashely Huebner and Magdalena Gonzalez

"I started to notice that there were things I was scared of doing, that I needed to be cautious," said Magdalena while sharing her personal experience as a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipient. "My friends, who a majority of them are citizens, did not need to worry about that. As I was able to see that, I realized that, 'oh, there's so many things that revolve around not just being a DACA recipient but revolve around being a person with an undocumented status here in the United States.'"

United maintains a close relationship with the NIJC. In May of 2019, United co-hosted an asylum clinic put on by the legal services organization, where several attorneys and legal professionals were trained on representing asylum-seeking applicants. At the end of the clinic, members of our legal department were assigned an asylum case through the NIJC.

Litigation Managing Counsel Elizabeth Lopez, Commercial Transactions Counsel Tiffany Jaspers, Global Compliance and Ethics Counsel Nancy Jacobson and Employment Litigation Senior Manager Dorothy Karpierz were partnered with attorneys from the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery to take on an immigration case of a mother of three from Honduras. Recently, after a years-long court battle, the legal team was victorious, changing the life of the woman and her family.

United is committed to connecting people and uniting the world. Whether you're an immigrant, a child of immigrants or simply want to learn more about the immigrant experience in the U.S., discussions like these, related to this hot-button issue, are important to have in order to understand the human lives behind it.

Make your voice heard

By Brett J. Hart, September 22, 2020

Your voice matters. Voting is one of the most influential civic activities we can engage in as Americans. At United, our mission is to connect people and unite the world — and one of the most important ways to do that is to engage in the democratic process. That's why we've long provided our employees with resources to help them get registered to vote.

This year, we're taking our support a step further as the official airline of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). Since the start of the pandemic, we've overhauled our cleaning measures through a program we call United CleanPlusSM , and the CPD has placed their trust in United to fly Commission production staff to each of the four debates, starting with the first one on September 29, hosted by Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University.

Today, on National Voter Registration Day, we also want to make sure our customers have access to information about how to participate in the 2020 Election. Over the past several months, you've heard a lot from us about how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed air travel. We've learned that with some planning and extra effort, it's still possible — and safe. That's true of voting, too.

No matter which party you support or how you're planning to vote, we know our democracy will be stronger if you make your voice heard and make a plan to vote.

Best,

Brett J. Hart
President
United Airlines

United named to Year Up Opportunity Hall of Fame

By The Hub team, September 17, 2020

Since its launch 20 years ago, Year Up, one of our critical needs grant recipients, has helped more than 10,000 young adults gain access to corporate business and technical experience at large companies like United while offering the invaluable perspectives they bring with them.

On Wednesday, the nonprofit inducted United into its Opportunity Hall of Fame – a selection that occurs once every five years.

Year Up's mission is to help close the opportunity divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Since 2018, our partnership has allowed talented student learners the opportunity to gain corporate business experience and technical skill training at the airline while bringing their unique perspectives to our United family and culture. One of those students is Emily Lopez, who graduated from the Year Up program in January 2019 and was hired to be part of the United family as an analyst in Revenue Management.

"I moved from Venezuela to the United States in July 2016 and being a young immigrant with no resources can be difficult to pursue a career in a new country," said Emily.

After learning about Year Up and ultimately being accepted into the program, Emily landed an internship with United, an opportunity she is very grateful for.

Emily Lopez - Analyst, Pricing & Revenue Management

"Feedback from my mentors, coaches and managers was key during my internship phase and helped me convert my internship at United to a full-time position. I am grateful for the opportunity United has provided me and my Year Up Alumni colleagues to keep building a professional career within the company. I am so excited to continue building a professional career with the company and to see United being inducted to Year Up's Hall of Fame. Let's continue closing the opportunity divide!" said Emily.

Although the coronavirus pandemic has made this year's partnership a bit more difficult, we continue to do our part to support the Year Up student learners. Last month, we surprised 145 graduates of this year's Year Up Chicago program with roundtrip tickets to pursue career and networking opportunities within the United States.

"I've been personally honored and inspired to be an advocate for Year Up since I joined United," said CEO Scott Kirby. "This program gives young people from challenged backgrounds an opportunity to get their foot in the door as interns at United. This year's graduates are entering a challenging job landscape, but we have one thing that can help: a route network that provides easy access to major business markets across the United States."

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