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This is a trip that relives the romance of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal, as immortalized in the ethereal Taj Mahal. In fact, the Mughal emperors built many monuments to mark seminal events through history – the famous forts, palaces, masjids, and mausoleums record the Mughal rule in all its glory. In neighbouring Rajasthan, legendary Rajput warriors carved out their own territories, won after hard-fought battles. Cities like Udaipur, Jaipur and Jodhpur emerged as shining jewels, as symbols of Rajput pride. Even today, these Rajasthani cities shine bright, and echo the pomp and circumstance of a luminous past.
Delhi never ceases to surprise! You will be amazed at the buzz and bustle of the old city. You can take a rickshaw ride through Chandi Chowk, and savour the sights and smells. Equally riveting is Edwin Lutyen’s layout of modern New Delhi, with wide boulevards, low-rise government buildings, and formal gardens. A must on your itinerary are iconic monuments like the Qutub Minar, Red Fort, Jama Masjid, and Humayun’s Tomb, all precious relics of a rich history. Stroll through Mehrauli Park and enjoy tales of The Fall and Rise of Delhi - a fascinating insight into its past glory.
But of course, it’s not about history alone. India’s clout as a modern-day republic is showcased in the imposing edifice of India Gate, the President House, and Rajghat, the spot where Mahatma Gandhi’s samadhi is erected.
Agra is the magical city that conjures up romantic images… like Princess Diana sitting against the backdrop of the Taj Mahal. The city’s strategic location on the banks of the Yamuna has allowed the city to expand into one of India’s largest tourist hubs. It’s very well connected by road and rail. In Agra, you’ll find history popping out of every nook and cranny, so make sure you take the time to look around in a leisurely manner. Also remember, your trip remains incomplete without the Agra Culture Walk – a golden opportunity to check out the markets, understand local customs, and truly appreciate the nuances of Agra’s unique identity.
No other city exudes royal privilege quite the way Jaipur does. Rajasthan’s Kachwaha dynasty ruled the erstwhile Jaipur state and built the entire city of Jaipur as per the principles of vaastu. The grand City Palace takes pride of place in the city-centre and its opulent interiors are open for public viewing. The Jantar Mantar Observatory and Hawa Mahal, commissioned by the ruling maharajas, demonstrate a superior understanding of architectural engineering and design. These attractions are very popular on the tourist circuit and definitely worth a visit. Take a ride up to Amber Fort the old fashioned way - on elephant back - and experience the journey up the ramparts like the Maharajas did. If you’re feeling adventurous, Jaipur offers Ballooning and Paramotoring as a unique way to see the city.
Jodhpur is also known as the Blue City, because much of its architecture is washed in beautiful shades of indigo-blue. As the seat of the royal Marwar clan, Jodhpur is all you imagine a royal city to be. Here, mighty forts, magnificent palaces, and mesmerizing streets are filled with untold treasures. High above the main city, the Mehrangarh Fort towers over the valley below. Another architectural marvel is the Umaid Bhavan Palace, acknowledged to be among the finest palaces in India. This is also the principal residence of the Jodhpur royal family. Not far from here, is Jaswant Thada, a mausoleum for members of the royal lineage. Jodhpur has so much to explore, so much to enjoy, you’ll find that time flies. Do try to pack in as much as possible… and of course, visit again.
Jaisalmer offers a dessert experience like no other. The city is built around the spectacular Jaisalmer Fort that dominates the city from an imposing height. In fact, this is one of the few ‘living forts’ in India and a sizeable chunk of the population continues to stay within its precincts. Patwon ki Haveli is one of the beautifully adorned mansions in the fort. Not far from the city centre is the Gadsisar Lake, lined with beautiful temples along the lakeside. In fact, Jaisalmer is the perfect city to explore on foot, so check out its unique attractions - the puppet show near Gadsisar Lake, the numerous kachori stalls to tempt your taste buds, and handcrafted antique silver jewellery that’s a special item here. To experience the dessert at its most magical, take a drive out to the famous Sam Sand Dunes. Take a dessert safari, or go dune-bashing - make it trip to remember.
Once upon a time, when maharajas ruled, opulence was a way of life. They built great cities and palatial residences and patronized the arts. But rarely is grandeur on such a scale continued into the modern day. Udaipur’s City Palace manages to preserve its regal heritage and retain the grace of a bygone era. Its massive fortified structure is virtually a city within the city. Situated on its outer periphery, the famous Jagdish Temple too has a long heritage of welcoming devotees - for almost 400 years! No Udaipur trip is complete without a Boat Ride on Lake Pichola, so make sure you keep an evening free for the excursion.