Experience the Taj Mahal at sunrise, capture colourful Rajasthan in your viewfinder, relax on quiet beaches in Goa, connect with the locals in a homestay, and sample delicious Indian cuisine.
From the hectic pace of northern Delhi to the beaches of Goa and the fishing nets of relaxed Kochi, this epic journey packages the subcontinent’s highlights into a well-placed flexible vacation, with the duration at your discretion. Watch the sunrise at Savitri temple in Pushkar and explore the canals of Alleppey on your way to a homestay with a local family. Pack your trip with everything you want and nothing that you don’t desire. What are you waiting for? Lush hills, bustling cities and mouth-watering curries are calling you on this Splendid India Holiday Pacakge!
If you arrive early, wander through the heart of India’s capital city and explore Old and New Delhi. Travel by the new metro or auto rickshaws and visit the famous Jama Masjid (Great Mosque) where you could climb the minaret for a bird’s eye view of the old city. Explore Chandni Chowk, one of India’s oldest and busiest markets or head to the colourful spice market, a great photo opportunity. From Old Delhi it is easy to get to Connaught Place, more commonly known as CP, one of the most prominent architectural remnants of British rule, by the metro (station at CP is called Rajiv Chowk). In CP wander the markets and shops or visit the Gandhi museum, built on the site of his assassination. If people watching is your interest, head down to India Gate and relax on the lawns, or enjoy a stroll through the peaceful Lodi Gardens in the nearby upmarket South Delhi. Other options include the ruins of Qutab Minar, the fabulous architecture of Humayun’s Tomb, the beautifully lotus- shaped Bahai Temple (closed Monday), or the stunning Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple carved out of pink sandstone and white marble. The amazing Craft Museum or the huge and rambling National Museum is also worth a visit. (Note many museums are closed on Monday). There are so many options for dining, from age-old eateries in the by lanes of the Old Walled City to glitzy, specialty restaurants in five-star hotels, as Delhi is a movable feast. Restaurants and bars cater to all tastes and budgets. A delightful outlet offering a range of Indian cuisines are the food stalls at Dilli Haat, where the cuisine of different states is made available. Set in the midst of a spacious crafts bazaar, these cafes are a very pleasant place to enjoy food and indulge in great shopping!
Travel by the early morning train to the Muslim city of Agra, as no visit is complete without at least one train trip. This city is best known as the site of India’s most famous landmark, the Taj Mahal. Enjoy a guided visit to this icon of Mughal architecture either in the morning or late afternoon for the best light, and be sure to bring lots of camera film! Ride one of the ubiquitous cycle rickshaws to visit the Lal Qila or Red Fort, the Taj’s less famous, but no less impressive, sister monument. The Taj Mahal was built by the Muslim Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his favourite wife, Arjumand Bano Begum, better known as Mumtaz Mahal., It is the romantic origin of the Taj as much as its architectural splendour that has led to its fame worldwide. Actually an integrated complex of many structures, the Taj Mahal is considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, itself a combination of Islamic, Hindu, Persian and Turkish elements. The walled palatial city of Lal Qila, or the Red Fort, was first taken over by the Moghuls, at that time led by Akbar the Great. Akbar liked to build from red sandstone, often inlaid with white marble and intricate decorations, and it was during his reign that the fort began changing into more of a royal estate. However, it was only during the rule of Akbar’s grandson, Shah Jahan (who eventually built the Taj Mahal) that the site finally took on its current state. Unlike his grandfather, Shah Jahan preferred buildings made from white marble, often inlaid with gold or semi-precious gems and at the end of his life the Emperor was imprisoned in the fort by his son, Aurangzeb. It is said that Shah Jahan died in Muasamman Burj, a tower with a marble balcony with an excellent view of the Taj Mahal.