India can be daunting, chaotic, frenetic and complex for the first time traveller but she will definitely enchant you with her exotic diversity, rich tapestry and scenic beauty. India’s vibrant culture, unique spiritual heritage, ancient traditions and warm hospitality will overwhelm you and dazzle your senses. Anywhere you go, you will discover a spirited potpourri of color, culture and character-a land of incredible contrasts and paradoxes, timeless yet constantly changing.
From the majestic Himalayas in the North, the incredible Saharo – Tharian desert expanse in the west, wide coastal plains, the dense jungles, stunning beaches and tranquil backwaters of south, this huge nation with its formidable and diverse topography offers limitless possibilities to wander and explore.
When planning a luxury tour of India with such a varied range of encounters to choose from, where do you go to quench your wanderlust?
Well luckily for you there are plenty of luxurious and bespoke experiences to immerse yourself in.
India offers so much, from the pristine white wonder Taj Mahal, to the sandy beaches of Goa, to the backwaters of Kerala. It is of course impossible to explore all of India’s beauty in just one trip, and to really soak up the rich culture and heritage of each city it is better to concentrate on one or two regions at a time.
The perfect vacation is a fusion between sightseeing, relaxation and luxurious stays with flexibility, comfort, security and independence. Luxury travel is about unique authentic experiences, it is travel without stress, pressure of time tailored to your preferences, defined by your desires, inclinations and impulses.
North India is a fantastic introduction for any first time traveller to the sub-continent, and most of North India tours usually begin and end in New Delhi, which is in easy reach of colorful Rajasthan and spiritual Varanasi. But of course you could choose Mumbai as your starting point too depending upon your preferences and flight connections.
The must see Golden Triangle in India:
Golden Triangle Tour covers three cities – Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, and each offers the extraordinary wealth of cultural and historical splendor.
Delhi – The capital city of India is a cosmopolitan bustling metropolis with Mughal and Colonial influences, a beautiful blend of the historical past and vibrant present.
Begin your tour in Old Delhi from the bustling souk-like bazaars with its narrow by lanes each specializing in a commodity: Dariba Kalan for instance, is the lane of jewellers and silver smiths and Khari Baoli is Asia’s largest spice market. Visit the red sandstone monument Red Fort, the grand mosque Jama Masjid with its black and white imposing domes.
Drive through the wide roads and boulevards of New Delhi also known as Lutyen’s Delhi to visit India Gate,Rashtrapati Bhavan built in Moghul and western architectural styles and the Victory tower -Qutub Minar.
Gaze at the Taj Mahal from the comfort and privacy of your own bay window, in your private room at the Oberoi Amarvilas -The epitome of opulence.
The city’s most famous monument the white marble marvel Taj Mahal lives up to all the superlatives that poets and historians have applied to it. Watch this eternal embodiment of love change hues from peachy pink at sunrise to golden amber at sunset and you will be spell bounded with its exquisite beauty.
Visit the Agra fort and the elegant Itimad-ud-Daullah’s tomb.
Jaipur the capital of royal Rajasthan, also known as the “Pink City” Check in the luxurious Oberoi Raj Vilas- A royal resort set in 32 acres of landscaped gardens with pavilions and reflection pools that create the romance and grandeur of princely Rajasthan. Enjoy the Jaipur landscape with a leisurely elephant ride and a gourmet picnic at the Naila fort or take a private culinary class to learn about spices and the secrets of Indian cuisine.
Head out to Jaipur city to explore opulent palaces, majestic forts and a labyrinth of bustling bazaars selling textiles, leatherwork, woodblock prints, perfume, jewelry and Jaipur’s traditional blue pottery.
The city of Dawn, Udaipur is a lovely land around the cerulean lake, hemmed in by the lush hills of the ARAVALLIS. A vision in white drenched in romance and beauty, Udaipur is a fascinating blend of sights, sound and experiences and its kaleidoscope of fairy-tale palaces, lakes, temples, gardens and narrow lanes strewn with carry the flavor of a heroic past, epitomizing valor and chivalry.
Relax in the specially appointed rooms in the luxurious Oberoi Udaivilas, overlooking the picturesque Lake Pichola.The grand interiors, the architectural brilliance and tranquil ambience will transport you in the bygone era of royalty.
Nestled at the edge of the Thar Desert, the city of Jodhpur, also known as the Blue city or Sun City echoes with tales of antiquity.The place where sun rays creates the illusion of shimmering lakes on the arid expanse. Flanked on its western side by the Meharangarh Fort, and on the eastern side by the stately sandstone Palace of Umaid Bhawan; the monuments, temples and gardens of Jodhpur depict a multi-faceted grandeur.
For an overview of Jodhpur, and the blue houses of the old town, nothing beats heading up to Mehrangarh Fort.
Stay at the magnificent Umaid Bhawan Palace, a golden hued desert sandstone monument set amidst acres of verdant gardens. An imitable tribute to art deco, the Palace has in its luxurious fold 64 rooms and suites. Take an exhilarating drive through the enchanting city of Jodhpur in a vintage car, accompanied by your royal butler. Stop beneath the starry night sky for a divine grilled feast accompanied by the music of the desert.
Khajuraho temples were constructed between 950 and 1050 A.D. during the reign of Chandela Empire deriving its name from the Khajur tree (the date palm tree) which can be found in abundance in the area.Recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the historical city is a symbol of medieval art. Most well-known for its erotic carvings, the temples at Khajaraho depict exquisite sculptural embellishments, grand dimensions and complex yet perfectly harmonious composition.
Don’t miss to watch the Son-et-Lumiere in the evening which tells the account of the construction of Khajuraho temples during the reign of Chandela dynasty.
It’s worthwhile to plan your visit around the month of February as the Khajuraho Dance Festival takes place every year from the 25th of February to the 2nd of March at the open-air auditorium in front of the temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Along with the dance performances one can also see a number of craftsmen trading off their indigenous arts and crafts to the visitors.
Varanasi, the spiritual nerve center of Hinduism, is probably the place in India that has the most profound impact on visitors. Formerly known as Benares, it sits on a bend of the Ganges, and its spiritual significance comes from its status as a “crossing place”. The sights, the cacophony of sounds, the smell of incense and jasmine flowers and the riot of colors can sometimes be overpowering; however, observing pilgrims at the banks of the Ganges, against the backdrop of the ancient temples is fascinating and strangely calming. Witness the evening Aarti on the banks of the Holy Ganges at sunset and this spectacular synchronized ritual with the chanting of Vedic mantras will leave you in a hypnotic trance.
A stay at Hotel Taj Nadesar will give you the much needed relief and respite from the humdrum and chaos of this city. Located on the banks of the river Ganges, Hotel Taj Nadesar Palace has accommodated royals, statesmen and stars since 1835 and set among lush greenery, mango orchards, marigold and jasmine fields, Nadesar Palace is a haven of serenity.
Varanasi is famous for its fine silk – it’s on offer everywhere, but shop around and bargain hard!
With such an array of luxury extravagances to choose from, you will be spoilt for choice and the exoticism of India and the decadence will linger in your memories forever. So pack your bags and set out on this transformational journey to explore this magical land to rediscover yourself.