The many lives of India seem to converge at its capital, giving it a subtle, often overwhelming identity born of this mix. Delhi, in its museums, forts, old market spaces, and modern art centres, seems to straddle the many different periods passed in history and those to be held in the future. In the desert lands of Thar, the bustling cities seem to have risen from the shifting dunes, carefully preserving and flaunting their rich heritage and ways of life.
The journey begins in the capital of India, Delhi, from where it moves to Udaipur, the idyllic city of the moonlit lakes. The path then leads to the blue city of Jodhpur and then makes its way to the city of opulence, Jaipur. The journey comes to a rest in the forgotten city of Fatehpur Sikri, hidden amidst the present day Agra, an exemplary reminder of Mughal glory.
A city of multiple identities, Delhi has seen empires rise and fall over centuries. Walk through the narrow streets of the old city to witness customs long forgotten in its charming bazaars and ancient houses. Marvel at the splendid architecture built by various conquerors, or dig into some delicious Mughlai cuisine. Delhi holds a place for everyone and offers something new with every journey.
Known as the City of Lakes, Udaipur seems to be taken right out of a fairy tale. With the undulating Aravalli hills as a backdrop, the charming palaces decorate the many lakes with their reflection. Mewar architecture gives Udaipur a distinct aesthetic, seen most impressively aboard a boat looking toward the east bank where a series of glorious palaces stand.
The city of Jodhpur is immortalised in time in varying hues of blue amid a sea of golden sand. Overlooked by a massive fort perched atop a hill, the city holds in it long traditions of crafts and folk art. Visit the imposing Mehrangarh Fort, or take a stroll through the old markets where you will find craftsmen making lac bangles in one and the strong whiff of spices in another.
Jaipur is a celebration of all things royal and glorious, represented in its exuberant forts and palaces. Admire the exquisite blend of Rajput and Islamic architecture in the Amber Fort and Palace. Walk through the lively markets of the old city taking in the monochromatic walls and savouring local dishes along the way.
The city of Agra, in the midst of modernisation, preserves its magnificent past in iconic mausoleums, elaborate forts, and narrow old-city lanes. Early morning, observe the colours change on the white marble façade of the Taj Mahal. Retrace your steps in history as you walk in the compounds of the Agra Fort and examine the exquisite work of marble inlay in a Persian nobleman’s tomb. End your journey in this magnificent city before heading back to Delhi.
Situated on the banks of the river Yamuna, Agra is an ornate chest containing the riches and heritage of Mughal era. Known widely for its cherished monument, the city often is cascaded by the magnificence of Taj Mahal. A UNESCO heritage site, Agra is home to sandstone forts and mausoleums, pleasant gardens that stand as relics of a glorious past. Busy cacophonous marketplaces surround these remnants, filling them with life.
Delhi is an enchanting medley of influences, one foot deeply grounded in time-revered traditions, whilst the other steps forth confidently into the future. The country's capital is a labyrinth of old structures speckling the suburbs juxtaposed with concrete blocks and crowded avenues. It is one of India's multifaceted cities, embracing diversity, while simultaneously offering the traveller historic masterpieces and a taste of contemporary India.
The gateway to India’s most flamboyant state, Jaipur is peppered with regal palaces, pink sandstone structures, and imposing forts. There is a sense of opulence and opportunity surrounding the city, which has enough palatial hotels, restaurants, and bazaars to satisfy both the locals and tourists. Home to a long tradition of handicrafts, Jaipur is the perfect centre to explore the crafts of Rajasthan, starting with the iconic indigo dyes and block prints.
Under the protective gaze of the mighty Mehrangarh fort, sprawls languidly the city of Jodhpur. The egg-blue walls of the houses have earned it the name 'Blue City'. Once the capital of the Marwar region, the city prides itself as the incubator of multiple traditions handed down through the centuries. Its heritage, architecture, handicrafts and art traditions have been well-preserved, unsullied by the vagaries of time, providing us a long glimpse into the past.
Amidst the sparse ranges of the Aravallis and the desert, and surrounded by serene lakes lies Udaipur, the romantic getaway of Rajasthan. As the erstwhile kingdom of Mewar, it was a high seat of political power, reflected in the grand City Palace on the banks of Lake Pichola. Its long royal history has made it home to several pleasure palaces of princes, some of which have now been converted to opulent heritage hotels.
Grazing Lake Pichola on the eastern end, the property seems straight out of a fairytale. The durbar halls speak loudly of the rich history and culture they have been a part of. Be a part of history with this royal experience and engulf in art and architecture to teleport to the time of kings and palaces.
The walls of old Jodhpur hold stories of ancient and modern worlds - of a glorious past lost in a tangle of winding, glittering, medieval streets. As the towering Mehrangarh Fort looks over the Blue City, there lies an equally beautiful structure at its base - RAAS encapsulates the essence of Jodhpur, carefully arresting the feeling of old and new in its very making.
Samode Haveli is a traditional Indian mansion set in a verdant garden, an oasis in the historic walled city of Jaipur. Its spacious apartments are arranged around a series of intimate courtyards, fashioned in traditional tones. Built 175 years ago as a residence for the rulers of Samode, it is still occupied by their descendants.
With just the stars and sounds of the night for company and the view of an illuminated Amber Fort at a distance, dine at the rooftop patio of a guest house nestled away in the neighbouring village of Amber.
Agra is one of the earliest carpet weaving centres set up by the Mughals in India. It still produces some of the finest carpets in the country. Visit a karkhana to witness the weaving process and the unique styles in which the master craftsmen work.
Laid out as a summer retreat for forty eight young attendants accompanying a princess marrying into the Udaipur royalty, Saheliyon-ki-Bari is dotted with lotus ponds, marble pavilions, and elephant-shaped fountains. Located on the banks of a lake, this garden is ideal for a pleasant retreat.
Walk through the spice market of Delhi with a historian and discover aromas, tastes, textures, uses of the various spices, at the end of which you get samples to take back home. A gourmet's delight, this journey is bound to stay with you long after you have left the sights and sounds of this historic old city quarter.
Walk around Mandore, the ancient capital city of southern Rajasthan, that stands in contrast with the later capital, Jodhpur. Immerse in history as you visit the city museum and explore its exquisite fort, temples and cenotaphs, much of them now in ruins.