It was individual and authentic. And I was treated like a family friend, not a paying guest.
One of the world's oldest continually inhabited cities, Delhi has been built, invaded and colonized by global powers throughout history, including central Asian invaders, the Mughal dynasty and, most recently, the British Empire. Today, this historic city is now the capital of India, and with 12.5 million people, the second largest urban area in India after Mumbai; in contrast to that upstart's glitzy, fast-paced Bollywood lifestyle, Delhi, the seat of government, is decidedly more traditional. It is also a city of contrasts, with the grandeur and European flair of sights like India Gate and the Rajpath in New Delhi rubbing elbows with the gritty bustle of the historic Chandni Chowk market area of Old Delhi. It is home to some of the country's greatest architectural gems, including Humayun's Tomb and the Red Fort, and an abundance of five-star hotels cater to the modern luxury traveler.
Visitors should note that the months of April through June are exceedingly hot and humid and July through September brings monsoon rains; as such, the best time to visit is during October to March, when the air is generally dry and temperatures moderate.
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Our co-founder Jay Tindall is a regular visitor to India, where he loves staying in the palace hotels of Rajasthan. His favourite experience? The amazing Kumbh Mela festival.
Go on an insider’s contemporary art tour, meeting the driving forces of such leading Delhi galleries as Vadehra Art Gallery, Gallery Espace, Anant Art Gallery and Delhi Art Gallery. Remote Lands can also arrange visits to the studios of local contemporary Indian artists.
Houses of Worship
Delhi is one of the most religiously diverse cities in Asia. Spend an afternoon or a full day with a professor of Eastern religions, who will take you to various houses of worship and discuss comparative beliefs of Hindus, Jains, Parsis, Sikhs, Muslims, Buddhists, and more who all call Delhi their home.
For Indian textile aficionados, Remote Lands can arrange a visit to the home of a Kashmiri family dynasty renowned for their knowledge and inventory of the finest shawls, scarves, carpets and other indigenous textiles. The family's regular customers include members of government, financiers and other magnates who seek the best quality wedding shawls, saris and other garments worn on special occasions.
Explore the bustling Chandni Chowk market, one of Delhi’s oldest and busiest, located next to the famed Jama Masjid, or Friday mosque. Here, stalls sell every kind of Indian delicacy imaginable, and spice shops closely guard secret recipes (for example, a custom-ground masala) passed down over generations.
In the heart of Old Delhi near the Red Fort lies Masjid-i-Jahan Numa, colloquially called the Jama Masjid, or “Friday Mosque.” Built by Shah Jahan (who also built the Taj Mahal) in 1656, it’s one of the oldest and largest mosques in India, complete with four towers, two minarets and ample white marble and red sandstone.
Visit the imposing Red Fort (one of Delhi's numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites). Like Jama Masjid, it was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, and served as both his palace and seat of government. A vast structure of red sandstone, the Red Fort's planning and aesthetics represent one of the pinnacles of Mughal architecture. For architecture enthusiasts, Remote Lands can arrange a prominent published scholar to join as a specialist guide.
Qutb Minar Mosque
See the imposing Qutb Minar, or victory tower, the world’s tallest freestanding minaret, which stands at a height of 237 feet (72 meters). The minaret stands within the Qutb Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which also includes the ruins of mosques, gates and tombs built by Delhi’s first dynasty of Muslim rulers.
Gurdwara Bangla Sahib
Visit the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib temple, an important Sikh shrine located near Connaught Place in the heart of Delhi. Dedicated to the eighth Sikh guru, Guru Harkrisha, the temple is open to people of all faiths, who can worship, hear kirtan (religious hymns) and partake of langar (community kitchen meals). You must cover your head and remove your shoes before entering the temple.
Baha'i Lotus Temple
Visit the Baha’i Lotus Temple, an interfaith worship hall that is considered an architectural wonder of the modern world. Inspired by the form of a lotus blossom, the temple was designed with 27 free-standing marble-clad “petals” arranged in groups of three to form nine sides. Nine doors open onto a central hall, which holds up to 2,500 people.
Any visit to Delhi must include Humayun’s Tomb, the final resting place of the second Mughal emperor. Not only is it the earliest example of the Mughal garden-tomb style, but it's also a direct architectural predecessor of the more famous Taj Mahal. Built in the late 1500s, today the tomb has undergone extensive renovations under the auspices of UNESCO and is one of the best preserved ancient sites in New Delhi.
Step inside an age-old culture and explore its beauty on this 14-day journey that takes you through bustling New Delhi’s Chandni Chowk Market, to the steps of the iconic Taj Mahal, and over to the banks of the Ganges to observe the sunset Aarti, all while staying at some of the country’s most luxurious hotels.
Explore the world’s most majestic peaks on this 22-day Himalayan adventure. You’ll trek through China, Nepal, Bhutan and India, staying at luxury hotels and lodges like the Amankora or Uma by COMO. You’ll walk along the Great Wall of China, visit the ancient Potala Palace, and search for Bengal Tigers in Chitwan.
Board your own private jet to travel in sheer luxury through India’s best leisure spots on this remarkable 10-day journey. You’ll explore Cochin’s colonial wonders, cruise Kerala’s backwaters on a luxury Kettuvallam, and enjoy refreshing poolside cocktails at your five-star beachside resort on Goa’s white-sand beaches.
Travel through India like royalty aboard your private jet, whisking you with ease and comfort to each of your exciting Indian destinations on this 10-day luxury journey. You’ll marvel at the iconic Taj Mahal, spot tigers in Ranthambhore National Park, shop in Jaipur, and spend nights in luxury India hotels.
Search for the elusive and majestic Bengal Tiger on this thrilling 11-day luxury private jet journey. You’ll fly in comfort and style between India’s most famous national parks, Ranthambhore, Khana, and Bandhavgarh, riding safaris and birdwatching, while sleeping in some of India’s most luxurious hotels.
Experience the rich flavors, tastes, smells, sights and sounds of beautiful India. From architectural wonders to cultural treasures and natural beauties, you’ll revel in them all over eleven shining days and ten unforgettable nights spent in utter luxury at Oberoi hotels
Step into India’s great outdoors on this exciting 14-day luxury adventure through Kashmir and the Himalayas. You’ll tour Old Delhi, receive a private blessing from a Buddhist monk, visit Khardungla Pass, stay at the lovely Windflower Hall high up in the Himalayan mountain range, and fish Kashmir’s rich waters.
Escape into the wilds of India’s safaris on an exciting 12-day adventure through Panna, Bandhavgarh, and Kanha National Parks, where you’ll search for the mighty, elusive Bengal Tiger. You’ll explore ancient forts, hike to majestic viewpoints, and interact with exotic animals while staying in luxury hotels.
Spend 22 days traveling from India to Bhutan on this luxurious adventure of a lifetime. Shop in New Delhi’s world-famous Chandni Chowk market, dine at the Calcutta Polo Club, and marvel at the ancient Tibetan Buddhist Ghoom Monastery, while staying in luxury hotels like Amankora and Oberoi.
Make your way from New Delhi to the foothills of the majestic Himalayas on this exciting 10-day luxury tour, taking you to Shimla where you’ll check out interesting architecture and stay at the beautiful Wildflower Hall, and on to Rishikesh for its great outdoors and holistic experiences.
Travel for 10 luxurious days through North India, taking in the region’s incredible sights and landmarks. You’ll visit New Delhi’s Qutub Minar, India’s tallest minaret, catch the sunrise over Taj Mahal in Agra, and go on safari rides in Panna National Park, while staying in some of India’s most luxury hotels.
Take a private jet through the world’s highest peaks - the Himalayas - on this incredible 11-day luxury India tour. You’ll jet into New Delhi, over to Shimla to stay in its stunning Wildflower Hall, onto Rishikesh for yoga and meditation at a luxury spa resort, ending in Darjeeling for an exclusive tea tasting.
Located in the center of New Delhi, The Imperial is a splendid reminder of the city’s colonial past. The hotel’s 231 rooms and suites are designed in a combination of Art Deco and traditional English styles, and the hotel’s main lobby has an impressive collection of colonial-era Indian art. Dining options are Spice Route, which serves exceptional Southeast Asian cuisine, and 1911, set on an outdoor verandah overlooking the property’s lush gardens, serves continental cuisine. Other amenities include complimentary wi-fi, fitness center, outdoor pool, spa, and business center. The Imperial Hotel is approximately a 40-minute drive from the international airport (DEL).
The Maharajas' Express is a jewel among trains, with carriages named for the precious stones of the Maharajas themselves. Guests can travel the rail tracks of India from Delhi to Agra to Jaipur, stopping off at beautiful ancient temples, exploring caves and jungles, spotting rare wildlife and shopping in bustling bazaars. There are a range of tours, from three nights and four days to seven nights and eight days, to suit all types of vacationers. Aboard this train spanning nearly half a mile is accommodation worthy of an Indian monarch, with four cabin options, all boasting panoramic windows for stunning views of the Indian countryside. Traditional hospitality is observed in the train’s two restaurants in which diners enjoy sparkling service and delicious cuisine. Socializing with cocktails takes place in the Safari Bar, while quieter, intimate drinks, or games and books can be enjoyed in the Rajah Lounge.
The Oberoi Gurgaon is set on a lush nine-acre property just outside of New Delhi near the airport, offering luxury and tranquillity on the outskirts of India's capital. The hotel's 202 rooms and suites are among the largest in the city, featuring contemporary decor with large windows that overlook the property's landscaped pools and gardens. All have LED televisions and both wired and wireless internet access. Dining options include Threesixtyone, serving pan-Asian cuisine across 5 interactive show kitchens, with indoor and outdoor seating, and Amaranta, offering fresh seafood. The hotel also boasts a piano bar, the country's first exclusive cigar lounge, and a patisserie and delicatessen. Other amenities include an outdoor pool, gym complex, and a 24-hour spa centre. The Oberoi Gurgaon is 15 minutes by car from Delhi International Airport (DEL).
The Lodhi New Delhi (formerly the Aman New Delhi) is located on the outskirts of the Indian capital just south of the Delhi Golf Course and adjacent to the western half of the medieval Nizamuddin complex. Stone quarried from northern India is used for all floors and the interior design combines clean, modern lines with classic Mughal elements. There are 40 rooms and suites designed with regional style architecture featuring private plunge pools and the highest quality furniture and furnishings. The Lodhi offers a range of restaurants serving Indian, Thai and European cuisine. During the daytime guests may enjoy light snacks and classic cocktails at the Pool Café and in the evenings head to Anidra the supper and night club serving fine wines, beers, spirits, mixers and tapas. Other amenities include a spa, health center with four tennis courts, three squash courts, a pilates studio and a gymnasium, a lap pool, library and cigar room.
The Oberoi, New Delhi
A symbol and staple of elegant Indian hospitality, The Oberoi, New Delhi is a ultra-luxe urban oasis of sophistication and world-class service. An iconic landmark in the New Delhi skyline, this historic hotel enjoys sweeping views of the Delhi Golf Course and Humayun’s Tomb, overlooking crystal blue waters, palm trees and a spectacular white, marble lotus fountain in the glamorous entrance. With incredible restaurants offering up delicious cuisine from around the world, a wide variety of spacious and luxurious suites and a world-class spa, The Oberoi is more than just a hotel - it’s a destination. As an added bonus, for the most discerning of business guests, many suites offer private office spaces and meeting rooms, in addition to the extra level of service offered in Business Travel Plus.
Alila Fort Bishangarh
Opening in 2017, Alila Fort Bishangarh, located at Bishangarh Village in the Jaipur District, is just three hours’ drive from Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi. Surveying the Rajasthani landscape from its hilltop vantage-point, this striking and romantic 59-suite resort - a fine example of Jaipur Gharana architecture influenced by the Mughals and the British - has been lovingly restored and adapted from the ancient defenses of the old fort to become the very apex of luxury living. Each of the custom-designed accommodations comes with indulgent bathrooms - featuring inbuilt bathtubs - and simple, elegant and stylish interiors all finished with tall, openable windows, carefully designed to make the most of the incomparable views of the surrounding area. Guests can take advantage of up to four different bars and restaurants - including the Kachhawa Lounge dedicated to Champagne, coffee, chai and cakes - while experiencing the very best in discrete and attentive service from the hotel staff, all in the regal surroundings once home to the Shahpura royalty. Alila Fort Bishangarh is due to open later this year, and may be tentatively included in Remote Lands itineraries scheduled for late 2017.
Taj Mahal Hotel
One of the most distinguished addresses in the national capital, the Taj Mahal Hotel is located in the exclusive residential area of Lutyens' Delhi, close to the seat of government. The hotel's graceful architecture combines a Mughal aesthetic with contemporary touches. The all-white lobby has intricate motifs, gold inlay work and a marble fountain. The 266 rooms and 27 suites - all with wi-fi access - are decorated in either a classical or contemporary style, but all include opulent fabrics and artwork on the walls to match the decor. There are a number of bars, lounges and restaurants in the hotel, including Haveli, which serves royal Mughal recipes in an elegant room overlooking the gardens decorated with artwork by the renowned Indian painter Anjolie Ela Menon. There is a business center with laptop computers and cell phones for hire, fax services and Internet access. There are steam baths, a pool, Jacuzzi and sauna. The fitness center has the latest, state-of-the-art fitness equipment with cardiovascular and weight training machines and is open 24 hours. The Tejas offers a variety of pampering treatments including Ayurvedic treatments and herbal massage. The hotel is a 40-minute drive from Delhi International Airport (DEL).
The Trident Gurgaon’s 129 rooms and seven suites are situated amid landscaped gardens, courtyards, reflection pools and fountains. There are five restaurants and bars: Cilantro serves international cuisine with a focus on Italian, Mediterranean and Southeast Asian; Saffron specializes in North Indian fare; Konomi serves sushi, sashimi and other refined Japanese plates; The Bar features an extensive menu of creative cocktails, single malt whiskeys and bourbons; and the Pool Bar offers casual plates along with beverages. The Trident’s Spa by Angsana offers a full range of massages, wraps, scrubs, Ayurvedic treatments, and more. There is also a modern fitness center and heated outdoor swimming pool. All rooms and suites have both wired and wireless Internet access. The Trident Gurgaon is approximately a 20-minute drive from Indira Gandhi International airport (IGI).