Essential India: Asia's Most Colorful Nation
From the pearl-white spires of the Himalayas to the verdant tropical backwaters of Kerala, India is a magnetic, magical, mystical world.
Both modern and ancient, the capital of New Delhi is an ideal place to start a journey through the subcontinent, a mix of Mughal architecture and a whirlwind of one of India’s largest urban areas. Travelers to New Delhi will have the chance to see India at its most eclectic, combining ancient forts with the finest in dining and accommodation.
Marvel at tombs and monuments of the mighty Mughal empire in the heart of India’s most important city.
Relish in the unique service and cuisine of some of Delhi’s finest hotels, from the golden opulence of the Leela Palace to the newly-refurbished Oberoi.
Journey through the narrow streets and shop in the colorful markets of Old Delhi as you enjoy the grandeur of the Red Fort and Jama Masjid Mosque.
Agra is world-renowned for its most famous site — the Taj Mahal, a 17th century monument to love that defies all expectations. But there is more to this region than this Great Manmade Wonder of the World; it’s a place of profound and enduring Mughal history.
- See the breathtaking Taj Mahal at sunrise, sunset, or glowing under the light of a full moon.
- Explore Agra Fort, a walled city that was the seat of power for the Mughal Dynasty until 1638.
- Stay at the romantic Oberoi Amarvilas and view the mighty Taj Mahal from your balcony.
Called the "Pink City" due to its lovely rose-colored buildings, Jaipur is home to commanding hilltop forts, chaotic bazaars, and grand palaces — a gateway to Rajasthan that mixes the splendor of Maharajas with the days of the British Raj.
Wander Hawa Mahal and Jaigarh Fort as you explore the unique history and architecture of Jaipur.
Hike and dine with elephants and take a hot air balloon ride over the city.
- Have dinner with a Rajput aristocrat and stay in the historic Taj Rambagh Palace or the magnificent Raj Mahal.
Rajasthan's Ranthambore National Park features a large, thriving tiger population amidst the peaks of the Aravili and Vindhyan Hills, where you can explore savannas and emerald lakes while on the look out for some of the subcontinent’s fascinating wildlife.
Go on a private game drive to look for the mighty Bengal tiger, leopards, crocodiles, Indian flying foxes, and more.
Take “glamping” to a whole new level with Aman-i-Khas, a majestic self-contained wilderness camp set in 10 acres of a rural Rajasthan oasis.
Explore the hilltop Ranthambore Fort and water lilies of Padam Talao Lake.
- Go for a private cruise around Lake Pichola, surrounded by the romantic Aravalli mountains.
- Take a day-trip pilgrimage to the awe-inspiring Jain temple complex at Ranakpur.
- Stay in the white marble Taj Lake Palace which seems to float magically in the middle of Lake Pichola.
With its brilliant blue buildings set against the imposing sandstone Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, the "Blue City", has been a hub of trade and wealth for the last 400 years. It’s also a buzzing hub of Rajasthani culture with its bustling markets and streets.
Marvel at Mehrangarh Fort, one of the largest forts in India, towering 410 feet above the city and adorned with intricate carvings and expansive courtyards.
- Join in the history and culture of Jodhpur by partaking in a traditional opium ritual or participating in a puja worship ceremony at nearby Palasni.
- Relish in a stay at the Art Deco style Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace, set amidst 26 acres of lush gardens high above the city. The Jodhpur Royal Family still lives in one wing of this spectacular palace.
Called the "oldest living city on Earth", Varanasi on the banks of the sacred Ganges is the holiest city of both the Hindu and Jain faiths, said to have been founded by Shiva himself. Every Hindu hopes to cremate their loved ones in Varanasi so their souls can attain instant "moksha" and go straight to Nirvana - thereby breaking the reincarnation cycle of birth and rebirth.
- Cruise down the chaotic, vibrant Ganges to watch the pilgrims and priests busy with cremations on the ghats.
- Join in the Ganga Aarti in which Hindu priests light up the banks with candles and praise of Mother Ganga.
- Explore a traditional Kushti gym for a unique look at this unique and curious form of wrestling.
Mumbai, also still widely known as Bombay by locals, is India’s second largest city and the center of modern Indian culture. Often compared to New York - whereas Delhi is more akin to Washington DC - Mumbai is the home of Bollywood and is also India's financial center. This mega-city is known both for its excess of wealth and its slums, a world of extremes.
Take a Bollywood dance class or visit a Bollywood film set for a closer look at the controlled chaos behind the scenes.
- Enjoy a colonial tour of the city's beautiful old British buildings and explore the Prince of Wales Museum, renowned for its superb sculptures and miniature paintings.
- Indulge in the splendor of the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, an architectural marvel of Moorish, Eastern, and Florentine styles that has been a haunt of celebrities and the elite for more than a century.
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