From the pearl-white spires of the Himalayas to the verdant tropical backwaters of Kerala, India is a magnetic, magical, mystical world. Dramatic desert, charming villages, wildlife, beaches, urban sprawl — the vibrant diversity of India’s varied cultures and stunning landscapes provides travelers with endless options. However, even in a land as remarkable as India, there are a few places travelers simply can’t miss
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 markets of Old Delhi as you enjoy the grandeur of the Red Fort and Jama Masjid Mosque.
Agra is one of the most known for its most famous site — perhaps the most famous in all of India — the Taj Mahal, a 17th century monument to love that defies all expectations. But there is more to this region than this Wonder of the World; it’s a place of profound and enduring Mughal history.
- See the 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 see the mighty Taj Mahal from your window.
Called the “Pink City” due to the unique color of its 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 Rambagh Palace.
Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan differs from other tiger preserves 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.
Once the stomping grounds of the aristocracy, Udaipur’s architecture and interconnected lakes make it the “Venice of Rajasthan”. From the view of the City Palace skyline to the 18th-century fort-palace Devi Garh, this former capital of the kingdom of Mewar is like a fairy tale.
- 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, and it’s a buzzing hub of Rajasthani culture.
- Marvel at Mehrangarh Fort, one of the largest forts in India, situated 410 feet above the city and adorned with intricate carvings and expansive courtyards.
- Join in the history and culture of Jodhpur by partaking in an opium ritual or participating in a puja ceremony at nearby Palasni.
- Relish a stay in the Umaid Bhawan Palace, set amidst 26 acres of lush gardens and former home of the Jodhpur Royal Family.
Called the “oldest living city on Earth”, Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges is the holiest city of both the Hindu and Jain faiths, said to have been founded by Shiva himself. Today, Varanasi is a chaotic, vibrant mix of pilgrims, merchants, priests, and, of course, curious visitors, all of whom seek to tap into the energy that pulses through this ancient city.
- Cruise down the most holy river in India, taking in the sights and sounds of Ganges.
- 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 curious form of wrestling.
Mumbai, formerly Bombay, is India’s largest city, a financial center, and a hotbed of modern Indian culture. This mega-city and sprawling capital of the state of Maharashtra is known both for its excess 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 Mumbai and explore the Prince of Wales Museum, renowned for its superb sculptures and miniature paintings.
- Indulge in 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.