India’s capital has two distinct personalities. First there’s Old Delhi, its chaotic, winding alleys crammed with colourful shops and noisy street traders; you’ll enjoy a full-day tour here, visiting Mosque and Red Fort and riding a classic rickshaw down the lanes. Completely different is New Delhi, built by the British in 1911 in an unashamed imperial display of pomp. The highlights here are the white-domed Humayun’s tomb and government buildings built by Edwin Lutyens.
Fascinating bazaars and the opulent City Palace and Palace of Winds characterise old parts of the ‘Pink City’, so nicknamed for its rosy edifices. Amid the hubbub, the ancient Amer Fort creates a dramatic picture of a bygone era while the newer city has spacious roads dotted with luxury showrooms.
Both a luxurious camp and downright magical place, Chhatra Sagar comprises delightful tents pitched above a lake teeming with birds (seasonal) and, coming from the adjacent grasslands, wildlife such as wild boar and blue bull antelope.
It’s run by direct descendants of the area’s former rulers. During two nights here you can tour local villages and go on nature walks before communal, campfire drinks and dinner.
You’ve seen the Pink City, now here’s the Blue City. Not only is Jodhpur an ultramarine dream – many walls are that exotic colour – but it’s a city scented with incense and rose-petal. Inside the old, 10km-long walls and tangle of lanes, spend an afternoon exploring the magnificent, mighty Mehrangarh Fort and, below, Jodhpur’s Clock Tower Market and surrounding bazaars.
Ranakpur’s white-marble, gold-laden Jain temple seduces with magnificent architecture and numerous elegant pillars – and then enchants still further courtesy of its large population of resident monkeys. After touring around, you’ll have a private, candlelit dinner above an ancient stepwell.
The magic of Udaipur’s setting is undeniable: its marble palaces and havelis line glittering Lake Pichola, with a ring of wooded Aravali Hills framing the scene. Fairytale? And then some. Rich in old-world atmosphere, the city is dominated by its massive City Palace, one which overlooks the lake and more island palaces. An evening cruise on the water is a must, and you can also stop en route at the hilltop Kumbhalgarh Fort, whose perimeter walls longer than any defensive fortification on Earth bar the Great Wall of China