May 102014
 

Khajuraho really impressed us and we suggest including a two night stay in your itinerary. The town is famous for its exquisitely carved and embellished temples and sculptures, which are a thousand years old. The temple complex has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site and is simply stunning.  Life, in every form and mood, has been captured here in stone, testifying to the craftsman’s artistry and the extraordinary breadth of vision of the Chandela Rajputs.  Of the 85 original temples, 22 still survive, constituting one of the world’s greatest artistic wonders.
The town of Khajuraho itself is small, rural and relaxed making a welcome break from the more frantic tourist destinations. Around 1 hour’s drive from Khajuraho is Panna National Park where we can organise a jeep safari and treehouse dinner at the wonderful Ken River Lodge.

  • Great view of the Western temple complex from this rooftop terrace

    Great view of the Western temple complex from this rooftop terrace

  • The Tree house at Ken River Lodge

    The Tree house at Ken River Lodge

  • Sunset on the Ken River, Panna National Park

    Sunset on the Ken River, Panna National Park

  • Western Temple Site

    Western Temple Site

  • Intricate Carvings

    Intricate Carvings

  • Kama Sutra Carvings

    Kama Sutra Carvings

  • Stone Figures

    Stone Figures

  • Western Temple Site

    Western Temple Site

  • Western Temple Site

    Western Temple Site

  • Erotic Carvings

    Erotic Carvings

  • Offerings for Goddess Durga

    Offerings for Goddess Durga

  • Temple Shrine

    Temple Shrine

Key Facts

Location: Khajuraho is located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, North Central India

Getting there:
Air: Khajuraho has a small, modern airport and can be reached by a short domestic flight from Delhi and Varanasi.
Train: Khajuraho has its own rail station. Apart from that, the other nearest stations are:
- Mahoba (64 km)
- Harpalpur (94 km)
- Jhansi (175 km)
- Satna (117 km)
Road: Distances from major destinations are:
- Agra (395 Km)
- Bhopal (340 Km)
- Bandhavgarh (270 Km)
- Varanasi (via Rewa 340 Km)

Landscape: Madhya Pradesh is not called the ‘Heart of India’ only because of its location in the centre of Northern India. It has been home to the cultural heritage of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam. Innumerable monuments, exquisitely carved temples, stupas, forts and palaces are dotted all over the State.
The natural beauty of the State is equally varied. Consisting largely of a plateau, the State has everything. Spectacular mountain ranges, meandering rivers and miles and miles of dense forests. In fact, a large part of the State is forested, offering a unique and exciting panorama of wildlife. In the National Parks of Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Pench and Panna you can spot the tiger, the bison and a wide variety of deer and antelope. But perhaps the best part about MP is its accessibility. Bordered by five States, it is equally close to major tourist destinations from the North, South, East and West. Whether you are in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai or Kolkata, you’re never very far from Madhya Pradesh .

Food: Rice and tandoori dishes like chapatti, Nan and kulcha are served here. Another favourite is Papad with chutney. These apart, non-vegetarian items known as karahi are the speciality of the area. Lamb or shrimp karahi consists of tender morsels of lamb or shrimps cooked in a heavenly sauce of ginger, garlic and tomatoes.

Festivals: Khajuraho festival of classical dance every year, usually from 25 February to 2 March. The best exponents perform in an open-air auditorium, usually in front of the Chitragupta Temple dedicated to Surya (the Sun God) and the Vishwanatha Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Local craftsmen display their crafts at an open market.

When to go: The weather in Khajuraho can get very hot and sunny in summer and is generally cool in winter.  The best time to visit is from October to March.

Things to see

Khajuraho Temples

Western Temple SiteThe Western group of temples are by far the most impressive to visit. They are conveniently located very close to most tourist hotels in a well maintained park area.  Intricate carvings from the 10th and 11th centuries cover every pillar from plinth to spire and depict battles, heavenly nymphs, banquets, musicians and, of course, erotic figures for which the temples at Khajuraho are famous. The spectacular Khajuraho Son-et-Lumiére Show evokes the life and times of the great Chandela kings and traces the fascinating story of the unique temples from the 10th to the 20th century.If time permits, there are further temples to visit at the Eastern and Southern sites.


Archaeological Museum

Archaeological MuseumBrowse this fascinating museum to see history and ancient art come alive right before your eyes. The story of India is depicted in grand style, and display pieces include wonderful historical items, including the Nritta Ganesha, a depiction of the Hindu god Ganesha.


State Museum of Tribal and Folk Arts

state-museum-of-tribal-and-folk-art-images-photos-511a299ce4b015f836876ff9_410x280_fitPart of the Chandela Cultural Complex, this interesting and informative museum displays over 500 pieces of Indian art, including terracotta, jewellery and masks.


Pandav Falls

pandav-fallsSaid to be inhabited by the exiled Pandava brothers from the Hindu epic Mahabharata, these picture-perfect waterfalls are particularly impressive after the summer monsoon rains in the months of October and November. They are located around 22 miles from Khajuraho and 8 miles from Panna.


Panna National Park

Spotted deer, Panna National Park, IndiaMake the easy day trip to this gorgeous national park for a boat tour, or jeep safari through dense forests of teak and Indian ebony in a place that tigers, Indian gazelle and sambar still call home.  We can also arrange lunch or dinner at the fabulous Tree House restaurant at Ken River Lodge. In 1994, Panna became India’s 22nd Tiger Reserve.  The complete park is open from 16th October to 30th June and is closed during the rainy season. The Hinuata range of the park is open throughout the year and besides wildlife it offers cascading waterfalls.

Places to Stay

Lalit Temple View, Khajuraho

Hotel Exterior & PoolOur pick of the bunch of places to stay in Khajuraho. The Lalit Temple View is a fine 5 star hotel with lovely rooms, gorgeous swimming pool and uninterrupted views of the Western Group of Khajuraho temples which are adjacent to the hotel.


Radisson Jass, Khajuraho

Swimming PoolA good, well appointed and comfortable hotel with well tendered gardens and good sized swimming pool. Rooms are particularly spacious but it is the warm and friendly service that really stood out for me. Close to the temple sites and a short transfer from the airport or train station at Khajuraho.


Taj Chandela, Khajuraho

Entrance to Taj Chandela, KhajurahoA haven of peace and tranquility, the Taj Chandela offers easy access to the world famous Khajuraho temples, museums and Panna National Park. Tucked snugly amidst 11 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, this hotel offers an array of modern comforts synonymous with the Taj group. We particularly liked the pool view rooms which have direct access to the pleasant central courtyard pool.


Ken River Lodge, Panna National Park 

Tree House RestauarantAn hour’s drive from Khajuraho is Panna National Park which is currently home to 15 tigers, panthers, sloth bears and a variety of other animals & birds. Tiger sightings are reasonable, particularly around March/April. Located five minutes from the park gates is Ken River Lodge, an oasis of calm tucked into the jungle on the banks of the River Ken. The Tree House restaurant is the focal point and is absolutely wonderful. The fabulous hosts Shyamendra and his wife Bhavan are guarnteed to make your stay a memorable one.

May 102014
 
 And now for something completely different.  Take a deep breath, unpack your sense of adventure and commit to immersing yourself into the chaotic, other worldly experience of ancient Varanasi.  It’s a full-on assault on the senses but there’s nothing else quite like it and definitely not to be missed.

  • Sunset on the Ganges

    Sunset on the Ganges

  • Ghats

    Ghats

  • Ahilyabai Ghat

    Ahilyabai Ghat

  • Boat trip along the ghats

    Boat trip along the ghats

  • Evening Aarti Ceremony

    Evening Aarti Ceremony

  • Aarti Ceremony

    Aarti Ceremony

  • Canoe on the Ganges

    Canoe on the Ganges

  • Ghats

    Ghats

  • Sunrise on the Ganges

    Sunrise on the Ganges

  • Indian Toothbrushes

    Indian Toothbrushes

  • Manmandir Ghat

    Manmandir Ghat

  • Dashashwamedh Ghat

    Dashashwamedh Ghat

  • Departure Ghat for Boat Transfers

    Departure Ghat for Boat Transfers

  • Sunrise on the Ganges

    Sunrise on the Ganges

  • Morning Boat Ride Along the Ghats

    Morning Boat Ride Along the Ghats

  • Meditation

    Meditation

  • Morning Abolutions

    Morning Abolutions

  • Holy Men

    Holy Men

  • Marigold Garlands

    Marigold Garlands

  • Sarnath

    Sarnath

  • Buddhist Prayer Flags

    Buddhist Prayer Flags

  • Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple

    Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple

Key Facts

Varanasi, (also known as Benares & Kashi) is one of the oldest living cities in the world. Varanasi is the heart of Hinduism, a city of traditional classical culture, glorified by myth and legend and sanctified by religion. Pilgrims come to the ghats lining the River Ganges here to wash away a lifetime of sins in the sacred waters or to cremate their loved ones. To every visitor, Varanasi offers a breathtaking experience. The rays of the dawn shimmering across the Ganges, the temples and shrines along the banks bathed in a golden hue, soul stirring hymns and mantras along with the fragrance of incense filling the air and devotees taking a dip in the holy waters gently splashing at the Ghats.

Location: Varanasi is located in the state of  Uttar Pradesh which is in northern central India.

Getting there:
Air - The nearest airport is at Babatpur, 22 km from Varanasi town centre and 30 Km from Sarnath. Direct flights for Varanasi are available from Delhi, Agra, Khajuraho, Kolkata, Mumbai, Lucknow and Bhuvaneshwar airports.

Rail - Varanasi and Mughal Sarai (one of the main railway stations of Varanasi) are the important rail junctions, with train connections to all major cities of India.

Road - Varanasi is well connected to the rest of the country by good motorable roads. Some of the major road distances are : Agra – 565 km, Allahabad – 128 km, Bhopal – 791 km, Bodhgaya – 240 km, Kanpur – 330 km, Khajuraho – 405 km, Lucknow – 286 km, Patna – 246 km, Sarnath – 10 Km.

Landscape: Varanasi is dominated in every way by the holy River Ganges or Ganga.  The relationship between the sacred river and the city is the essence of Varanasi – ‘the land of sacred light’.  Life on the banks of the Ganga begins before dawn when thousands of pilgrims – men, women and children – come down to the river to wait for the rising sun when immersion in the sacred river will cleanse them of their sufferings and wash their sins away.  The old city of Varanasi is situated along the western bank of the Ganges and extends back from the riverbank ghats (large steps leading down to the river) in a labyrinth of alleys called galis that are too narrow for traffic. You can walk all the way along the ghats, apart from during and immediately after the monsoon, when the river level is too high.  Most places of interest, and much of the accommodation, are in the old city. Behind the station is the peaceful Cantonment area, home to most of the top-end hotels.

Food: The traditional mix of Uttar Pradesh with a touch of Bihar is something that sets the food in Varanasi apart. The famous snow cone, roasted peanuts, the delicious chat items like Tamatar or Tomato Chat, Pani Puri, Kachoris, Aloo Tikki; Thandai or Lassi, Baati Chokha, variety of Mithais or sweets like Jalebis, Banarasi Kalakand, Rabri, etc. Another famous treat of Banaras is their Paan- almost every local will be seen savouring this speciality of Varanasi made of betel leaf and a mixture of tobacco depending on your taste and preference.

Festivals: Don’t miss Diwali in Varanasi (in October or November, depending on the cycle of the moon).  The city is especially spiritual and magical at this time, when the river banks are lined with the glow of small lamps, people chant, and bathe in the river in the early hours. Around Kartik Purnima (October/November), a five day Ganga Mahotsav festival is also held in Varanasi. The focus is on live classical music and dance. Other important occasions in Varanasi include Mahashivratri (Feb), Buddha Purnima (Buddha’s birthday, typically celebrated in May), and Dussehra (late Sept/early Oct). Varanasi is quite famous for the performances of the Ramalila that take place there around Dussehra.  The Dhrupad Mela music festival is also held in March.

When to go: October to March are the best months to visit Varanasi. This is when the weather is at its coolest. Winters are refreshing and pleasant. The temperature gets uncomfortably hot from April onwards, easily reaching 35 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), followed by monsoon rains from July to September.

Things to see


Ghats

P1020730Spiritually enlightening and fantastically photogenic, Varanasi is at its brilliant best by the ghats, the long stretch of steps leading down to the water on the western bank of the Ganges. Most are used for bathing but there are also several ‘burning ghats’ where bodies are cremated in public. The main one is Manikarnika: you’ll often see funeral processions threading their way through the backstreets to this ghat. The best time to visit the ghats is at dawn when the river is bathed in a mellow light as pilgrims come to perform puja to the rising sun, and at sunset when the main ganga aarti (river worship ceremony) takes place at Dashashwamedh Ghat. About 80 ghats border the river, but the main group extends from Assi Ghat, near the university, northwards to Raj Ghat, near the road and rail bridge.

Vishwanath Temple

KV_temple_newThere are temples at almost every turn in Varanasi, but this is the most famous of the lot. It is dedicated to Vishveswara – Shiva as lord of the universe. The current temple was built in 1776 by Ahalya Bai of Indore; the 800kg of gold plating on the tower and dome was supplied by Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore 50 years later.The area is full of soldiers because of security issues and communal tensions. Bags, cameras, mobile phones, pens or any other electronic device must be deposited in lockers (₹20) before you enter the alleyway it’s in. Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple itself.

Ganges Boat Trips

P1020734A dawn rowing boat ride along the Ganges is a quintessential Varanasi experience. The early-morning light is particularly inspiring, and all the colour and clamour of pilgrims bathing and performing puja unfolds before you. An hour-long trip south from Dashashwamedh Ghat to Harishchandra Ghat and back is popular, but be prepared to see a burning corpse at Harishchandra. Early evening is also a good time to be on the river, when you can light a lotus flower candle and set it adrift on the water before watching the nightly ganga aarti ceremony (7pm) at Dashashwamedh Ghat directly from the boat.

Sarnath

Sarnath StupaBuddha came to Sarnath to preach his message of the middle way to nirvana after he achieved enlightenment at Bodhgaya and gave his famous first sermon here. In the 3rd century BC emperor Ashoka had magnificent stupas and monasteries erected here as well as an engraved pillar. When Chinese traveller Xuan Zang dropped by in AD 640, Sarnath boasted a 100m-high stupa and 1500 monks living in large monasteries. However, soon after, Buddhism went into decline and, when Muslim invaders sacked the city in the late 12th century, Sarnath disappeared altogether. It was ‘rediscovered’ by British archaeologists in 1835.Today it’s one of the four important sites on the Buddhist circuit (along with Bodhgaya, Kushinagar and Lumbini in Nepal) and attracts followers from around the world, especially on Purnima (or, informally, Buddha’s birthday), when Buddha’s life, death and enlightenment are celebrated, usually in April or May.

Mulagandhakuti Vihara

P1020790There are a number of twentieth century Buddhist temples in Sarnath. Many of these Buddhist temples at Sarnath are built and maintained by monks from Tibet, China and Japan but the main Buddhist temple is the Mulagandhakuti Vihar. The main shrine (vihara), called the Mulagandakuti, is said to be located at the place where Buddha used to stay during his visits to Sarnath. Inside are beautiful frescoes depicting the life of Buddha.

 

May 072014
 

Amritsar literally translates as ‘amrit ka sar-ovar’, the lake of the holy nectar. It was founded by Guru Ram Das in 1574. Situated on the north-west edge of Punjab (the land of five rivers), it was declared a holy city by the British during their rule in 1915. It is most famous for the Golden Temple, the Sikh community’s holiest shrine and the temple complex is actually a city within a city. This is India’s most visited landmark attracting thousands of pilgrims and visitors every day. As well as admiring the supreme beauty of the Golden Temple, the complex is very much a functioning community and the vast communal kitchens producing around 10,000 meals per day to feed the hungry are fascinating. Other points of interest in and around Amritsar are Jallianwala Bagh, site of the infamous massacre that took place in 1919, and the bizarre border ceremony at Wagah just 29km from Amritsar.

  • Golden Temple

    Golden Temple

  • Golden Temple Complex

    Golden Temple Complex

  • Sikh Pilgrims

    Sikh Pilgrims

  • Visitors come from all over India

    Visitors come from all over India

  • Feeding the hungry

    Feeding the hungry

  • Holy Dip

    Holy Dip

  • Volunteers preparing chapati

    Volunteers preparing chapati

  • Chapati making

    Chapati making

  • Holy Guy

    Holy Guy

  • Golden Temple

    Golden Temple

  • Colourful cart

    Colourful cart

  • The Golden Temple is the centre of the Sikh community

    The Golden Temple is the centre of the Sikh community

  • Entrance to Durgiana Temple

    Entrance to Durgiana Temple

  • Golden Temple

    Golden Temple

  • Jalliawala Bagh

    Jalliawala Bagh

  • Headscarves for sale

    Headscarves for sale

Key Facts


Location: Amritsar is located in the state of Punjab, North West India

Getting there: Amritsar has a small, modern airport and can be reached by direct international flight with Gulf Air or a 50 minutes domestic flight from Delhi.

Landscape: The vast plains and plentiful supply of water thanks to the 5 rivers that flow through the Punjab, make this region extremely fertile. The principle crops are wheat in the winter and rice in the summer, producing more than half the supply grown in India.

Food: Amritsar is famous for kulcha, a local thin bread made with chick pea flour resembling puff pastry and stuffed with a variety of fillings. We had chole kulcha, a mix of potato and onions, served with chick pea gravy and tamarind chili chutney. All washed down with sweet lassi – delicous!

Festivals: April sees the celebration of harvest festival known as Baisakhi.

When to go: The best time to visit is from October to March when temperatures are cooler. During the hot summer months, sightseeing will be organised to avoid the hottest part of the day. This normally entails early morning and late afternoon excursions, allowing time for rest during the middle of the day. The evening temperature during the summer is very pleasant.

Things to see


Golden Temple

Golden TempleHarmandir Sahib, popularly known as the Golden Temple, is the most important and sacred shrine of the Sikh faith. It is the only place of worship in the world where the sanctum is located in a tank. Its four doors open in four directions signifying that it is open to everyone without any distinction made on caste, colour, creed or community. The temple walls are aesthetically decorated with wall paintings and its upper floor, Sheesh Mahal, has exquisite ceiling inlaid with small pieces of mirror and precious stones. The Golden Temple exhibits a harmonious blend of Mughal and Rajput traditions of architecture.
The ‘night palki’ ceremony is worth a mention where the Granth Sahib, the holy book, is carried across on a palaquin from the shrine to the Akal Takht. The reflection of the gold on the water, the heavenly chanting and the blowing of trumpets and beating of drums is quite an experience.

Jallianwala Bagh

P1020508About 200 meters from the Golden Temple is the historic icon Jallianwala Bagh. It is here that India’s freedom struggle reached a turning point on April 13, 1919. General Reginald Dyer with his troop of soldiers stormed a peaceful ground and opened fire on 2,000 unarmed civilians causing a massacre. A section of the wall marked with bullets has been preserved as also has the shallow well in which many people jumped to escape the firing. At the farthest end of the Bagh lies the Martyr’s Memorial built in the shape of an eternal flame.

Gurdwara Baba Atal Sahib And Shahidganj Baba Deep Singh Gurdwara 

Gurdwara Baba Atal Sahib And Shahidganj Baba Deep Singh GurdwaraA little further from the Golden Temple, a beautiful octagonal tower over 45 meters in height, commemorates the birth of the 9 year old son of Guru Hargobind, the sixth Guru. Nine storeys represent the nine years of his life. The doors on the ground floor where Guru Granth Sahib is seated are adorned with impressive designs on silver and brass sheets. It has some beautiful murals on the walls of the second and third floors.

Durgiana Temple

P1020581An interesting smaller replica of the Golden Temple named after the Goddess Durga. The main doors to the temple feature impressive decoration in silver whilst inside, elaborate mirror work adorns the ceiling. You won’t find queues of people here, so worth a quick visit.

Mata Lal Devi

lal-devi-mandirThe temple is to the northwest of the railway station and has shrines featuring Hindu Deities.

Hall Bazaar

P1020576The Walled City or the Old City is popularly known as Hall Bazaar.  Just as the name suggests it is an assortment of shops on the ground floor and homes above. Just as the name suggests it is a bagful of shops on the ground floor and homes above. Lined along the streets, within narrow galis and lanes, each katra (area) has its own speciality. Guru Bazaar, Mai Sewan Bazaar, Katra Jaimal Singh sell a paraphernalia of jewellery, clothes, textiles while Bartan Bazaar sells all sorts of utensils and Katra Sher Singh sells tea. Behind the Golden Temple is the Papad-Wadian market, a blend of wholesale and retail merchandise. The Punjabi jutis (footwear), ladies salwar-kameez (especially the Patiala salwar), shawls & stoles, woollens and the traditional local craft – phulkari are popular buys.

Wagah Border

p1020587Also known as the window to Pakistan, the Wagah Border, along the erstwhile Grand Trunk Road, is a joint Indo-Pak check post located about 29 km from Amritsar at Atari. The Lowering of Flags Ceremony, better known as the Retreat, is like a high energy theatrical production which runs non-stop 365 days a year. The half-an-hour ceremony is a matter of pride and prestige for the armed forces for both the countries. Synchronised foot stamping, gate slamming and the exaggerated fiesta of melodrama displayed is beyond bizarre.

 

Places to Stay


Ranjit’s Svaasa Heritage Hotel, Amritsar

p1020497A great option in Amritsar if you like your hotels oozing with character and personality. Ranjit’s Svaasa is a family owned 250 year old haveli (mansion) located in the heart of the city and around 4 km from the Golden Temple. No two rooms are alike but all are spacious with antique furnishings and modern bathrooms. A number of pretty outdoor spaces for relaxing and dining add to the charm of the property.

Hyatt, Amritsar

PoolFor those who prefer modern, stylish hotels to heritage properties, this is the best place to stay in Amritsar in our opinion. It is also the closest hotel to the Golden Temple complex which is only 10 minutes drive away. The 5 star Hyatt Amritsar offers luxury accommodation and facilities. I was particularly impressed by the outdoor areas at this hotel; a fabulous swimming and vitality pool area with huge lounging deck and day beds as well as an outdoor dining terrace.

Holiday Inn, Amritsar

Swimming poolIdeally located in the commercial district of Amritsar, the Holiday Inn is very close to a number of restaurants and bars. The fabulous Kulcha Land is also located right opposite the hotel and we recommend you visit here to try Amritsar’s famous kulcha, a warm, thin almost pastry like bread stuffed with a variety of fillings and washed down with lassi. A modern hotel, with stylish rooms and a number of eating options, all at a reasonable price, make this an attractive option for your stay in Amritsar.

Citrus County, Hoshiarpur, Punjab

Inside Luxury TentLocated in the Punjab countryside amidst 75 acres of orchards and plantations, Citrus County is a simple yet stylish rural farmstay comprising of nine luxury tents and three guest suites in the main farmhouse. A great option if you would like to combine a visit to Amritsar with some time in the beautiful Punjab countryside. Join the family in fruit picking during the season (November-February), explore the local village and forests or simply relax by the pool.

 

May 192013
 

Delhi was an important place for the Mughals, they built palaces and forts here and had the walled city built from 1638 to 1649. After the fall of the Mughal empire in 1857 the British moved the capital of India to Calcutta. The British built modern “New Delhi” to the south west of “Old Delhi” which became India’s capital again in 1931.
Modern Delhi is a mixture of several distinct areas, including: Old Delhi with its Mughal monuments and congested bazaars; New Delhi with its wide avenues, grand vistas and colonial mansions; and the Mehrauli Archaeological Park best known for the Qutub Minar.

 

  • Humayuns Tomb from the entrance, Delhi

    Humayuns Tomb from the entrance, Delhi

  • Qutub Minar, Delhi

    Qutub Minar, Delhi

  • Iron Pillar, Delhi

    Iron Pillar, Delhi

  • Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Sikh Temple, Delhi

    Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Sikh Temple, Delhi

  • Sikh Temple Kitchens, Delhi

    Sikh Temple Kitchens, Delhi

  • Red Fort, Delhi

    Red Fort, Delhi

  • Sawan Pavillion - Red Fort, Delhi

    Sawan Pavillion - Red Fort, Delhi

  • Old Delhi

    Old Delhi

  • Lakshmi Narayan Temple, Delhi

    Lakshmi Narayan Temple, Delhi

  • Jama Masjid -  Mosque, Delhi

    Jama Masjid - Mosque, Delhi

  • Qutub Minar, Delhi

    Qutub Minar, Delhi

  • Old Delhi

    Old Delhi

  • New Delhi - Secretariat Building

    New Delhi - Secretariat Building

  • Raj Ghat - Mahatma Gandhi's Tomb, Delhi

    Raj Ghat - Mahatma Gandhi's Tomb, Delhi

  • Ghiyath Aldin Tughluq Tomb, Delhi

    Ghiyath Aldin Tughluq Tomb, Delhi

  • India Gate, Delhi

    India Gate, Delhi

  • India Gate, Delhi

    India Gate, Delhi

Things to see

Qutub Minar

qutub_minar_1India’s tallest minar, Qutub Minar (Arabic for pole or axis), marks the site of the first muslim kingdom in northern India. Qutub Minar’s construction started in 1192 and is made of red sandstone and marble: it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The tower has 379 stairs, is 72.5 metres high, and has a base diameter of 14.3 metres, which narrows to 2.7 metres at the top storey.

Iron  Pillar

Iron PillarAlso in the Qutub complex and close to the Minar is a metallurgical curiosity, the 7m high iron pillar. According to the traditional belief, anyone who can encircle the entire column with their arms, while standing with their back against the pillar, can have their wish granted. The amalgamation of different metals with iron produces a high degree of smoothness and has probably prevented any corrosion.

Humayun’s Tomb

800px-Humayun's_Tomb_Angle_ShotA UNESCO World Heritage site completed in 1572. Humayun was the second Mughal Emporer and this is the first example of a Mughal garden tomb. It is clearly an inspiration for later monuments including the Taj Mahal. It is perfectly symmetrical and truly impressive in terms of its size and intricate stone work.

Lakshminarayan temple

Lakshmi Narayan templeThe three-storied temple is built in the northern or style of Hindu temple architecture. The entire temple is adorned with carvings depicting the scenes from Hindu mythology. More than a hundred skilled artisans carved the icons of the temple. The construction of temple dedicated to Laxmi Narayana started in 1933, built by industrialist and philanthropist Baldeo Das Birla. One of the earliertst temples without caste restrictions as requested by Mahatma Gandhi.


India Gate

India GateThe 42 m high India Gate is the national monument of India. Situated in the heart of New Delhi, it was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Originally, a statue of George V, Emperor of India stood under the now vacant canopy in front of the India Gate, but it was removed to Coronation Park together with a number of other British Raj-era statues. Following India’s independence, the India Gate became the site of the Indian Army’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.


Raj Ghat

Raj Ghat - Mahatma Gandhi's tombRaj Ghat is a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi.  It is a simple black marble platform, often draped with garlands of orange marigolds, that marks the spot of Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation, on 31 January 1948, a day after his assassination. It is left open to the sky while an eternal flame burns perpetually at one end.


Chandni chowk

Old DelhiChandni Chowk or “Moonlit Square”, dates back to the foundation of the city of Shahjahanabad when the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan established the Red Fort on the banks of the River Yamuna beside his newly founded capital city of Shahjahanabad. Even though today Chandni Chowk appears choked with religious and commercial activity, it retains its historical character and is the heart of old Dehli. Built in the 17th century, the market was once divided by canals for water supply and to reflect the moonlight.


Red Fort

Red FortThe Red Fort derives its name from the extensive use of red sandstone on the massive walls that surround the fort. The Moghal Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned the construction of the Red Fort in 1638 when he decided to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi. The fortress palace was an important focal point of the medieval city of Shahjahanabad (present day Old Delhi). It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.


Gurdwara Bangla Sahib

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib - Sikh templeGurdwara Bangla Sahib is the most prominent Sikh Gurdwara, or Sikh house of worship, in Delhi. All people, regardless of race or religion may eat in the Gurdwara kitchen, the food having been prepared by a mixture of gursikhs who work there and volunteers.

Itineraries

We organise an itinerary specifically to your requirements. Do as much or as little as you like – the choice is yours. Local English speaking guides will ensure that you make the most of your sightseeing time. A private, air conditioned, chauffeur driven car will transport you between your chosen locations & provides an unforgettable experience in itself!

Click on itinerary title to go to separate detailed itinerary page.

The Golden Triangle

The “Golden Triangle” classically refers to the three “jewels in the northern Indian crown” of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.

The tour starts in Delhi where you will be able to spend a short time seeing the contrasting sites of the New and Old cities before travelling to Agra. Here you will see the indescribable Taj Mahal and the facinating deserted Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri.

This tour concludes in Rajasthan with the vibrant “Pink City” of Jaipur: a city full of captivating ancient palaces and forts,with most of them boasting stunning views and elaborate architecture.

Golden Triangle with Ranthambore

The “Golden Triangle” classically refers to the three “jewels in the northern Indian crown” of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.

The tour starts in Delhi where you will be able to spend a short time seeing the contrasting sites of the New and Old cities before travelling to Agra. Here you will see the indescribable Taj Mahal and the facinating deserted Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri.

This tour includes the Rajasthan highlights of Ranthambore National Park, famous for its tigers, and  the vibrant “Pink City” of Jaipur: a city full of captivating ancient palaces and forts, with most of them boasting stunning views and elaborate architecture.

May 192013
 
Agra is famous for its magnificent Mughal-era buildings; the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort, all three being UNESCO World Heritage sites.

  • Taj Mahal

    Taj Mahal

  • Taj Mahal

    Taj Mahal

  • Fatehpur Sikiri -  Buland Darwaza gate

    Fatehpur Sikiri - Buland Darwaza gate

  • Taj Mahal

    Taj Mahal

  • Taj Mahal - Minoret

    Taj Mahal - Minoret

  • Agra Fort  Diwan-i-am (hall of public audience)

    Agra Fort Diwan-i-am (hall of public audience)

  • Agra Fort  Diwan-i-am (hall of public audience)

    Agra Fort Diwan-i-am (hall of public audience)

  • Agra Fort  Diwan-i-am (hall of public audience)

    Agra Fort Diwan-i-am (hall of public audience)

  • Itimad ud daulah tomb

    Itimad ud daulah tomb

  • Taj Mahal

    Taj Mahal

  • Taj Mahal

    Taj Mahal

  • Taj Mahal sitting in archway

    Taj Mahal sitting in archway

  • Taj Mahal

    Taj Mahal

  • Fatehpur Sikri - The central pillar of Diwan-i-khas

    Fatehpur Sikri - The central pillar of Diwan-i-khas

  • Agra Fort - Marble Detail

    Agra Fort - Marble Detail

  • Fatehpur Sikri

    Fatehpur Sikri

  • Agra Fort

    Agra Fort

  • Agra Fort

    Agra Fort

  • Taj Mahal from Agra Fort

    Taj Mahal from Agra Fort

  • Persian Prince Tomb Taj Mahal

    Persian Prince Tomb Taj Mahal

  • Agra Fort - Jahangir Palace

    Agra Fort - Jahangir Palace

  • Taj Mahal

    Taj Mahal

  • Fatehpur Sikri: Diwan-i-Khas – Hall of Private Audience

    Fatehpur Sikri: Diwan-i-Khas – Hall of Private Audience

  • Fatehpur Sikri

    Fatehpur Sikri

  • Taj Mahal Gate

    Taj Mahal Gate

Things to see

Taj Mahal

Taj MahalThe Taj Mahal is one of the most famous buildings in the world and for good reason. Completed in 1653, the Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal king Shah Jahan as the final resting place for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Finished in marble, it is perhaps India’s most fascinating and beautiful monument. This perfectly symmetrical monument took 22 years (1630–1652) and 20,000 workers, masons and jewellers to build, and is set amidst landscaped gardens. When you visit the Taj Mahal, because of its reputation, you naturally have high expectations. However, I was still blown away by what I saw, and on many levels. The building is so beautiful, both from a distance but also close up when you can see the exquisite details of the inlayed stone work. Its history and architecture are also of great interest.

Agra Fort

Agra-Fort-Diwan-i-Am-Hall-of-Public-Audience-Apr-2004-03Agra fort was built by the Murgal Emperor, Akbar in 1565 on the site of a brick fort dating back to the 11th century. The forbidding exteriors of this fort conceal an inner paradise: a fort on the outside, a palace on the inside. The fort is crescent shaped, flattened on the east with a long, nearly straight wall, facing the river.The fort was the site of a battle during the Indian rebellion of 1857, which caused the end of the British East India Company’s rule in India, and led to a century of direct rule of India by Britain.
There are many interesting buildings within the fort including Diwan I Am (Hall of Public Audience), seen in the image to the left, and the Jahangir Palace.

Fatehpur Sikri

800px-Panoramic_vie_of_Fahpur_Sikri_PalaceThe city was founded in 1569 by the Mughal  Emperor Akbar, and served as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1571 to 1585.  However, this Imperial complex was abandoned in 1585, shortly after its completion, due to a lack of water. Today much of the site, which is spread over a nearly two mile long and one mile wide area, is largely intact and resembles a ghost town.The city is built mainly of locally sources red sandstone decorated with white and black marble. With its 55m high entrance gate, mosques, tombs, public buildings, Turkish baths, wonderful sandstone and marble carvings; it is facinating that such a large and opulent complex has been empty for centuries.

Itimad-ud-daulah’s Tomb

itimad-ud-daulah-tomb-wide.halfOften described as a “jewel box”, sometimes called the “Baby Taj”, the tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah is often regarded as a draft of the Taj Mahal. Along with the main building, the structure consists of numerous outbuildings and gardens. The tomb, built between 1622 and 1628 represents a transition between the first phase of monumental Mughal architecture – primarily built from red sandstone with marble decorations, to its second phase, based on white marble and pietra dura inlay, most elegantly realised in the Taj Mahal.

Itineraries

We organise an itinerary specifically to your requirements. Do as much or as little as you like – the choice is yours. Local English speaking guides will ensure that you make the most of your sightseeing time. A private, air conditioned, chauffeur driven car will transport you between your chosen locations & provides an unforgettable experience in itself!

Click on itinerary title to go to separate detailed itinerary page.

The Golden Triangle

The “Golden Triangle” classically refers to the three “jewels in the northern Indian crown” of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.

The tour starts in Delhi where you will be able to spend a short time seeing the contrasting sites of the New and Old cities before travelling to Agra. Here you will see the indescribable Taj Mahal and the facinating deserted Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri.

This tour concludes in Rajasthan with the vibrant “Pink City” of Jaipur: a city full of captivating ancient palaces and forts,with most of them boasting stunning views and elaborate architecture.

Golden Triangle with Ranthambore

The “Golden Triangle” classically refers to the three “jewels in the northern Indian crown” of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.

The tour starts in Delhi where you will be able to spend a short time seeing the contrasting sites of the New and Old cities before travelling to Agra. Here you will see the indescribable Taj Mahal and the facinating deserted Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri.

This tour includes the Rajasthan highlights of Ranthambore National Park, famous for its tigers, and  the vibrant “Pink City” of Jaipur: a city full of captivating ancient palaces and forts, with most of them boasting stunning views and elaborate architecture.