Luxury Holidays to North India & Rajasthan
This is the vibrant and colourful heartland of the great Empires and kingdoms ruled by Emperors and the Maharajas who – according to Kipling – were created by Providence to provide mankind with a spectacle!
Here lies the Taj Mahal and other gems of Mughal and Rajput architecture. The diversity of Rajasthan is astounding – not only is it beautiful architecture, from the art deco influences by Le Corbusier to New Delhi which has many buildings and monuments designed by Edwin Lutyens, but desert countryside and nomadic cultures too. This is the India of rich colours, ornate and opulent palaces and gorgeous Royal tented camps. Here are the colourful festivals of Pushkar and Nagaur. There is a miscellany of things to do from camel riding through the Thar desert, meeting local villagers en route and perhaps watching them making the pottery that they use every day to riding on the magnificent Marwari horses whilst staying in Royal tented camps and palaces. Or stay in beautiful havellis, dining with the owners (who may be a descendant of nobility) and where you will, in all likelihood, depart more as friends than just visitors. This is the essence of what we do, arranging for clients to meet and stay with, for instance, a local Maharajah and get briefly immersed in local affairs of note or politics or being at the stunning Royal tented camps. Being thus in the countryside and as far as possible away from mainstream tourism, one sees the harvesting of the crops such as fenugreek or saffron and experiences somtimes magnificent wildlife. The fauna might range from desert adapted species to the wonderful, evocative, magnificent tiger – surely a “must” for every visitor interested in wildlife (and ideally which should be sought in the quieter small parks, of which we have fundamental knowledge). There is also superb winter birding including sightings of Great Indian Bustards and vast flocks of cranes and waterfowl. This is Rajasthan although one can only offer a glimpse and there is so much more than merely the usually visited so-called Golden Triangle.
Further north there is a whole different feel and setting – and plenty to interest the most jaded traveller! The Golden Temple at Amritsar, the colourful border ceremony with Pakistan, the avian treasures of Harike are all noted highlights but we also love to plan itineraries that include more specialised requirements and have the expertise to arrange for almost any request……
North India and Rajasthan – Highlights
- The Taj Mahal at dawn and a host of magnificent Mughal and Rajput monuments including the superbly restored abandoned Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri.
- Some of the finest wildlife reserves like Keoladeo Ghana (Bharatpur) bird sanctuary, the Chambal River Crocodile sanctuary with it’s wild scenery and wealth of birdlife, Gangetic dolphins and rare fish-eating gharial crocodiles; and of course Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve.
- Incredibly evocative and beautifully converted heritage hotels in forts, palaces and mansions like Ramathra, Samode, Shahpura, Devigarh and many more.
- Riding safaris through fascinating desert and hill country where you interact with age-old nomadic shepherds, traditional conservation-oriented farmers like the Bishnoi (featured in the Human Planet) and watch desert wildlife including vast flocks of wintering cranes.
- The swirl of colours that envelope Rajasthani women and the bright turbans of the menfolk.
- The incredible silence of the deep desert on a camel safari.
- The virile soaring music of desert musicians.
- The opulent Palace on Wheels and other luxury trains that re-create the elegance and style of Princely India.
- The splendour of desert cities like Bundi, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Nagaur dominated by their great citadels.
- Ten thousand people being fed every day in the Golden Temple at Amritsar.
- Delicate and unique hand printed textiles and finely knotted carpets.
- Classical dance, music, sumptuous cuisine and BOLLYWOOD shows.
- The eternal city of Varanasi: microcosm of all that makes India; India – good, bad, ugly and beautiful. Abode of the God Shiva; the holiest in Hinduism.