India’s largest city, Delhi, has been one of the country’s commercial and economic hubs for centuries and, as a result, is incredibly rich in culture and history. Made up of the ancient walled city of Old Delhi and the more modern sector, New Delhi, the city encompasses a staggering array of beautiful architecture, notable monuments and age-old temples, including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the Red Fort, Qutab Minar and Humayun’s Tomb. Other key attractions include the 17th century Chandni Chowk marketplace – still one of the city’s most popular retail centres today, particularly for jewellery and traditional Indian saris; the iconic Bahà’i Lotus Temple – an award-winning architectural gem; and the Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque.
Home of the world-famous Taj Mahal, Agra is one of India’s prime tourist destinations for specifically this reason, though its attractions also extend to an array of other impressive historical sights. These include the red-hued Agra Fort, the sacred Jama Masjid mosque and Itmad-ud-Daulah’s tomb, with its white marble facade embellished with intricate inlaid designs and semi-precious gems. The Taj, however, is in a league of its own and needless to say is a must-see for any visitor to the city. Commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the 15th century as a memorial to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, it is an architectural masterpiece of exquisite craftsmanship and perfect proportions.
Fringed by the rugged Aravali Hills, Jaipur is the capital and largest city in India’s northern state of Rajasthan. This city is famed for being India’s first planned city featuring a multitude of pink terracotta buildings within the walled historic centre, earning it the nickname,’The Pink City’. Jaipur falls within the Golden Triangle, a popular tourist circuit, which includes Delhi, Jaipur and Agra, and serves as a gateway to the neighbouring desert cities of Jaisalmer and Jodhpur. This colourful city is a combination of tradition and modernity and offers visitors vibrant bazaars, lavish palaces and ancient temples. The salmon-hued old city is home to the opulent City Palace, encompassing an impressive assortment of palatial structures, sprawling gardens, courtyards and buildings. Don’t miss the fairy-tale splendour of the Amber Fort, set against the backdrop of the arid landscape.
Ranthambore National Park
Located in the Sawai Madhopur district, the Ranthambore National Park, in the western state of Rajasthan, is one of the most visited wildlife parks in India. Spanning over an impressive 1300-square-kilometer stretch of wilderness, the park’s outstanding natural beauty is characterized by its dense jungle, golden savanna, dramatic cliffs and lotus-filled lakes. Considered the best spot to catch a glimpse of tigers in the wild, the park offers visitors a spellbounding combination of mystical temples, wild beauty and crumbling ruins. While the main attraction is undoubtedly the elusive Bengal tiger, the park provides a sanctuary for other wildlife including, among others: sambar, gazelle, caracal, black buck, crocodile, chital, wild boars and a wide array of birds. Don’t miss the ancient Ranthambore Fort, perched high on the cliffs overlooking the vast expanse of this spectacular park.
The thriving metropolis of Mumbai is a go-to destination for travellers curious to experience a modern Indian city. Lapped by the Arabian Sea, this urban seaside peninsula is a melting pot of old and new India. Towering office blocks and shiny apartment buildings shoulder crumbling grand dames of architecture. Men play cricket in the leafy central parks, taxis navigate the jam packed streets and families stroll along the seaside promenades of Mumbai, while kilometres away children beg on the peripheries of Asia’s biggest slum. In the wide avenue of Colaba’s high street, western culture overshadows the brightly lit storefronts, where Levi’s, Adidas and McDonalds vie for retail space.