About Time: You Explored Northern IndiaBy Angelica Malin
The sights, smells and sounds of one of the most buzzing countries in the world, few places awaken the imagination quite like India. As cultural immersions go, the experience of visiting this unique country will stay with you forever.
Where better to start than Delhi, a city that throbs to the beat of its 19 million inhabitants as they go about their day. Be sure to visit the city’s gargantuan mosques, big enough to accommodate 25,000 worshippers, and spend some time people watching at Chandni Chowk, the city’s main bazaar, where you’ll find food, sweets and spices. Why not take a cooking class during your stay? Sure to awaken your taste buds to the many flavour combinations you’ll be sampling over the next few weeks, and something to whip out at your next dinner party.
When you tire of the mayhem of the city, escape to Varanasi, the spiritual capital of India. The city is home to over 2000 temples, and the sacred Ganges river is the location of many ceremonies and rituals. A local guide will decode all this for you and provide fascinating insights into the religious customs and culture of this awe-inspiring place. The town itself backs right onto the river, so hop in a boat to explore fully and take some magical pictures to send home. Check into the Palace On Ganges for some heritage luxury, and indulge in a massage at the hotel spa.
Your next stop is Agra, for the once in a lifetime opportunity to see the Taj Mahal. Surely one of the most famous buildings in the world, this extravagant mausoleum is best viewed first thing in the morning, before the throngs of visitors arrive. Away from the touts and tourism, a community project run by locals offers village tours, to give you an insight into local life and a different perspective on the Taj Mahal. Be sure to sign up.
Onwards to beautiful Jaipur, known as the “Pink City” for the colour of its buildings. Here you can shop to your heart’s content in the city’s famous bazaars, before sampling the local food which is particularly delicious. Be sure to try the Mawa Kachori, a puff pastry dessert filled with pistachios and cream. The highlight of any visit will be a trip to the Jal Mahal, meaning water palace, sunset is particularly spectacular.
Last stop on your Northern India trip, is Jodhpur, a city famed for the blue that adorns the walls of most buildings. Spend a morning getting lost in the winding streets, taking photos of this spectacle, before finding yourself in a cafe for a traditional thali. This is a set meal of six different dishes, designed to offer six different flavours. The city’s fort is worth an afternoon of exploration, it offers incredible architecture, glamorous interiors and beautiful views down over the city.
Arriving back in Delhi for your flight home, you’re sure to be flipping through your photos in amazement at everything you’ve seen and done on your trip, as Northern India cannot fail to impress. If you’re planning a trip to India, then be sure to check out our guide to India’s best luxury restaurants.