Wing your way to New Delhi and the wonder that is India. After a comfortable rest, begin your tour with a view of the Parliament, India Gate and President’s House. Continue on to “Old Delhi” for a stroll through the Red Fort and to visit the Jama Masjid Mosque, where a call to prayer pervades the nearby cart lanes of the Chandi Chowk Bazaar. End your day with a view of the Bahi Temple and a visit to the Sikh Temple, where your welcome will be warm and genuine.
Fly across the plains en route to Udaipur. Enjoy an evening boat ride on the lake, passing the summer palaces and scores of washerwomen on the ghats, dramatically providing both a scenic and comparative venue of present day India. A morning visit to the City Palace offers a most brilliant display of colorful “Pichwai,” the fine miniature paintings made famous by Indian artisans. Continue on your journey to the land of Bhatti princes and the ancient city of Jaisalmer. The oldest and one of the more beautiful capital cities of Rajasthan, Jaisalmer will captivate you with its many natural and man-made wonders. Your exploration of Jaisalmer Fort leads you to one of the greatest highlights of your visit at the Jain Temples. They provide yet another facet of India’s religious complexity. Enjoy a stroll within the fort, with each narrow passage full of colorful sights and friendly inhabitants offering their personal welcome.
A morning drive across the desert highway brings you to Jodhpur and the brilliance of the stately Umaid Bhawan Palace. Visit the Meherangarh Fort, situated at nearly 400 feet above the city. Continue the pleasure of your stay with a visit to the Beshnois villages, where you will meet with tribesmen dedicated to the preservation of their natural habitat and social mores. Travel to Rohet Garth, an oasis in the desert where you will be the welcomed guests of the descendants of the first rulers who sat on the Rohet throne.
Wing your way to the “Pink City” of Jaipur, which boasts influences of Hindu, Jain, Mughal and Persian in its architectural scheme. Your day begins with a visit to Amber Fort, one of India’s most beautifully preserved relics. A visit to the “Wind Palace” and the city spice market completes your day. Excitement mounts as you travel toward the Ranthambhore Tiger Sanctuary, where you will begin your hunt and capture, by photo or in memory, of the awe-inspiring and elusive Bengal Tiger. The park provides the traveler with an excellent opportunity for sighting a Bengal Tiger – a thrill beyond comparison.
Begin your day with a drive across the countryside to visit the ancient capital city of Fetephur Sikri. This magnificent complex is made of sandstone and remains remarkably intact within its desert habitat. Continue on to Agra, site for the Taj Mahal. Begun in 1632 by Shah Jahan as a symbol of love for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, it took the work of over 20,000 laborers to complete the project. Visit the Taj at sunrise, during the day and again at sunset – each a completely different experience.
A morning flight takes you to the city of Khajuraho, where you will find the exhilarating, exotic sculptures of the Chandela Dynasty. It is here at Khajuraho where your guide will slow the pace to a step and a story as he walks you through the many sandstone temples and shrines. Continue the next morning to Varanasi, one of the holiest of Indian cities. Your day begins along the narrow streets of the city to the “Ghats,” the steps leading to the river Ganges. The boatman quietly rows his vessel along the banks of the river as you bear witness to the hundreds of worshippers who come to pay their respects and to celebrate the birth of a new dawn. Thereafter, return to New Delhi to prepare for your departure homeward, filled with an assortment of precious memories to recall over a lifetime.
Travelers to India enjoy world-class accommodations; many former palaces have been renovated into modern hotels. Gorgeous hand-crafted carvings, paintings, and textiles make your stay a treat for the senses. Strike out from your luxurious surroundings to explore one of the most fascinating cultures on Earth.
India is a richly diverse country, comprised of 22 states and the region of Kashmir. It supports a population of nearly one billion. Despite more than fifty years as a democratic nation, Indian states still retain their unique cultural and religious heritage.
Hinduism is the main religion, followed by eighty percent of Indians. It is considered the world's oldest organized religion; a complex belief system of three main gods who manifest in thousands of incarnations. India's religious tolerance has allowed a variety of other religions to flourish, including Christianity, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism, Islam, and Sikhism.
The echoes of British colonialism still can be felt in the structure of the Indian civil-service bureaucracy, as well as the architecture of Colonial-era buildings.
Primarily an agrarian society, with most of the population living in abject poverty, India is a country of striking contrasts. A few wealthy families maintain a stranglehold on trade, profiting by forcing India's inhabitants to purchase their comparatively expensive and shoddy goods. It is only in the past few decades, as cosmopolitan and technology-embracing cities like New Delhi and Bangalore have blossomed, that a middle-class has begun to emerge.
Even as India is poised to embrace the future, it still preserves the ornamented treasures and artwork of its past. Overpowering in detail and meticulous craftsmanship, these man-made wonders astound and delight. The Taj Mahal, created by the toil of twenty-thousand laborers over a span of two decades, is alone worth the trip.
Come to India to relax, and enjoy a slower pace at all levels of society. Drink in a rich cultural heritage that has evolved over nearly ten thousand years of history: from Indus Valley and the Vedics, through British Colonialism and Mahatma Gandhi's fight for independence, and into the Information Age.
As many an Indian will advise: please come to listen, not to preach; come to witness, not to judge; and most importantly, allow India to change you, rather than try to change India.