One of the oldest civilisations in the world, India is a mosaic of multicultural experiences. With a rich heritage and myriad attractions, the country is among the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It covers an area of 32, 87,263 sq. km, extending from the snow-covered Himalayan heights to the tropical rain forests of the south. As the 7th largest country in the world, India stands apart from the rest of Asia, marked off as it is by mountains and the sea, which give the country a distinct geographical entity.
The Capital – Delhi:
The capital city of Delhi bears witness to generations of rule and cultural cross-fertilization. Delhi’s history stretches back over 3,000 years, with monuments of this extended history throughout the city. The Red Fort is one of the primary Moghul masterpieces, a self-contained city of palaces, dance halls, and meeting places. Nearby, the Jama Masjid is India’s largest mosque, with 25,000 worshippers filling the courtyard each Friday. Visit Raj Ghat, the site of Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation: a highly informative and captivating museum documents the Mahatma’s life through photographs and personal mementos, which provide a unique insight into India’s history. A walk down Rajpath towards India Gate or Parliament House displays the unique imagination of Sir Edward Lutyens, the architect who combined British Imperial style with archetypal Moghul style to create this unforgettable testimony to India’s modern democratic history. Connaught Circus and Janpath are the heart of New Delhi’s commercial sector, perfect for souvenir shopping. Nearby, the Jantar Mantar is a huge 250-year-old observatory, whose timekeeping is as
The Taj Mahal – Memories of love:
No visit to India is complete without a journey to Agra. The Taj Mahal is one of those extremely rare creations: an image so often seen in photographs and media, yet still imbued with a fresh, awesome power when one sees it in reality. Shah Jahan’s sublime testament to his departed wife, Mumtaz Mahal, is a marvel of marble and precious inlay. Visit it at sunrise and sunset to see the effects of differing lights. While in Agra, also visit some of the other sights of the city: Itm-Ud-Daulah, designed by Nur Jahan, the most powerful woman in Moghul history, and Agra Fort, where Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son, Aurangzeb. A few miles outside of Agra is the abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri, built by the Emperor Akbar, but abandoned due to water shortages. This enchanting, atmospheric site is often used as a stage set for Hindi films.
The land of Forts, Palaces and Cultural Traditions:
For many visitors, the western desert state of Rajasthan is the archetypal India: broad sweeping desert landscapes, punctuated by imposing forts and castles. Men in turbans lead camels through markets, while women in heavy silver bangles and bold printed skirts balance towering loads on their heads. Jaipur is known as “The Pink City” for its use of soft pink sandstone. The City Palace is a treasure trove of wildly painted reception halls, and doors decorated with vividly painted peacocks and abstract designs of pure bold color. Nearby, the Palace of Winds reminds visitors of a wedding cake, its finely tooled stonework a marvel of masonry. Just outside Jaipur is the town of Amber, known for its massive fortress. Its walls are covered in Moghul style mosaics. Wander through the town, with its wealth of temples and ruins.