Rajasthan, Varanasi & the North Holidays
A world of colour, splendour and spectacle awaits visitors to Rajasthan, India's largest and most romantic state, while Varanasi, one of the world's oldest cities residing beside the banks of the revered River Ganges, is rightly regarded as the religious heart of India.
With its wild desert scenery, illustrious hilltop forts, pastel-coloured cities and outstanding cultural sights, all outlined against a rich speckled countryside, Rajasthan is India at it's vivid best. Within easy reach of Delhi, an exploration of the "Land of the Kings", is perfect for both first time and returning visitors to India.
The bustling capital Jaipur is renowned globally for its coloured gems and is one of the three corners of India's golden triangle (Delhi, Agra & Jaipur) and has a plethora of stately palaces and ancient forts to explore. An hour's drive from Jaipur is Samode, and in particular, the Samode Palace Hotel. Once home to Samode's ruling family and now painstakingly restored, it is a celebration of wonderful architecture on a grand scale underlined by contemporary luxury. The magnificent Ranthambore National Park is just under three hours drive from Jaipur. Regarded as India's premier tiger reserve, take a safari in the hope of catching a glimpse of this elusive striped feline.
Often referred to as the 'Venice of the East', the lake city of Udaipur is known as the centre for performing arts and crafts, however the famous Lake Palace, located in the middle of Lake Pichola, is easily one of the cities most picturesque sights.
Jodhpur is popularly known as the Blue City, a name clearly befitting as most of the architecture – forts, palaces, temples, havelis and even houses are a rich shade of blue. A delightful blend of the modern and traditional, Jodhpur's most notable landmarks include Mehrangarh Fort, the Royal Cenotaphs and the whimsical Jaswant Thada.
In the golden city of Jaisalmer, which lies in close proximity to the Thar Desert, the Jaisalmer Fort is the most prominent landmark, which as well as being a tourist attraction, houses shops, hotels and ancient havelis where generations continue to live.
The holy city of Varanasi is located in the south eastern part of Uttar Pradesh in northern India. The city is more than 3,000 years old and famous as the city of temples and thanks to its situation on the left bank of the River Ganges, it is one of the seven sacred spots for Hindus. Every devout Hindu hopes to visit the city at least once in a lifetime, or even after life, as it is considered the holiest place to be cremated. Take a boat ride and enjoy the sight of pilgrims submerging themselves in the holy waters from the ghats (embankments). Other fascinating sights in and around Varanasi include Sarnath, where it is believed Buddha delivered his first sermon; Ramnagar Fort and Museum; Chunar Fort; and the magnificent Vishwanath Temple.
An hour's flight from Varanasi is Khajuraho, a small town with a beautiful mountain backdrop known for its sandstone temples, which date back to the 10th century and are meticulously adorned with erotic sculptures. They provide an uninhibited peek into ancient Hindu faith as well as celebrating love, life and worship.
- Atmospheric cities
- Historic landmarks
- Beautiful vistas
- Tranquil lakes and palaces
- Stunning palace hotels
- Sacred River Ganges
- Captivating culture