Our trip to India was an all-out assault on the senses. Whether it be on the roads, at the sights or in the markets, it appeared that chaos reigned supreme. Throngs of beggars, hawkers, near-naked holy men, businesspeople, tourists and children surrounded us. Yet, amid this cacophony some of the globe’s most majestic and historical sights emerged.
Our Land of the Raj itinerary provided a wonderful introduction to India as destination while at the same time being perfect for those who were returning. We began in Delhi — which had an energy and colour created over hundreds, if not thousands of years. Old Delhi is laced by a maze of narrow lanes filled with everything you might imagine and more — including wedding bazaars, spice markets and graceful architecture and out rickshaw trip through the area gave us an opportunity to see it all up-close and personal. New Delhi by contrast was created by the British and is home to numerous colonial structures, magnificent buildings and wide boulevards laid according to the master plans of the architects of the time. Highlights of our visit to New Delhi included the Tomb of Humayun and victory tower Qutub Minar.
From Delhi we journeyed to Agra, best known as the location of the Taj Mahal, the single most important sight for a visitor to India. Though millions of pictures have been taken of it, none do it justice. Every detail was absorbing, from the classical gardens and the reflecting pool to the elaborate patterns of semiprecious stones embedded in the white marble.
We then moved on to Jaipur — a city where royalty still resides in the grandeur of its palaces and where fighting for the honour of your family appears a way of life. It is also the place where we received a welcome fit for a king. Elephants, camels and horses were accompanied by musicians, dancers and acrobats. WOW!!! Other highlights here were the Amber Fort, the City Palace and the early 18th century Jantar Manatar Observatory.
Our next stop was Jodhpur – a city dominated by an imposing fort sitting almost 400ft above the surrounding village. Considered by many to be the finest in Rajasthan the Mehrangarh Fort has a massive and rugged exterior containing a number of delicately latticed and decorated palaces. Our itinerary also included a rickshaw ride through the Old City bazaars, noted for their craft stores selling silver jewellery, lacquer ware and tie-dyed fabrics.
The last destination on our Land of the Royals itinerary is Udaipur — sitting majestically on the shores of Lake Pichola. It presents an enchanting landscape of man-made lakes and gentle hills, dotted with fairy-tale palaces. Known as the Venice of the East, Udaipur is renowned for its palaces including the City Palace and the Lake Palace. A sunset cruise on the last night will precede our Farewell Dinner — a night that is sure to be long remembered.
We are proud to have again partnered with the team at Inspiration India for this project. We have collaborated with them previously on a number of conferences and once again they proved why they have been recognised by the by the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) as having run the Best Destination-Based Experiential Travel Program held anywhere in the world during 2014/2015.