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NORTH india

There are few places on earth like India. An explosion of colors, sounds and contrasts. The irony of an elephant traffic jam, contrasting with the opulence of the palaces and forts, its energy is undeniably contagious.  Travel through India with an open mind and you’ll marvel at the assault on all your senses; from your first glimpse of a tiger in the wild to the colorful saris and striking red Rabari turbans, from the sound of the incessant blaring of car horns in Delhi to the quiet silence of the snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas, from the lush tranquil backwaters and tropical beaches of Kerala in the south, to the wind-swept deserts of Rajasthan. India is a huge and varied country, so our advice to first-timers would be to take on a manageable chunk and do it justice, with the understanding that you’ll be back for more …

NORTH india ~ the bespoke to do list

  • Visit the walled city of Jodhpur during the International Folk Festival and take in a few live performances from fantastic local artists in a sublime setting of Mehrangarh Fort.
• A tiger safari in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve and a leopard safari into the beautiful and lesser known area of Jawai, both in Rajasthan
• Visit the Sujan Jawai Leopard Camp for your chance to see leopards in the wild
• Experience the real Himalayas with Shakti on a private walking journey
• Stay at The Ultimate Traveling Camp in Ladhak and participate in morning prayers at the Thiksey Monastery
• White water rafting down the Indus River where both rivers meet 

AGRA & the taj mahal | DELHI | Jaipur | Rajasthan | udaipur | ranthambore | varanasi | Johdpur | Jaisalmer

DELHI

Delhi has been built, invaded and colonized by global powers throughout history, including central Asian invaders, the Mughal dynasty and, most recently, the British Empire. Today, this historic city is now the capital of India, and with 12.5 million people, the second largest urban area in India after Mumbai; in contrast to that upstart’s glitzy, fast-paced Bollywood lifestyle, Delhi, the seat of government, is decidedly more traditional. Sari clad women, flower markets, imposing architecture and treasured temples: all the nuances of India are on show in Delhi. Often seen as just a transit hub, it’s definitely worth investing some time here… See details

AGRA & THE TAJ MAHAL

Known globally as the home of the ultimate testament to love, the inimitable Taj Mahal, the story of Agra begins much earlier than the construction of this extraordinary monument. Capital of the Mughal Empire, during the 16th and 17th centuries, Agra is home to some of the finest architectural achievements of this remarkable dynasty. As such, it forms the third apex of the Golden Triangle, a popular itinerary that takes in some of India’s famed architectural highlights. Agra is situated along the banks of the Yamuna River and most of its historical monuments overlook this waterway. It is home to three World Heritage Sites; The Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and the nearby Fatehpur Sikri. 

DARJEELING

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural tea heritage of India in picturesque Darjeeling, a spectacular region of plantations established in the 1860s. A visit to a local plantation, to learn about the tea making and growing process is an absolute must during your stay, with a selection of prominent estates, such as Glenburn, offering not only tours but heavenly little places to stay. Darjeeling is also well-known for the Toy Train, a narrow-gauge railway formally known as the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (a UNESCO World Heritage Suite). 

JAIPUR

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural tea heritage of India in picturesque Darjeeling, a spectacular region of plantations established in the 1860s. A visit to a local plantation, to learn about the tea making and growing process is an absolute must during your stay, with a selection of prominent estates, such as Glenburn, offering not only tours but heavenly little places to stay. Darjeeling is also well-known for the Toy Train, a narrow-gauge railway formally known as the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (a UNESCO World Heritage Suite). 

UDAIPUR 

The northern state of Rajasthan is home to some of India’s most well-known and frequently visited cities. Meaning ‘Land of Kings’, the landscape is littered with magnificent forts and palaces. From the state capital of Jaipur and the Blue City of Jodhpur to the serene lakes of Udaipur and the dusty dunes of the Thar desert, Rajasthan is one of the most culturally rich pockets of India. See details

 

RANTHAMBHORE NATIONAL PARK 

Tucked between the rugged Aravalli and Vindhya hills, the Ranthambhore National Park boasts a spectacular landscape filled with boulder-strewn highland plateaus, lakes and rivers – dotted with old forts and abandoned mosques – creating a wonderful atmosphere for both bird and mammal viewing. Ranthambore is perhaps most famous for being one of the original ‘Project Tiger’ reserves and it still affords one of the best opportunities anywhere in India of seeing a tiger. At the centre of the park lie the ruins of the 10th to 16th century Ranthambhore Fort, which dominates the leafy forests from its perch atop a dramatic rocky outcrop. 

VARANASI 

The north is home to the holy cities of Varanasi, Rishikesh and Amritsar, and few who come here fail to be touched by their spirituality. .. Called the “oldest living city on Earth”, Varanasi is the holiest city of both the Hindu and Jain faiths. A collection of rambling alleyways and crowded streets leading to the ghats, or steps, on the banks of the Ganges, Varanasi was said to have been founded by Shiva himself. Indeed, the very ghats on which Varanasi was built are tirthas, or holy sites of pilgrimages; the devout believe that such tirthas are where believers can wash themselves of their sins and commune with the gods. Today, Varanasi is a chaotic, vibrant mix of pilgrims, merchants, priests, and, of course, curious visitors, all of whom seek to tap into the energy that pulses through this ancient city. See details

JODHPUR 

The northern state of Rajasthan is home to some of India’s most well-known and frequently visited cities. Meaning ‘Land of Kings’, the landscape is littered with magnificent forts and palaces. From the state capital of Jaipur and the Blue City of Jodhpur to the serene lakes of Udaipur and the dusty dunes of the Thar desert, Rajasthan is one of the most culturally rich pockets of India. 

JAISALMAR

With bright colored turbans and caparisoned camels, the dusty echoes of the Thar Desert, and an ancient fortress shimmering with pride, Jaisalmer is an Arabian fantasy come true. If you’re visiting India’s Golden City you’ll discover the history behind the ancient walls and experience the beautiful culture of the desert state of Rajasthan. We’ve curated list of the best sights and activities in Jaisalmer.

KERALA

The Worlds away from the busy northern states, the south is somewhere to catch your breath. Kerala, affectionately known as God’s Own Country, is a lush and verdant state, one of emerald green waterways and coconut groves, and home to the wonderfully colonial town of Fort Cochin. While away your days on a houseboat, gliding along the network of canals and rivers, then discover laid-back beaches while listening to the rustle of palm trees and the sound of the ocean as it laps against the shore… 

LADAHK

The region of Ladakh stretches along the northern border of India, covering the snow-capped peaks of the Himalaya Mountains. Boasting magnificent mountain panoramas as well as clear cobalt lakes, it is an area of stark natural beauty. Known as Little Tibet or the Roof of the World, Ladakh has its own fascinating culture and identity. Heavily influence by Tibetan Buddhism, picturesque monasteries and whitewashed stupas, or monuments, dramatically cling rocky outcrops or balance over steep precipices. Colourful prayer flags flutter in the wind, while prayer wheels decorate important landmarks and intersections. This dramatic and seemingly barren mountain landscape is home to a number of endangered species, the best known of which is the shy and elusive snow leopard. Traditional festivals take place at a number of Ladakh’s bigger cities and monasteries, featuring colourful local costumes, as well as distinctive music and chanting. Breath-taking mountain treks and thrilling river rafting opportunities are available for more adventurous travellers... See details

featured destination:

shakti 360 lethi

featured destination:

sujan, Jawai Leopard camp, Rajasthan

Looking to extend your trip?

For a relaxing finish to your trip, continue on to the white sand beaches and turquoise water of the nearby Maldives…