This year’s travel to India took us to the north of the coutry to Rajasthan and the Punjab. The journey started in Delhi with a short sightseeing tour – with visits to Humayun’s tomb
and a rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk bazaar in the old part of the city
Then a quick flight to Udhaipur – the City of Lakes
and a bit of folk dancing thrown in
Sardargargh next with a visit to a 15 century Jain temple at Ranakpur on the way
Whilst staying at the lovely Sardargarh Fort we went on a 44km train ride through two villages – entertained by some cheeky monkeys on the way!
…and we took a jeep safari through the local village in the evening stopping at a beautiful lake to watch the birds retiring at sunset and enjoying some alcoholic refreshents! The flying foxes that we had seen earlier also dropped by for a quick drink!
Onwards to Jodphur (the Blue City) with a tour of the bazaar, a visit to a Krishna temple and a tour of the Amber fort and Jaswant Tara – the Royal crematorium
We even managed to fit in a visit to the Anocki block printing museum which is within the grounds of the Amber Fort
The next stop was Jaipur – a very clean and organised city with a City Palace, Palace of the Winds and a fascinating solar observatory. We then made our way to Ranthambore to see India’s friendliest tigers and they certainly seemed to be- we viewed one at close range as he sauntered in front of our jeep!
Another highlight of this part of the trip was the Khem Villas where we rested our weary bodies after action packed safaris! It was just like home from home with the treat of a hot water bottle to keep the toes warm and bed tea served in the morning – small pleasures!
After three safaris and the sighting of five tigers, crocodiles and a leopard it was time to move on to see a truly magnificient sight – the Taj Mahal. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan. Ivory white marble glistening in the sunshine and beautifully decorated inside with precious stones inlaid into the marble. The finial on top of the dome was originally gold but replaced with gilded bronze in the 1800’s
On our way we stopped off at capital city of the deserted Fatephur Sikri
And whilst in Agra we visited Agra Fort and the moonlit garden which is an extension of the Taj Mahal garden. The garden was lost under mud and re-excavated in the 1990’s . It was originally planted with fragrant flowers and used in the cool of the night to view the Taj Mahal reflected in the octagonal pool and the river.
We stopped for lunch at Sheroes cafe which is run by women who have been severly injured through acid attack. We viewed their horriic stories on video
One of two long and arduous journeys was from Agra to Neemrana fort – caused by Farmers protesting to the Government which meant that trains were disrupted and roads closed. We travelled through some interesting countryside and small villages which surprised the locals somewhat. The last thing they expected to see was a car carrying tourists!
Consequently, we arrived at Neemrama Fort rather weary and offered high tea which sounded wonderful after snacking on bananas and biscuits most of the day. High tea Indian stlye however, was tea and biscuits!! A wonderful place though and a lovely village to explore
There is the most incredible stepwell close to the village of Neemrama, which the Archeological Survey of India are planning to renovate. It is nine floors beneath the ground – a phenomenal sight!
The last leg of the tour was to Amritsar and the Golden Palace, which is the mecca of the Sikh religion and a sight to behold. The temple is situated in the middle of a lake (the Holy Tank) and it is beautiful inside. It has a community kitchen which feeds over a thousand people continuously. We returned in the evening to see the holy book being put to bed for the night – transported on a solid gold pallequin.
We also visited the Jalianwala Bagh gardens, the martyr’s memorial where thousands of innocent Indians were massacred in 1919 by the Briitsh – a humbling experience. There is also well which some jumped into to avoid the gunfire and drowned. When we returned to Delhi we visited the Red Fort where there was an exhibition about the Jalianwala Garden massacre and the support that the Indian armies gave to Britain in the First World War
Whilst in Amristar we journeyed to Wagha, the border between India and Pakistan to witness the daily lowering of the flags ceremony. It is a bit like a military version of the Haka perfomed by the New Zealand team to what sounds like the James Bond theme tune at times – a bizarre experience!
And back to Delhi – and a chance to meet up with our lovely daughter Claire before she flew off to Canada.
An incredible holiday enjoyed with lovely, lovley friends and family!
And as well as experiencing some wondeful sights we gained an insight into Indian daily life, which is incredible!
An amazing trip organised by Trinetra Tours, India
Inspired by India