Bags packed and ready to go! Catch your flight from the UK to Delhi and we’ll meet you there.
Delve right into Delhi, a firecracker of a city. Bewildering and beguiling in equal measure, spend the day in the warren-like old town. Wander amid the smells, sounds, silks and spices of Chandni Chowk's bazaars. The Jama Masjid Mosque is the largest in India and the magnificent Red Fort is a sublime vision in solid sandstone.
On the banks of the Ganges, Varanasi is one of the world’s oldest cities. Steeped in legend and tradition, explore the city’s Ghats (stone steps) that lead down to the river. This is the perfect vantage point from which to watch Varanasi melt into the evening light. After dark, locals perform the Hindu ritual of the Aarti. Watch as people gather to pray, give thanks and send lighted candles down the river.
Rise early for a sunrise Ganges boat trip. The city is bathed in a golden glow as the sacred river comes to life. A sense of serene spirituality pervades Varanasi but, after a short flight, the mix of exuberance and eroticism on the 10th-century temples of Khajuraho is harder to reconcile with a sense of the holy. Yet these erotic carvings are dedicated to the gods and adorn religious temples.
The trip to Agra aboard the Shatabdi Express sees the Indian plains flash by in a blur of browns, greens and other vibrant hues. Sit back and simply enjoy the scenery, before disembarking to the sight of the Taj Mahal at twilight. Shah Jahan’s architectural testament of his love for his wife will fill your dreams.
No matter how many photos you've seen, you'll still be entranced by the Taj Mahal at sunrise. The white marble mausoleum glows pink, and the cooler air is ideal for wandering its manicured gardens. A visit to lavish Agra Fort, where Emperor Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his own son, provides further fascinating context.
From the Taj to tigers: transport yourself from India’s most famous monument to the bewitching wilderness of the forests and deserted forts of Ranthambore National Park. If you’re hoping to see the Bengal tiger, you may be in luck. This is one of India's most wildlife-rich and scenically dramatic tiger reserves.
Head out on early morning and afternoon game drives. These are timed help you spot big cat prowling amid Ranthambore's lakes, forests and ruined forts. There’s nothing quite like glimpsing a tiger in its natural domain. There’s plenty else to see as well: keep your camera handy in case you spot leopard, sambar deer or sloth bear.
While there are enough sights in the wilderness of Ranthambore National Park to keep you busy for weeks, it’s time to head off again. This time you’re heading for the dusky beauty of India’s Pink City, Jaipur. Famous for its decadent royal palaces and artificial lakes, its architectural riches contrast with the remote spaces of Ranthambore.
From the blushing City Palace to the intricate Palace of the Winds, Jaipur is all about colour. After wandering the hall of these great Indian monuments, bring it back to earth with a visit to the rainbow of spices, saris and blooms in the city’s vibrant bazaars. Visit the city’s Amber Fort which looms imperiously on a forested hilltop nearby, looking like the world's largest and grandest sandcastle.
If Jaipur offers colour, Udaipur promises romance. Here you’ll wander past whitewashed mansions and through alleys teetering with townhouses. Together, these buildings twist and tumble around placid Lake Pichola, the ideal spot for a sunset cruise with a cocktail.
Udaipur has no shortage of astonishing architecture, as a stroll around its streets will reveal. Its zenith is the City Palace, a flamboyant fusion of Rajasthani and Mughal design. A visit here discloses ornate mirrored walls, sweeping marble balconies, graceful pavilions and the glorious Peacock Courtyard.
You’ll arrive in Mumbai to one of the most populous cities in a country that’s home to more than a million people. Mumbai is the beating heart of modern India. With the romance of the north behind you, take the pulse of a nation forging its way into the 21st-century. Stately monuments stand their ground beside shopping malls, cool beach bars and Bollywood starlets.
The grand Gateway of India overlooks Mumbai harbour while the washers work at the Dhobi Ghat, the world's largest laundry. Both are aspects of Mumbai worth experiencing. Drive up Malabar Hill to the serene Hanging Gardens in Kamla Nehru Park. Visit Mani Bhavan’s museum dedicated to Gandhi. Finish in Crawford Market, where you can buy anything and everything! Come evening, enjoy a cocktail in a swanky bar and reflect on an unforgettable trip.
With your Indian adventure at its end, head to the airport. From here, catch your flight back to the UK.