My journey started when I was told, “Great news – how do you fancy a trip to India, in six weeks?”
Yes please! Fantastic – another destination to add to my portfolio.
Fast forward six weeks, I arrived into Delhi, having just completed a 10 hour flight with British Airways in Club World. 6’6 flat beds, luxury products and a silver service – perfect. I was ushered through immigration and customs, avoided the very friendly guys/porters wanting to help me with my luggage for a tip, and was driven straight to the delightful Imperial Delhi where I stayed for two nights. It was hot!
My Heritage room was large, colonial style, and a very comfortable night sleep, the hotel was in a great position and oozing character and designer shops. Perfect!
My tour of this amazing city started in Old and finished in New Delhi. I fought my way through crowds on a rickshaw observing their way of life, so many people, so many smiles, such a busy place and full of energy, I saw children playing cricket on the grass verges, ambassador cars for the VIPs flying past, new buildings and very old ruined buildings, a man cooking on the roadside covering the narrow streets with smoke. Great! Anything goes.
I then caught the train to Agra – it was way oversold but hey who needs a ticket when you can ride on the roof. I had a seat in the air conditioned cabin – executive class!
I visited the Taj Mahal with a private guide; walking around this amazing structure is surreal, the history and respect everybody has is remarkable.
I had the most amazing view from my balcony at the Oberoi Amarvilas, just seeing and hearing the chimes made it worth the trip. One night is plenty here. Note: The Taj Mahal does not open to tourists on a Friday.
After further sightseeing of Agra Fort and Fathepur Sikri, we then spent a further seven nights touring Rajasthan, and three nights in Ranthambhore in a luxury tent at Vanyavilas exploring the National Park which is home to tigers, jaguars and samber deer.
Next was a visit to Alwar which is located in the countryside. I had two nights at the luxurious Amanbagh in a pool pavilion – it’s a peaceful sanctuary and great to unwind after the hustle and bustle.
Then on to the pink city – Jaipur, a vibrant colourful city, so busy and home to Amber Fort built in the 1500s. I took an elephant ride to the entrance and had a private guide walking us around the impressive Fortress Palace. I stayed at the Rambagh Palace for two nights which is just simply stunning; beautiful gardens, high ceilings, large rooms and all very unique in style. Afternoon tea here was a delight.
On the last day, in the morning before our flight back to Delhi, I went shopping – what an experience. I made so many purchases, there are so many shops – it’s just incredible.
To summarise, India was never a first thought of mine but now I have been I simply love the country. Since my trip I have been back several times to different parts including Khajuraho Varanasi, Madhya Pradesh (tiger country), Mumbai, Kerala and Goa.