This is a city as well as fort in the extending part of Lucknow. This has its mentions as 'Saik' even in the Mahabharata which makes it very clear that this city existed even during the pre- historic Era. The city was further beautified by the Mughal rulers and the Fatehpur Sikri along with Buland Darwaza is an incomparable monument gifted by Mughal Rulers, especially Emperor Akbar. The fort complex is spread over a huge area and consists of mosque, the Dargah of Salim Salim Chisti, the palaces and so many more. The red sandstone structures with a few made of white marble makes it an awesome composition. The lattice work, jharokhas, pillars and facades are intricately carved. Salim Chisti Dargah was a mark of honor by Emperor Akbar to the great Sufi Saint Sheikh Salim Chisti whom he followed whole heartedly.
The capital city of India is a glorious concoction of the old and the new. Temples that are centuries old, archaic Muslim quarters, and modern residencies, all exist alongside each other. Home to over a crore people, Delhi is a treasure trove of historic gems, gardens, museums and a thriving food culture. Travel to the metropolis for the vibrant bazaars of Chandni Chowk that give way to Lutyens’ New Delhi, which is the historic heart of the city. For an insight into the legacy of the Mughal era, go to the 16th century Humayun’s Tomb, the towering sandstone mosque of Jama Masjid, and experience the sound and light show at Red Fort. Tourists can spend mornings at the extravagant Akshardham Temple and evenings at the Hazrat Nizam-ud-din Dargah (shrine) that boasts of sufi music and delicious kebabs. Another popular attraction of Delhi are its pulsating markets that sell everything from baubles to handicrafts, sell everything you can possibly think of. Those who have travelled to Delhi for its particular brand of food, will have a lot on their plates. From hole-in-the-wall eateries and local student cafes in North Delhi to lavish restaurants and bars in South Delhi, there is no dish or cuisine you won’t find here. A huge incentive for travellers is the variety of public transport, wherein the Delhi Metro is the cheapest and easiest way to get around the city.
Rajasthan’s opulent capital is a magical land brimming with desert camps and lakeside palaces. Sitting on the edge of the Thar desert and surrounded by the Aravali hills, the Pink City boasts of hilltop forts, bustling bazaars and the best pyaaz kachoris you’ll ever taste. Among the places to visit in Jaipur, the grandiose pink sandstone Palace of Winds, or Hawa Mahal, towering over the hustling streetscapes and the majestic City Palace are the ones attracting the most tourists. The 18th century old astronomical observatory of Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is a UNESCO world heritage site and a major tourist attraction. Perched proudly on the top of a hill is Amber Fort, dating back to the 16th century. The red sandstone structure houses palaces, temples, gardens and a lake inside its premises. One of the most favoured things to do in Jaipur is to walk through the lively Bapu Bazaar, and come out with bags stocked with bandhani-printed sarees, lac bangles, meenakari trinkets and blue pottery. And while you’re at it, shop for some string puppets or kathputlis that make for some excellent souvenirs. Galtaji temple, also called the Monkey Temple, is another must visit. If your eyes just can't get enough, visit Amber Fort, which has its own 600-year-old story to narrate, through its spectacular light and sound shows, cultural performances and folk music. Rajasthani tailored clothes, jewellery and handicrafts are a huge hit as souvenirs, for their exquisite mirror work, embroidery, leather and splashes of colour. Some famous places this illustrious workmanship can be bought from are Rajasthali, Anokhi, Johari bazaar and Sireh Deori Bazaar, but remember to bargain. Central Museum and Albert Hall museum are great places to learn about Rajasthan's rich history and culture and also to buy handicrafts. The Jaipur Literature Festival, the world's largest free literature festival, is dear to almost every bibliophile around the globe. Here, enjoy literature and music, amidst the likes of William Dalrymple, Stephen Fry and many other renowned writers and personalities. The 5-day festival is hosted in Diggi Palace, which gives people around the world an insight into Rajasthan's captivating cultural heritage. For those interested in pampering their palates with the flavourful Rajasthani cuisine against the backdrop of a picturesque village should visit Chokhni Dani. For a regal experience, a stay at the Suvarna Mahal is a must visit.
Situated close to the vibrant city of Jaipur, Alwar is a perfect weekend getaway. Home to the wonderful Sariska Tiger Reserve, the grand City Palace and the stunning Siliserh Lake, Alwar offers you a mix of history, architecture and nature. Though the Sariska Tiger Reserve is perhaps the best way to spend your time in Alwar, you can also spend a little time exploring the lake and Government Museum. When visiting the reserve, do book a safari in advance lest you miss out on a great slot. Early mornings and early evenings are the best way to explore the reserve. Boasting of tigers, including the Bengal Tiger, the reserve is home to the Indian Leopard, Indian Jackal, Sambhar and Wild Boars. Of course, you'll also spot monkeys making a ruckus and a crowd of Neelgais and that is quite fun to watch as well. Avoid eating anything while on the safari since it's a strict no. The Siliserh Lake is another lovely spot where you can indulge in a bit of boating and a delicious lunch. The food here is a bit on the expensive side but it's totally worth it. While here, you can also take a trip to City Palace. You may feel that there are tons of palaces around Rajasthan that are way more beautiful, but this one has its own charm. Away from the chaos of the main city, it offers you a respite from dilapidated, ill maintained forts. Do try food at one of the restaurants in the city. Not only is the food delicious, the hospitality is warm and adds to the meal.
If history, art and architecture spell a perfect holiday for you, Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh is definitely a must visit! The city houses numerous historic monuments, including the very popular Gwalior Fort. Gwalior Fort, an imposing structure situated on a hill has received praise from rulers throughout history. Known for its architectural brilliance and intricate design, exploring the fort can take up an entire day. If you are not fond of historical tours, you can spend your time admiring the stunning views of the fort and from the fort. Do also visit Ghaus's Tomb, which is the tomb of Muhammad Ghawth, a notable Sufi and the guru of Tansen. The site is also home to the Samadhi of Tansen and perhaps this is why the wonderful Tansen music festival is celebrated here. There are numerous hotels here and you can choose one according to your budget, though for a more local experience, it is always best to pick a homestay.
The City of Rajputs, Bundi, maybe not as popular as other cities in Rajasthan, but nevertheless is no less captivating. The city is cloaked by hills on three sides and is home to a number of palaces and forts. It is believed to have got its name from a tribal head Bundi who called it ‘bunda ka nal’, which means narrow way. A monumental prodigy that has stood the test of time is the Garh Palace. The walls with contemporary paintings and manicured gardens make the palace or fort a spectacle in itself. The many stepwells or baoris inside display the strong engineering skills from centuries ago. The riveting wells go very deep and are considered to the primary form of harvesting rainwater. Raniji ki Baori is one of them with elegant tall pillars and beautiful carvings. The Taragarh Fort or the Star Fort is a colossal that has been stunning people with its architecture since the ancient past. Alongside the fort is the Bundi Palace that houses the many murals and frescoes. Hadoti Palace or Nawal Sagar Palace are perfect if you want a royal stay at Bundi. Neither are the streets of Bundi as choked as the other cities nor are the attractions crowded with tourists, making it just the quaint town you want for a relaxing trip. Namaste Cafe, Lakha and Kipling Cafe promise delectable meals to satiate your palate.
The more one hears about Vrindavan, the more beautiful and alluring the small town becomes. The birth place of Lord Krishna, Vrindavan is visited by tourists from all over the world. With its colourful streets and crowded lanes, this small town may not offer you a respite from the chaos of the cities, but it certainly gives you an experience unlike any other. Located about 11 km from Mathura, a perfect trip should see you combine an excursion to both these towns together. The more popular temples here are the Madan Mohan Temple, near Kali Ghat, Meera Bai Temple and the lovely Prem Mandir. Dedicated to love and situated about 10 km from the centre of town, this is a must visit! Most temples here are dedicated to Lord Krishna and significant episodes in his life. If this is your first visit here, do a little research and speak to locals before deciding which temples you'd like to visit. There are tons of hotels and guesthouses in Vrindavan, and you can decide your hotel according to your budget and choice.