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.
Popular, colourful and culturally rich, Jodhpur is one of Rajasthan's most beautiful cities. It is also known as the Sun City of India and is said to have been built in the 15th century by a Rao Jodha. This city was earlier known as Marwar and is currently the second largest city of Rajasthan. From the stunning Mehrangarh Fort (from where you can see the stunning blue city), Umaid Bhavan Palace to the bustling Sardar Market, there is tons to do and explore in this touristy city. If you like your holidays to be quiet and laidback, Jodhpur may not be for you – atleast for the first couple of days. There is too much to keep you busy. Like almost all cities in Rajasthan, there are historical forts and palaces to explore and admire. Do carry a scarf and water for your afternoon expeditions should the heat tire you out. There are also umpteen restaurants and small cafes in Jodhpur which offer you delicious food and are also very welcoming. Jodhpur is also a great place to meet like-minded travellers. Jodhpur is well connected to all the major cities of the country via rail, road and air.
Home to the grandiose Taj Mahal, Agra’s city echoes of its bygone Mughal era days. Located in Uttar Pradesh, tourists from across the world flock to Agra all year round. Boasting of three UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Agra Fort in the city,the white marble architectural wonder of the Taj Mahal and the nearby Fatehpur Sikri. Agra is also dotted with numerous tombs and buildings that have been left behind by the Mughal empire. Agra’s tourism can also be credited to its sweeping gardens of Soami Bagh, Ram Bagh and the most beautiful of them all, Mehtab Bagh. Agra city is also swarmed by a multitude of temples that add to Agra’s vibrant character. The Balkeshwar and Kailash temple on Yamuna’s banks worship Lord Shiva, while the Mankameshwar Temple is loved by the locals for it mellifluous aarti. And while you are in Agra, you should definitely incorporate Sikandra in your itinerary. Akbar’s tomb, or Sikandra lies north to the city, and takes about thirty minutes from Agra. Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb, fondly referred to as the Baby Taj is another must visit.
Surrounded by the enchanting Aravali hills, Ajmer is a medieval city most popular for the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti. Once ruled by Prithviraj Chauhan, the city is a treasure house of Rajput and Islamic architecture. Ajmer, which is located in the heart of Rajasthan, also serves as the base for Pushkar, which is just 11km away. The magnificent Taragarh fort situated on the summit of the Taragarh Hill is an unmissable site for its view of the city. At the foot of this hill is the Ajmer Sharif Dargah, the tomb of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti. The large pillars or Kose that you’ll see here actually run till Agra from where Akbar and his queen visited this sanctum. You can also visit the Akbar Fort and Museum for its collection of medieval armour and sculptures. There are several other sites of Hindu, Islamic and Jain religious importance that you can look out for while taking a ride through the city on the horse-drawn tongas. Fill up on delicacies such as the Kesarganj gol chakkar, chaat and kachori at the Pandit Restaurant opposite Daulat Bagh. The women’s market is a hub of traditional lehengas and odhnis. Amidst the old-fashioned and charming city of Ajmer, Ambassador and Hotel Mansingh Palace offer two of the most conventional and luxurious stays.
The melodious chorus of temple bells, the sweet fragrance of incense and the positive energy in Mathura city all come together to offer you an experience unlike another. The most popular temple in the birthplace of Shri Krishna is the Dwarkadesh Temple, which is home to a lovely shrine of Lord Krishna and Radha among other deities. And if you happen to visit the temple during the festivals of Janmashtami, Diwali and Holi, you'll be in for a huge surprise. The energy of the temple and the city will take you by storm and you will fall in love with the small energetic town. The culture of Mathura is perhaps what attracts people to this lovely town rather than its mythological importance, though one can't deny or undermine its mythological significance. Among other places to visit, you can head to Vishram Ghat, Rangji temple and Govind Deo temple. Sacred for both Jains and Buddhists, Mathura sees people from across the world. A meeting point for people from all cultures, there is much to learn and explore in this lovely city. Finding a place to to stay here is not a problem at all since there are a number of small dharamshalas as well as luxurious resorts.
Pushkar is full of colour, culture, warmth and joy! The first thing that attracts one to Pushkar is perhaps the colourful streets lined with small shops and hopeful faces. The route from Ajmer to Pushkar is stunning and unlike any other route in Rajasthan. It's quite hilly and hence surprising. Pushkar is a very small town and its first glimpse is astonishing for first timers who are expecting a big town. The town is very famous for its numerous temples, serene lake and lovely market. Do visit Pushkar Lake during the evenings, since afternoons here are quite hot unless you are visiting during peak winters. There is also a small temple next to the lake and though the temple is beautiful, the priests here make it difficult to sit in peace. They constantly pester you to perform pujas and it's a little annoying when all you want is to enjoy a few moments of silence. The market next to the temple and lake is quite fun to explore and there is tons you can take back including bangles, bandhini sarees and dupattas, palazzos and stunning silver jewellery. Don't forget to have the kachoris next to the temple since they are perhaps the best you'll have in Pushkar. Reaching Pushkar is hassle-free since there are tons of buses plying from and to major cities and it would be best to combine Ajmer and Pushkar in one trip. Do choose a traditional homestay to spend your vacation in Pushkar and you'll have an unforgettable experience!
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