India offers a fascinating array of customs, lifestyles and cuisines. Magnificent palaces, temples and forts punctuate a diverse terrain of magnificent lakes and stark desert dunes. The panoply of colors, flavors, aromas and sounds that make up everyday life in India are unforgettable. To ensure a unique luxury experience, it’s key to have the guidance of an expert with insider access to the lesser known and fascinating places. Our Personal Guest, a New York based India specialist, can make each journey remarkable. www.ourpersonalguest.com (Agents earn 10% commission on the full cost.)
The Road Less Traveled
Delhi: 2 Days - India’s capital boasts museums, the majestic Red Fort and historic India Gate. Old Delhi’s medieval bazaars contrast New Delhi’s swanky boutiques, shopping spot Connaught Place and trendy eateries like Indian Accent. The opulent Leela Palace, a favorite of diplomats and royalty, features acclaimed Jamavar Indian Restaurant and spa by Espa. www.theleela.com
Jodhpur: 2 Days - Ancient capital of the Marwar Kingdom, this fabled blue, walled city, nestled beneath the ramparts of the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort, enchants with its vibrant Rajasthani flavor. Clock Tower Market bustles with meandering cows and stalls with all varieties of fragrant spices, sweets, glass bangles, sandals, rugs, shawls and textiles. Glimpse bejeweled women clad in brightly colored saris, men with diamond earrings and turbans in Jodhpur pants and perfectly tailored jackets.
Set amid lush gardens, the lavish, glamorous art deco Umaid Bhawan Palace, delivers the ultimate luxury experience. www.tajhotels.com. For those who prefer a chic boutique hotel, Raas offers spectacular views of Mehrangarh Fort. www.raasjodhpur.com. Picturesque Bal Samand Lake Palace charms with glorious lake and garden views. www.balsamandlakepalace.jodhanaheritage.com. I recommend staying at one and enjoying lunch or dinner at the others.
Naguar Sufi Festival: 3 Days- The festival features an eclectic mix of Sufi singers, musicians, artists and dancers from around the globe and attracts an international fashionable set. With delicious Indian meals, lodging in the fort hotel or comfy tents with Rajasthani decor and en-suite bathrooms with flush toilets and showers and beautiful venues for the music, it was sublime. www.worldsufispiritfestival.org
The Serai: 2 Days - Deeper into the dunes of the Great Thar desert is the magical walled city of Jaisalmer. This 12th century fort, a Unesco Heritage site boasts glorious architecture and exquisite carvings on sandstone. Stay at the stylish luxury Relais & Chateaux tented camp the Serai. www.sujan
Mihir Garh: 2 Days -This gorgeous 9 suite fort hotel in the Thar desert with striking Rajasthani antiques is a serene oasis with huge terraces for desert vistas, royal picnics, visits to Bishnoi tribal villages and Marwari purebreds for horse safaris. www.mihirgarh.com
Mountbatten Club: 2 Days -This exclusive 4 suite property with private plunge pools is adjacent to the Kumbalgarth wildlife sanctuary. Guests enjoy the nearby famous Ranakpur Jain Temples, Kumbalgarh Fort, leopard safaris and elephant treks with champagne sunsets. www.indiasafariclub.com
Udaipur: 2 Days - Called Venice of the East, Rajasthan’s most romantic city with palaces, havelis and temples, set amid the verdant Aravalli hills and three lakes, is famed for its miniature paintings. Tour the Grand City Palace with museum and stunning crystal gallery. Visit the colorful bazaars and shops of Jagdish temple and Ganesh Emporium’s fabulous textiles and clothing.
The sumptuous Leela Palace, on the banks of shimmering Lake Pichola, offers lavish interiors, sunset boat cruises and alfresco dining under the stars. www.theleela.com. The majestic fort palace hotel Devi Garh, overlooking the rustic village of Delwara, dazzles with stunning decor and gorgeous objets d’ art. Sightseeing includes the temples of Eklingji and Nagda. www.lebua.com
Mumbai: 1 day -India’s entertainment capital boasts designer boutiques, trendy cafes and glamorous nightlife in addition to Prince Wales Museum and the famed Gateway of India. The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel exudes grandeur and old world charm. www.tajhotels.com. An option for those preferring sleek, chic and modern is the luxurious Oberoi with renowned Ziya Restaurant. www.oberoi.com.
This itinerary is also available without the February Sufi Festival and with option to add on Maharaja’s Express Train to see the Taj Mahal, Jaipur and Bikaneer.