Thinking of planning a trip to India's royal northwest? Read on
for a first-timer's guide to exploring Rajasthan, which comes
courtesy of two Greaves clients.
Was this your first trip to India? If not, where have
you visited previously?
This was our first trip.
You travelled to the India-Pakistan
border near Amritsar to witness the Flag Ceremony. It seems like an
extraordinary event, can you tell us a little bit about
This was a fabulous experience which was
lovely to watch amongst the enthusiastic and noisy crowd.
Indian-Pakistan Border © Jeremy Richards, Shutterstock
How was your visit to the Golden
Temple, and the experience of the Palki Sahib Sikh
One of the many highlights of our trip. Our
guide was excellent at explaining the significance of the ceremony
and we were made to feel very welcome by the Sikh community.
We both were able to visit the food preparation area adjacent
to the Temple, very impressive, Angie helped to stir the dal!
Amritsar © F9 Photos, Shutterstock
After Amritsar you headed into the
foothills of the Himalayas and up to Shimla. How did you find the
Himalayan Queen mountain railway? What were your impressions of the
old colonial town?
The road to Shimla was 'impressive' the town
itself an interesting mixture of modern India and its colonial
past. The Himalayan Queen was not to be missed but going just to
Kandaghat was probably enough before driving back to
Rafal Cichawa, Shutterstock.com
You spent a day in Delhi - what were
your impressions of the city? Most people can't wait to leave, but
did you find a hidden beauty?
Quite the opposite, we could have spent
longer. The Imperial was a wonderful place to stay but the roads
were so congested that we were not able to see as much of the city
as we would have liked. Old Delhi via a cycle rickshaw was the
Tomb, Delhi © Saiko 3p, Shutterstock
of exquisite architecture, houses both the Taj Mahal and the red
sandstone Agra Fort. Did seeing these structures up close meet your
expectations? Did you manage to view the Taj Mahal at
We both found that seeing the Taj Mahal up
close far exceeded our expectations and being able to see it from
our bedroom at the Amarvilas was the icing on the cake especially
seeing the Taj Mahal at sunset.
Taj Mahal at
Sunset © Banana Republic Images, Shutterstock
You spent a couple of nights exploring
Rajasthan in Jaipur - what were the highlights of the city for
As with many of our hotels staying at the
Rambagh Palace for Diwali was extraordinary and the hotel went to
great lengths to include the guests in the celebrations. The Pink
Palace and City Palace were both tremendous.
You visited some of the region's best
forts while exploring Rajasthan. How did you enjoy Jodhpur, also
known as the Blue City? Did you pick any spices up during your trip
to its famous market?
We bought both spices and silk in the market.
Of all the forts of Rajasthan the Mehrangarh Fort was incredibly
impressive and even more so as we had a wonderful view of it from
the terrace of our suite of rooms at the Raas, another hotel
Fort, Jodhpur © pzAxe, Shutterstock
How did you find the cuisine
throughout your journey? Did you tend to eat in your hotels or did
you venture into some more local eateries? Was there anywhere that
really stood out for you?
We ate Indian food without exception
throughout our stay using both the hotel restaurants (which were
better than we expected) and with the help of our guides a number
of local eateries including stops on the road. We suffered no ill
consequences and the food was another highlight for us. The special
places were the Royal Dining room at the Rambagh Palace and the
Spice Route at the Imperial. The Indique rooftop restaurant at the
Pal Haveli in Jodhpur was also excellent.
You stayed in some stunning hotels
during your visit, including the famous Taj Lake Palace Hotel in
Udaipur. How did you enjoy staying on an island in the middle of
Lake Pichola? Could you bear to leave the hotel to visit other
historical Udaipur sights?
Without exception the hotels at which we
stayed rated amongst the best that we have enjoyed anywhere in the
world. We were upgraded at many hotels (we believe because we were
booked through Greaves!) including to a Royal Suite at the Lake
Palace which had a private Jacuzzi overlooking Lake Pichola. We did
leave the hotel but yes it was difficult!
the Lake © M Letschert, Shutterstock
Can you tell us about your experience
of travelling with Greaves?
I think it fair to say that we have never
experienced a better organised holiday. From the moment we first
arrived in Delhi until our departure we felt supported, looked
after, spoilt and completely safe. Nothing at all went wrong. Our
two regular drivers were excellent and managed to avoid all contact
on the roads, not an easy task! The guides were generally
knowledgeable and informative, particularly in Delhi, Amritsar and
Jodhpur who were keen for us to understand what we were seeing.
This holiday set a new high for us which is going to be hard to
If you feel inspired to travel the beautiful
cities of India, you can view our itnieraries, the Taj Mahal is
featured in Heart
& Soul of India.