A veritable tale of two cities Delhi combines the busy hustle bustle of the dramatic Moghul Old Town -- with its narrow alleys, its markets and mosques - with the sublime New Town, where quiet parks and tree lined avenues are peppered by some of the country's most magnificent architecture. From here you can travel easily, either by car or train, down to Agra where most go to visit the essential and truly amazing Taj Mahal.
And from here, either travelling via the tiger park at Ranthambore -- which does offer one of the best chances in the world to see a tiger in the wild -- making up the third stop in the triangle, there's the quintessential Rajput town of Jaipur with its bustling bazaar, its famous palace of the winds and the nearby Amber Fort. And that in itself makes a 7 to 10 day holiday.
But if you have a bit more time and want to scratch a little deeper into what is arguable India's most colourful state, from here there are a number of other routings that can take you to some of the Rajasthan's more wonderful offbeat converted Rajput palace hotels. Right now I'm at just such a place, called Castle Bijaipur, from which you can ride the Marwari Horses, go for bicycling rides or just enjoy a bit of relaxation by the pool. There are many such properties in this part of India which you can mix up with other famous towns like Pushkar, Bundi or Jodhpur.
And a great place to finish your trip to Rajasthan is the lake city of Udaipur. Sitting on the banks of the beautiful Lake Picola, Udaipur is a stunning place, packed with impressive palaces, temples and shops; it's easy to navigate and walk around and is often referred to as the Venice of the East. Not only is this one of my favourite towns in India it also has very convenient flight connections back to London, meaning you can spend your last night here -- having dinner at one of the wonderful rooftop restaurant -- and bounce through Delhi without being forced to spend an extra night there.
VTC: Rajasthan is India's most colourful state, it has most of the country's must see attractions, and some of her best hotels.
If you like to travel in a small group our Taj, Temples and Tigers would tick all these boxes as would our India in Slow Motion if you like your travels a bit more off the beaten track; And if you like to travel privately give us a call and one of our expert travel planners will be happy to help design a trip especially for you.
Kerala and the South
However, if something else, perhaps a little less frenetic appeals, then why not head south to the beautiful state of Kerala, which is where I am now.
Kerala is a stunning state situated at the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent and if Rajasthan and the north represents and great place for travel, Kerala, with its beautiful beaches, its temple culture and its meandering backwater cruises, offers the chance to truly relax and enjoy a more traditional holiday.
A great routing here is to fly in to Bangalore, drive down through Mysore -- with its colourful market and immense palace -- to the beach. There are a number of fabulous properties dotted up and down the coast, and in my option none is more special that Neeleshwar Hermitage. Here you can relax, walk along the beach, enjoy truly delicious cuisine and take a backwater cruise.
Using these old converted rice barges to float through the tranquil back water canals is a quintessential part of a trip to the south. And from here you can continue down the coast to another of my favourite towns, Cochin, a place that hasn't changed much from when my mother lived here as a small girl. This route makes for a perfect 10 day holiday, but if you have a bit more time and want to turn your holiday into more of a travelling experience, you can head up to the hill stations of Ooti and Munnar and on into temple filled Tamil Nadu.
Rajasthan and Kerala are the ideal locations for the inquisitive traveller coming to India for the first time. We have a number of small group departures for those that don't wish to travel alone, and a team of experts back in London to help those of you looking for a tailored experience ready to help you create your ideal trip.