Delhi & North India
Home to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites Qutb Minar, The Red Fort and Humayun’s Tomb as well as over a thousand other sites of historical importance, Delhi is a centuries old Mughal capital, a melting pot where old world meets the new on a daily, chaotic basis. High rise complexes of new age offices, apartments and luxury shopping malls stand alongside medieval step wells, ultra-modern fine dining and chic cafes stand shoulder to shoulder with haggling pavement vendors. Delhi is all at once fascinating and infuriating – and capital city to the world’s second most populated nation.
North of Delhi is the Punjab, and the homeland of India’s charismatic turbaned Sikh population, and holds many small treasures in what is mostly an agricultural setting – the state of Punjab sustains the bulk of India’s demand for wheat and rice. As well as the most sacred site in Skihism, the Golden Temple of Amritsar, it is home to quaint towns, marketplaces, temples and crumbling forts that resonate a bygone era of grandeur. A short drive from Delhi lies Agra in the state of Uttar Pradesh, in which India’s most iconic monuments and World Heritage sites the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort are located – a beautiful reminder of the country’s Persian and Moghul inspired past, which dates back as far as 1565. Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populated city, and is also where the world’s oldest continuously habituated city and India’s most spiritually important city lies on the holy banks of the Ganges: Varanasi – a riot of colours, smells, experiences and where hundreds of thousands of devotees come to bathe in the river to wash away their sins, and where all Hindu’s aspire to be cremated.
Further west, is the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, Gujarat, a lesser known destination on the tourist trail. Gujarat’s capital, Ahmedabad was the very first of India’s destinations to classified a UNESCO World Heritage city, with some of the finest examples of Indo-Islamic architecture and Hindu Muslim art in India. It’s rich desert culture and tribal communities means it has some of India’s most stunning arts and crafts. Wildlife enthusiasts will not be disappointed with the Rann of Kutch, Blackbuck National Park and Gir offering excellent wilderness experiences, with a rich and unique biodiversity, including the Asiatic Lion and Wild Ass which are only found in Gujarat.