Experience

Ultimate India: Taj, Tigers & Temples

Nowhere inspires wanderlust quite like India. A nation bursting with colour, epic landscapes and architecture so impossibly beautiful it has to be seen to be believed, we never need an excuse to wing our way east. From Delhi to Udaipur via some of the finest hotels in Asia, Black Tomato has turned its eyes to India for a twelve-night luxury experience that will leave you speechless. Whether you’re hiking the Aravalli hills, drinking in the views of the ‘pink city’ of Jaipur from a hot air balloon at sunrise or enjoying a glass of champagne in the shadow of Mehrangarh Fort, this taste of India is sure to spark a lifelong love affair with this diverse country.

A DELHI OF DELIGHTS

Touch down in Delhi and step through the gateway to India and into a heaving cosmopolitan metropolis buzzing with action and excitement. Take in the sights and sounds of this truly exceptional capital city – home to over 1,000 years of continuous culture, a myriad of monuments, vibrant spice markets and some of the most glorious Hindu temples on the planet. Then kick back for a night in style at The Imperial before being whisked off to Agra, a city full of cultural wonders, the next morning.

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FORGOTTEN HISTORY AND A TESTAMENT TO LOVE

Nestled on the banks of the Yamuna River, in just under four hours you’ll be transported from the bustling streets of Delhi to Agra’s treasure trove of rich history and the home of India’s most famous piece of architecture; the breath-taking Taj Mahal. You’ll begin your culture fix with a visit to the 11th century Agra Fort, an awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Site. The deep red hues of this walled city show off the unique architectural style of this country whilst also providing a souvenir from the ancient Mughal Empire. Continue your Indian education with a trip to Itimad-Ud-Daula, an ornate marble mausoleum that has been given the nickname ‘Baby Taj’. A mix of white and red marble this Mughal tomb is adorned with sparkling gems from topaz to jasper making this ‘jewel box’ a must see.

Tonight, you’ll rest your head at Amarvilas, a boutique Moorish style oasis with breath-taking views of the Taj Mahal, which is only 400m away making sure you are ahead of the crowds the next morning. Send yourself off to a restful sleep with a signature holistic massage before waking the next morning to see the sun slowly inch its way up over the domed rood of the Taj Mahal. It’s one of those moments that makes us catch our breath no matter how many times we see it as the sun illuminates the sleek marble exterior to give this already remarkable monument an ethereal glow that you won’t easily forget. Curiosity peaked, join a private guide and stroll the length of the reflecting pool into the minaret-framed courtyard to bask in the wonder of it all.

RAMBLING WITH TIGERS IN RANTHAMBORE

After filling your camera roll, you’ll hop on the train at Bharatpur Railway Station and watch as the scenery transforms before your eyes as you move towards Sawai Madhopur. You’ve enjoyed a good dose of culture and now it’s time to learn about the natural beauty of India and there’s no better place for this wildlife discovery than Ranthambore National Park. You’ll be sleeping under canvas at Sher Bagh, a luxury tented camp surrounded by grasslands and stunning scenery where your quest for a tiger sighting will begin. Safaris take on a whole new meaning here in Rajasthan as expert guides help you explore the park and uncover all the hidden corners you won’t want to miss. History and nature collide at the ancient fortress where, if you’re lucky, you could spot tigers among the ruins that jut out from the spectacular parkland.

WHERE JAIPUR MEETS JODHPUR

Nestled in the Aravalli hills, the palatial Samode Haveli will be your base for the next two nights. From your hotel, expert guides will walk you through the ancient royal city of Jaipur, generally considered to be one of the most beautiful and ingeniously conceived urban areas in the world. Stroll through the Vedic streets and take in the vibrant bazaars before heading to the Royal Palace and Jantar Mantar observatory. Indians love their traditions and few are as exhilarating as going for an elephant safari in the forests of Dera Amer. You’ll see the natural beauty of this country from above as you sit atop a gentle giant which will easily become your favourite mode of transport. Though for a truly awe-inspiring perspective? A sunrise hot air balloon the next morning is the only way to do it. As dawn creeps in, you’ll soon see where the Pink City got its name.

Next, it’s west to Jodhpur, where you’ll rest your head in the cool, calm and luxurious trappings of The Raas. Epitomising luxury within the old town, The Raas lies at the foot of the mighty Meherangarh Fort, in the heart of Jodhpur’s Walled City. Spend your first evening here wandering around the majestic Mehrangarh Fort before enjoying a chilled glass of champagne atop the ramparts. Tomorrow, you’ll continue exploring Jodhpur by tuk tukking through the back streets of the Old City or, if you’re after an adrenaline rush, by ziplining through the ancient fort in a unique blend of history and thrills.

ARCHITECTURAL SPLENDOUR IN UDAIPUR

Next up, head to magical Udaipur and one of India’s most sublime boutique hotels, Devi Garh. Break up the five-hour car journey with a stop at Ranakpur, a rural village between Jodhpur and Udaipur that is home to the breath-taking Jain Temple. The architecture is a true feat of engineering with its ornately carved facades and equally stunning marble interiors making it a necessary pit stop in our books. Once you’ve reached Udaipur, you’ll take to the waters with a scenic boat trip along the Pichola Lake as you marvel at the beauty of the City Palace perched on its banks before visiting the Jagdish Temple.

Spend your last day taking in the colourful sights and sounds in the city or, if you’re a fan of motors, a vintage car ride around the city is the ultimate culmination to a truly memorable Indian adventure.

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