India has long been a place of great intrigue for me, but I felt that travelling in this vast country may be a serious challenge. It is the fascinating continent where there are staggering topographical variations and amazing cultural diversity; consequently of the coexistence of a number of religions and local traditions. With so much to see in an amount of 3 weeks, it's difficult to get the most from the trip in the event that you attempted to organise it yourself. Therefore, a friend and I made a decision to book an absolutely escorted trip which enabled us to see the sights and to take pleasure from the culture in a safe organised environment. After some in-depth internet research, we developed a tour which would show us a location steeped in fascinating history as well satisfying our requirement for beautiful scenery.
Rajasthan, fabled for the splendid forts, opulent havelis (south Asian mansions), stunning lakes and sand dunes was the region we were keen to explore. Having travelled previously to Goa and Kerala on the west coast, I knew that making your way around India was not quite as easy as getting on a train in London and travelling to York! I was very aware that train travel is distinctly distinctive from Britain, with long queues and many inexplicable cancellations, so organised coach or minibus travel in India is almost certainly the way in which forward.
It is difficult to know how to start nevertheless the highlights begin with Delhi, an assault on the senses. On arrival at Delhi airport, we were immediately alert to the immense poverty. However, once we left the airport to head for the city centre, we realised that that is just the life style in India, and though it is hard, you have to be realistic and not dwell on it. Taking boiled sweets, stickers or colouring pens and pencils can be beneficial to give to the small children, but money isn't a good idea because they are often section of a begging ring and would not get to keep the money. www.beautifullondonescorts.co.uk
We'd a complete day in Delhi to find the sites, so we headed for the old section of town; predominantly a labyrinth of tiny crowded lanes lined with 17th century havelis, this is a mostly Muslim area certainly is a place to not miss. We decided on a fast rickshaw journey to start to see the Red Fort. On the way we took in the countless mosques, a church and a number of temples. Opposite the fort was the Digambar Jain Temple that is renowned for it's intricacy of carving, as was the nearby Gauri Shankar Temple, where passers by could be sold marigolds on arrival.
Our next adventure took us to Jaisalmer, often called the "Golden City" because of the yellow sandstone walls, where we enjoyed a glass or two at Sunset Point. The next day we took in the Jain Temples and Badal Vilas Palace both found within the stunning hilltop fort. We then had quite an experience in the Sam Dunes once we embarked on a Camel ride; not for the faint hearted, these camels spit and smell terrible but what great fun, we were saddle sore but great memories to take home!
After Jaisalmer we headed into the Thar Dessert and to Manvar where we visited the area Bishnoi villages. Seeing the rural life style in these small villages is an eye fixed opener, and we could actually buy local crafts and appreciate some rural country dancing. We actually stayed in a tented camp that has been exciting as waking up in the desert and watching the sun rise is something you should not miss.
Udaipur was also memorable, known as the city of lakes, the Pichola Lake, Fateh Sagar and Swaroop Sagar Lakes are thought to be some of the most beautiful in the world. Udaipur can also be fabled for the Lake Palace, now a luxury hotel which covers almost the whole section of the Pichola Lake. We also visited the City Palace which lies at the east bank, and had an attractive sunset boat ride round the lake. The lives of the rich and poor are inextricably linked, the wealthy sipping gin and tonics in the Palace hotel as young kids bathed in the shallow waters outside while their mothers washed their clothing.