A forty-five minute drive from Indira Gandhi International Airport amid tuk tuks, old fashioned Morris cars, trailers and cows lead you to the centre of Delhi. The narrow streets, merchants and street vendors, museums and monuments of the old city contrast starkly with the five star hotels, impressive embassy buildings, golf course and malls of New Delhi.
Tourist Attractions outside Delhi
Delhi and this cultural regional heart of India offer history, colour and amazing sites to provide the full meaning of a medical tourism destination. From Delhi, it is a four hour journey to Agra and well worth the journey to stand in front of the majestic Taj Mahal, so tranquil and peaceful with that distinctive wow factor. This “architecture of romance” stands in pure white marble, attracting around 20-30,000 visitors daily, from sunrise to sunset, except Fridays.
The journey from Delhi to Agra can be done in a day or for those who wish to stay longer, an overnight stay is recommended. (If budgets are not restricted, opt for the Oberoi where a stay comes with a butler service and rooms views of the Taj Mahal in the distance. There are many hotels in Agra of all standards and transport is plentiful around the city.
It’s just a short flight to Udaipur from Delhi. Rajasthan’s Udaipur is much quieter and calmer and famous for its mountain backdrops and lakes. Most of the big hotels are located in the new part of the city while the old city houses the City Palace complex, the Jagdish Temple, meandering streets and busy markets.
Built in yellow sandstone and white marble the City Palace complex was built in 1539 high up to avoid attack. Its three gates symbolize liberty while the original horse stables have been converted to small shops. Leave time to explore as there is much to see with the museums and the palace gates. It was around this area and on crowded buses that saw Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggi Smith and Richard Gere filming scenes for the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
A boat trip around the Picholet Lake is a must, especially at sunset with a stop to explore the Island Garden, Jag Mandir, set in the middle of the lake with manicured gardens, restaurant and views from every corner.
Jaipur is a short 35-minute hop by plane from Udaipur, otherwise known as the Pink City, painted by instruction from its founder, Maharaja Jai Singh in honour of the visiting Prince of Wales, (King Edward V11). It was the first planned city in Asia, designed on a grid system, and portrays a modern, more advanced India, with wider streets, jewellery shops and beautiful architecture styled in palaces and museums. Said to be the second wealthiest city, its history is defined by past Mughals.
Be prepared to be immersed in history. A drive past the Wind Palace shows where the Royal ladies were hidden from public view. Around the city, snake charmers seek attention by performing this age-old tradition, while monkeys jump from palace rooftops. Talking of heights, rely on an elephant to carry you to the top of Amber Fort. It’s safe, fairly comfortable and, in the absence of fog, offers terrific views. This amazing site is outside the main city in Amer (Amber), the ancient capital until 1727. Three Kings contributed to the building of the fort which is structured on 3 levels, while inside are two palaces with glass mosaics, carved screens and mirror work motifs.
Tourist Attractions in Delhi
Back in Delhi, the same gifted Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan who brought us the Taj Mahal, also built the Jama Mosque of Delhi and Delhi’s capital, Shahjahanabad, with its magnificent Red Fort. Other places of note to visit include Humayun’s Tomb and Qutub Minar. A rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk defines everyday life of India with merchants draping richly coloured silks to captive buyers, street food offerings and the trailers laden with misbalanced goods manually pushed between the crowds. You will need to hold on tight and keep alert to tuk tuks creeping alongside.
Garden of Five Senses