Goway’s Senior Asia Specialist, Amelia Chee, travelled to India this past March, and got to enjoy a quintessential experience in this exotic land.
I have always been fascinated with India! My first trip to this magnificent country was this past March, visiting the densely populated Bollywood city of Mumbai, the capital city of Delhi, Udaipur, Chennai, Varanasi – the oldest living city in the world, Agra, and the “Pink City” of Jaipur. It was all truly amazing! India is rich in culture, history, heritage, spirituality, colours, and scents.
The first thing I experienced when arriving in India was the chaotic traffic. On any given day and time, there is non-stop honking, although not a word of rage was exchanged, nor did a single fight break out – locals just honk their way through to get by. Actually, rickshaw rides through the winding, narrow streets and traffic is an exhilarating experience!
Spending most of my time in India’s north, there were many highlights I experienced:
Ranthambore National Park offers safaris in an open-air jeep. It’s where I got to witness the rare sighting of Star, a male dominant tiger, crossing the lake!
In Old Delhi, the smell of spices filled the air, coupled with noise, people, and cows, all wandering through the streets. It was a bit overwhelming but exciting.
Visiting Varanasi with an open mind allowed me to embrace the spirituality of the holy Ganges River. The early morning sunrise river boat cruise on the Ganges is so calm and beautiful, and was a great contrast to the Aarti Ceremony I got to witness just the night before.
In Agra, seeing the Taj Mahal, an immense white marble mausoleum built by Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz, was marvellous!
Udaipur, the beautiful “City of Lakes,” was my favourite! The view is breathtaking and I would highly recommend this city for honeymooners and retreat seekers! Tucked away from the hustle and bustle, you will find yourself surrounded by the stillness and beauty of the lake in an intimate and relaxing ambience.
In Jaipur, a visit to Amber Fort is a must, and going up by elephant is an experience you don’t want to miss. Plus, the panoramic view from the top is spectacular!
Food wise, what is there not to like about the South Asian cuisine? From fragrant curries to tandoori-grilled meats, it is delish! Masala Chai was a must for me in the mornings, and was a great way to kickstart my days!
In regards to accommodation, I stayed at the beautiful and luxurious Leela Palace in Mumbai, Delhi, Udaipur, and Chennai. In Agra, I stayed at ITC Mughal. In Jaipur, at the ITC Rajputana, and Ranthambore Regency in Ranthambore National Park. Not only did I have a wonderful pampering stay at these first class and deluxe properties, but it felt like home away from home. Warm hospitality, excellent customer service, great amenities to enjoy, and a good selection of restaurants to dine, made for a luxury India vacation!
3-Day Leela Palace Delhi – Stay of Distinction
India has many cultural facets. The many palaces (some abandoned and some currently still occupied by the royal family) are a great insight to India’s history and intricate architecture. The country offers so much in terms of culture, sightseeing, pampering spa treatments, yoga retreats, shopping, adventures, safaris, hot air balloon rides, camel rides, culinary experiences, and more.
No matter where you go, you will be greeted with “Namaste,” meaning, “I honour the place in you in which the entire universe dwells. I honour the place in you which is of love, light, truth and of peace. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, we are one.”
India is one destination you want to keep going back for more exploration. I can’t wait to return to this magnificent destination and look forward to many new experiences!