Stuart's has over ten years experience in the travel industry, which all started with a trip to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. He was blown away by the diverse culture and the friendly people he met in these two very different Island nations. India as a country has fascinated Stuart from an early age, growing up looking at old photographs of family during the Raj. His first experience of India was by ship in 2005, arriving into Bombay which captivated him from the second he walked through the port gates! Since joining Audley Stuart has returned to Sri Lanka and India and travelled from the Golden Triangle in the North to the Backwaters of Kerala in the South. Having recently returned from a third trip to the Maldives, which Stuart rates as the most spectacular beach destination on earth, quite an accolade from someone who has circumnavigated the globe twice! Dubai, the city of superlatives complements India or the Maldives as either a city or beach destination, is also an area of specialty for Stuart. In his spare time Stuart enjoys fell walking when back in his native Lake District, swimming, theatre and of course travelling.
My Most Memorable Experience
One of my most memorable travel experiences has to be whilst in Sri Lanka, when I visited one of the holiest of Buddhist temples, the Temple of the Tooth at Kandy. According to legend, the tooth was taken from the Buddha as he lay on his funeral pyre. It was smuggled to Sri Lanka in 313 AD, hidden in the hair of a princess. The peace, tranquillity and serenity of this location immerses you from the second you enter, and the soft sounds of bells as the locals enter to pray is beautiful. Combine this with the smell of jasmine all around and you are guaranteed an unforgettable experience.
My Favourite Destination
Munnar has to be one of my favourite destinations in south India. It is an incredible journey through the most picturesque, lush green scenery of Kerala. It lies at an altitude of 5200ft in the lap of the Western Ghats and was the favoured summer capital of the south during the colonial British days. Munnar offers long plantation walks through wonderful surroundings, peace and tranquillity and a total escape from the hustle and bustle of the towns and cities of India; it is beautiful and serene and somewhere you just will not want to leave.
My Favourite Accommodation
The service is refined, the décor outstanding and the food delicious. A museum and gallery in its own right. This is the hotel in which Mountbatten, Gandhi and Nehru met and stayed in order to discuss the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan. This hotel houses many historical pieces, including the busts and golden thrones of King George V and Queen Mary. If you aren't lucky enough to be staying here then you must try and fit in a lunch, dinner or afternoon tea to soak up the colonial luxury and explore the walls and corridors which make fascinating viewing.