After experiencing the ancient forts and temples of the Mughal Empire throughout Rajasthan, I highly recommend visiting India's modern financial capital Mumbai. An arc of contemporary, high-rise buildings on Marine Drive overlooks the Arabian Sea and twinkles with lights by night earning it the nickname of the 'Queen's Necklace' for its architectural beauty. A sunrise walking tour is a great way to start your morning, as you watch the fish and flower markets come to life. The city provides a striking contrast to India's rich history, while also providing its visitors with an insight into where the country is headed in the future.
In 2009 I had the opportunity to participate in a study abroad program that explored 14 different countries over the span of three months. During this adventure of a lifetime, I spent a week in the bustling port city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu. From indulging in crispy dosas each morning to navigating the temple complex of Mahabalipuram in the afternoons, India quickly captured my heart and soul.
I returned on my own the following year for a three-week road trip that ended in New Delhi. This trip highlighted how vast and diverse the Indian landscape is and allowed me to experience new languages, cultures and impressive ancient architecture from bygone Hindu and Mughal empires.
Upon my return home, I knew I had to figure out a way to combine my captivation with India and my professional career. As an India Country Specialist with Audley, I’m able to do exactly that.
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Don’t miss Chanoud Garh in rural Rajasthan. The property is set in a lovingly-restored fort that has been owned and operated by the same family for generations and each of the seven rooms has its own character. Traditional fabrics and ornately-carved stone and woodwork combine with amiable hosts who offer an authentic insight into life in the area. Take a jeep ride to explore the local village and surrounding salt flats which are brimming with wildlife then sip chai while enjoying the sunset overlooking a lake. Afterwards, it’s time for cocktails with other guests around the hotel’s fire pit.
I'll never forget when…
Varanasi is a city that challenged my senses as well as my perspective on life and death. It is one of the oldest continually-inhabited cities in the world and is hugely significant to Hindus and Jains. Dawn is the best time to explore as the city is at its most tranquil and I took a morning boat ride as the sun rose. The city overlooks the Ganges which is responsible for cleansing the soul and bringing salvation in the afterlife. Bearing witness to families bathing in the holy river water, lighting funeral pyres and providing offerings at local temples left an impression that I’ll never forget.