Discover the real India with the Holidaysplease marketing team

Our Marketing Assistant was on holiday in Jaipur and Agra last month and had loads of great things to share with those of you looking to holiday in India. Here’s what she had to say…

The famous American author Mark Twain once described India as “the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition…Our most valuable and most instructive materials are treasured up in India only.” And I couldn’t agree with him more! Having visited India many times before to see family and friends, I never really got to see or fully understand what exactly this amazing country has to offer. Until now… 

Visiting India has always been somewhat of a magical yet mesmerizing experience for me. Coming into the airport at New Delhi I could feel butterflies of excitement in my stomach as I was so excited to see what this trip had to offer. After spending two nights relaxing and shopping in Delhi, the next stop was Jaipur, Rajasthan.

Although there is a direct flight from New Delhi to Jaipur, we decided that travelling by road would be more fun. The 5 hour car journey went by amazingly quick as we got to soak up the real sights and sounds of India. Before I knew it we were right in the heart of Jaipur. To my left I could see tourists riding brightly coloured elephants and to the right was a tall hill with the most beautiful fort I had ever seen situated on top of it. Ajmer Fort (also known as Amber or Amer Fort) was built in 1592 AD and is one of the oldest hill forts in India, if not the world. However many see it as more of a palace than a fort but it is recognized as both. I was itching to climb the hill and explore the fort and discover the stories behind it, but we decided to check in to our hotel and go refreshed the next morning. 

Inside Ajmer Fort, Jaipur

We finally reached the 5 star Trident hotel where we were warmly greeted by the hotel staff. One member of staff welcomed us by applying a traditional ‘Tika’ on our foreheads as we walked in (an auspicious Hindu custom which symbolizes the third eye), as another member of staff offered us all a refreshing glass of lemonade to help us cool off in the 32°C heat.  We were soon taken to our Deluxe Lake View Room where we enjoyed a stunning view of the Mansagar Lake, home to the infamous Jal Mahal. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jal Mahal, Jaipur

The next morning we arrived at Ajmer Fort, which was only 4km away from our hotel, and entered the Suraj Pol (Sun Gate). The fort was built by Raja Singh Man I, the trusted general of the Mughal Emperor, Akbar, and is highly popular for its magnificent architecture which combines both Hindu and Mughal art.  The fort itself is made in red sand stone and white marble which oozes romance, paradise and beauty. The intricate carvings, walls and paintings were simply breath-taking. Looking at the view of the city of Jaipur and Ajmer from the palace, I soon understood why Jaipur is also known as the Pink City. The buildings and structures around me were terracotta-coloured, which were all beautiful shades of pink when the sun shone on them.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View from Ajmer Fort

My favourite part of the fort was the Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors), which was completed in 1727. The whole wall is carved with stunning paintings and flowers made completely of glass and mirrors. It was said that Sheesh Mahal was made because the Queen was not allowed to sleep in the open air in ancient times, however she loved looking at the stars shining in the sky. Therefore the King decided to make a room of glass and mirrors so that when the King and Queen lit two candles in the room, the light reflected on the mirrors and glass like thousands of stars. How romantic!  

Sheesh Mahal, Jaipur

As the tour of Ajmer Fort came to an end, we were escorted to one of the most amazing souvenir shops I had ever seen, where all of the goods were hand-made right in front of us. There were beautiful rugs, carpets, statues, paintings, stunning jewellery containing emeralds, diamonds and other precious stones, bed clothing, dishware, fine fabrics such as pashminas and shawls, and so much more.  I could have spent a whole day in there! 

Handmade marble table being made 

The next day we left for Agra, a 3 hour drive from Jaipur, and checked into the 5 star Gateway Hotel. We were once again warmly welcomed by the hotel staff with a custom red ‘Tika’ and cold glass of lemonade, which was just what we needed as it was so hot! Here we enjoyed a Superior Room which offered a magnificent view of the Taj Mahal. I couldn’t wait to get closer to it when looking out of the window! After a good night’s rest we finally made our way to the infamous Taj Mahal, a monument to love. As polluting traffic is not permitted near the construction, our taxi driver dropped us off about a mile away and we were then driven up to the entrance in an electric bus with our tour guide.

It was no surprise that this was one of the wonders of the world as it was simply stunning to look at. The Taj Mahal (Crown of Palaces) combines a mixture of Mughal, Indian, Persian as well as Turkish architectures. Completed in 1653 by Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, this epic Mahal was built to fulfill a promise that he had made to his wife Mumtaz as she laid on her deathbed. He wanted to erect a monument to match her beauty and remember her by. 

Taj Mahal, Agra

Like typical tourists, our tour guide also made us do the famous ‘holding the tip of the Taj Mahal’ pose as he took our pictures. We also sat on the bench where Lady Diana sat, and enjoyed the perfect reflection of the monument in the water feature. Even in the reflection, the Taj Mahal was glistening, it all seemed so surreal to me! After seeing the Taj Mahal in so many Indian and mainstream films, music videos, pictures, paintings and news stories, it felt like a dream that I was actually finally here.  

Its white marble structure looks breath-taking in the sunlight and is said to change colour throughout the seasons and during the day, from when the sun rises to when it sets. Just like a jewel sparkling in the sunlight! The immense detail that had gone into the construction fascinated me enormously. From the significance of the number 22 (it took 22 years to build, there are 22 small domes on top and 22 stairs leading to the structure itself which sits on a platform 22 feet high!) to the symmetrical features and designs. I began to think that maybe Shah Jahan had a case of OCD, too!! 

Taj Mahal reflected in the water, Agra

My overall trip was simply incredible, unforgettable and inspirational. It has made me want to explore India further and see what other secrets it has to offer. If you would like further information about India holidays  or to explore Jaipur, Agra, Delhi or any other wonderful city for yourself then our India travel experts will be delighted to help you.

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