We both fell in love with the blue city and its charm. We found visiting Mehrangarh Fort fascinating and it was by far the best fort we visited whilst in India. The audio guide is included in the price of your entry ticket and it is well worth taking advantage of. We also took a 4 hour cooking class at Spice Paradise and were expertly tutored by Anil who made us feel very welcome in her home. Anil taught us some delicious recipes including biryani, chappati’s and saffron lassi, and encouraged us to eat as much as we could stomach. We left feeling very fat!
The city of the lakes certainly lives up to its name as the most romantic city in India as you watch the sun go down over Lake Pichola. We were delighted to find a cable car which takes you to the top of a nearby hill from which you can admire the beauty of Udaipur including Lake Pichola and beyond.
This cooling hill station is a very welcome break from the heat and humidity on the plains. The food here is a blend of Nepalese and Indian, with delicious fresh vegetable momo’s and hot chai being served from street stalls. A visit to Darjeeling would not be complete without a tour of a tea estate, we recommend the Makaibari Tea Factory in Kurseong which offers a quick tour of the factory for just rs.15 (including a complimentary cup of tea), or a longer tea estate tour for rs.400.
4. Palolem, Goa
Palolem offers weary travellers a large stretch of golden sand to kick back, relax, take in some rays and play a spot of Frisbee, or even cricket with the locals. The beach is fronted by an array of beach huts and restaurants serving both Indian and Western fare; we certainly enjoyed the cheese and tomato toasties after having one too many hot and spicy curries in Rajasthan. If you can peel yourself off the beach for an afternoon then the walk to Patnem beach is well worth it.
Although Mumbai made a good first impression, its lasting impression wasn’t great. We flew into Mumbai on the last day of the Durja Puja festival and whilst in the taxi from the airport we experienced fireworks being let off at the sides of the road, trucks pumping out loud music, and people dancing in the street. Unfortunately, apart from admiring the architecture in Mumbai, and perhaps having the opportunity to star in a Bollywood movie, there is little else to see and do here. In addition to the lack of sights, Mumbai is oppressively hot and humid, and also very expensive compared to other Indian cities for accommodation and food. It is for these reasons we will not be rushing back to Mumbai.
We were only in Chennai for 4 hours but it still managed to make a bad impression. This city really has zero sights; it proclaims to have a ‘fort’, but in reality it is actually only a museum and a church. Chennai’s roads are clogged with way too many auto-rickshaws and public buses which make it a polluted and dusty city which really isn’t pleasant for visitors. Our advice is not to bother.
Delhi tends to be most travellers first port of call in India and it certainly lands you in the thick of it. For most first time visitors to India it will be a shock to the system, where there is a traveller in Delhi there is a tout trying to scam said traveller out of their hard earned cash. To be fair to Delhi it has some sights which are certainly worth the visit such as the Red Fort, and Humayun’s Tomb. Just be sure not to talk to touts and don’t believe anything anyone tells you – they are trying to part you from your cash.
Bundi was a let-down as there is very little to see apart from the ‘palace’ which is crumbling away, and has been overrun by bats and rather aggressive macaque monkeys. If you find yourself in Bundi and decide to visit the palace then watch out for the friendly man guiding you round as he’ll almost certainly demand a fee. Bundi has a limited selection of hotels and restaurants but it is nothing to write home about, therefore I recommend you spend your time elsewhere in India.