Delhi & Mumbai

Delhi is the gateway to Rajasthan and most visitors are only here for a night or two, but you will be amazed by the sights, sounds, smells, colours of this Capital city and there is so much to see and do.  Old Delhi is a neighbourhood dating back to the 1600’s, but there has been a settlement here since before 1,000 BC and it is a fascinating area to walk around. The imposing Mughal-era Red Fort is a great introduction to the architectural treasures of Northern India and the Jama Masjid Mosque which can accommodate 25,000 people in its courtyard can both be seen here. Chandni Chowk is a vibrant bazaar which will be an assault on your senses as you pass spice stalls, food carts and sweet shops. Wander the streets with their tangled wires up hanging from above, cows and monkeys, every sort of vehicle including tuk-tuks, and street food sellers and you will know you have arrived in India.

The foundation stone for New Delhi was laid by King George V in 1911 and was in part designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker and the new Capital was inaugurated in 1931. Wide tree-lined avenues define the architecture and take a stroll along the Rajpath (Hindi for King’s Path) which follows the ceremonial route past sellers of almost everything until you reach India Gate – a memorial to soldiers who lost their lives during World War 1 surrounded by park land where many games of cricket take place. Visit Humayuns’s Tomb – a 16thcentury Mausoleum considered to be a precursor to the Taj Mahal. Take an evening stroll through the Lodhi gardens and enjoy a peaceful escape from the busy streets and admire these botanical gardens containing many rare and unusual plants. Find the tomb of Muhammad Shah with its multi domed roof and stone carvings within the gardens. Visit Connaught Place for shopping and restaurants. Its Georgian architecture is said to resemble to the Royal Crescent in Bath.

MUMBAI

Formerly Bombay, Mumbai is India’s largest City and its financial centre and famous for being the home of Bollywood. Mumbai has a deep harbour on the Bay of Bengal and since the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 has been the principal gateway to the Indian Subcontinent. The Gateway of India, considered to be India’s Arc de Triomphe, commemorated the visit of King George V and Queen Mary in 2011 and was built in 1924 by George Wittet. It is at sunset that this area really comes alive. Nearby the Prince of Wales Museum is as interesting for its architecture as for the treasures inside. Fascinating architecture is to be seen everywhere while walking Mumbai’s streets. Take a boat trip to Elephanta Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to see Hindi and Buddhist sculptures carved in to the rock. Mumbai is the fashion capital of India and international fashion shows are regularly held here and the Mumbai Film Festival held in October attracts the film industry from around the world.  Mumbai is a haven for foodies – and the options of where and what to eat are endless. Khau Galli is a street famous for delicious street food. Take a trip to Crawford Market which is famous for flowers, fruits, meat and fish. A tour of the City at dawn gives an understanding of how this huge city operates.