We like small hotels with charm, character and comfort, and Rajasthan delivers on all counts. Some are set on the fringe of the cities we visit, others within walled gardens with pools and spas. Guest rooms are big and quiet, they’re pretty and stylish, comfortable and relaxing and you’ll love them, that’s a promise.
If you want to understand India, the Indian menu is a great place to start. We’ll sample traditional sweets in Jodhpur and daulat ki chaat, a cold-weather treat on the streets of Old Delhi, have lunch under a fig tree among peacocks at Mountbatten Lodge and dine in one of the world’s finest contemporary Indian restaurants.
The Mughal invaders brought with them an artistic sensibility derived from Persian arts and architecture which fused with India’s natural taste for colour and ornament, best seen in Rajasthan’s exquisite palaces and forts.
Silks, pashminas, precious stones, silverwork, ceramics, woodwork and antiques – India’s arts and crafts have dazzled the wider world since Roman times. Our Rajasthan tour is a chance to buy at source, from the artists and craftworkers themselves, and pick up some bargains to light up life and home.
A sunrise stroll
At Narlai, a charming Marwari village where we stay in a former royal hunting lodge, we’ll take an early morning hike with a Rabari guide up Elephant Rock for tea and biscuits at the top while the temples come to life in the village at our feet.
Music is one of the threads woven into Indian culture and we’ll hear the wild and hypnotic music of desert-dwelling herdsmen, sacred Sanskrit music performed at a stepwell by the flickering light of a thousand oil lamps and qawwali music from Sufi singers in the courtyard of a city mosque.