Day 1 - 29 Feb 2020
Content: Excitement was at its peak as we touched down in Jaipur. Our flight from Bangalore was around 3 hours duration. This was going to be our 1st major India travel and getting to explore some of the places like Jaipur, Agra and Varanasi which are so rich in history and culture meant a lot. Jaipur was our first stop on this intriguing journey and we couldn't wait to get started. There are multiple ways to get to Rajasthan. There are airports at multiple cities across the state in Jaipur, jodhpur and Udaipur - Jaipur being the most accessible. If you are traveling from abroad however, you can also travel to New Delhi and drive down to Jaipur which takes about 4 hours.
Content: On reaching Jaipur, we headed straight for our hotel - Alsisar Haveli. It's a royal heritage property converted into a luxury hotel now and it's truly amazing. More on the hotel as we go forward. It is a must recommend for your stay in Jaipur.
Content: After refreshments and lunch at the hotel we headed straight for one of the main attractions in Jaipur - Hawa Mahal. This is a symbol of the Pink City as Jaipur is known as and we explored the Mahal both from the inside and outside. A tip for that perfect Instagram shot - You can go to the Cafe just opposite the Hawa Mahal called the Wind View Cafe. You can get the perfect shot of the palace from this vantage point. There is also a lot to do when it comes to exploring the area around the Hawa Mahal. Since this is the main market area you get lots of options to eat Rajasthani delicacies and also to shop traditional dresses and jackets from the local shops. You might have to bargain a bit to get the best price. You can easily spend 3 to 4 hours here. So after all this we were pretty exhausted and just crashed in our hotel to refresh for the next day.
Day 2 - 1 Mar 2020
Content: The schedule today was more laid back. We started with a sumptuous breakfast at the hotel by this amazing pool. After this we took a dip in the pool and had a great time with family.
Content: In the afternoon we went to visit the City Palace - another place of great historical importance in the city. The City Palace was built the same time as the city of Jaipur by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II as he moved his court from Amber to Jaipur in the early 18th Century. The architecture is a unique combination of Rajput, European and Mughal influence. Be sure to keep your Camera handy for some unique shots at the peacock gate inside the palace. You can also visit the interior rooms of the palace for an additional charge.
Content: Back at the hotel in the evening for this gorgeous dinner setting at the palatial Alsisar Haveli.
Day 3 - 2 Mar 2020
Content: The next morning we left for this incredible piece of architecture in the city - the Patrika Gate. It is actually an entrance to a very nice garden, but the architecture is so stunning it attracts photographers from all over the world.
Content: After this we decided to have lunch at this unique place with this gorgeous blue theme. Another must recommend while in Jaipur.
Content: The afternoon we decided to spend at the hotel to create some more content. The place is absolutely stunning.
Content: That night we had an overnight train to Jaisalmer. It takes about 10 hours. So best to book an overnight train from Jaipur and comfortably sleep for the night.
Day 4 - 3 Mar 2020
Content: The next morning we reached Jaisalmer - The famous Thar Desert. We had booked our stay in one of the many desert camps for the 1st night and headed straight for the camp. The camp is about 40 km away from the main town and takes about an hour to reach. But staying in the heart if the desert is a unique experience and should not be missed if in Jaisalmer.
Day 5 - 4 Mar 2020
Content: We decided to take an early morning visit to the desert to avoid the crowds and got these mesmerizing views. So i would definitely recommend trying an early morning desert visit if you are up for it. You would not be disappointed. I would also recommend to book your rides in advance either from the camp you would be staying at or directly as you arrive in Jaisalmer at the station itself. This would make moving around Jaisalmer much more hassle free as you would not find any public transport outside the main town.
Content: After checking out from the desert camp we returned back to town and decided to visit some of the interesting places in town.
Day 6 - 5 Mar 2020
Content: For our stay in town we stayed at the Casa de Kaku and I would highly recommend this. It provides great views of the Jaisalmer Fort from the terrace which also houses the restaurant. So you can pretty much chill here in the evening with the stunningly lit up fort in the background. More so, if you can plan for a full moon period for your stay it would make the experience more magical.
Day 7 - 6 Mar 2020
Content: The next day early morning we returned back to Jaipur and immediately made our way to visit the Amer Fort. But before that we decided to explore the stunning views of the Jaipur wall from this vantage point. This is right opposite the Amer fort but You would have to climb about 300 steps for this. It is quite steep and not easy but the reward is so good for this. You would get the entire view of the Jaipur city and Jaipur wall along with the Amer fort.
Content: Next we visited the Amer Fort which used to be the residential colony of the kings in the bygone era. The architecture is stunning and dont forget to get a photo in the secret room ( the 3rd photo above) where the sun plays hide and seek.
Content: Another trip to City palace followed to round off the trip. It's difficult to get over this place. But the next place on the itinerary being the Taj Mahal meant we were still super excited to move forward with the trip.
Day 8 - 7 Mar 2020
Content: We reached Agra in the evening the previous day and checked in to our hotel the Taj convention centre and hotel. We chose to stay close to the Taj Mahal because we planned to reach the Mahal very early next morning to avoid the crowds. It is must to keep in mind to be able to get clean shots to avoid the crowd.
Content: Our stay at the hotel was also thoroughly enjoyable with a special mention about this gorgeous pool setting. You can also get Taj Mahal views from some of the rooms which look incredible.
Content: That day again in the evening we went to the Taj Mahal for some afternoon shots. It does get very crowded later in the day, so i would suggest to get a guide for ease of access and also to help get the ideal spots for some photos.
Day 9 - 8 Mar 2020
Content: The next day morning again we went back to the Taj and this time we were greeted with cloudy skies and rains. But somehow it made the setting all the more dreamy.
Content: For sunset we decided to go to the other side of the Yamuna river to view the Taj from a different perspective. The best place for this is Mehtab Bagh which is a nicely maintained garden. But best advised to visit before dark as the area is slightly remote.
Day 10 - 9 Mar 2020
Content: The next day early morning we left for Varanasi Varanasi - the spiritual abode and absolutely rich in cultural history and heritage. You can just feel the vibes here as soon as you reach the Holy Ghats. There are more than 80 Ghats in this historical town along the banks of the holy Ganges river. Some of the most famous of the Ghats are the Manikarnika Ghat which is considered the most sacred and it is believed if your last rites are performed here all your life's sins are washed away. It is also true that there is at least a pier burning at any time of the day here. It certainly gives you goosebumps and a serene feeling as you visit the Ghat. The next of the famous Ghats is the Dasashwamedh Ghat where the main Ganga Aarti is performed every evening. You can either choose to watch the aarti from the river on the boat or from the Ghat steps. There are other famous Ghats as well like the Assi Ghat.
Content: Sandhya arti at Dashashwamedh Ghat with beautiful diyas lighting up the ghats.
Day 11 - 10 Mar 2020
Content: The next day early morning we went for a must do boat ride on the Yamuna. You can get a private ride for 2 hours for around 1000 INR and this gives the best views of all the ghats from the river. It's truly a blissful experience in the soft rising sun bathing the Ghats.
Content: For our stay we booked the suryoday haveli at Shivala Ghat which is an ancient Haveli converted to a hotel. The feel of this hotel gives a throwback to the yesteryears of the Raja Maharajas of Varanasi. Their dinner spread is sumptuous and gives a true sense of traditional North Indian Cuisine.
Content: Varanasi is also famous for some amazing street food and delicacies like chaats and lassi. The best place to have these is the Godhulia market.
Content: Now it was almost time for us to leave for the airport and our amazing indian trip was coming to an end. Before leaving we decided to take some more shots at the Ghats. Thus ended an exhausting yet wonderful trip. We made so many memories, heard so many interesting stories from locals, gorged on delicious food and of course created some wonderful content. With a heavy heart but with a wish to come back again we left for the airport but not before buying some world famous Banarasi sarees from the local stores. For reference you can check with your hotel for best places to buy the sarees.