India is both a destination and a journey. It has woven its magic for millennium now, on travelers from all parts of the world. It is a complex and rich culture, with so much to offer, to explore this sort of complexity, you have to step out from the comfort zone of neatly labeled racks and polite checkout greeters.
Agra - Located 220 kms from Delhi, Agra is a must visit city on any Tour of India. Home of the World famous Taj Mahal, Agra provides avid glimpses of Mughal architecture. To be in Agra is like taking a walk through India's Mughal period history. Other than the Taj Mahal, Agra's attractions include the Red Fort, built by Emperor Akbar on the banks of the River Yamuna, Sikandra, the mausoleum of Emperor Akbar, the Itmad-ud-Daulah, a mausoleum built for Empress Noor Jahan's father and last but not the least and a short distance away, Fatehpur Sikri, with its very impressive architecture and interesting stories of it having been built and then abandoned.
Jaipur, the capital of the North Indian State of Rajasthan, is named after its founder Maharaja Jai Singh II (1693-1743). The city is surrounded by hills and dotted with forts. Houses with pink latticed windows line the streets, and look almost magical at sunset. An extremely well planned city, Jaipur was designed by an engineer and scholar Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, in accordance with ancient Hindu treatise on architecture, the Shilpa Shasta (Vastu).
Ladakh is part of India and belongs to the state of Jammu Kashmir. It is in the north east of India, neighboring Tibet. Surrounded by the Karakoram and Great Himalayan Ranges, it is a high altitude desert land and therefore sheltered from the rain bringing clouds of the Indian monsoons. Once a lake covered Ladakh and the leftover today are the 3 lakes of Tso Moriri, Tso Kar and Pangkong Tso. The main source of water in Ladakh are the winter snow falls. If you would go by road to Ladakh, you would have to cross 3 passes, which are all between 4000 and 6000 meters. The people of Ladakh are Buddhists and Muslims. They live together in harmony and this makes it a safe place. The first inhabitants of Ladakh were most probably a mixture of nomads, which wandered the Tibetan high plateau, and some early Buddhist refugees from northern India, called the Mons. In the 7th century the Buddhism from India was brought to Ladakh by the wondering sage Padmasambhava and gradually displaced the shamanic cult of the Bons. With His Holiness the Dalai Lama as its head, Gelukpa or Yellow Hat is now the most popular school of Tibetan Buddhism in Ladakh. Today, Ladakh has still many functioning monasteries and a very alive Buddhist tradition.
Set like a jewelled crown on the map of India, Kashmir is a multi-faceted diamond, changing its hues with the seasons - always extravagantly beautiful. Two major Himalayan ranges, the Great Himalayan Range and the Pir Panjal, surround the landscape from the north and south respectively. They are the source of great rivers, which flow down into the valleys, forested with orchards and decorated by lily-laden lakes.
The Mughals aptly called Kashmir ‘Paradise on Earth’ where they journeyed across the hot plains of India, to the valley’s cool environs in summer. Here they laid, with great love and care, Srinagar’s many formal, waterfront gardens, now collectively known as the Mughal Gardens. They also patronized the development of art & craft among the people of Kashmir, leaving behind a heritage of exquisite artisanship among these people and making the handicrafts of the land prized gifts all over the world.
Kashmir is a land where myriad holiday ideas are realised. In winter, when snow carpets the mountains, there is skiing, tobogganing, sledge-riding, etc. along the gentle slopes. In spring and summer, the honey-dewed orchards, rippling lakes and blue skies beckon every soul to sample the many delights the mountains and valleys have to offer. Golfing at 2,700 m above the sea, water-skiing in the lakes and angling for prized rainbow trout, or simply drifting down the willow fringed alleys of lakes in shikaras and living in gorgeous houseboats are some of the most favoured ones.
The short trek is very ideal for the novice and less experienced, as it is much easier than any other trek in Ladakh. This trek passes through many villages and monasteries deep in mountains giving more chance to interact and observe the locals lifestyle of Ladakh villages.