AFAR Guide to India
Collected by Allison Murray , AFAR Contributor
Brimming with regional diversity, you can dodge florescent dye at Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, one day and practice yoga in the Himalayas the next. A blend of distinct historical influences, from regional Medieval kingdoms to 18th century European outposts, the cultural differences are as vast as its geographic diversity. Travelers in India find themselves on journey of the senses.
Dharmapuri, Forest Colony, Tajganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282001, India
The Taj Mahal is referred to as "the jewel of Muslim art in India,” by UNESCO in its listing on the World Heritage Site registry. The Mughal ruler Shah Jahan had the truly magnificent white marble...
Thar Desert, Rajasthan
So long as you don't mind a little bit of sand in your knickers, a night in the Thar Desert under a star lit sky is an experience unlike anything you've experienced in your entire life. We rode out into the desert on ill-tempered camels, bouncing...
Azad Nagar, Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400005, India
Every morning, the Sassoon docks in the Colaba district of Mumbai fill with locals, young and old, who load baskets, bowls, and crates with all manner of Arabian sea life. I stood mesmerized watching women in beautiful bright saris balance heavy...
Shop No.24, M.C Market, Opposite Jhamb Guest House, Old Railway Rd, Bhim Nagar, Sector 6, Gurugram, Haryana 122001, India
An overnight train from Delhi delivers travelers to the tranquil Kumaoni foothills of the Himalayas. With local guides, hikers explore rural Indian villages, terraced rice paddies, and Hindu temples. At night, travelers settle into authentic...
11, Sido Kanhu Dahar, Maidan, Esplanade, Chowringhee North, Bow Barracks, Kolkata, West Bengal 700069, India
Sugarcane juice is a popular drink on the streets of India. It's the perfect thirst quencher on a hot day. When I was in Calcutta I was mesmerized as I watched vendors, like the one above, extract juice by pushing raw sugar cane through a...
B1/163, Nagwa Rd, opp. River Ganga, Assi ghat, Shivala, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221005, India
Varanasi is a city of beautiful chaos. Located on the banks of the Ganges River, it's one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, and also one of the holiest. The river is the pulse of the city and it's worth setting your alarm...
I attended the colorful Flower Market early one morning in Kolkata, India. The market is jam packed with people, vehicles and the ubiquitous flowers. The many species of flowers come in all colors and sizes. The scene is best described as colorful...
Babaji Ka Modh, Goner Rd, Jagdish Colony, Prem Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302031, India
Situated on 32 acres of land on the outskirts of Jaipur—but still a quick drive from the city’s historic forts and palaces—this massive hotel mixes traditional Rajasthani style with modern amenities. Although there are a number...
Tungsung Basti, Darjeeling, West Bengal 734101, India
The views from your suite—of the Kanchenjunga Mountains, the hills of Sikkim, or the Rung Dung River—might make it hard to leave, but it’s worth it to learn about every stage of tea-making on a tour of the fields and factory. A tasting reveals the...
Rabindranath Tagore Rd, Pathani Tola, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001, India
On the Ganges to witness the Aarti (prayer) ceremony. Before we boarded a row boat to watch masses come to the Ghats to offer prayers and float tiny oil lamps on the river. The moment that struck me aaas that a woman was sweeping the steps to the...
Sahastradhara Road,, Dehradun, Uttarakhand 249001, India
The residence of the Maharaja of Tehri-Garhwal (an Indian princely state) is now a 100-acre spa resort in the Himalayas devoted to hatha yoga and holistic and Ayurvedic wellness programs. Prior to arrival, guests fill out an Ayurveda and wellness...
Tarn Taran Sahib, Punjab 143401, India
Sikhs and non-Sikhs go to Amritsar for one reason – to see the Golden Temple (Hamandir Sahib) so, that is what I did on my most recent trip to India. Except, I went on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday which is a national holiday in India and because of...
Raja Katra, Jorasanko, Kolkata, West Bengal 700007, India
While traveling around India I learned to expect the unexpected. Every turn delivered a surprise. When I was in Calcutta, a traffic jam forced my guide and I to abandon our tax ride to the Marble Palace. As we stumbled out the cab door we found...
Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001, India
Facing the Arabian Sea and the Gateway of India monument, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel blends Moorish, Florentine, and Indian architecture. The historic palace wing reopened in 2010 with 243 new rooms and 42 suites, including one that houses the...
261/63, Shamaldas Gandhi Marg, Marine lines, Navajeevan Wadi, Sonapur, Marine Lines, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400002, India
On Diwali, relatives and friends give one another sweets to ring in the lunar New Year. Watch locals light diyas (clay lamps) and make rangoli (colored-powder designs) on the streets to invite the blessings of the gods. Visit a sweet shop such as...
5, Ground Floor, Pheroze Building, Dhanraj Mahal, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Marg, Opp, Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400039, India
Refuel with citrus salad, fennel risotto with cherry tomatoes and saffron, and chocolate bread pudding at the new outpost of Indigo Delicatessen. This appeared in the November/December 2012 issue.
Shop No 8, Gokul Regency, Thakur Complex, Kandivali East, Mumbai - 400101, New Saibaba Nagar, Hemu Colony, Bhagat Colony, Kandivali West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400101, India
Drashta, the boutique of Mumbai-based fashion designer Drashta Sarvaiya, sells silk brocade skirts, brightly printed dresses, and beaded accessories, such as wrap belts made with semi-precious stones.
1st Floor, Pheroze Building, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Marg,, above Indigo Deli, Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400005, India
As manufacturing moves out of the city, industrial spaces are being repurposed. In 2011, a boutique, cafe, and flower shop called Le Mill opened in a former rice mill near the naval dockyards. Roughly half the merchandise is made in India....
91 A, Rani Baug, Veer Mata Jijbai Bhonsle Udyan, Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Rd, Byculla East, Byculla, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400027, India
The 140-year-old Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum completed a four-year restoration in 2008 that preserved its Corinthian columns and tiled staircase. The building has long been a home for rare religious statues and 16th-century maps of the...
Kaccha Bagh Area, Old Delhi, New Delhi, Delhi 110006, India
Rickshaw rides are common in Chandni Chowk, the vast and crowded market in the Old Delhi quarter, but book a comprehensive rickshaw tour for an immersive experience that lasts longer than 15 minutes. Witness the architectural marvels,...
Jama Masjid Rd, Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi 110006, India
Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque, was commissioned by Shah Jahan, the same emperor who built the iconic Taj Mahal for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Completed in 1656, the courtyard of Jama Masjid can accommodate 25,000...
Netaji Subhash Marg, Lal Qila, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi 110006, India
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Red Fort, located in New Delhi, is a treasure trove of cultural history. You can spend hours wandering among the various buildings, learning much about the history of India. Tucked away within the walls...
Shop No. 245, INA Market, Sri Aurobindo Marg, INA Market, Aviation Colony, Laxmi Bai Nagar, New Delhi, Delhi 110023, India
Live crabs from Chennai? Fresh turmeric, bamboo shoot, bitter gourd? The Indian National Army Market, or INA, carries nearly every spice, meat, fruit, vegetable, and grain on the planet. Here are a few ingredients to stash in your suitcase....
Tilak Nagar, New Delhi, Delhi 110018, India
No longer a supporting actor to Mumbai, New Delhi is abuzz with new buildings, new energy, and new money. Well-heeled locals frequent art galleries and restaurants while iconic Ambassador taxis jostlewith motorized rickshaws on the broad...
Hauz Khas, New Delhi, Delhi, India
Yes, Hauz Khas Village is perhaps most known for its artsy vibe, boutique shops, and trendy restaurants. But before it became a lively commercial district, Hauz Kaus was (and remains) a 13th-century historical complex with a mosque,...
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