When you dream of luxurious travel destinations, chances are you imagine the idyllic beaches of the Maldives or the Seychelles, or an all-inclusive glamping experience within an African national park.
But how many countries offer the chance for you to live the life of royalty? Travellers visiting the Golden Triangle in Rajasthan, northern India, will discover a one-time land of Mughal Emperors and maharajas that is still adorned with imposing forts and ornate manor houses known as havelis. Rajasthan also boasts the iconic Ranthambhore National Park – the old hunting ground of the state’s ruling class that is now, mercifully, a protected reserve where tigers and elephants roam freely.
To truly live the life of luxury in India’s Golden Triangle, choose India tours with authentic accommodation which give tourists the chance to stay in magnificent palaces and at colonial campsites in the countryside – without the price tag that you might expect. It is also well-worth having expert guides for your trip who can bring the past of this diverse region into the present as you follow the footsteps of the maharajas between Rajasthan’s main cities. Explore the key stops on a journey around the Golden Triangle and the sheer indulgence that awaits you around every corner.
The first thing that comes to mind when most people think of India is the Taj Mahal – and rightly so. This Mughal creation is one of the wonders of the modern world, a mausoleum of perfect symmetry built almost entirely from white marble that glows pink and gold in low sunlight. Visitors to Agra can see the Taj Mahal on foot at sunrise and from the water at sunset – it is a sight you’ll never forget.
Ranthambhore National Park
Between Agra and Jaipur, the state capital of Rajasthan, is Ranthambhore National Park. Tourists can go on twice daily jeep drives through the park in search of exotic wildlife that ranges from reptiles to birds and iconic mammals. The highlight here are the tigers which are most easily spotted between October and March. In the evenings, stay in colonial-style ‘campsites’ complete with fully furnished ensuite tents and high-class food served under the stars.
Rajasthan’s crowning jewel – Jaipur. This colourful city is a masterpiece of elaborate architecture, painted its iconic pink colour to honour a British royal visit in the mid-19th century. Two of the most beautiful buildings are the Palace of the Winds and the City Palace, both found within the heart of the old town. Amber Fort towers over the town at one end while bazaars selling sumptuous street food, fabulous fabrics, and precious gems and jewellery criss-cross the other.
It is in Jaipur where you have the chance to stay in a haveli, the ornate buildings that were once the residencies of the royal families in this region. These can range from small boutique properties where traditional décor is the order of the day to unbelievably opulent palaces that are equipped with modern facilities such as luxury spa services and offer special experiences including private cooking classes, destination dining, and yoga and meditation sessions.