98 F O R R E S E R V A T I O N S C A L L U S O N 0845 130 6982 Jaipur Jaipur is known as the ‘Pink City’ due to the ‘pinkwashed’ buildings in the traditional Rajasthani colour of welcome. There is much to see here from the old and new royal palaces, to the intricate buildings and the vibrant colourful bazaars. The highlight is the 16th century fortified palace of Amber Fort. Jaipur has good road connections and is half a day’s drive from Delhi or Ranthambhore or a whole day’s drive from Agra. There are also a limited number of domestic air connections. The Oberoi Rajvilas is a luxury resort which revives the gracious lifestyles of India’s legendary Rajput princes in a romantic Rajasthani Fort setting. 54 deluxe rooms, fourteen luxury tents and two luxury villas with private pools are clustered around their own private courtyards, and surrounded by orchards, gardens, temples, decorative pools and fountains. The Samode Haveli Hotel is a small and intimate hotel in the heart of Jaipur. This former royal manor house offers first class accommodation in 29 air-conditioned and atmospheric rooms and suites. The dining room is a work of art with ceiling to floor fresco paintings. The Samode Palace Hotel is a small, award-winning heritage hotel located in Samode village just over an hour north-west of Jaipur. This former Rajput palace offers top quality accommodation in 41 atmospheric rooms and suites. All the rooms are uniquely furnished with the local Rajasthani hand printed textiles and traditional artefacts and marble-work. The three Royal Suites have a private courtyard, Jacuzzi and fireplace. The hotel facilities include an outdoor pool with views of the ancient Aravali Mountains. The Rambagh Palace Hotel is a deluxe 5-star hotel with superb facilities. In the finest tradition of Rajput hospitality, the Rambagh Palace offers its guests a taste of royal living in its 85 rooms and suites – a luxury and extravagance that was once the sole preserve of kings. Mumbai Mumbai is India’s great West coast city, a vast sprawling mega-city of 18 million people. Still occasionally referred to by its colonial name Bombay, the city is an interesting mixture of modern and British neo-gothic architecture. For the wildlife enthusiast there is not much of interest, but the city does offer some interesting sightseeing for those who have the inclination or some time to spare. Mumbai is a fascinating and vibrant city where mud huts in the slums co-exist next to glamorous penthouse suites owned by Bollywood stars, movie moguls and billionaires! The Leela Kempinski is a five star hotel within easy reach of the domestic and international airports, and just 16 kilometres from Mumbai city centre. The hotel sits in six hectares of tranquil landscaped gardens, filled with palms, serene lotus ponds and little waterfalls, and it is an excellent place to relax while visiting Mumbai. Built in 1903 the Taj Mahal Hotel is a large and interesting hotel which brings together Moorish, Oriental and Florentine styles. With panoramic views of the Arabian Sea, the hotel is a gracious landmark of the city of Mumbai, showcasing contemporary Indian influences along with beautiful vaulted alabaster ceilings, onyx columns, graceful archways and hand-woven silk carpets. Mysore Mysore is considered one of the most beautiful cities in India, and the highlight of any visit here is a trip to the fabulous Maharaja’s Palace. In this city of palaces this stands out as a vast confection of a building with an eclectic range of tastes and styles inside and out. Inside, the palace is filled with magnificent antiques, golden elephant howdahs and thrones, Victorian tiling, stained glass, chandeliers and frescoes. The Lalitha Mahal Palace is an historic hotel in a spectacular location on a hill overlooking Mysore. This 54 roomed hotel retains the quirky charm of a heritage property and is filled with antiques and historical oddities. Kochi Kochi (or Cochin) is an ancient trading port and royal state, once known as ‘The Queen of the Arabian Sea’, located in Kerala, Southern India. The highlight of any visit here is a visit to the old town area of Fort Cochin. View the wonderful carvings and frescoes of the 16th century Dutch Palace, the Jew Street bazaar and the Parsi Synagogue with its Delft-tiled interior dating back to 1568. You will also be able to see the Chinese fishing nets along the harbour mouth, where fish is still caught and cooked fresh in the restaurants that line the beach. On a harbour cruise you can fully appreciate the size of this fabulous natural harbour which is home to the Indian Navy, and observe the water-birds that thrive here. In the centre is the man-made Willingdon Island where some of the city’s best hotels are located. The Taj Malabar Hotel sits in a fabulous location on the northernmost tip of Willingdon Island. It commands magnificent views of the harbour from three sides and catches the cooling sea breezes. Accommodation consists of 96 rooms and suites divided between the main modern tower and a heritage wing with graceful Victorian interiors reflecting the hotel’s colonial past. Brunton Boat Yard is a beautiful hotel with 22 rooms located at the site of the original boatyard built by the 19th century boat-builder, Brunton. It is built to the Dutch and Portuguese architectural principles of early 16th and 17th century and all the rooms overlook sea. The large high ceiling rooms are well furnished and have large picture-window bathrooms. Varanasi Varanasi is India’s Holy City. It is located in the centre of the great north Indian plain and attracts millions of pilgrims each year, coming to wash their sins away in the waters of the great River Ganges. Those who die and are cremated here are liberated from the cycle of death and rebirth, and for this reason the banks of the river are lined with fabulous palaces belonging to ancient royal dynasties, magnificent temples and cremation ‘ghats’. This ancient city is believed to be one of the oldest in the world, dating back more than 3000 years. Many visitors describe a dawn boat ride on the River Ganges as the most amazing and memorable experience of their trip to India, encapsulating the entire Indian experience in a nutshell. Varanasi is well served by trains and flights to other major destinations in India and Nepal. The Taj Ganges Hotel is a tranquil and well-appointed hotel with 130 rooms set in 20 hectares of lush green gardens. Elephant in Jaipur
S E E U S O N T H E W E B AT wildlifeworldwide.com Ooty (Udagamandalam) The 'Queen of Hill Stations' Udagamandalam, better known as Ooty, is the most popular hill station in South India. It is located in the Western Ghats at a height of 2240 metres, and although the Toda tribe has been living here since time immemorial, the British are credited with 'discovering' Ooty, making it accessible and developing it. With its cool mountain climate Ooty became the summer capital of the Madras Presidency, in the days of the British Raj. The town itself is very picturesque with churches, Victorian mansions and bungalows spread around steep sided hills. Some of the old ways still remain and many establishments still serve afternoon tea! One of the highlights of a visit to Ooty is a trip on the100 year old ‘toy train’, a narrow gauge rack and pinion railway between Ooty and Mettupalayam which is linked to Coimbatore and Chennai. The nearest airport is 100 kilometres away in Coimbatore, which is connected to Chennai, Bombay and Bangalore. Ooty is well connected by good (and scenic) roads to Coimbatore, Chennai and Mysore. Due to its altitude, summer temperatures (March to June) in Ooty are similar to those in Britain, and the rest of the year sees warm days, but cold nights. The Savoy Hotel is an historic hotel located high on a hill overlooking Ooty. Accommodation is in 40 en-suite rooms in bungalows which are spread throughout the manicured lawns and colourful flowerbeds. The emphasis is old English charm and elegance with high tea often served on the lawns. Kolkata Kolkata is India’s third biggest city, with a staggering population of around 14 million. It is located in the State of West Bengal, on the banks of the Hooghli River, just 60 miles from the Bay of Bengal. Today it is a major commercial city, but its illustrious history as the capital of the British Raj is reflected in some fine historical buildings and memorials. Those who have some time to spare while passing through will find more than enough to occupy them for a day’s sightseeing, from the magnificent Victoria Memorial and Marble Palace Museums, to the remains of Fort William (with its dark history) and Writer’s Building. The Park Hotel is a well-appointed four star hotel located in Kolkata. The 174 air-conditioned rooms and suites are designed in a contemporary style and all have modern en-suite facilities. The Oberoi Grand is a large luxury hotel featuring elegantly appointed rooms, excellent restaurants offering speciality cuisine and an exclusive spa and fitness centre. Centrally Located in the commercial heart of Kolkata this historic hotel is an oasis in the bustling city. Bangalore Bangalore is a rapidly expanding modern city and capital of the southern Indian state of Karnataka. Previously a centre for British colonial rule the city has some beautiful civic buildings and gardens dating from this time. The Royal Orchid Hotel is a smart hotel close to the city centre. Accommodation is in 195 modern rooms and suites offering views of both the city centre and the lush green golf course next door. Darjeeling Darjeeling still retains some of the quaint, old-worldly colonial charm reminiscent of the days of the Raj. In the summer months the top British officials, troops and wives would decamp here en-masse to avoid the searing heat of the plains and enjoy the cool mountain air. The city has a breathtakingly beautiful backdrop of the mighty snow-clad Himalayan Peaks, including Kanchenjunga which overshadows the town. Darjeeling is surrounded by tea plantations produces one of the most famous teas in the world. It is a fascinating place of old and new buildings and customs, where you can see Buddhist monasteries, colonial bungalows and gothic mansions, visit tea plantations, or go trekking to high altitude spots near the border with Sikkim. The Cedar Inn offers accommodation in 29 rooms in an elegant Victorian gothic building. All rooms have spectacular views of the snowy peaks of the Himalayas. Hotel Windermere is arguably the best accommodation in Darjeeling. It was the cozy boarding area of the bachelor English and Scottish tea planters and converted into a hotel in 1939. It has 38 rooms and an enviable reputation for service. 99 Asia / India fatepursikri Jaipur “ ” Mandy Shepherd Wildlife Artist India - What an amazing experience! My first visit and I have returned waxing lyrical about the place, the people and the wildlife in all its glory. As an artist it was electrical in colour, sensual, vibrant... my dictionary of superlatives will never be large enough to embrace it all. And my first sighting of a Tiger? A magnificently humbling experience for any human being and, had there been a need, that one moment endorsed my commitment and passion for wildlife conservation.