SAMODEHAVELI, JAIPURLocated inside the city walls, Samode Haveli wasbuilt for the Samode Royal Family as a townhouseand today has excellent access to the city's mainsights. The 39 guest rooms are individuallydesigned and reflect the regal heritage of theproperty, with intricate mirror work and stainedglass panels, while the tranquil garden and pool help you to unwind after a day's sightseeing. Thisbeautifully preserved haveli is the perfect basefrom which to explore Jaipur. RAMBAGHPALACE, JAIPURSet in 19 hectares of Mughal gardens, the palacedates back to 1835 and is perhaps the mostdesirable address in Jaipur. It was originally a small four-roomed pavilion built for the chief lady-in-waiting to the Maharani and today it offersguests the chance to live like a Maharaja. It hasboth an indoor and outdoor swimming pool andexcellent spa. There is a wide selection of diningoptions and even if you are not staying here adrink on the veranda is a must.Ranthambhore National Park Located between Agra and Jaipur and with adirect rail link to Delhi, Ranthambhore is the mostaccessible of all of India's national parks andfamous for its tiger population and otherabundant wildlife. The dry deciduous forest isscattered with small ornate pavilions. There arealso steep craggy areas, one of which issurmounted by a thousand year old fort, making a dramatic backdrop for the wildlife. The easyaccess to the park means that it is heavily visitedand game drives must follow the set routesallotted to them on entry. For those who want a taste of Indian wildlife, Ranthambhore is awonderful stop on a North Indian itinerary. Pleasesee the wildlife section of the brochure on pages76-83 for more information.JaipurRajasthan's capital, also known as the 'Pink City', is one of the country's most atmospheric andspectacular destinations. The enormous CityPalace lies at its heart and houses a museumcontaining intricately woven costumes, weaponryand vintage vehicles, while the impressive façadeof the Palace of the Winds and the Jantar MantarObservatory are only a short stroll away. There isfar more to the city than just its famousmonuments and to get a complete experience ofJaipur, you can take a guided tour to uncover themysteries of the bazaars and visit silversmiths,turban sellers and traditional markets. Close toJaipur is the striking 17th century hilltop AmberFort. The impressive gateway leads into thefortified palace and the Maharaja's apartments,richly decorated with elaborate mosaics, ornatemurals and a glittering mirrored ceiling.12Walking up to Amber Fort, JaipurCourtyard at the Rambagh Palace, JaipurJantar Mantar Observatory, Jaipur
UMAIDBHAWANPALACE,JODHPURBuilt in the early years of the 20th century anddesigned, surprisingly, by the British Institute ofArchitects, this fantastic palace set in enormousgrounds is a local landmark. It was originallyconceived as a job creation project for theimpoverished Rajasthani subjects of the Maharaja.Today, the hotel is one of the most luxurious inIndia and has a wonderful art deco style, excellentfacilities and the Maharaja is still in residence. www.audleytravel.com/northindia ?01993 838 345 ?Rajasthan & the North13RAAS, JODHPURRaas lies at the foot of the mighty MehrangarhFort in the prestigious northeastern quarter of the walled city, just a stone's throw fromJodhpur's clock tower. The land on which thisboutique hotel is built belongs to an old haveli,which now houses the restaurant and communalareas that are in local 'rose-red' sandstone. Thecontemporary rooms have been built in tastefulmodern buildings and all but four of the 39rooms have wonderful views of the fort. RATANVILLAS, JODHPURThis friendly hotel offers excellent value and isowned and run by a family of polo enthusiastswith a royal lineage, whose memorabilia fills thedrawing room. The villa is filled with individualand interesting pieces of furniture, includinglovingly restored antiques. The rooms aresituated around a courtyard, with easy chairs forrelaxing in as well as air-conditioning and en suitebathrooms. Meals are served in a small diningroom or in the atmospheric courtyard. Recentadditions include a small pool and massage tents. Façade of the Palace of the Winds, JaipurThe typical blue houses of JodhpurThe flower market, JaipurSamode Haveli, JaipurMehrangarh Fort, JodhpurSwimming pool and restaurant at Raas, JodhpurUmaid Bhawan Palace, JodhpurJodhpurThe 'Blue City' of Jodhpur is so called due to theblue houses which historically represent theBrahmin caste, and is also the colour thought todeter insects. The city is dominated by the vastred sandstone Mehrangarh Fort. Its ramparts offerwonderful views over the sprawling houses belowand the display of artefacts is perhaps the best inIndia. There are a number of enormous stonegateways, the last of which shows the hand printsof the royal satis, the former wives of theMaharajas who jumped onto their husband'sfuneral pyres before the British outlawed thepractice. In the shadow of the fort, Jodhpur'scolourful and vibrant market is an atmosphericcollection of bustling stalls selling leather goods,spices and silks. A few hours wandering provides avivid insight into the daily life of Jodhpur's residentsand may result in some interesting souvenirs. Withfewer visitors than Jaipur, Jodhpur offers a moreintimate experience of a bustling Rajasthani city.