Uttar Pradesh

India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh borders colourful Rajasthan to the west and Nepal to the north and offers visitors a chance to explore it’s abundance of history, magnificent architecture, fascinating local culture and varied cuisines. Uttar Pradesh is home to not only the state capital of Lucknow and India’s sprawling and fast paced capital city of Delhi, but also Varanasi, Agra and some beautiful areas of countryside rich in wildlife.

The capital of India is made up of two districts, Old and New Delhi, and is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Spend a couple of days getting under the skin of this incredible city and experience the contrast between Delhi’s bustling modern life and intriguing history. Wander through the tangle of narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk market in Old Delhi, the air thick with the powerful scent of spices and incense, or stroll the vast tree lined boulevards of New Delhi. Perhaps enjoy some shopping in the boutiques and galleries of arty Hauz Khas Village, or retreat to the tranquil Lodhi Gardens and discover the impressive Lotus Temple, which is particularly beautiful at dusk. 

Agra is of course home to the magnificent Taj Mahal, one of the most iconic buildings in the world and a sight that must not be missed! Although it is one of the most photographed monuments and a busy tourist hot spot, nothing can truly prepare you for the magical moment you step through the arched gateway and catch your first glimpse. We recommend visiting at dawn or at dusk, when the Taj Mahal is bathed in a soft ethereal light, adding to the romance of the experience.

Lucknow has a fascinating history and is home to some spectacular architecture but is also a must for foodies. The city is famous across the country for it’s Awadhi cuisine and a visit to Akbari Gate Market is the perfect way to experience the incredible street food, including kebabs cooked over hot coals and steaming cups of pink Kashmiri Chai. Visit in the evening, when the market is at its most alive! 

Varanasi is regarded by some as the spiritual capital of India and is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. A visit to this holy city, on the banks of the River Ganges, is a powerful experience and an opportunity to witness fascinating rituals of life and death that take place on the ghats. Stroll through the intense maze-like old town and take a boat trip at sunrise to view the city from a different perspective.