Ahead of the arrival of World Travel Awards in Delhi for its annual Grand Final Gala Ceremony next week, Breaking Travel News has been taking a look at what is on offer for travellers to India.
Today we take a look at the north of the country, travelling along the well-trodden tracks of the Golden Triangle to the uninhabited peaks of the Himalayas.
Romance of the ‘Golden Triangle’
Among the first stops for many visitors to India is the romantic Golden Triangle; a circuit which includes the capital Delhi, Agra, home to the world-famous Taj Mahal, and Jaipur in Rajasthan.
Agra is often first, with the Taj itself welcoming over three million visitors a year.
The city is only 200 miles south of Delhi, where romantics can spend a day walking around the greatest monument to love ever built.
Also here is the Red Fort, where the romantic emperor who built the Taj, Shah Jahan, was imprisoned by his own son. Visitors can sit in the room where he died, staring at his own masterpiece.
The road from Agra leads to Fatehpur Sikri, a palace city surrounded by walls on three sides, with the fourth protected by a lake.
The architect of the city, Tuhir Das, designed the location using Indian principles, with still-standing buildings showcasing a synthesis of various regional schools, including Gujarat and Bengal.
Influences from Hindu and Jain architecture are seen hand in hand with Islamic elements.
Jama Masjid in Sikri Fatehpur
Next, Rajasthan, which was controlled for thousands of years by a warrior race of honour that which would fight to certain death to protect their homeland. As a result, the landscape is dotted with impressive battle-scarred forts.
A proud and beautiful people in their many-coloured garments, locals now extend a warm welcome in this powerful land of kings.
Guests can be treated like royalty themselves by staying in a fairy-tale palace on one of the beautiful lakes in Udaipur. The Arabian Nights fantasy here can be extended to magical Jaisalmer – a yellow city with every building radiating the colour of the sun.
Jaipur, the largest city and capital of Rajasthan, is home to the observatory, Jantar Mantar, a World Heritage Sites, while the Pink City also offers world-class tourism facilities.
Celebrations in Jaipur
The eternal city of Varanasi, on the banks of the Ganges in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, also welcomes thousands of travellers each year.
A site of religious significance, the city is a mass of winding narrow alleys filled with colourful pilgrims, wandering sadhus (holy men), and Hindu priests (Brahmins) all giving offerings to the gods.
These fantastic sights mingle with the aroma of incense wafting from ancient Hindu temples.
The Ganges is a sacred, holy river, worshipped by the Hindus.
In the clear early morning light pilgrims perform their devotions on the steps leading down to the river, women bathe discreetly in their colourful saris and groups of children, no less colourful with flashing smiles and dark shining eyes, play nearby.
It is commonly believed bathing in the Ganges at certain holy places purifies the soul.
Numerous holy towns line the banks of the river, all waiting to be explored.
Varanasi, Allahabad, Rishikesh and Hardwar are all bustling pilgrimage towns which provide a delightful experience to mingle with the thronging crowd of pilgrims.
The river Ganges is one of the most sacred sites in India
Majesty of the Himalayas
Imagine standing alone in the top of the world with the swirling white clouds beneath you and yet another snowy ridge towering ahead?
Journeys can easily be made to silvery Kashmir, cool and beautiful Shimla, or the lush green Kulu Valley.
Relax sitting on the balcony of one of the beautiful hotels in the mountains, breathing in the clear mountain air and idly watching the sparkling river cascading down the mountainside.
The ancient Moghul emperors, once the greatest dynasty on earth, devoted their entire resources to the task of complementing the natural beauty of Kashmir with gardens and waterways to create a Paradise on Earth.
Later, the British popularised the use of houseboats moored in the tranquil Nagin and Dal lakes.
Shimla, is a place designed for complete relaxation, a delightfully situated hill station retreat.
Wander down the Mall, to watch a11 the local people doing the same; breathe the pine scented air in the tall and beautiful forests with the sun casting light through the trees on the sparkling brooks.
North of Shimla is the beautiful forested Kulu Valley, with its flowing rivers and flower strewn walks, known as the Valley of the Gods.
Views over the Himalayas
For more information on visiting Incredible India! head over to the official website.
There is more information the World Travel Awards Grand Final Gala Ceremony here.