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India See And Do

Akshardham
On the Yamuna River
Near Noida Mar
Delhi
India 110092
Tel: 91 11 2201 6688
www.akshardham.com

One might be tempted to call it Hinduism's answer to Disney World. But the Akshardham temple, which opened in 2005 as a showcase for the celebration of Hindu culture, is without question one of the largest places of worship ever built. A 100-acre complex, it contains exhibition halls, boat rides, gift shops, an Imax Theater, and a massive central monument, constructed of white marble and red sandstone, that rests on a plinth of 148 stone elephants. Admission to the complex is free, but a fee is charged to visit some of the exhibitions. No mobile phones or cameras.

Closed Mondays.

Anjuna
Anjuna
India

Famous throughout Goa for its Wednesday flea market, Anjuna, together with nearby Vagator and Chapora, is now the hub of Goa's party scene. The flea market is a great blend of Tibetan and Kashmiri traders, colorful Gujarati tribal women, Western tourists, and 21st-century hippies. It's the best place to shop for souvenirs, trinkets, shawls, and jewelry, and even if you're not after anything specific, it's a wonderful place to browse. Take great care of your possessions, as theft is a big problem.

Banganga Tank
Walkeshwar
Malabar Hill
Mumbai
India

Even as housing prices atop Malabar Hill approach those of Manhattan, the sleepy temple area at its base appears untouched by the strains of modern life. Its 17 temples overlook a tranquil water tank, painstakingly built over 400 years, and finished in the 13th century. The smell of burning incense sticks and fresh jasmine wafts through the air, while strains of priestly chanting echo in the dense silence. Tours are available, but this is really just a place to get lost, wander, and take in the mellow vibe. The crowds descend here every winter during the Banganga Festival, when maestros of Hindustani classical music give open-air performances against the backdrop of the temple town.

Bhangarh
Alwar
India

Think of this little-known collection of ruins as Machu Picchu without the crowds. Once a town of 10,000 souls, it was supposedly abandoned almost overnight under mysterious circumstances many centuries ago. On the road from Jaipur to Alwar, 15 minutes south of the luxury resort Amanbagh, virtually the only thing known for sure about these ruins of palaces, temples, bathing pools, and shops is that that they were built in the 1630s by the younger brother of a renowned general and deserted a short time later. Locals call the town "Bhangarh of Ghosts" and won't visit after dark; according to legend, the desertion had to do with an evil magician who cursed a virtuous queen when she wouldn't succumb to his advances. Whatever the history, it makes for a good afternoon.

Chandor
Chandor
India

A few miles east of Margao lies the small, sleepy village of Chandor, once the site of Chandrapur (capital of the ancient state of Govarashtra), the most spectacular city on the Konkani coast. Today, Chandor is worth a visit to see the Braganza House, probably the grandest colonial mansion in Goa. Dominating the dusty village square, the structure, built in the 16th century by the wealthy Braganza family for their two sons, has a huge two-story facade, with 28 windows flanking its entrance.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (Prince of Wales Museum)
159 Mahatma Gandhi Road
Kala Ghoda near Regal Circle
Mumbai
India
Tel: 91 22 2284 4519
www.bombaymuseum.org

Imposing cast-iron gates near Regal Circle lead into lush gardens peppered with ancient statues of various Hindu gods. Behind it all stands the grand old Prince of Wales Museum, a majestic blend of British, Hindu, and Islamic architectural traditions. The building stone was laid by the Prince of Wales when he visited the city in 1905, and it served as a military hospital during World War I. The museum has an impressive store of opulent artifacts from India's former princely states, a beautiful collection of miniature paintings, and Mughal emperor Akbar's dazzling personal armor. The 90-minute digital audio tour of 38 key displays is highly recommended.

Open Tuesdays through Sundays 11 am to 5:30 pm.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus)
Dr. Dadabhai Naoroji Road
Mumbai
India

Built in the colonial era as a sign of British power, this throbbing railway terminus serves three million commuters each day. Its architect was a proponent of the Indo-Saracenic style—which combined native Indian traditions with Gothic Revival elements from Victorian Britain—and the grand, stone structure is an immaculate example, fusing Venetian-Gothic flamboyance with intricate local detailing. Snarling gargoyles leap off its facade, and a pair of imperious lions guard its entrance. The British christened the building "Victoria Terminus" in honor of the reigning queen, but in a show of regional strength, it was renamed in 1996 after a revered Maratha warrior-ruler. CST, as it's better known these days, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, and is the second most photographed building in India, after the Taj Mahal in Agra.

Chowpatty Beach
In the City
Mumbai
India

Situated north of the city center, near Malabar Hill and along Marine Drive, this is a Mumbai institution, which really comes to life at night and on Saturdays. People don't come here to swim, since the sea is polluted, but instead they wander, sit on the beach, have a massage, get their ears cleaned, picnic, and people-watch. You'll see astrologers and snake charmers, as well as children riding the rickety Ferris wheels. Bhelwallahs sell addictive bhelpuri, the local snack of puffed rice, vegetables, and fried noodles laced with chili, mint, and tamarind, then scooped up with a puri, or deep-fried bread.

City Tours

Navigating around Mumbai's intense streets can be exhausting and overwhelming at the best of times, so go easy on yourself and sign up for a tour. Bombay Heritage Walks conducts a variety of tours focusing on the architecture of various neighborhoods, from the Gothic delights in Fort to Churchgate's Art Deco buildings and Bandra's Portuguese-era hamlets. If you'd prefer to be shuttled around, hop a ride aboard Nilambari, an open-roofed double-decker bus that traverses the historic streets of Fort by night, to soak in the illuminated colonial-era buildings that are still Mumbai's most impressive structures. Nilambari operates tours every Saturday and Sunday 7 to 8 pm and 8:15 pm to 9:15 pm, starting at the Gateway of India.

To get some perspective on the more complicated nature of Mumbai, take one of Reality Tours and Travels' sensitively run forays into Dharavi, Asia's largest slum. More than a million people crowd into Dharavi's 430 acres, and 15,000 small industrial units chug away within its narrow alleyways, recycling plastic and manufacturing leather, jewelry, chemicals, and clay pots. You will see men laboring in steamy warehouses, families living cheek by jowl, and children playing near open drains. The chirpy 18-year-old guide, Ravi, keeps the mood light with incessant banter, but there's no escaping the reality that this is how 60 percent of Mumbai lives. Eighty percent of the profits after tax go to local NGOs who work in Dharavi.

Colva, Benaulim and Palolem
Colva
India

Hard to believe that only about 25 years ago, little existed of what visitors today know as Colva, the main package-holiday resort of south Goa. Benaulim Beach, less than two miles south, is tranquil, but Palolem is probably Goa's most beautiful and idyllic stretch. The sweeping crescent of white sand is fringed by a shady rim of coconut palms, and the whole shore is hemmed in by rocky crags at either end. The development is low-key and mostly consists of simple rickety beach huts and guesthouses.

Elephanta Island
Outside the City
Mumbai
India

The rock-cut temples on peaceful Elephanta Island are thought to have been carved between 450 and 750 AD. These holy places survived Portuguese vandalism and remain equal in size, beauty, and power to the caves at Ajanta and Ellora. The main cave contains large sculpted panels, including an astonishing 18-foot depiction of Shiva in his roles as creator, preserver, and destroyer. Boats make the one-hour trip every half hour from the Gateway of India (9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.). Tickets are sold at the kiosks nearby.

Gandhi Smriti
Mahatma Gandhi Marg
Delhi
India 110002
Tel: 91 11 2331 1793
www.gandhimuseum.org

After Gandhi was assassinated in 1948, his body was cremated, and the site is now a national shrine. A black marble slab sits in a large courtyard, inscribed with the great man's last words: "He Ram!" ("Oh God!"). Passages written by Gandhi, translated into many languages, adorn the walls around the shrine. Across the boulevard is the National Gandhi Museum, which contains a collection of memorabilia. Particularly interesting is the display on Gandhi's handmade cotton crusade, including various spinning wheels. You can also see the blood-stained dhoti he was wearing when he was killed—at once grisly and poignant.

Closed Mondays.

The Gateway of India
In the City
Mumbai
India

Nothing reinforces your sense of having arrived in the city quite as emphatically as the Gateway of India, Mumbai's defining landmark (at the end of C. Shivaji Maharaj Marg, near the Taj Mahal Hotel). Designed by George Wittet (who also designed the Prince of Wales Museum), the 85-foot yellow basalt gate was intended to commemorate the 1911 visit of King George V and Queen Mary. Unfortunately, it was not finished until 1924. In 1947, the last British troops departing from India marched away through the arch.

Haji Ali Dargah
Near Mahalaxmi Temple
Mumbai
India

The windswept dome and minarets of the Haji Ali shrine, built in 1631, appear to float in the Arabian Sea when the tide is in; as the water recedes, a narrow walkway emerges between the mainland and shrine for believers to cross over. The mausoleum is open to anyone, and contains the tomb of Haji Ali, a merchant-saint who died while sailing toward Mecca, and whose body is said to have washed up on Mumbai's shore. The best time to visit the tomb is at dusk, when a raucous group of mystics and musicians assemble and perform devotional songs.

Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah
Nizamuddin
Delhi
India

If you fancy a break from Delhi's groomed World Heritage–sponsored sites, then head to the mausoleum of 14th-century Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, a major site of pilgrimage for Muslims in the city. A crowded, winding bazaar road leads to the temple entrance, where a 16th-century marble pavilion contains the grave of Nizamuddin. Come on a Thursday to hear the famous qawwalis chanted by a group of musicians seated in the courtyard; they start at around 6 pm, but get there a little earlier to avoid the masses.—Vanessa Able

Humayun's Tomb
East Nijamudin, 3 miles southeast of Connaught Place
Delhi
India

Akbar, Humayun's son and the greatest of India's Mughal emperors, built this awe-inspiring monument, probably between 1562 and 1571. His intention, righteously achieved, was to honor his father, India's second Mughal ruler, who had fallen down a flight of stairs to his death. Less flamboyant than the Taj Mahal (which it helped to inspire), Humayun's tomb, composed of earthy red sandstone and pure white marble, is nonetheless quietly impressive. The tomb is surrounded by a meticulously kept garden, divided into precise squares. The garden recently underwent extensive renovation, and water now flows through its hand-chiseled stone channels and fountains (previously dry for four centuries).

Hotel Photo
Jaipur
Rajasthan
India

Most of Jaipur's highlights lie within the confines of the historical center of the Pink City, so-called for the light terracotta color of the buildings. A walk around its streets and bazaar is entertainment in itself, but be prepared for a lot of hassle from touts and vendors. Two of the most popular attractions, the City Palace and the breathtaking World Heritage site Jantar Mantar (the Royal Observatory), are right next to each other and well worth a visit. Persistent would-be guides can be kept at bay if you rent an audio guide; getting there early to avoid the heat and crowds is always a good idea. Just around the corner is the Hawa Mahal, the Palace of the Winds, whose facade is more impressive than its interior. A little further afield is the Jal Mahal (the Water Palace), which is good for a quick snapshot on the way to the jewel in Jaipur's heritage crown, the Amber Fort. Just a few kilometers out of town, this stunning hilltop palace built in the late 16th century is not to be missed. The front gate can be reached by car around the back of the hill, or directly from the front by elephant, if you really feel like indulging in deep tourism. A rickshaw is a good way to get around town, but for longer excursions or days of intensive sightseeing, consider hiring a car with a driver. The brothers Anil and Mukesh Trivedi are highly recommended (91 97 82 624 606).—Vanessa Able

Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer , Rajasthan
India

This fairy-tale medieval fortress town surrounded by the Thar Desert is crisscrossed by labyrinthine streets. Its many havelis (private mansions) with beautifully carved sandstone facades hark back to the days when Jaisalmer was a major trading post. Jaisalmer Fort, which is on a hill in the middle of the Old City, is still inhabited, though much of its real estate is today dedicated to luring tourists. The entrance to the lofty Maharaja's Palace can be found in the main square just as you enter the gates of the fort, and the museum here is open from 9 am to 6 pm (from 8 am in the hot season). Look out for the clutch of Jain temples as you wander around the fort; the temples' compact network of intricately carved chambers is well worth visiting. Outside the fort, note the havelis, which can be visited for a small entrance fee. A few kilometers out of town are the striking domes of Bada Bagh, a memorial site for generations of maharajas dating back to the 16th century; today the domes are surrounded by a surreal landscape of wind turbines. Jaisalmer is also known for its camel safaris, which can range in length from a few hours to several days; ask at your hotel about booking.

Jama Masjid
Delhi
India 110006
Tel: 91 11 2326 8344

This exquisite red-sandstone and marble mosque, where thousands gather to pray daily, was built between 1644 and 1658 by 5,000 laborers. The mosque is one of the first important examples of Mughal architecture in India, and its design prefigures that of the Taj Mahal. The onion-shaped dome and tapering minarets are traditional Mughal elements, but the stripes on the domes and minarets were an innovation added by Shah Jahan. Climb the south minaret to see the domes up close (women may not do so without a man).

Open daily to non-Muslims from 8:30 a.m. in winter and 7 a.m. in summer until sunset; closed between 12:15 p.m. and 1:45 p.m. daily.

Jantar Mantar
Sansad Marg
New Delhi
India

Jantar Mantar (meaning "instruments for mathematical calculation") is an observatory built by Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur back in 1724. Today Jai Singh's surreal, terra-cotta-colored structures sit in a quiet park surrounded by a few high-rise buildings and read like a cross between a skate park and a Giorgio de Chirico painting. It's a prime spot for some peace and quiet, as well as the challenge of trying to figure out exactly how those instruments work.—Vanessa Able

Jodhpur
Jodhpur , Rajasthan
India

Jodhpur's imposing Mehrangarh Fort, whose soaring walls, watchtowers, and gun turrets loom over the Blue City (named after its houses painted blue), is arguably one of the most impressive in Rajasthan. A short rickshaw ride or a 15-minute hike uphill from the center of town, the fortress is open from 9 am to 5 pm and is reached through a series of no fewer than seven gates. The view from the cannons at the top is remarkable. Back at ground level, head to Jodhpur's old commercial heart, the Sadar Bazaar, which is located in and around the square that houses the city's famous Clock Tower. The bustling market features all manner of goods, from food to fabrics, metals, and spices. Across town from the Mehrangarh Fort, the enormous dome and towers of the Taj's Umaid Bhawan Palace spike the horizon; travelers not staying there can visit the building's museum from 9 am to 5pm.—Vanessa Able

Kanheri Caves
Outside the City
Mumbai
India

The Buddhist Kanheri Caves are spread out over the hills in a virtually unspoiled forest overlooking the northern suburb of Borivli. Most of the caves, which date from the second to the ninth century AD, were used by monks for shelter and meditation during the four months of the monsoon season. To enjoy the blissful peace and quiet that attracted the original occupants, avoid visiting on weekends. To reach the caves, catch one of the many trains on the suburban line from Churchgate Station to Borivli East. The trip takes about 50 minutes.

Lodi Gardens
Lodi Road
New Delhi
India
Tel: 91 11 2464 7005

A much-needed refuge from the din of the city, the Lodi Gardens are a popular spot with local middle-class residents who make their way to this verdant enclave to spread themselves out on the vast swaths of lawn, to stroll among the various majestic tombs scattered over the grounds, or even to jog the running track that snakes around the 90-acre park. Take a walk all the way to the lake, inspect the park's collection of bonsai trees, or simply take a picnic in the shade of a palm tree.—Vanessa Able

Mani Bhavan
19 Laburnum Road
Gamdevi
Mumbai
India
Tel: 91 22 2380 5864
www.gandhi-manibhavan.org

This quaint bungalow on leafy Laburnum Road was Mahatma Gandhi's Mumbai home. Now a museum dedicated to his memory, its musty shelves are filled with books on his philosophy and political strategies. Don't miss Gandhi's chilly letter to Hitler, the note of praise from Einstein, or the black-and-white photographs of his meeting with the Queen at Buckingham Palace. The highlight of the museum is Gandhi's airy room, complete with his mattress, slippers, and yarn spinning wheel. The museum is a smaller version of the National Gandhi Museum in Delhi.

Open daily 9:30 am to 6 pm.

Marine Drive
In the City
Mumbai
India

Netaji Subhash Chandra Marg, better known as Marine Drive, is Mumbai's seaside promenade, an eight-lane highway with a wide walkway built in the 1920s on reclaimed land. It extends from the skyscrapers at Nariman Point in the south to the foot of Malabar Hill and Chowpatty Beach. The walkway is a favorite place for a stroll, with uninterrupted views of the Arabian Sea virtually all the way. The apartment blocks here are some of the most desirable and expensive in the city. It's a great place to watch the sunset.

Old Goa
Old Goa
India

Old Goa, former capital of this Portuguese colony, was once so grand that it rivaled Lisbon in magnificence. Known formerly as Rome of the East, the town still bristles with 16th-century churches, convents, and cathedrals. Housed in an Italianate chapel, the Professed House, is the coffin of St. Francis Xavier, an important pilgrimage site for Catholics. The Jesuit priest died on 1552 but his flesh did not decompose—you can see his body through the small windows along his embossed silver coffin.

Oval Maidan
In the City
Mumbai
India

Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium is the place to be if you want to watch a professional cricket match, but it is best to book well in advance, as tickets can be hard to come by. A far livelier option (and it's free) is to head for the Oval Maidan, essentially a large park near the Fort area of Mumbai (Maharishi Karve Rd., between Colaba and the Fort area). On weekends, the place is jam-packed with hundreds of amateur cricketers of all ages seemingly dreaming of becoming the next Sourav Ganguly, India's idolized cricket captain.

Palace on Wheels in Rajasthan
Rajasthan
India
Tel: 877 463 4299
bookings@palaceonwheels.net
www.palaceonwheels.net

It's rightly called a cruise train, because this train has many of the advantages and disadvantages of cruise-ship travel. If you are a romantic, a train buff, or have limited time or limited tolerance for having to explain to people why you don't want to visit their cousin's shop, even just for looking, then you may find there is no better way to see Rajasthan than from the Palace on Wheels. Its 14 cars house two restaurants and 52 wood-paneled compartments with double beds, each with private bath and shower. The eight-day all-inclusive journey begins in New Delhi and stops at all of the major sites in Rajasthan, as well as at the Taj Mahal. This mode of travel is not everyone's cup of tea (served promptly, mornings and evenings), as you're subject to a strict schedule and cannot linger at the sites. However, the concept is so popular that two more, even plusher, palace trains are in the works.

From $2,450 per person.

Panaji (Panjim)
Panaji
India

The Portuguese moved the capital from Old Goa to Panaji in 1843. But it's hard to believe that sleepy Panaji, sitting on the southern bank of the Mandovi River, is a state capital. Most people pass through on their way to the beaches or to historically rich Old Goa, a few miles east of the capital. However, Panaji's old quarters, Fontainhas and Sao Tome, are well worth exploring and still bear a distinctive Portuguese influence, with red-tiled roofs, wrought-iron balconies, and winding streets.

Hotel Photo
Pushkar
Pushkar , Rajasthan
India

The annual Pushkar Camel Fair, which runs for about eight days in November each year, is the number-one reason most people visit Pushkar, three hours west of Jaipur by car. Attending this legendary event of barely organized mayhem is well worth the effort at least once in a lifetime. The occasion draws thousands of camels, a seemingly equal number of men ready to race or trade them, desert wives desperate to shop, and pilgrims eager to cleanse themselves in the sacred waters of Pushkar Lake. The holy lake has more than 52 bathing ghats (steps), and the surrounding town is supposedly one of the oldest in India. Outside of camel season, Pushkar draws mostly backpackers and religious devotees, including scores of wandering mendicant sadhus, who might offer you a blessing by the lake (a "Pushkar passport", the red string bracelet you are given, will ward off too much hassle from other holy men by the ghats), a puff on their opium pipe, or a nugget of the marijuana derivative bhang. (Be on alert for "special lassies" spiked with the stuff.)

Pushkar's compact size renders it walkable from end to end, and most of the crowds usually congregate along the busy main strip, the Sadar Bazaar, where you can buy all manner of cheap bric-a-brac, including jewelry, ceremonial trinkets, and fashions aimed at the transient hippie contingent. At the western end of the bazaar is the Brahma Temple, one of very few in the world devoted to Hinduism's highest-ranking divinity. Work up the energy for a hike up the hill to the Savitri Temple, which offers amazing views of the town, then kick back with a chai to watch the sunset behind Pushkar's romantic domed skyline from the Sunset Café on the east side of the lake.—Vanessa Able

Qutub Minar
Aurobindo Marg, near Mehrauli
Delhi
India

The slender 239-foot column of Qutub Minar was erected in 1199 by Qutbuddin Aibak, the first Islamic sultan of Delhi. It is in a complex of buildings that mingles Islamic and Hindu decorative styles. The Tomb of Iltutmish, built in 1235, is an impressive square red stone chamber bearing a profusion of inscriptions, geometric patterns, and arabesques. The Quwwatu'l-Islam Masjid, decorated with both Koranic texts and Hindu motifs, was the first mosque in India; in its courtyard stands an iron pillar from the fourth century, decorated with Sanskrit inscriptions.

Hotel Photo
Ranthambhore National Park
Sawai Madhopur
India
www.rajasthantourism.gov.in/attractions/wild_life/Ranthanbore.htm

If you ever hope to see a Bengal tiger in the wild, this 150-square-mile park of brushy trees and tall, dry grasses—ideal cover for the big cats—is the best bet. These beautiful animals are tolerant of the paparazzi, and with a bit of luck, you can get close enough by vehicle to hope they've eaten recently. However, as a result of poaching, there are fewer than 30 tigers here, so sightings are not a sure thing. Also, there are ongoing efforts to have vehicles banned from the park, so check for the latest developments before you go.

Entry is by permit and is limited to a handful of park-authorized vehicles each day; make arrangements through your hotel (we recommend the two tent encampments of Aman-i-Khás and the Oberoi Vanyavilas) and expect to pay about $60, including permits, for a three-hour safari. Generally, the morning safari is best for sighting game in the summer, and the evening best in winter. The town of Sawai Madhopur, near the park entrance, is eight hours by nerve-rattling road from New Delhi, four from Jaipur (also the site of the nearest airport), and six from Agra. The Sawai Madhopur train station has service from New Delhi and Jaipur.

The park is open October through June.

Red Fort (Lal Qal'Ah)
Eastern end of Chandni Chowk
Delhi
India 110006
Tel: 91 11 2327 7705

The greatest of Delhi's Mughal palace-cities, the Red Fort was built by Shah Jahan in the 17th century and was home to about 3,000 people in its heyday. Pass through the Lahore gate and continue down the Chatta Chowk, once the royal harem's shopping district and now a bazaar. On the other side of a huge lawn sits the Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience). Shah Jahan heard his subjects' pleas here from his royal throne in the center. Other highlights include the elaborate Diwan-i-Khas, the emperor's private suite with sitting room, bedroom, and prayer room.

Hotel Photo
Taj Mahal
Agra , Uttar Pradesh
India
Tel: 91 56 2233 0498
www.tajmahal.gov.in/

The Taj Mahal, built in the 17th century by the emperor Shah Jahan to honor the memory of his wife, is one of man's rare creations that is as awe-inspiring in reality as it is in the imagination. To truly appreciate its beauty, the best time of the day to visit is at the opening hour, 6 am, when few other people will be there to watch the rising sun paint the white marble constantly changing shades of pink. The same effect occurs at closing time, 7 pm, except that you'll witness it with a crowd. The most unique time to visit is during the five nights a month, on and around the full moon, when the monument is open in the evening, and bathed in pale light that makes the white marble dome almost glow. For security reasons, though, nighttime visitors can't get as close as people can during the day, and they must buy their ticket in advance. If you decide to stay overnight rather than catch the train back to Delhi, the Oberoi Amarvilas is located less than half a mile, or about a five-minute walk, from the entrance to the monument, and all 102 rooms look out upon that most recognizable of domes.—Bob Payne

Open Saturdays through Mondays from 6 am to 7 pm, and from 8:30 pm to 12:30 am two days before and after each full moon.

Udaipur
Udaipur , Rajasthan
India

Udaipur is without a doubt one of India's most beautiful towns—though, sadly, overzealous touts and shopkeepers tend to mar the city's otherwise enchanting mood. The landscape of the historical area that surrounds Lake Pichola is marked by the Mughal-inspired facade of the monumental City Palace as well as by the Lake Palace Hotel that sits on Jag Niwas Island. Udaipur is a small town and easy to explore by foot: A day or two can be spent wandering the streets from Hanuman Ghat across the footbridge to Gangaur Ghat and up toward the City Palace, which is open daily from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Along the way is the towering 17th-century Jagdish Temple dedicated to Vishnu, and just down the hill is the clutch of hotels and boutiques that surround Lal Ghat. Don't leave Udaipur without taking a boat out onto the lake: The City Palace organizes boats that leave from its own palatial docks and drop visitors off for lunch or tea at the Jagat Niwas Palace. Cheaper, no-frills boat tours can be taken from Lal Ghat. The Monsoon Palace, perched atop a hill to the west of the city, is just an empty shell yet nonetheless offers breathtaking views of Udaipur and the surrounding countryside.—Vanessa Able

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.