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India Nov 08

India Nov 08

Trip Plan Tags: 
wedding trip

Shilpa's Wedding!


See + Do

Akshardham, India

On the Yamuna River, Near Noida Mar
Delhi 110092, India
Tel: 91 11 2201 6688

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.

See + Do

Humayun's Tomb, India

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).

See + Do

Jama Masjid, India

Delhi 110006, India
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.

See + Do

Qutub Minar, India

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.

See + Do

Red Fort (Lal Qal'Ah), India

Eastern end of Chandni Chowk
Delhi 110006, India
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.


Bukhara, India

ITC Maurya Sheraton & Towers Diplomatic Enclave, Sadar Patel Marg
Delhi 110021, India
Tel: 91 11 2611 2233

Housed in the ITC Maurya Sheraton & Towers in southwest Delhi, Bukhara has Flintstones–style decor, with stone walls and mock log-top tables. You can watch chefs at work in the kitchen, where meat and vegetables are skewered on kebab spears. Good choices include the murg tandoori (a whole chicken marinated in yogurt, malt vinegar, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, chili, turmeric, and garam masala); the tandoori pomfret, a whole flatfish from the Indian Ocean roasted with spices; and bharvan kulcha, a baked bread stuffed with cottage cheese. In deference to the restaurant's northwest-frontier theme, there is no cutlery, nor finger bowls: Diners are expected to tear their chicken apart with their bare hands, with only an apron for protection.


Chor Bizarre, India

Hotel Broadway, 4/15A Asaf Ali Road
Delhi 110002, India
Tel: 91 11 2327 3821

For a truly northern Indian experience, head for Chor Bizarre, on the edge of Old Delhi (other branches have opened in the newly fashionable suburb of Noida and in London's Mayfair). Chor Bazaar means "thieves market," and the chef has indeed plundered dishes from across India. Who knows where the management got the 1927 Fiat, parked in the center of the restaurant, from whose interior Bombay street snacks (chaat) are served? The highlight here is the Kashmiri thali, a set menu that changes daily, depending on what produce is available from the market, and that is named after the brass tray on which it is served. With an advance request, the restaurant will also prepare wazwan, a 40-course feast.


Karim's, India

Matiya Mahal, opposite Hotel Bombay Orient
Delhi, India
Tel: 11 2326 9880

Hidden away down a narrow passage, this renowned institution has been trading since 1913 and still serves the best grilled meat in town, the chicken tikka being a particular favorite. The restaurant specializes in Mughlai-style food. The Mughals invaded India in the sixteenth century, and their rich, intricate cuisine uses lots of milk, cream, spices, dried fruit and nuts. Karim's is also famous for its brain curry, should you be brave enough to try it.


The Spice Route, India

The Imperial Hotel, Janpath
Delhi 110001, India
Tel: 91 11 4111 6605

This fantastical restaurant, hand-painted by temple artists flown in from Kerala, resembles a temple (or at least an Indiana Jones movie). You'll feast like a king on the eclectic Asian dishes served here, with their Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, and other influences. The irachi stew of lamb and potato in coconut milk, served with rice-flour pancakes, is delicious. Wash it down with a glass of spiced pineapple rasam with fresh curry leaves. For dessert, the Sagu Sagu (Thai rice pudding with cardamom, pandan, cinnamon, and sugar) is extraordinary.


See + Do

Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

, 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


Suvarna Mahal, India

Taj Rambagh Palace, Bhawani Singh Road
Jaipur, India
Tel: 91 141 2211 919

Classical music, Florentine wall paintings, gold tableware, and a waiter who was most likely once in the employ of royalty—with that much ambience, it's hard not to feel a bit royal oneself (or at least, say, a distant cousin of the prince). The dishes add to the feeling, inspired as they are by the royal houses of India. So explore the tandoori cuisine of Punjab, the chicken done in the dum pukht style of Hyderabad, and the kebabs of Lucknow, and dream, as more than a few others in India do, of becoming royalty.


Surya Mahal, India

Oberoi Rajvilas, Goner Road
Jaipur, India
Tel: 91 141 268 0101

Five miles outside of Jaipur, at the Oberoi Rajvilas, you might find yourself sitting in a courtyard under the stars. Candles are flickering and women are performing traditional Rajasthani folk dances to a background of sitar and drums. What difference does it make how the food is? The food, in fact, is excellent. Nibble on a mouthful of (deep breath) bharwan gucci aur subz biryani—morsels of spiced vegetables and basmati rice. Or order typical Rajasthani vegetarian platters of kebab and kofta, which use spinach in a manner that even a preschooler would like. It's all so delicious you might even vow to go meatless—until a sizzling platter is set down on the next table over, and you remember that the chef is Australian and ought to know something about lamb.

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