India Travel Guide
India has been on my bucket list for a long time and I am so glad I can finally cross that off! It is a magical place to see. Jaipur was absolutely my favorite and you can read about my stay in Jaipur here. We also visited Agra and Delhi. Udaipur and Mumbai were on my list, but unfortunately I had to cancel that part of the trip. I hope to return one day to visit those cities.
Agra is a one day trip and you can get there by taking a 3 hour car ride from Delhi. There is nothing to see in the city besides the Taj Mahal so I recommend arriving in the afternoon and checking out the following morning. Early sunrise is the best time to see the Taj as many people go and it’s the least crowded. We got there around 6:45am and it was pretty packed. Make sure to book a guide who can meet you in the lobby of the hotel and take you to there by golf cart. Don’t take a boat, the river doesn’t smell great and there are too many mosquitos. The drive is less than five minutes long. It’s very sad leaving the resort because you will see people sleeping on the streets, cows and monkeys waking by them and that’s so unfortunate. It gives you a new perspective to life.
Where To Stay
The Oberoi Amarvilas – The best hotel to stay while in Agra. The hotel gardens are stunning and each guest room/suite offers views of the Taj Mahal. There are beautiful traditional Indian dances performed in the gardens at sunset before dinner. The staff is extremely friendly and super thoughtful. My grandma and I arrived there the day she broke her ankle and they made sure our stay was comfortable and perfect. Upon checking into our room, I discovered over 20 mosquitoes (due to the balcony) and they immediately upgraded us to a suite that didn’t have a balcony, nor mosquitos! The manager provided a wheelchair and someone from the staff was always available to help us get around the hotel.
There is an Indian restaurant and a more continental restaurant where we had one of the best Cacio e Pepe spaghetti with truffle! It was worth every bite!
Our trip to Delhi turned out to be much different than we planned. On the first day of arrival, my dear grandma slipped in the hotel bathroom and broke her ankle. We were planning on staying in Delhi for one day but since the incident happened we had to extend due to doctors orders. This allowed us to better explore Delhi. There are some great restaurants and beautiful hotels but I wouldn’t recommend spending more than two days in the city. The air quality is very poor and unhealthy, making it difficult to breath. Many people wear masks but I still didn’t find it made a difference.
Hotels in Delhi
The Imperial India – 5 star hotel that is very central in New Delhi and to the business district. This hotel is very historic.
The Lodhi Hotel – We stayed here and really enjoyed the hotel. Our suite came with an outdoor poor which was stunning but we didn’t get a chance to enjoy it due to the bad air quality. The hotel has several restaurants, two of which I loved and will cover below. The staff was absolutely lovely! They sent me a welcome chocolate cake that had the Healthy with Nedi logo + a photo of me, and it actually tasted divine. From the minute my grandma fell and broke her foot, until our departure, they looked after us as if we were royalty. This was by far one of the best services I have ever had in a hotel.
The Leela Palace – Such a beautiful hotel with a more Palace feel. This time of year (Christmas) they have the lobby decorated with beautiful trees and a life-size ginger bread house. This hotel has multiple restaurants. One being a traditional fine dining Indian cuisine, and the other being the famous Megu Japanese restaurant.
Restaurants in Delhi
Indian Accent – Rated the best Indian restaurants in all of India and it’s located at the Lodhi Hotel. I recommend the pulled pork tacos, chicken meatballs with truffle butter, paneer with coriander pesto, and the puréed spinach with corn vegetable dish.
Perbacco – An Italian restaurant located at the Lodhi Hotel. Michelin Chef Adriano Baldassarre prepares beautiful Italian dishes and this place is always packed! Make sure to book in advance. I highly recommend the antipasti of grilled vegetables, minestrone soup, fresh baked flat bread, beetroot tartare, eggplant parmesan and grilled sea bass.
Spice Route – The Lodhi hotel’s South East Asian restaurant. This is a more formal dining experience with beautiful table clothes and place settings. A mixture of Indian and Asian dishes. One of the things I loved about India, was that I could find foods other than Indian.
Public Affair – Located in Khan Market, this restaurant offers a mix of Japanese and Peruvian dishes. We came here for lunch and I really loved the yellowtail carpaccio, forest mushrooms with asparagus and thyme, and the Mexican bowl with rice, spicy beans, roasted peppers, guacamole and lettuce (skip the tortilla).
Le Cirque – Italian fine dining restaurant located at Leela Hotel. Dishes that Chef Matteo Fontana recommends garden vegetables with truffle dressing, ravioli with barolo braised duck leg, wild mushroom risotto with black truffle and the chilean sea bass.
Jamavar – The signature fine dining restaurant of The Leela. Celebrating the famous 16th century Jamavar shawls of Kashmir. Here you with find traditional curries, naan and an incredible Indian delicacy, the lamb. It practically falls off the bone.
Megu – Well known Japanese restaurant located at Leela Hotel. Start out with a Nedi Martini at the library bar and then walk over to Megu. Try the yellowtail carpaccio, crispy rice with tuna and spicy tuna roll wrapped in cucumber, no rice.
Bukhara – This restaurant is a little off the beaten path at the ITC hotel. This is a favorite spot to the local International crowd. Again, this restaurant’s specially is the lamb. The naan is the size of the table (no joke) and all the food is meant to be eaten with your hands. They even give you bibs! (Silverware upon request).
Bo Tai – Asian fusion and a funky hip place that is more fun on a weekend. A great spot if you want to see Dehli society.
Town Hall – Khan Market’s largest restaurant with many rooms spread over two floors. Many Indian celebrities can be spoted here. Try the sushi, sashimi and new style Japanese, can’t go wrong!
Sightseeing in Delhi
Red Fort – The main residence of the Mughal Emperors. Every year on the Independence day of India (15 August), the Prime Minister hoists the Indian “tricolour flag” at the main gate of the fort. This is Delhi’s largest monument.
Lotus Temple – Is a Bahá’í House of Worship but is open to all religions for worship. The temple is composed of 27 marble “petals”. This is a newer landmark, but is said to be one of the worlds most visited.
Jama Masjid – One of the largest Mosques in India. This is located across the road from Red Fort so you could see both in the same day.
Humayun’s Tomb – Located in the eastern part of Dehli, Humayun’s tomb is one of the best preserved Mughal monuments. This mausoleum is the first example of Mughal architecture in India.
Lodhi Gardens – 90 acres of city park which is home to various monuments like tombs and sculptures. This is a great place for morning walks when the air quality and weather permits.
Chandi Market – Located in Old Delhi, the market is full of spices, dried fruit, silver jewelry and vivid saris. The narrow side streets are crowded with tiny shops selling essential oils, stationery and traditional Indian sweets. You can take a rickshaw ride through the market for an authentic experience.
Khan Market – Some call it the restaurant district as it has a few of the best restaurants in Delhi like Town Hall and Public Affair. This market is not like other markets, its more of a shopping strip mall with street lined shops.
DLF Emporio – A shopping mall with many upscale Indian designers and your typical international designers like LV, Dior etc. Check out Tarun Tahilian!