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AGRA :: COCHIN :: DELHI :: JAIPUR :: MUMBAI
Situated in northeastern India on the banks of the Yamuna River and home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Agra's glorious past as capital of the Moghul Empire can still be experienced in its majestic buildings and monuments. Major attractions include the incomparable marble Taj Mahal, and the impressive red standstone Agra Fort, which conceals the Moghul rulers' imperial city and its many palaces.
Situated on the southwest coast of the Indian peninsula and the center of the world spice trade for centuries, Cochin today is a world-class port city cradled between the Western Ghats mountain range and the Arabian Sea. A variety of cultures, including the Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch, and Portuguese, have left permanent imprints on the city, which can be seen in many of its attractions, including the Dutch Palace, the Jewish quarter and synagogue, and the fascinating Chinese fishing nets (said to have been introduced by traders from the court of Chinese ruler Kubla Khan).
Monograms provides travelers access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Cochin. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host about Cochin and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host will share local Cochin insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
Fort Cochin is the home to some of the oldest European architecture in India and has been a significant settlement ever since Cochin Harbour was discovered. Here you will find an extraordinary wealth of preserved early colonial architecture spanning the Portuguese, Dutch, and British eras unparalleled in India. Time spent wandering the streets of Fort Cochin will be well spent.
This Portuguese built Basilica recently celebrated its 500th anniversary. The interiors are decorated with colorful Indo-Romano style of decoration and outside you will find a Gothic façade with soaring spires. When Cochin was taken by the Dutch in 1663 the beautiful stained glass and the imposing Caryatids over the confessional boxes persuaded the Dutch to spare it.
The capital of India, Delhi is one of the oldest existing cities in the world and a place of many contrasts. As the seat of power for about a millennium, it's a place full of ancient monuments, captivating museums and galleries, fabulous cuisine, and bustling markets. The historic walled Old Town is a maze of narrow lanes and ancient gates, while New Delhi, created by the British Raj, features broad, tree-lined avenues and countless landmarks and imposing government buildings. Highlights include Delhi's signature attraction, the Red Fort; the Jama Mosque, which towers over Old Delhi; the 300-year-old Chandni Chowk bazaar; the Gandhi Memorial Museum; and Humayun's Tomb (the inspiration behind the Taj Mahal).
Monograms provides travelers access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Delhi. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host about Delhi and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host will share local Delhi insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
Connaught Place has a long and distinguished history behind it. This sprawling market was designed in the shape of a horseshoe as the British believed it would prove lucky for both shoppers and shopkeepers. There may be something in that as CP continues to be Delhi’s premier shopping destination. Apart from being the commercial and business hub of Delhi, CP has countless restaurants, watering holes, shops and emporia and cinema halls too.
Built between 1644 and 1658, Jama Masjid is one of the last architectural works of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and the largest mosque in India. Built from red sandstone and marble by more than 5,000 artisans the mosque is located on a mound in the heart of the old city which projects beautifully against the city skyline.
Along the banks of Yamuna River you will find the ghats (stairs leading to river) where the leaders and freedom fighters of India were cremated. The Raj Ghat is one of the most visited ghats. This simple square platform of black marble marks the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated after his assassination in 1948. The cremation ground of Indira Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi are also in the vicinity.
India's beautiful "Pink City" of Jaipur is famous for its walls and rose-colored buildings. Ancient forts and palaces, with splendid architectural features that bear witness to their royal heritage, are among the most popular attractions and include: the City Palace with its courtyards, gardens, splendid Peacock Gate, and museum with rare manuscripts; the intricate Hawa Mahal ("Palace of the Winds") with its rows and rows of small windows; the fairytale Amber Fort and Palace; and splendid views overlooking the city from Nahargarh Fort (Tiger Fort).
Monograms provides travelers access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Jaipur. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Jaipur and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host® will share local Jaipur insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
Built by Viyadhar, the chief architect and town planner of Jaipur, this beautiful terraced garden has several galleries and pavilions decorated with exquisite murals, depicting Lord Krishna.
Built in 1868 by Swai Ram Singh the garden sprawls over 33 acres in the center of Jaipur. In addition to the lovely gardens you will also find the Albert Hall Museum, the state Zoo, Ravindra Manch Theatre and several cafes and picnic spots on the premises.
The ultimate places to get the famous Mojri shoes made from soft camel leather. With beautiful embroidering and vibrant colors these shoes are also comfortable and durable. Fabrics can also be found here as well as saris in colorful block prints inherent to this region.
Formerly known as "Bombay," cosmopolitan Mumbai started as a collection of seven islands on the west coast of India. Today, it is the nation's largest city, its commercial capital, and home to "Bollywood," the center of the Hindi film and television industries. Major sights include the Gateway of India, the city's most recognized monument; Elephanta Island with its labyrinth of cave temples carved into the rock; the Mani Bhawan (former residence of Mahatma Gandhi); and the fascinating Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat, a massive open-air laundry.
Monograms provides travelers access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Mumbai. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Mumbai and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host® will share local Mumbai insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
Designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site, the rock-cut caves at Elephanta Island is a worthy day trip from the bustle of Mumbai. The hour-long boat ride departs from the Gateway of India, reaching the island the Portuguese named for a stone elephant found on its shores. Visitors must climb a vast staircase to the 9th century caves, the path lined with a flurry of vendors selling trinkets and souvenirs– But if the hike is too much, climbers can pay locals to carry them in a chair for a few rupees. The six square mile island is the home to about 1200 locals mainly involved in growing rice, fishing and repairing boats.
Bring a little appetite to Chowpatty – loads of kiosks selling Mumbai’s favorite snacks like Bhelpuri and Kulfi are a must for first timers. Then frolic with a wealth of entertainers like masseurs, snake charmers, contortionists and monkey trainers. Chowpatty also has historical significance for the city, as a place where the masses gathered for political meetings before India’s independence. And at night, be dazzled by the “Queen’s Necklace” – a theatrical view of street lamps that light up Marine Drive along the beach.
Capture a piece of Mumbai at the city’s largest marketplace for a reasonable price. Trinkets, shawls, food, antiques, clothes, shoes, jewellery, and art can all be found in this shopper’s haven. Developed in 1838 and renovated again in 1861 and 1863 became a commerce centre as a cotton exchange, then by the early 1950s the causeway gradually became known as the city’s most fashionable shopping center.
Mumbai’s famous outdoor market is not exactly a haven for thievery, as the name chor may suggest. The bazaar is simply a beautiful congregation of people who come to browse, hunt and bargain for second-hand treasures.
Housed within a turn-of-the-century colonial bungalow, this is probably the most fashionable restaurant in south Mumbai. Indigo's innovative menu is predominantly modern European with a dose of local flavor and the wine list extensive and impressive. The décor is slick (the Black Lounge is particularly chic) and the split-level roof-terrace is the place to eat in cooler months.
Excellent north-Indian dishes are served at the long-standing Gaylord restaurant that's as famous for its ostentatious dining room as it is its food. The décor is very much Raj-era pizzazz with additional flourishes such as the tuxedo-wearing waiters only adding to the over-the-top finish. There's an outdoor seating area, separated from the street traffic, and a quieter indoor air-conditioned section better suited for conversation.
Tucked away on a back street in the Fort area is what many local (and visiting) foodies promise is the best seafood restaurant in town. Trishna specializes in Mangalorean seafood dishes and its signature dish, butter pepper garlic king crab, is every bit as delicious as it sounds. Try also the pomfret hyderabadi and the (incredibly spicy) kolhapuri prawns. Trishna is popular with Mumbai's 'in' crowd so you can people-watch while you wait for your order.
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