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  • India Itineraries | Rough Guides
    reserve 3 Pushkar Ringed by the white domes and sacred ghats of Hindu shrines Pushkar makes a perfect base for leisurely desert walks and souvenir hunts 4 Udaipur Dine by candlelight on a haveli rooftop for the ultimate view of the Sisodia Maharanas fairytale palaces 5 Jodhpur Rajasthan s most spectacular medieval fortress Meherangarh towers above a warrenous old city painted a hundred shades of sky blue 6 Jaisalmer A long trip across the Thar is rewarded by the sublime vision of Jai Sigh s yellow stone citadel floating above the sandblast 7 Bikaner Quirky architecture and a temple where thousands of rats run free are two vestiges of this city s former prominence on the trans Thar caravan route 8 Nawalgarh After a succession of big cities this small town on the fringes of the desert makes an enjoyable base for trips to nearby adobe villages No other region of India packs in as many awe inspiring monuments as the so called Golden Triangle connecting Delhi Agra and Jaipur Allow at least a week to complete the circuit with a diversion south to the tiger reserve at Ranthambore if you ve time to spare 1 Delhi Start out at Shah Jahan s mighty Red Fort in the Mughal Old City then work your way south through the medieval monuments of the southern suburbs 2 Agra Cross the Yamuna River by boat in the early morning for an unforgettable view of the Taj just after sunrise then spend the rest of the day ticking off the city s other Mughal splendours 3 Fatehpur Sikri Overnight at a guesthouse below the deserted capital of emperor Akbar to see its deep red sandstone architecture at its most ethereal in the diffuse light of dusk and dawn 4 Keoladeo National Park Bicycle safaris along the dirt tracks and banks that crisscross this teeming bird reserve offer a perfect antidote to the noise and traffic of India s northern cities 5 Jaipur Approach the ochre walled palace of Amber Fort on elephant back before spending a day in the textile and gemstone bazaars of the Rajasthani capital a riot of quintessentially Indian colour 6 Shekhawati Set on the fringes of the Thar Desert the painted havelis walled mansions in the market towns of this once rich area make the ideal stopover on the journey back to Delhi Experience the contrasting landscapes of the world s greatest mountain range with this two to three week journey from the northern plains to the fringes of the Tibetan Plateau and idyllic Vale of Kashmir 1 Shimla Trundle on the toy train from Kalka through the foothills to this quintessentially Raj era hill station 2 Manali Lush forests of deodar cedars apple orchards and giant ice dusted summits flank the hill resort of Manali in the Kullu Valley 3 Leh A breathless two day journey across a vast desert of scree and dizzying passes brings you to the capital of Ladakh marooned in the high Indus Valley 4

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/india/itineraries/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Delhi Guide | India Travel | Rough Guides
    tourist office who will do it dialling for you a different number the receptionist on the line will corroborate the story or deny all knowledge of your reservation The driver or tout will then take you to a very good hotel usually in Karol Bagh where you ll be charged well over the odds for a night s accommodation To reduce the risk of being caught out write down your taxi s registration number make sure the driver sees you doing it and insist on going to your hotel with no stops en route Heading for Paharganj your driver may try to take you to a hotel of his choice rather than yours To avoid this you could ask to be dropped at New Delhi railway station and walk from there You may even encounter fake doormen outside hotels who ll tell you the place is full check at reception first and even if the claim is true never follow the tout to anywhere he recommends These problems can be avoided by reserving in advance many hotels will arrange for a car and driver to meet you at your point of arrival New Delhi railway station is the worst place for touts assume that anyone who approaches you here even in uniform with offers of help or to direct you to the foreigners booking hall is up to no good Most are trying to lure travellers to the fake official tourist offices opposite the Paharganj entrance where you ll end up paying way over the odds often for unconfirmed tickets And don t believe stories that the foreigners booking hall has closed On Connaught Place and along Janpath steer clear of phoney tourist information offices which touts may try to divert you to a typical CP tout chat up line is to inform you which block you are on so be suspicious of anyone who comes up and tells you that unasked and never do business with any travel agency that tries to disguise itself as a tourist information office Finally be aware that taxi auto and rental car drivers get a hefty commission for taking you to certain shops which will be added to your bill should you buy anything You can assume that auto wallahs who accost you on the street do so with the intention of overcharging you or of taking you to shops which pay them commission rather than straight to where you want to go Always hail a taxi or auto rickshaw yourself rather than taking one whose driver approaches you and don t let them take you to places where you haven t asked to go Delhi history Delhi history Delhi is said to consist of seven successive cities with British built New Delhi making an eighth In truth Delhi has centred historically on three main areas Lal Kot and extensions to its northeast where the city was located for most of the Middle Ages Old Delhi the city of the Mughals founded by

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/india/delhi/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Rajasthan Guide | India Travel | Rough Guides
    the state Udaipur hasn t gained a colour tag yet but it could be called the White City coated in decaying limewash its waterside palaces and havelis are framed by a distant vista of sawtooth hills The route stringing together these four cities has become one of the most heavily trodden tourist trails in India But it s easy to escape into more remote areas Northwest of Jaipur the desert region of Shekhawati is dotted with atmospheric market towns and innumerable richly painted havelis while the desert city of Bikaner is also well worth a stopover for its fine fort havelis and the unique rat temple at nearby Deshnok The same is true of Bundi in the far south of the state with its magnificent muralled fort and blue washed old town as well as the superbly prominent fort at Chittaurgarh nearby not to mention the engaging hill station and remarkable Jain temples of Mount Abu Another attraction is Rajasthan s wonderful wildlife sanctuaries Of these the tiger sanctuary at Ranthambore is deservedly the most popular while Keoladeo National Park on the eastern border of Rajasthan near Agra is unmatched in South Asia for its incredible avian population offering a welcome respite from the frenetic cities that inevitably dominate most visitors itineraries Brief history The turbulent history of Rajasthan only really begins in the sixth and seventh centuries AD with the emergence of warrior clans such as the Sisodias Chauhans Kachchwahas and Rathores the Rajputs sons of Kings Never exceeding eight percent of the population they were to rule the separate states of Rajputana for centuries Their code of honour set them apart from the rest of society as did the myth that they descended from the sun and moon The Rajput codes of chivalry that lay behind endless clashes between clans and family feuds found their most savage expression in battles with Muslims Muhammad of Ghor was the first to march his troops through Rajasthan eventually gaining a foothold that enabled him to establish the Sultanate in Delhi During the 350 years that followed much of central eastern and western India came under the control of the sultans but despite all their efforts Rajput resistance prevented them from ever taking over Rajputana Ghor s successors were pushed out of Delhi in 1483 by the Mughal Babur whose grandson Akbar came to power in 1556 Aware of the futility of using force against the Rajputs Akbar chose instead to negotiate in friendship and married Rani Jodha Bai a princess from the Kachchwaha family of Amber As a result Rajputs entered the Mughal courts and the influence of Mughal ideas on art and architecture remains evident in palaces mosques pleasure gardens and temples throughout the state When the Mughal empire began to decline after the accession of Aurangzeb in 1658 so too did the power of the Rajputs Aurangzeb sided with a new force the Marathas who plundered Rajput lands and extorted huge sums of protection money The Rajputs eventually turned

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/india/rajasthan/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Uttar Pradesh Guide | India Travel | Rough Guides
    Kansai Rough Guides Snapshot Japan View Guide The Rough Guide to Korea View Guide The Yellow River Rough Guides Snapshot China View Guide The Rough Guide to Shanghai View Guide The Rough Guide to Thailand View Guide Indonesia Rough Guides Snapshot Southeast Asia on a Budget View Guide The Rough Guide to the Philippines View Guide The Rough Guide to Sri Lanka View Guide Uttar Pradesh the Northern State formerly the United Provinces but always UP is the heartland of Hinduism and Hindi dominating the nation in culture religion language and politics A vast steamy plain of the Ganges it boasts a history that s very much the history of India and its temples and monuments Buddhist Hindu and Muslim are among the most impressive in the country Western UP which adjoins Delhi has always been close to India s centre of power Its main city Agra once the Mughal capital is home to the Taj Mahal and a short hop from the abandoned Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri Central UP constituted the Kingdom of Avadh the last centre of independent Muslim rule in northern India until the British unceremoniously took it over fuelling the resentment that led to the 1857 uprising in which its capital Lucknow now UP s state capital played such a celebrated role In eastern UP lies Hinduism s holiest city the tirtha crossing place of Varanasi where it s believed death transports the soul to final liberation Sacred since antiquity it was frequented by Mahavira the founder of Jainism and also by Buddha who preached his first sermon in nearby Sarnath Although UP was once a thriving centre of Islamic jurisprudence and culture many Muslims departed during the years after Independence and the Muslim population now comprises just eighteen percent As the heart of what

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/india/uttar-pradesh/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Uttarakhand Guide | India Travel | Rough Guides
    the Maharishi From here pilgrims set off for the high temples known as the Char Dham Badrinath Kedarnath Yamunotri and Gangotri the source of the Ganges Earthier pursuits are on offer at Mussoorie a British hill station that s now a popular Indian resort The less visited Kumaon region remains largely unspoilt and boasts pleasant small towns with panoramic mountain views among them Kausani Ranikhet and the tiny hamlet of Kasar Devi as well as the Victorian hill station of Nainital where a lakeside promenade throngs with visitors escaping the heat of the plains Further down the forests at Corbett Tiger Reserve offer the chance to go tiger spotting from the back of an elephant Both districts abound in classic treks many leading through the bugyals summer pastures where rivers are born and paths meet Brief history The first known inhabitants of Garhwal and Kumaon were the Kuninda in the second century BC A Himalayan tribal people practising an early form of Shaivism they traded salt with Tibet and shared connections with contemporaneous Indo Greek civilization As evidenced by a second century Ashokan edict at Kalsi in western Garhwal Buddhism made some inroads in the region but Garhwal and Kumaon remained Brahmanical The Kuninda eventually succumbed to the Guptas around the fourth century AD who despite controlling much of the north Indian plains failed to make a lasting impact in the hills Between the seventh and the fourteenth centuries the Shaivite Katyuri dominated lands of varying extent from the modern day Baijnath valley in Kumaon where their stone temples still stand and Brahmanical culture flourished highlighted by the rise of Jageshwar as a major pilgrimage centre In following centuries Kumaon prospered further under the Chandras who took learning and art to new levels while Garhwal fell under the Panwar rajas In 1803 the westward expansion of the Nepali Gurkhas engulfed both regions but their brief rule ended with the Sugauli Treaty of 1816 resulting in annexation of both regions by the British The Birth of Uttaranchal Following Independence Garhwal and Kumaon became part of Uttar Pradesh but failure by the administration in Lucknow to develop the region led to increasingly violent calls for a separate state Things came to a head in October 1994 when a peaceful protest march to Delhi was violently disrupted in Mussoorie by the UP police The sympathetic high caste BJP took up the separatist cause after coming to power in March 1998 leading to the creation of India s 27th state originally called Uttaranchal on November 9 2000 The process of creating the new state was somewhat acrimonious Deep cultural differences characterize Garhwal and Kumaon and both regions hoped to host the new capital Dehra Dun in lowland Garhwal was eventually chosen upsetting the Kumaonis considerably Meanwhile in Haridwar culturally a part of the plains farmers took to the streets to demand things remain as they were In January 2007 the state reverted to its historical name Uttarakhand meaning northern country More than a dozen

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/india/uttarakhand/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh Guide | India Travel | Rough Guides
    synonymous with industrial disaster has a vibrant Muslim heritage and some interesting museums Nearby is Sanchi one of India s most significant Buddhist sites The hill station of Pachmarhi meanwhile has echoes of the Raj numerous hiking routes and the little visited Satpura National Park In the north of the state the city of Gwalior has a stunning hilltop fort and is within striking distance of Datia s Rajput palace the Scindia family s mausoleums at Shivpuri and Orchha the atmospheric ruined capital of the Bundella rajas Further east is the state s biggest attraction the cluster of magnificent sandstone temples at Khajuraho renowned for their intricate erotic carvings Nondescript Jabalpur is the biggest city in eastern Madhya Pradesh a region that has few historic sites but does boast the Kanha Bandhavgarh and Pench reserves among the last strongholds for many endangered species most notably the tiger Alongside Orchha and Khajuraho these parks are the only places in Madhya Pradesh you re likely to meet more than a handful of foreign tourists Western Madhya Pradesh is home to Indore a modern city of industry Though of little interest in itself Indore is a good base for exploring Mandu the romantic former capital of the Malwa sultans the Hindu pilgrimage centres of Omkareshwar and Maheshwar and the holy city of Ujjain one of the sites of the Kumbh Mela The best time to visit Madhya Pradesh is during the relatively cool winter months Nov Feb In April May and June daytime temperatures frequently exceed 40 C but if you can stand the heat this is the best time to catch glimpses of tigers in the national parks The increasingly meagre rains finally sweep in from the southeast in late June or early July Brief history Any exploration of central India will be illuminated if you have a grasp of its long and turbulent history Most of the marauding armies that have swept across the Subcontinent over the last two millennia passed through this corridor leaving in their wake a bumper crop of monuments The very first traces of settlement in Madhya Pradesh are the 10 000 year old paintings on the lonely hilltop of Bhimbetka near Bhopal Aboriginal rock art was still being created here during the Mauryan emperor Ashoka s evangelical dissemination of Buddhism in the second century BC Nearby Sanchi is this era s most impressive relic By the end of the first millennium AD central India was divided into several kingdoms The Paramaras whose ruler Raja Bhoj founded Bhopal controlled the southern and central area known as Malwa while the Chandellas responsible for some of the Subcontinent s most exquisite temples most notably at Khajuraho held sway in the north Muslim influence started to grow in the thirteenth century and by the mid sixteenth century the whole region was under Mughal rule which left its mark on the architecture and culture of Mandu Gwalior and Bhopal in particular The Marathas briefly took control before the arrival of the

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/india/madhya-pradesh-chhattisgarh/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Himachal Pradesh Guide | India Travel | Rough Guides
    a major staging post for the state To the north is Himachal s most popular tourist spot the Kullu Valley an undulating mass of terraced fields orchards and forests overlooked by snowy peaks Its epicentre is the continuously expanding tourist town of Manali long a favourite hangout of Western hippies set in idyllic mountain scenery and offering trekking whitewater rafting and relaxing hot springs in nearby Vashisht The sacred site of Manikaran in the Parvati Valley also has hot sulphur free springs Beyond the Rohtang Pass in the far north of Kullu district the high altitude desert valleys of Lahaul and Spiti stretch beneath massive snow capped peaks and remote settlements with Tibetan gompas dotting the landscape Permits are needed for travel through to Kinnaur but Ki Kaza and Tabo have unrestricted access as does the road through Lahaul to Leh in Ladakh Visitors to the densely populated Kangra Valley west of Manali invariably make a beeline for Dharamsala whose large community of Tibetan exiles includes the Dalai Lama himself Trekking paths lead north from here across the treacherous passes of the Dhauladhar mountains into the Chamba Valley Finding guides and porters for treks is rarely difficult The season runs from July to late November in the west and to late October in the north and east In winter all but the far south of the state lies beneath a thick blanket of snow The region north of Manali is accessible only from late June to early October when the roads are clear Even in summer when the days are hot and the sun strong northern Himachal is beset with cold nights Brief history The earliest known inhabitants of the area now known as Himachal Pradesh were the Dasas who entered the hills from the Gangetic plain between the third and second millennium BC By 2000 BC the Dasas had been joined by the Aryans and a number of tribal republics known as janapadas began to emerge in geographically separate regions where they fostered separate cultural traditions The terrain made it impossible for one ruler to hold sway over the whole region though by 550 AD Hindu Rajput families had gained supremacy over the northwestern districts of Brahmour and Chamba just two of the many princely states created between the sixth and sixteenth centuries Of these the most powerful was Kangra where the Katoch Rajputs held off various attacks before finally falling to the Mughals in the sixteenth century During the medieval era Lahaul and Spiti remained aloof governed not by Rajputs but by the Jos of Tibetan origin who introduced Tibetan customs and architecture After a period of submission to Ladakh Lahaul and Spiti came under the rajas of Kullu a central princely state that reached its apogee in the seventeenth century Further south the region around Shimla and Sirmaur was divided into more than thirty independently governed thakurais In the late seventeenth century the newly empowered Sikh community based at Paonta Sahib Sirmaur added to the threat already

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  • Jammu and Kashmir Guide | India Travel | Rough Guides
    in the region was established in the ninth century by the maverick nobleman Nyima Gon at around the same time as Buddhism was first disseminated by the wandering sage apostles such as Padmasambhava alias Guru Rinpoche This was followed by the Second Spreading among whose key proselytizers was the Great Translator Rinchen Zangpo Around the fourteenth century Ladakh passed through a dark age before being reunified by Tashi Namgyal ruled 1555 70 who established a new capital and palace at Leh This power eventually succumbed to the mightier Mughals when Aurangzeb demanded more tribute ordered the construction of a mosque in Leh and forced the Ladakhi king to convert to Islam Trade links with Tibet resumed in the eighteenth century but Ladakh never regained its former status Plagued by feuds and assassinations the kingdom teetered into terminal decline and was an easy target for the Dogra general Zorawar Singh who annexed it for the maharaja of Kashmir in 1834 Ladakh became a part of J K in independent India in 1948 following the first of the three Indo Pak wars fought in the region Tensions over the disputed line of control still flare up sporadically see The Kashmir conflict When you consider the proximity of China another old foe who annexed a large chunk of Ladakh in 1962 it s easy to see why this is India s most sensitive border zone There is also a degree of internal friction Long dissatisfied with the state government based in Srinagar the Ladakhis finally saw the establishment of their region as the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council LAHDC in September 1995 localizing in theory government control A group of Ladakhi Buddhist and Muslim parties formed the unified Ladakh Union Territory Front in 2002 to push for separation from J K and gain Union Territory recognition from Delhi Despite local success in state elections the Congress led state government has repeatedly blocked moves to set up Union Territory status Read More More about India Itineraries Features Where Next Check out Karnataka Book a hostel in India Travel Offers Travel insurance Hotels Hostels Car hire Tours Explore Jammu Around Jammu Kashmir Ladakh Find out more The Kashmir conflict The Kashmir conflict The Himalayan state of Kashmir is the main reason why India and Pakistan have remained bitter enemies for most of the sixty plus years since Independence The region s troubles date from Partition when the ruling Hindu maharaja Hari Singh opted to join India rather than Pakistan see India under Nehru 1947 64 and the geopolitical tug of war over the state has soured relations between the two countries ever since at least until the last few years The conflict in Kashmir has taken two forms firstly a military confrontation between the Pakistani and Indian armies along the de facto border on three occasions leading to fully fledged war in 1947 1965 and 1999 and secondly a violent insurgency cum civil war since 1989 during which both Kashmiri and foreign Muslim fighters have

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