Uttar Pradesh is home to some of India’s liveliest cities and greatest monuments. In North India’s heartland, you can choose to go deep into nature, experience the spirituality of a holy city, or take a fresh look at an eternally popular site. Here are three truly wonderful experiences in Uttar Pradesh.
The Taj Mahal is glorious no matter when you see it, but illuminated in the light of the rising sun, it takes on a most ethereal quality. When the first of the sun’s rays hit the gleaming marble edifice, the ivory Taj glows golden. Leave the crowds behind and join an expert local guide on this sunrise tour of the Taj Mahal. Hear the birds sing, watch the River Yamuna flow by, and hear the incredible stories of love and loss that are inextricably linked to this monument of love.
In the holy city of Varanasi, the very air is charged with spirituality. Nowhere is this more evident than at the evening Ganga Aarti. Every evening, people gather on the ghats by the holy River Ganges to participate in the aarti. Priests chant in unison as they perform their rituals with fire. As the sun descends on Varanasi, the night is lit up with the fires of a hundred lamps. These lamps and flowers are then immersed in the river. The best vantage point to take in this stunning sight is from a boat on the river, far from the crowds and yet close enough to watch and absorb the rituals peacefully.
The Chambal Valley is an unspoilt slice of nature, with deep ravines and dense forests. The Chambal River waters this land and remains one of India’s cleanest rivers, abundant with life. Explore this watery wilderness on a boat safari, gliding past hills, mud banks, thick foliage. The highlight of this safari is spotting the gharial, a crocodile species brought back from the edge of extinction. Also watch out for endangered river dolphins, turtles, a wealth of bird life, and many deer species on the shores.