Holidays for Couples Holidays for Couples Apr-Sep 2017 - Page 46

T he omnipresent sounds of hawkers and blaring horns assaulted our eardrums and the aroma of pungent spices emanating from the many food carts and eateries infused the air with the smell of India. Through the Old Delhi streets of Chandni Chowk we went, carried by our pedicab driver past shops crammed with colourful saris, dazzling jewellery, exotic-looking shoes and bags, and more. So many enticing, beautiful things to covet, but I was too timid to attempt bartering with these hardened hawkers who would know in an insta nt that I was a novice ripe for the picking. As an introduction to India, the commotion, chaos, colour and smells of Old Delhi were as intoxicating as they were inspiring. We had arrived in Delhi the previous night for a 16-night Indian exploration, staying for the first two nights at The Imperial (theimperialindia.com). It was here in the 1930s that Pandit Nehru, Mahatama Gandhi, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Lord Mountbatten met to discuss the partition of India and creation of Pakistan. If only the walls could talk. 44 Rajasthan, land of vibrant colour, regal palaces and magnificent forts, was our next destination. Its colours are nowhere more evident than on the streets of the walled city of Jodhpur, where a kaleidoscope of vibrant hues dazzles the senses. In the chaos of the city’s market streets there’s no shortage of colourful baubles and fabrics for sale, but the main draw here is Jodhpur’s highly sought-after antique furniture and homewares. The winding, narrow streets of the city criss-cross each other, creating total confusion. I can’t count the number of times I jumped in fright when a horn blasted as I side-stepped my way through throngs of people – it was enough to make me want to head straight back to our hotel, the exuberant RAAS (raasjodhpur.com), to relax by the pool. Situated in the quieter north-eastern quarter of the city, RAAS is a compelling mix of modern architectural lines juxtaposed against the original, stone buildings. The central stone pavilion houses a restaurant with romantic private rooms, while the bar on its rooftop is the perfect spot for