I recently had the pleasure of embarking on a journey of discovery through the Golden Triangle of India. The diversity of this country is astounding and you are instantly enveloped and charmed by its colour, culture, majestic history and of course its people. The food is nothing short of magnificent and I have spent the days since my return madly googling recipes to try and recreate at home, and I long for the scent of fresh breads from the Tandoor oven.
Our program included two nights in Delhi discovering Old Delhi and New! A cycle-rickshaw ride through Old Delhi and the massive and busy spice markets was the highlight along with visit to the many incentive level hotel properties. From the colonial Imperial through to the more destinational Taj Resorts each property has a unique offering but the service throughout was warm and sincere.
From Delhi we made our way to Jaipur via the efficient, clean and comfortable rail network. Jaipur is a bustling city of, dare I say it ‘contrasts’. From the humble streets where cart vendors sell anything from motor parts to snacks to the extraordinary palaces and forts of times gone by but certainly not forgotten. Both the Palaces and Forts are brilliant venue options for private groups and the restaurant at the Amber Fort has the most divine private dining room on the upper level. It is a great way to see and experience these venues without having to spend a day ‘sightseeing’. In using these venues for your group events, you become part of the property and experience a real sense of what it would mean to have lived there.
A little side trip saw us visit the delightful Samode Palace, with its canary yellow facade it is a cheerful place with some of the most unique venues for groups within its grounds. I never wanted to leave such was the service and surroundings. I was in luck as there was an incentive group in house so I was able to witness the spectacular arrival with camels, and musicians greeting the guests along with walkways decorated with marigolds and rose petals. A fireworks display followed and the group were on their way to the terrace for their dinner. Late in the evening I could still hear them enjoying the local dances and music in their local themed attire. Would have made for some amazing photos!
Back in Jaipur I again took time out to visit the many wonderful properties available. Some steeped in history, others more purpose built but matching in charm. The historic properties are repurposed Palaces and are spectacular in every way however be prepared for the rooms not being identical – something that cannot be avoided in such heritage buildings.
The last leg of this trip was Agra, home to the Taj Mahal. The city itself doesn’t posess as much charm and charactor as some of the others we have passed through on our journey however the Taj Mahal is indeed a sight to behold and being able to get up close in the early hours of the day made for both a tranquil and endearing visit. There is a lovely garden adjacent to the grounds where the group can enjoy breakfast or lunch feasting their eyes not only on the buffet but on the view before them. I accessed the site by horse and buggy but you can also take battery operated buses (smaller sized) and cycle rickshaws – whatever most takes your fancy!
Back in Australia, India seems so far away. It is the kind of destination that lends itself effortlessly to incentive groups in that you are offering your delegates an opportunity to visit an exotic destination rich in culture that they might not visit on their own and to do it right and in style! With visas now offered on arrival and direct flights with Air India it is a great time to consider India for your next program.
I’d be delighted to share more information and sample programs from our wonderful DMC in India, Distant Frontiers.