Fascinating and thrilling; some destinations in India are more astounding for children than for their wide-eyed parents. The scents, sights, and sounds here will make for an unforgettable adventure and one that most kids will take in their stride. Some fairy-tale splendours for kids are listed below.
Enjoy playing knights around the world’s biggest sandcastle, Jaisalmer’s centuries old fort, and take a camel ride in the Thar Desert.
The fort of Jaisalmer is a breath-taking sight: a massive sandcastle rising from the sandy plains like a mirage from a bygone era. No place better evokes exotic camel-train trade routes and desert mystery. Despite the commercialism, it’s hard not to be enchanted by this desert citadel. Beneath the ramparts, particularly to the north, the narrow streets of the old city conceal magnificent havelis, all carved from the same golden-honey sandstone as the fort – hence Jaisalmer’s designation as the Golden City.
Run around magnificent forts, explore Lodi Gardens and Mehrauli, or try a ride in a toy train at the National Rail Museum. Kids would also love Red fort, Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb and Akshardham temple.
Delhi is a city where time travel is feasible. Step aboard your time machine (the sleek and efficient metro) and you can go from Old Delhi, where labourers haul sacks of spices and jewellers weigh gold on dusty scales, to modern New Delhi, with its colonial-era parliament buildings and penchant for high tea. Then on to the future: Gurgaon, a satellite city of skyscraping offices and glitzy malls.
National Park Step into a Jungle Book world, home to a monkey kingdom, and hop aboard a jeep to scout for Shere Khan.
This famous national park is the best place to spot wild tigers in Rajasthan. Comprising 1334 sq km of wild jungle scrub hemmed in by rocky ridges, at its centre is the 10th-century Ranthambhore Fort. Scattered around the fort are ancient temples and mosques, hunting pavilions, crocodile-filled lakes and vine-covered chhatris (burial tombs).
Go boating on the lake, take a horse-riding excursion, and explore fairy-tale palaces.
Beside shimmering Lake Pichola, with the ochre and purple ridges of the wooded Aravalli Hills stretching away in every direction, Udaipur has a romance of setting unmatched in Rajasthan and arguably in all India. Fantastical palaces, temples, havelis and countless narrow, crooked, timeless streets add the human counterpoint to the city’s natural charms. For the visitor there’s the tranquillity of boat rides on the lake, the bustle and colour of ancient bazaars, a lively arts scene, the quaint old-world feel of its better hotels, endless tempting shops and some lovely countryside to explore on wheels, feet or horseback.
Wander the crumbling palaces and battlements of little-known Orchha.
This historic small town on the Betwa River showcases a supreme display of Mughal-influenced Rajput architecture in the shape of spectacular palaces, temples and royal chhatris (cenotaphs). The atmosphere in Orchha is far more laid-back and hassle-free than in Madhya Pradesh’s other famed monument village, Khajuraho, making for a relaxed stay. There are great homestay options as well as opportunities to enjoy the surrounding pastoral countryside, with walking, cycling and rafting all on the agenda.