While searching high and low for inspiration in the early stages of Coley Home, I kept hearing about how captivating India was with its intricate architecture, bustling markets, fine jewelry, and of course, luxurious textiles! We had to make the trip.
Below is an itinerary of our trip, and in it you will find the places that inspired many of the Coley Home fabrics and other products. If you take away one thing from this itinerary, let it be this: GET A TOUR GUIDE! We used Discovery Full Circle Tours and they were outstanding!
After 22+ hours in the air, we finally landed in Delhi. We checked into The Imperial Hotel, and it was the perfect place to get a good night's rest and prepare for our Friday excursions.
Fully rested, we met our trusty guide, Manjit! He led us to the Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque). It is the largest and best-known mosque in India and a beautiful example of Mughal architecture. The front facade boasts a beautiful view of three domes on the terrace, enclosed by two minarets. The mosque is right next to a buzzing market. We rode tuk-tuks through the market and were mesmerized by the organized chaos! Still not sure how it works, but it does!
After lunch, we drop out to Panipat for a meeting with one of our vendors. This city of Panipat is known as “City of Weavers” and “Textile City.” I’ve never seen an operation like it: the most amazing colors and endless rows of looms! Each vendor we met was kind and made the visit so enjoyable. After a jam-packed day, we got back to our hotel completely exhausted BUT satisfied with the product we found, including the stonewashed linen napkins, and baby blankets.
After breakfast, we packed and headed to one of the seven wonders of the world, the TAJ MAHAL! The countryside was beautiful and a drastic change from New Delhi. We checked into our hotel, The Oberoi Amarvilas and had a delicious lunch by the pool. The hotel describes itself as “a front row seat to a timeless story,” which we found to be true! With breathtaking views of the Taj, and wonderful service, you cannot go wrong with The Oberoi Amarvilas. We stayed for one night - plenty of time for sightseeing in Agra. Watching the sunrise over the Taj Mahal is an experience I will never forget!
Next up, Jaipur! The usual route to Jaipur is a little over four hours, but the local Tak (sheep) herders were protesting and blocking the highways. After a few detours through the countryside and a 10-hour road trip - we arrived in Jaipur. Estimated Time of Arrival was not a thing in India!
When we finally got to our hotel, we were beyond amazed. Our suite at the Sujan Rajmahal Palace was breathtaking and conveniently located in the heart of Rajasthan’s “Pink City.” The decor was incredibly inspiring and breathtaking. The Palace is owned by the royal family of Jaipur and has recently been renovated. You have to eat in the 51 shades of pink restaurant - you’ll feel like royalty!
The Pink City was my favorite place we visited and the Sujan made it such a delightful, stress-free stay.
On our first full day in Jaipur, we headed to the ancient Amber Fort. This is a must-see! I’ve never seen such elaborate architecture. Lots of inspiration for headboard shapes here! They also had a sewer system and running water - they were so ahead of their time! (Don’t forget the beautiful mirrored disco!) Sign me up! In the afternoon we headed to City Palace and had a tour of the Royal Family’s home.
On our second day in Jaipur, we spent the day shopping and visiting fabulous fabric and jewelry emporiums. See a list of Jaipur shopping recommendations at the bottom of this post!
After breakfast, we visited Patrika’s Gate, the most beautiful colorful door and headed to the airport to fly to Jodhpur (The Blue City). We weren’t able to get a room at the RAAS Hotel during our trip, but I highly recommend it for dinner, if not a stay! The RAAS Hotel is timeless and located inside Jodhpur’s old town, boasting its original infrastructure yet upgraded to be a lux haven and only accessible by tuk-tuk.
Once settled in, we headed out to visit the Umaid Bhawan Palace. The palace is where the royal family of Jodhpur lives and is the world’s largest private residence.
After breakfast we headed to the Mahrangarh Fort, a former palace that’s now a museum, featuring weapons, paintings and elaborate royal palanquins (sedan chairs). The fort overlooks the walled city, where many buildings are painted the city’s iconic shade of blue. In the afternoon, we visited the shops at Old Town and shopped for textiles!
Our trip was coming to an end. We packed our bags and headed back to New Delhi for our final night in India. We spent the day at the spa and pool at The Imperial Hotel. If you have a few free hours, a trip to the spa is always worth it!
We enjoyed our last breakfast in India and took in the last few views of this fascinating country. India is truly an incredible place filled with so much beauty, chaos, and history.