Best Escapes North India: For this edition of the lonely Planet Guidebook, I was thrilled to contribute a chapter on my favourite city in the world- Varanasi. Visit one of the oldest living city of the world for its mythological lineage, delicious street food, traditional music, hand-woven silk saris and a strong spiritual connect. One of the holiest pilgrimage centres of India, its Kashi that is seen as the ultimate destination; be it a journey to explore India’s whimsical religious landscape, it’s backpacker infested streets or the most auspicious place to ‘cross over’.
Blessed with nature’s bounty, rich cultural traditions and magnificent architecture, the northern states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan offer abundant diversity. Hemmed in by the mighty Himalayas in the north, the sandy desert to the west and the fertile Gangetic plains below, the region offers spectacular scenery, heritage sites, music, dance and food.