The greatest palace hotel in the world in Hyderabad – Falaknuma or ‘Mirror of the Sky’ – with its legendary dining table that seats 100 guests – in a city that produced the Koh-i-noor ‘Mountain of Light’ diamond and is also home of the Charminar. Hampi – a World Heritage Site that gives its name to the ruins of one of the greatest Imperial cities of the medieval world. Great mountains corrugate the rugged edges of the peninsula sheltering a wealth of wildlife and forming some of the greatest elephant and tiger habitats in Asia, fringed by idyllic beaches where the traveller can recover in sybaritic luxury.
Here are towns literally crammed with palatial mansions and thriving markets and charming heritage homes. Four hundred years of European presence have left their mark in charming and gracious Pondicherry, with its French boulevards, colonial architecture and gendarmeries!; quaint Danish Tranquebar and, of course, Goa, where one has a glimpse of the inhabitants’ languorous, laid-back lifestyle, as well as charming villages set amidst a serene and timeless countryside bounded on the west by the sea and the east by the lush wildlife-rich mountains. Goa has everything – private, remote and characterful beachside hotels and gorgeous villas, beautiful, unexplored and quiet beaches, fantastic seafood and wildlife that ranges from a wealth of birdlife to dolphins and even elephants in the moist forests of the hills.