Travel back in time to one of the oldest civilizations on Earth on your customized guided tour of India. The possibilities for intoxicating experiences are so diverse that only with the care of a private guide and expertly tailored itinerary can you truly experience India’s treasures. Set out at daybreak with your guide to watch the sun rise over the Taj Mahal, the ultimate monument to love. Savor a spicy blend of hot Chai in an Indian tea room, or travel to Darjeeling to ride the ‘Toy Train’ of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a journey that has delighted travelers for almost a century. Set out on a spiritual quest to the Buddhist monastery of Pemayangtse, or explore the pink city of Jaipur. And when the sun sets, our tailor-made itineraries will introduce you to unique accommodation such as five-star palaces, former Royal abodes, classic safari lodges or a ‘prince-worthy’ camp in the desert. Whatever your desires, let our experts create unforgettable moments, your way, on an India tour in this all-encompassing part of the world.
TRAVELING IN INDIA
Taking a luxury tour to India exposes you to sights and sounds that are unlike anything you’ve seen anywhere else. From the crackling dialogue at the open-air bazaars to the hush in the atmosphere when a Bengal Tiger is nearby, India has a rhythm that is all its own. Visiting India isn’t just a feast for the eyes or appetite – it’s a feast for the heart and mind.
UNIQUE TRAVEL EXPERIENCES IN INDIA
Spot Tigers on Safari
Seeing a tiger on a safari is a quintessential experience for any luxury tour to India. In fact, the Bengal tiger is the country’s national animal, revered for its strength, grace and beauty. Journey through one of India’s many national parks to get a good view of these majestic creature.
One of the most breathtaking of these parks, Kanha is a mixture of deciduous forest and savanna grassland. Teeming with fauna, it is more remote than other parks and one of the leaders in efforts at tiger conservation. Lovers of literature might feel a kinship with the landscape, as its lush greenery reputedly helped inspire Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book.”
The Taj Mahal is so beautiful that even descriptions of it have a breathless romanticism. English poet Sir Edwin Arnold once said of it, “It is not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passions of an emperor’s love wrought in living stones.”
Of course, even the best descriptions fall far short of the building itself. A towering mausoleum constructed in white marble, the Taj Mahal has stood proudly since it was completed in 1648 via an order by emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It represents an achievement not just in architecture but in art, displaying perfect harmony and the full range of Indo-Islamic sepulchral techniques. Both in concept and execution, it shows a mastery of the physical form.
Visit the Outdoor Bazaars
Embarking on a trip to an Indian bazaar is an excursion for all of the senses. The bright colors, lively language and rich smells mingle into a kaleidoscopic experience that is utterly unforgettable.
And of course, you can’t forget about your taste buds, which will be led on a merry adventure by all the delicacies readily available at an outdoor bazaar. Sample kachori sabzi, a traditional brunch snack made by filling balls of dough with spicy fried potatoes. Or try benne dosas, savory pancakes made from rice batter, lentils and a healthy dollop of butter.
Trek Through Spice Plantations
Looking for things to do in India? Tour a spice plantation. For hundreds of years, Indian spices have been prized by explorers all over the world. In the Middles Ages, they were believed to have medicinal properties, an ability to balance the “humors” and promote good health. Later they became an important culinary tool and the basis of vigorously competitive trade. Today they are enjoyed around the globe as some of the richest and most complex flavors available anywhere.
See why for yourself by taking a trip to the plantations where they are harvested. Witness the natural vistas as you watch spices being cultivated, seeing the country-side and learning more about one of India’s most important cultural exports.
The waters of Kerala are a patchwork network of lagoons, lakes and canals. Lying parallel to the Malabar coast, they are fed by 38 different rivers and provide some of the most beautiful natural landscapes the country has to offer. Visitors can also get up close and personal with a number of species of aquatic life, such as otters, turtles, crabs and frogs.
The most luxurious way to tour this part of India is via houseboats, which provide a combination of comfort and mobility. Local delicacies are cooked on board by the staff, and visitors can enjoy their dishes while gazing out over the palm trees, pandanus shrubs and various other greenery that dots the water.
Visit Ancient Temples
The rich, full religious tradition of India is reflected in its temples, which serve as gorgeous testaments to the faith of those who constructed them. As one of the most ancient and holy cities in the country, Varanasi is home to many of them, including the Kashi Vishwanath temple. Dedicated to Shiva, it is one of the holiest sites in India and receives thousands of visitors every day.
For more temples, head north to Jaipur, the capital of the state of Rajasthan. It is a popular destination for travelers to come and marvel at the beauty of its religious architecture, such as the Govind Dev Ji Temple. Dedicated to Lord Krishna, it is located directly in the City Palace complex.
PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS FOR INDIA TOURS
A passport that is valid for at least six months after the end of your trip is required for both U.S. and Canadian citizens to enter and depart the country. Please ensure that the name on your passport matches all travel documents we have issued. If this is not the case, please contact us immediately.
Please make a photocopy of your passport’s identification page and keep it separate from your original. It’s also a good idea to leave a digital copy with someone at home. This may speed up the replacement process should you lose your passport.
VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR INDIA TOURS
A visa is required for travel to India. An Indian visa is valid from the day it is issued, not the date of entry. For example, a 6-month visa issued on January 1 will expire on June 30, regardless of your date of entry. Make sure to check maximum duration per visit with your local embassy.
An e-visa option is available for most nationalities at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html – please note travelers holding a Pakistani passport or who are of Pakistani origin must apply for a regular tourist visa at an Indian Mission. A standard 6-month visa is also available through the Indian Mission or through a visa service.
For more visa information please visit:
INSURANCE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INDIA TOURS
Cancelation and Medical Insurance is highly recommended as it can safeguard against the expenses associated with in-country medical emergencies, lost or delayed baggage and emergency cancelation or interruption of your trip. Please ensure your policy will provide you with upfront medical coverage so that you are not responsible for a hefty doctor’s bill while away. Insurance can be purchased through us.
VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INDIA TOURS
No vaccinations are required to enter India. Some vaccines require more than one dose or a major length of time to be effective. For that reason, it is recommended to see your doctor or health provider at least 6 to 8 weeks before your trip. For all vaccinations and health requirements, you can also refer to the recommendations from:
World Health Organization (WHO): http://www.who.int and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) http://wwwnc.cdc.gov.
MEDICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INDIA TOURS
If there are any medical items essential to your health, such as prescription drugs or corrective eye wear, bring duplicates and divide them between your checked bags and hand luggage. While non-prescription drugs such as aspirin are generally available, it is difficult to replace prescription items.
Other recommended Items:
WEATHER, SEASONS AND CLIMATE IN INDIA
India’s climate is mainly hot most of the year with significant variations from region to region. The coolest weather lasts from around the end of November to the beginning of March, with fresh mornings and evenings, and mostly sunny days. The hot weather, when it is dry and dusty, is between March and June. Monsoon rains occur in most regions in summer anywhere between June and early October.
For up-to-date forecasts, check www.weather.com.
CLOTHING AND ESSENTIAL ITEMS FOR INDIA TRAVEL
What clothes to wear depends on the season you travel and what kind of activities you are taking part in on your trip. Clothing stores are readily available throughout India, but sizes may vary to that of North America. Aside from big cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, etc., India is very traditional and it is recommended to dress conservatively. Short tops, skirts, shorts or any clothing that is equally revealing should be avoided. Full-sleeved clothes are ideal protection against the sun and mosquito bites. Indian summers (March to June) are very hot – for comfort, opt for light and loose cotton clothing rather than synthetic. Pack warm layers if you’re planning on traveling during the winter (October to February). Northern India and locations in higher elevations can be quite cold, especially during the night. While visiting places of worship, women must wear long skirts or trousers and have covered shoulders. Also, don’t forget to remove your footwear before entering any religious place.
FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS: Video camera, camera with zoom lens in a dust-resistant case, sufficient memory cards, a spare camera battery and charger. Photography is not allowed in certain religious buildings, especially temples. So be sure to ask permission before you take a photo.
ELECTRICITY, PHONE AND INTERNET IN INDIA
CURRENCY IN INDIA
The currency used in India is the rupee (INR), Be sure to bring lots of small bills for porters, wait staff and housekeeping (not obligatory and based on your satisfaction). We recommend that you get local currency from your bank before you leave home or from a bank machine in-country which is much cheaper than an exchange service at the airport or in tourist areas. Your bank card may work, but Visa or MasterCard are more widely accepted. You will need a 4-digit PIN to be able to use your cards. For current exchange rates please visit www.xe.com
QUICK FACTS FOR A INDIA TOUR
Emergency numbers in India: Police: 100, Fire: 101, Ambulance: 102. In Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kochi and several other cities throughout India, you can dial 108 for all emergencies.