Northern India vacations

“As well as Golden Triangle gems, this trip has some sacred specials. Head to Varanasi to see life on the Ganges, and Ranthambore National Park to spot the sacred tiger.”

Highlights

Delhi | Jaipur | 2 game drives in Ranthambore National Park | Fatehpur Sikri | Taj Mahal | Varanasi and the Ganges

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10 Oct 2020
US $1649
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15 Oct 2020
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22 Oct 2020
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05 Nov 2020
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23 Jan 2021
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08 Jan 2022
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Our top tip:
Have cushion, will travel. This is best rule of thumb for this busy trip, with lots of traveling by bus and train. So have something cosy to cuddle.
Trip type:
Small group with maximum 16 people. Min. age 16
Solos:
Solo travelers welcome, with surcharge for single rooms.
Accomm:
6 nights in standard, ensuite city hotels. 2 sleeper train journeys.
Included:
Flights, accommodation, all breakfasts except day 1, 1 lunch, all transport, tour leader.
Meals:
Allow £13 -15/day for lunch and dinner.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your vacation will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
Wildlife
With the exception of summer departures, this tour includes the wonderful chance to visit Ranthambore National Park for 2 game drives. Ranthambore is a tiger reserve under Project Tiger- a conservation effort which has now been running with progressing success for over 40 years. Tigers have been targeted for centuries by poachers for their fur and various body parts for Chinese medicine, but with increasing tourist numbers investing in a mutually safe form of tiger tourism, population numbers are on the rise. By paying National Park fees at Ranthambore, this tour contributes to the upkeep of this vital habitat for the tigers, deer, crocodiles, bird and plant life etc.

Accommodation & Meals
This trip sees you spend 6 nights in standard city tourist hotels with en suite facilities two nights in an overnight train with air conditioning from Agra to Varanasi and Varanasi to Delhi. You will notice that our hotels employ locally and use local produce from markets in the area wherever possible. The hotels are waste and energy conscious and have their own policies like asking guests to turn off the power when leaving a room in order to save electricity. Where meals are not supplied, our group leaders always encourage people to try local restaurants and street food vendors. They can make recommendations which will help boost small businesses and celebrate local specialties. In Jaipur, Varanasi and Delhi, clients can even see how the food is made e.g. Masala Chai (Tea), Samosa (Mashed Potato Snacks), Jalebe (Indian Donuts), Lassi (Yoghurt Drink), etc.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

Charity
For years we have been involved in campaigning for tiger conservation in Bandhavgarh. In late summer 2014 we teamed up with The Corbett Foundation, an Indian charity dedicated to conservation-oriented research. They have proved instrumental in enabling us to get the funds to where they are needed. Through this we have now completed the building of a community hall at Tala Village, solar pumps in the park for wildlife and staff in the dry season, bio gas plants and smart stoves for villagers and provided the salary for 2 full time teachers at the government school. Our work in India continues to be of great significance and most recently we have been able to purchase a 4 wheel drive medical vehicle and pay for outreach medical support.

Local Craft & Culture
We are keen to encourage guests to engage with the culture of Northern India and to purchase local crafts and services where possible. Your local guide will be able to recommend the best of the area’s colourful and vibrant markets and small businesses and through our commerce, tourist wealth is more evenly distributed. You might pick up some street food in Delhi or in Varanasi take the opportunity to explore the emporiums specialising in silks and brocades, have a massage by the banks of the Ganges or buy block printed material and pottery in Jaipur. There are locally crafted gifts and souvenirs available by most of the landmarks we visit, and your guides will be able to advise you on which to buy and which to avoid. For example, some bangles and other decorative items in Jaipur claim to be made of ivory and, although this is mostly fake, we are against the popularisation of this kind of product and make a point of including a warning in the briefing.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

Climate

4 Reviews of Northern India vacations

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 08 Nov 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The visit to Ranthambore

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Don't bother to take a book to read as you'll spend all your time looking at India passing you by.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


To some extent, although the interaction with local people is limited

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent value for money

Reviewed on 06 Jan 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Seeing the Taj Mahal and experiencing the Ganges

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


There is a lot of traveling and local amenities are not at the standard we are used to in Britain.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


I think we probably benefitted a few people who may be associated with the trip leaders rather than the communities we encountered more generally.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


A great experience. Lots of traveling, not easy or relaxing or luxurious but it's India and it is an amazing place, wonderful people and a lot to see. This trip is tiring but worth it.

Reviewed on 02 Mar 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Dawn boat trip at Varanasai, the Taj Mahal, a visit to the Sikh temple, the food and the shopping!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Think twice if you have a bad back as the roads and very bad and a large proportion of the day is spent traveling either by coach or by train (up to 15 hours by train). Remember to change your rupees back before customs on the way home as it is illegal to take currency out of the country and no-one will help you if you take some through by mistake.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes - trips to local communities, shops and schools, shopping opportunities in local co-operatives.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent but you need to be prepared for v long days and lots of traveling.

Reviewed on 23 Apr 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Seeing the tiger in Ranthambore National Park; the Ghats in the evening and the overnight train journeys.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be aware - the trip is hectic and verging on the exhausting. The travel distances are enormous - 10 hours in a bus is not pleasant. On the other hand, the train journeys are great! There is no contact with people - it seemed we were shunted from place to place, always in the bus, never walking. No opportunities to shop in the local places - always in the chosen tourist spots and therefore quite expensive. Be prepared to spend about £5 a day on lunch - exorbitant - as it was always the touristy places again. Yes, we saw the highlights, but not India. Don't go on this trip unless you are very short on time and feel the need the say "been there, done that".

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


I wonder - always buying bottled water bothered me a lot. Lots of traveling in a bus....Local people - we hardly came across them! The drivers, yes; the hotels - yes; and the tourist restaurants - yes. I would have welcomed the opportunity to get out of the bus and walk through a town or village on route, buy some local produce - fruit (it was the mango season and we didn't have one mango!)

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


6 out of 10. A whirlwind - the guide was inflexible, the pace too fast, and no contact with the country.

Read the operator's response here:

I did everything what I could for the clients of this group using all my knowledge and experiences to deliver the best services. I have been working from the last 15 years as a professional tour leader. I always try to give more free time to the clients in Local market in every city as much as possible within the time frame of the itinerary. In Jaipur I gave them some time to explore the local market near wind palace after we finished our sightseeing. Later clients have visited the textile factory at Jaipur, because some clients wanted to visit. (Only one shop).

1. At Agra, in afternoon group was taken and dropped at the local Bazar (Sadar market ) to explore the market on their own. Clients have spent more than two hours and even some of them returned after three hours. They were picked up from the given spot back to hotel. Group was not taken to any of the shops at Agra.

2. Then in Varanasi Group was taken to Local Bazar by rickshaw ride and on reaching the city I had given them free time of hour and half to explore the local town before they were taken for visiting the Arti Ceremony at Varanasi Ghats. (on the day of arrival)

In Varanasi Lot of people who wanted to do other things on their own before leaving back to Delhi, therefore, whole afternoon was given free to all clients on 2nd day. Late evening we had to take overnight train to Delhi. Some clients visited city and others stayed back to relax at hotel.

3. Then again in Delhi I took them to Karol bagh Local market and they spent more than 2 hours in the market. Therefore, I think they were given maximum free time keeping in view the itinerary and its pace.

Regarding the long bus drive while coming from Ranthambore to Agra we have visited one school and one village on the way inspite of a tight schedule. Apart from that there were number of other stops on the way to take picture of the wheat field, Village, Local People, camels etc.

So, I think I have done what best I could. It is a bit disappointing that even after doing all this still few clients may have felt that I did not perform well. I can only feel sorry for any lack ness and will try my best to perform better in future.
Please note we have visited only two shops during the whole itinerary one at Jaipur and other at Varanasi. As a tour leader I have tried to show maximum India to my clients in a minimum time.

Thanks
Wahab Khan - Tour leader

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