India tour, rural India

“Discover the rich heart of life in rural India on a glorious road less travelled – with history and grandeur woven in too.”


Fort Ahilya | Mandu palaces and temples | Pilgrimage town of Ujjain | Chandrabhaga | Bundi | Pangarh Lake | Artisan villages | Castle Bijaipur | Udaipur

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10 Nov 2021
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06 Mar 2022
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30 Oct 2022
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Vacation type
Small group vacations
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travelers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

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.

In our opinion, our India trips – where we steer our clients off the main tourist circuits and into the rural regions of the subcontinent, to interact directly with local people – is responsible travel at its most immediate and effective.

We stay with local families, visit local industries (learn to milk a buffalo, make a sari, cook a meal) and call on local organisation to learn more about the problems of the region and how we might help. Not only does this allow local people and visitors to interact and learn about each others culture, it ensures that the revenue generated by tourism goes directly to local communities.

On this trip, which runs through Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, we involve our clients in tree planting schemes as well as help directly with the financing of rural village schools; added to this our clients will have the chance to accompany members of the Bhil caste in learning how to milk the buffalo and turn it into lassi, visit a natural silk weaving center famed for its manufacturing of exquisite saris and cook and eat a meal with a local family – all of which will be putting money directly into the local community.

In addition, on all our tours we employ local guides and drivers, stay in locally owned hotels and private homes, which again diverts important funds directly into the area. These are regions that have seen precious little from the boom in tourism, it is our aim to change this. We automatically make a contribution to climate care for every client we carry.

When you take one of our trips, we make a contribution to “Carbon Clear” – an organisation who work with hundreds of organisations to measure their carbon footprint and reduce their carbon emissions.

2 Reviews of India tour, rural India

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 05 Dec 2013 by

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

The most exciting part of the vacation was traveling on the overnight train and the many opportunities we had to meet local people and glimpse a little of what their lives are like. I must also add the bustle and colour of the camel fair and the friendliness of everyone we met.

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

I would say do not go with the idea that it is a luxury vacation. If luxury is what you want then choose something else. Certainly sleeping in palaces was luxury but that was only part of it.

The luxury tents had en suite facilities but we also had to share with the local wild-life. Camping is camping so be prepared!

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

I am not sure. We did travel on a full-size coach for a lot of the tour.

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

It was one of the best vacations; in the top two.

Read the operator's response here:

We were very sorry to hear about the size of the bus, we usually use both small busses and public transport on this trip, but unfortunately as it was peak season a small bus was not available for us to use.

The tour visits several remote villages and communities and we make sure that money from the tour and tourists goes back into these small communities. However we are aware that we need to work with our local tour leaders to make sure this is communicated to everyone who travels with us.

Reviewed on 25 Mar 2012 by

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

Seeing places I never could have got to on my own.

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

Ask them to update the descriptions in the itinerary. Bhopal Singh is undoubtedly the best guide I have had on trips to India. He actually knows the history as well as the culture, habits, etc. Well, there was one other guy in Goa but it is a rarity to find someone as knowledgeable as Bhopal and still a good logistician/manager/fixer and all the other things a tour guide has to be to keep a diverse group together and happy. We were blessed.

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

No doubt.

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


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