“Twenty two day tour of Northern India, travelling in a small group, and staying in good hotels as well as a sleeper train. Culture vultures will simply devour this itinerary. ”
Old Delhi | New Delhi | Varanasi | Boat trip on Ganges River | Sleeper train to Jhansi | Orchha | Khajuraho temples | Agra | Taj Mahal | Fatehpur Sikri | Ranthambore National Park | Two game drives | Jaipur | Shekhawati | Junagarh Fort, Bikaner | Jaisalmer | Jodhpur | Udaipur
Description of Delhi to Mumbai tour of India
This India holiday is a twenty two day tour from Delhi to Mumbai and many of Northern India’s highlights in between. Travelling in a small group, with an expert local guide and using a mixture of private minibus, an internal flight, sleeper train, boat and rickshaws to get around, you cover some good ground. And take in some of the most memorable cultural and natural highlights that India has to offer.
Starting in Delhi, we take time to see Old and New, with its top three UNESCO World Heritage Sites and busy streets, this is also time to adjust to the Indian city pace of life. From here, we fly to Varanasi, for a very different experience, reminding us that India is a country of contrasts. This is India’s main holy city, where you will see Indian people take part in religious rituals along the banks of the Ganges.
After a visit to the iconic Taj Mahal, we head to the state of Rajasthan where the natural wonders are, for some, like religious experiences in themselves, and where we enjoy two game drives in Ranthambore National Park. Famously a habitat to the Bengal tiger, we will also have a chance to see monkeys, deer, crocodiles and superb birdlife, from an open sided truck known locally as a ‘canter’.
Rajasthan is also packed with cultural gems, the most famous being the splendid palaces and forts of Jaipur, but also less known ones such as the uniquely painted ‘haveli’ houses of the Shekhawati region of eastern Rajasthan, and then back to see the famous sites of Jodhpur. These include the mammoth Mehrangarh Fort that oversees the city and its stunning blue painted architecture.
Udaipur is the final stop on our tour of Northern India where, again, you experience something very different to the rest of the Desert State of Rajasthan. Because Udaipur is known as ‘Venice of the East’, with a complex lake system that winds its way around palaces, temples and ancient waterside dwellings . Tour around the City Palace or just enjoy your final views of this wonderful country, the green Aravelli hills providing the perfect final setting over the town in a desert that is floating on water.
Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.
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, travelling 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 holiday, 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 travellers’ 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?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
Make the most of your holiday 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?
Travellers 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 holiday.
Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.
Less confident travellers
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 travellers 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 travellers!”
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
Name: Valerie Parkinson
Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando
Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.
Responsible tourism: Delhi to Mumbai tour of India
Accommodation & Meals This trip sees you spend 19 nights in standard city tourist hotels with en suite facilities and one night in an overnight train with air conditioning from Varanasi to Agra. 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.
Activity We visit a number of temples, palaces and forts including the Khajuraho complex, the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, the City Palace, the Amber Fort, Junagarh Fort and Jain Temple. By making donations, buying souvenirs or paying entrance fees, we financially contribute to the upkeep of these magnificent sites. Similarly, at Ranthambore National Park, the fees we pay to enter the area go towards paying the wages of those who work there, development of park facilities, wildlife research and protection projects. Ranthambore is a tiger reserve under Project Tiger- a conservation effort which has now been running with progressing success for over 40 years. We understand that it is important for us to operate with a strict ‘leave no trace policy.’ This extends to our activity in and out of game drive territory and means we are vigilant with disposing of litter properly and careful not to intimidate or harm flora and fauna.
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.
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.
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.
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.