India family holiday
Description of India family holiday
India is an incredibly exciting destination, a constant kaleidoscope of colour, noise, mayhem and occasional serenity. There are holy cows wandering in the middle of the road, holy men with long dreadlocks getting into strange contortions and holy temples awash with incense, fragrant flowers and hundreds of pilgrims.
It is a huge country that deserves many visits and we recommend that you concentrate on one particular part of the country for each stay. A good place to start is the princely state of Rajasthan, home to many of India's most beautiful and well known sights, including crumbling forts that are begging to be explored, exquisitely decorated merchants' houses, majestic palaces which are the perfect venue for a game of hide and seek, and the constant backdrop of colour whether from mounds of spices in the market or from the brightly coloured saris of women walking through the countryside with pots balanced on their heads. Not far from Rajasthan is Agra, home to the Taj Mahal, possibly one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
Also popular is the lovely state of Kerala, in the south of India, and a world away from the north. Life here operates at a slightly slower pace and it is a land of peaceful waterways where you can spend the night in a converted rice barge, picturesque coffee and tea plantations that are perfect for a hike (or gentle ramble!) and idyllic beaches.
More adventurous families might want to head into the far north, to the Himalayas, home to incredible scenery and some great activities. Sip a cup of freshly picked tea on a tea estate in Darjeeling, watch the sun rise over the tip of Kanchenjunga, hang out with the monks in Ladakh, ride the rapids down a tributary of the Ganges or cycle in the mountain foothills.
Everywhere you will find the welcome friendly and the children will be permanently wide eyed and fascinated by the incredible experiences on offer.
1 Reviews of India family holiday
Reviewed on 14 Aug 2016 by Janine Jackson
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
There were many memorable experiences - our rickshaw ride through the Dehli markets was definitely a highlight....what a culture shock! The noise, smells, heat and totally manic traffic dodging around cows in the streets is imprinted on the memory. Seeing the rural life in Rajasthan was amazing - how the locals live in their mud houses, working on the land by hand, and how friendly the people were to us. Staying in a Maharaja's palace was an experience. Seeing the Taj Mahal was so spiritual. And the many palaces, forts, temples and havelis with their frescoes were so interesting.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Be vigilant with hygiene if you want to avoid a stomach upset - lots of antibacterial hand gels, avoid meat, dairy and uncooked/unpeelable fruit and veg, and be careful of swallowing swimming pool water. July/August was very humid but the monsoon rain did not affect our trip and made the heat more bearable than May/June time. Begging is rife and hard to ignore. Take pens for the village children. I would not recommend our trip for very young children, but was fab for teenagers.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Staying in local homestays/havelis provided much needed income for locals, as did visiting villagers to witness their crafts and purchase goods they had made. The Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary was worth visiting.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
After some initial concerns about travelling around Dehli and Rajasthan with 2 teenagers, we were pleasantly surprised. Although the itinerary was very busy there was nothing I could really cut out and it has definitely given our two rather spoilt kids a lot to think about! We were only disappointed by one of our many accommodations and we had so much more insight into the culture of the country than if we had stayed in 'chain' westernised hotels. It was a good mix of towns and rural villages and we came home feeling we had definitely got a good understanding of the Indian culture.
PlanetWe operate all of our tours in India in conjunction with a local partner that share our environmental values and have pioneered many social and environmental programmes within India. As an example, we often send travellers to a lovely eco-resort in the Shekhavati area of Rajasthan. The resort uses photovoltaic solar panels to generate electricity for all accommodation and also to provide hot water. All food at the resort is sourced locally and is organic, with a zero tolerance to any kind of chemical fertiliser and pesticide.
In general in India we use small locally owned and family run accommodation which has been built (and furnished) using local materials.
Our UK office is run as environmentally as possible. The majority of our staff either walk or cycle to work and we operate a primarily paper free environment. We do not produce brochures (which often leads to a lot of waste) but market our tours exclusively on the internet.
PeopleAs with our environmental promise, our local partners in India are committed to ensuring that tourism brings about positive social change. Together we have scoured India for unusual heritage properties, in many cases persuading owners of smaller properties to open their houses for small scale tourism. The money that this generates helps to preserve the property but also provides an invaluable source of income in remote village areas.
We also support an initiative whereby we try to support the drivers who escort our groups, to be able to purchase their own vehicle. This means that they are able to be self-sufficient and not dependent on a particular employer for work.
We also support a small village near Jodhpur which has been very active in developing work opportunities for women, something which is fairly uncommon in rural India. The village has set up a very small scale arts and crafts centre which sells good that have been made by the village women, ensuring that all profits are returned directly to the families involved. Many of our travellers visit this village, spending time with the local people and, if interested, visiting the local school.