Luxury India Tours, Taj, forts and palaces
Description of Luxury India Tours, Taj, forts and palaces
This 11-day luxury tour of India's Taj, forts and palaces has everything taken care of from accommodation and airport/hotel transfers in a private car to monument entrance fees and local guides, so that you can sit back, relax and concentrate on immersing yourself in India’s vibrant and beautiful north region.
The hotels have all been handpicked and are historical gems in themselves, occupying some of the best spots in their cities so you can revel in the views before you even leave the front door. From the iconic Imperial hotel in Delhi with its art deco and colonial chic to Jodhpur’s elegant Raas hotel where the views of Mehrangarh’s Victory Palace are unrivalled, via the Rambagh palace - the ‘jewel of Jaipur’.
With comfortable bases taken care of, your days will be packed full of adventure as you begin your tour of the cities exploring the spices, monuments and Mughalai food of Delhi; the medieval-walled ‘Golden City’ of Jaisalmer and Jodhpur’s spice bazaars and glittering jewellery markets.
With private air-conditioned cars to transport you onwards, you’ll have a good amount of time to relax amongst Udaipur’s palaces, gardens and lakes, enjoying a sundowner or two as you take an evening cruise on Lake Picholla. Recharged, you’ll then make your way to the ‘pink city’ of Jaipur (the ‘Paris of India’) to explore its beautiful boulevards and pink terracotta buildings. No trip would be complete without glimpsing the Taj Mahal however, and so your last stop will be to Agra where you’ll take an early morning horse and carriage ride to watch the sun rise over India’s most iconic building.
Luxury accommodation for 10 nights including breakfast
All airport and hotel transfers
An air-conditioned car with driver
Monument entrance fees included
English-speaking local guides
Farewell dinner in Delhi
1 Reviews of Luxury India Tours, Taj, forts and palaces
Reviewed on 22 Nov 2018 by Susan Wilson
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Amazing sights and some wonderful hotels. Our driver and guides were really friendly and helpful. Driver did an amazing job - traffic, parking and roads have to be seen to be believed.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Think carefully about your itinerary. We ended up having 4 very full on/busy days in the first week and a few too many rest days in the second, with a final day just hanging around in a very expensive hotel near the airport in Delhi just waiting to fly home.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Tourism brings work to the area which will benefit the local people. Surprised however that even the drivers, who do an amazing job on those roads, are only on minimum wages.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
India is an assault on the senses in every possible way but it was overall an amazing experience. If I were to do it again I would revise the itinerary a bit and change the hotel in Udaipur. The Shiv Niwas Palace was good but rather tired and dated. We ate out one night at the Amet Haveli which although heritage was more modern and in a great location for both views and shops. Our first night at the Shiv Niwas we were also put in a terrible room which was certainly not of the standard paid for. I was however very impressed with the speed at which the tour operator responded to our complaint and resolved the issue.
Read the operator's response here:
PlanetWe put a lot of thought in working with local providers, making sure that everyone involved in your trip is committed to sharing advice on how best to leave a lighter footprint. We promote excursions which foster a more sustainable tourism and commit to maintaining small-group sizes to limit negative environmental impacts in accordance to the carrying capacity of the visited site.
We are trying to keep the extra unneeded waste to a minimum in all our tours through our “bring it in, bring it out” policy for litter and rubbish such as food packaging and recycling wherever possible. We have a recycling policy in our UK and local offices and re-use or recycle the information booklets we provide to every client on arrival wherever possible. Moreover, we do not produce a glossy brochure, concentrating on a comprehensive website, and providing as much information to our travellers as possible electronically, reducing the use of paper and inks.
On your trip we will include transport modes like traditional rickshaws or a ride on a horse carriage to the Taj Mahal, which reduces our carbon footprint and will also give you the opportunity to meet and interact with the local people. On your city excursions, we will give preference to slow, possibly non-motorized forms of mobility, such as city walks or bicycles. If motorized forms are unavoidable, we make sure that vehicle sizes are as small as appropriate and proper licensing on vehicles and certifying to national emission standards are maintained.
For your tour we have chosen very special, responsible Heritage resorts like the Taj Hotels, a group that puts great effort towards reducing energy, waste and water footprint while leaving a positive impact in the destinations and the communities. To help the resorts reduce the impact of daily operations, the Taj partnered with EarthCheck - the world's leading environmental management, benchmarking and certification program for the travel and tourism industry. Additional initiatives that are supported through your stay at the Taj group include the Olive Ridley Turtle Protection Programme to enhance the survival of this endangered species through educating locals and releasing hatchlings safely into the sea, or the Coral Regeneration Programme aimed to increase the coral coverage near the resort and create a healthy reef ecosystem, the innovative use of plastic bottles (to make park benches at the resort for example), or the use of green power (thermal use, wind turbine generator). You can participate in certain initiatives if you wish.
Another special place we chose is the Suryagarh Hotel, which represents a unique way of life, carefully preserving the traditions of the past, with beautiful courtyards, pure architecture true to an ancient craft, grand Rajasthani architecture, wood flooring,traditional handcrafted furnishings and heritage art piece.
Also the Fateh Garh Palace in Udaipur is a majestical example of a responsible resort, supported by your stay. Fateh Garh belongs to the Heritage Renaissance School of building. Heritage Renaissance – a term used to describe the laborious transplanting of the stone by stone, pillar by pillar of a heritage structure from a place not very far away to a new context. Everything at the hotel has been conceptualized, designed, and executed to revitalize the environmental – cultural – spiritual heritage of the past. It was literally hand built with minimum machine used.
There are recycled doorways, most of the wood used at the Palace is old recycled thereby causing no adverse impact on the environment. The hotel uses indigenous products and building material, which is most suited for the region such as locally available stone, marble, wood and fabrics. The Flora and Fauna is all indigenous and on offer is a selection of the best local cuisine and beverages. With the emphasis on being indigenous, guests get an authentic experience, and everything is low–maintenance, thereby having a minimum adverse impact on the environment.
The palace has 48 eco- friendly practices, divided into 5 different categories based on the 5 elements, such as fire, wind, water, earth and space, having been harnessed to produce 50% of our energy needs from alternate non-polluting sources. They have a windmill that takes care of the public area illumination. The solar panels for hot water generation amount for over 35% of the resorts energy needs, besides they have solar lights and solar cookers, thus harnessing the fire elements. The building is built on the principles of Vaastu thereby making most of the sun and wind to control the temperature and reliance on air-conditioning and heating is reduced.
Fatehgarh has moreover an extensive water harvesting in place, which works very well due to the topography of the area, with one inch of rain - the water harvesting ponds collect 1/2 million liters of water. The resort is committed to being chemical and plastic free and to use natural products wherever possible. By choosing to stay with this hotel on this trip you and us are doing our bit to help protect our planet.
PeopleWe make sure we only work with local guides that come from the very region you are visiting. Through this trip you are hence giving back to their families and communities. While many operators pay per day or per tour, our guides receive an hourly rate which allows a fair and fruitful reward for their expertise. We provide staff with written employment contracts and fair working conditions (e.g. overtime payment, national wage requirements, no discrimination, grievance mechanisms in place and no child labour).
Furthermore we ensure that our drivers do not more than 9 hours of driving per day and are provided adequate accommodation and do not drive at night (with the exception of airport pick-ups/drop-offs). After a driving period of 4.5 h the driver must take a break of at least 45 min. Our tour guides receive special training in how to leave a lower impact on the trips and in regional conservation projects.
Through staying the Heritage resorts we chose for you, you support also the local community. Fateh Garh for example sources local and indigenous produce, and employs people from the nearby village. The Taj group maintains time-honoured traditions central to the Indian homecoming. They provide jobs to the local community, support endangered artisan practices and revive regal history at palaces where royal families are still in residence.
With the Taj group, over 7000 associates of ´Give Back´, an employee volunteer programme, also invest their time in mentoring and guiding youngsters, cleaning the local neighbourhood, taking up activities in the areas of hygiene and sanitation, local education, bringing guests to local villages and supporting the preservation and promotion of local art and culture.
If you want to do souvenir shopping, we will take you to local markets where locals of that very region craft their products to help keep the money earned in that very community. When we take you to local shops or markets we change the selected shops on a rotating basis. Also we make sure food stops are at locally owned cafes or restaurants and give customers recommendations on locally owned shops and restaurants, especially new start-ups.
We ensure customer awareness by familiarizing our guests with local history, culture, religions and traditions, by informing on culturally appropriate behavior, (e.g. dress codes for religious sites, taking photographs of people, language tips, etc.).