India 23 day luxury tour

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: India 23 day luxury tour

Environment

We put a lot of effort into working with local providers who are as committed as us to share advice on how to best leave a lighter footprint on your trip. Our excursions maintain small-group sizes to limit the negative environmental impact 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. Also in our UK and local offices we re-use or recycle the information booklets we provide to every client on arrival wherever possible. We also concentrate on providing information online via our website and electronically rather then producing a glossy brochure, hence reducing the use of paper and inks.

Transport
We try to include no-emission transport modes like trains (for your journey to Bhopbal) or traditional cycle rickshaws for your city tour in Delhi. This will also give you the opportunity to meet and interact with the local people. 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.

Responsible Resorts
For your tour we have chosen responsible resorts like the Coral Tree Homestay in Agra, which is run by passionate naturalists who will happily accompany you to a Taj Mahal Nature Walk. Set within blossoming trees, the gardens of the homestay attract over 100 species of birds in its environment, so your visit will contribute to the enhancement and conservation of important wild and plant life in the touristy area of Agra.

You will also contribute to the Windermere Estate, a spice plantation and retreat in the lush green of Munnar. Their respect for nature is shown in diverse ways: the use of energy efficient lighting all over the estate, a bio-gas plant providing for all the cooking, water is recycled and used in the gardens, there's vermi-compost units for the pursuit of organic farming… The bags and notepads used at Windermere are made from recycled paper made by children suffering from disabilities at the nearby Shrishti Welfare Centre.

You will also stay at the special CGH Earth Hotel Marari Beach. CGH Earth Hotels offer tourism respectful of nature and local ethos, in search for new harmonies. They adopted the construction methods of the Ooralie tribe of Periyar and the fishermen of Mararikulum and made them their own. Marari Beach hosts various lotus ponds which are not just aesthetic joys, they also help sustain a rich biodiversity and flower varieties. Their butterfly garden transforms the entire environment, so do rain harvesting cans, they have vermiculture to keep the soil fertile and intact for future generations, food is recycled into biogas and much more, that your stay will help sustain.

Nature & Wildlife
By traveling to Kerala you encourage not only nature but also your health. The state has taken a deeper interest in increasing locally produced and organic foods in the last years. The state is now meeting over 70% of its demand for vegetables on its own compared with just 20% a few years ago. Large tracts of land are now being converted for organic cultivation. Initiatives by government agencies, social organisations and farmers are all participating in what is becoming an organic farming revolution in Kerala.

The trip includes precious time at various National Parks, such as the Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve. Zealously guarded and managed, the reserve is a repository of rare, endemic and endangered flora and fauna and forms the major watershed of two important rivers of Kerala, the Periyar and Pamba. People oriented and park centered community based ecotourism is the hallmark of Periyar Tiger Reserve. Programmes are conducted by local people responsible for the surveillance of the vulnerable parts of the reserve. By taking tourists along, they are involved in the conservation of the forests of Periyar and some valuable revenue is generated for community welfare. People who once made a living by illegal operations in the forests have since become forest protectors and earn their livelihood through these programmes.

The parks and our local partners are part of TOFT (Travel Operators for Tigers), a pioneering international collective action campaign to advocate, plan, support and fund the protection, conservation and rewilding of natural wilderness and their wild inhabitants, especially tiger habitat, through the clever and wise use of nature tourism, using better visitor guidance, more community involvement, targeted green investment and enhanced governance and monitoring.

Overall, on our trekking tours our guides are trained and actively promoting practices such us not disturbing wildlife, keeping a safe distance to wildlife, reducing production of disturbing sounds, prohibiting feeding, avoiding litter at all times, using water sparingly and not polluting with harmful detergents, avoid being intrusive when taking photographs, dressing appropriately and in subdued colours when wildlife watching, etc. We encourage guests to respect and follow the lead.

Community

We make sure we only work with local guides that come from the very region you are visiting, 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.

In Kochi, our experienced local guide will take you on a very special and personal tour in Fort Cochin, providing you with rare and researched insights about culture, heritage and spiritual history of the city and its diverse buildings. We will take you for example to the oldest synagogue in all the Commonwealth of Nations, the Paradesi Synagogue, built in 1568. It is run by the last and only Jewish woman in India.

We will take you to the local fishermen suspended on Chinese fishing nets, introduced by Chinese explorers. It is a very unique and unusual method of fishing operated from the shore. Set up on bamboo and teak poles and held horizontally by huge mechanisms lowering them into the sea, they look like hammocks and are counter-weighed by large stones tied to ropes.

You also have the possibility to witness a sacred Kathakali dance, performed by the local dancers, which tells stories from the ancient Hindu epic – Ramayana and Mahabharata, and a Kalari spectacle, demonstrating parts of the origin of Martial Arts. Your participation will help sustain local employment, ancient culture and precious traditions.

In Marari, you can learn local & sustainable traditions by watching the fisherwomen using palm fronds to prepare sapling protectors, or the fascinating process of coir making, a wonder fibre that forms the basis of numerous items, from handbags to ropes to sandals to mattresses.

If you do want to shop, then we will take you to local collectives where local women of that very region craft their products and help keep the money earned in that very community.

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