India tiger safari & Taj Mahal 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 tiger safari & Taj Mahal tour

Environment

On this itinerary you’ll visit Kanha National Park, Bandhavgarh National Park and Panna National Park. We promote responsible tourism in India’s national parks and we advocate responsible tiger tourism. Whilst on safari drives in the national parks we expect our guests to follow the Code of Conduct of the park authorities. Please do not encourage your driver to drive too fast or get too close to the animals and do not encourage him to depart from the usual track. Please be as quiet as you can at all times and do not make any noises to attract or frighten the wildlife - of course you’re going to be excited if you spot a Bengal tiger, but please try to express your excitement quietly. Whilst visiting the national parks please ensure that you don’t leave any litter – aside from the environmental damage, litter can be harmful to the wildlife.

Throughout India we try to use locally owned and managed hotels, guest houses, lodges and camps that support local communities. We believe that by using locally owned properties, rather than international chains, we ensure that as much revenue as possible remains in India, and it also provides a more authentic travel experience for our clients.

One of the accommodation options on this holiday is Sarai at Toria which is located 2 kms from the entrance to the Panna Tiger Reserve. The property is the vision of a husband and wife partnership with a passion for wildlife and conservation. Dr. Raghu Chundawat is a conservation biologist whose main studies have been on snow leopards and tigers. His pioneering ten-year research on tigers took place in the Panna Tiger Reserve and has been immortalised in the BBC Natural World documentary, "Tigers of the Emerald Forest". His wife, Joanna Van Gruisen, is a wildlife photographer, writer and conservationist. Their aim is to manage the Sarai at Toria in an environmentally and socially responsible manner, providing comfort and indulgence while protecting the natural and the cultural environment.

On this holiday you’ll also visit the Pink City of Jaipur and the magnificent fortress, Amber Palace. We advise against taking an elephant ride up to the Amber Palace (also called Amer Fort) as the welfare of these magnificent creatures is questionable. There have been reports that young elephants are beaten into submission in order to be ‘tamed’ to carry people on their backs and then they are forced to carry tourists uphill to the fort entrance until they are very fatigued. Recently the Amber Fort made some regulations regarding the treatment of the elephants and now they are only permitted to carry two passengers five times per day, however this is still not an activity that we support. If you’re visiting Amber Fort and you see mistreatment of elephants you can report it at the Elephant Welfare Office at the fort.

Litter and waste disposal is a huge problem in India. At low tide, the riverbanks look like landfill sites, with children picking amongst the refuse to see what they can recycle or sell. We urge you to be aware of this problem and do your best not to contribute to it. You should try to keep your waste to a minimum and take things such as empty shampoo bottles and batteries home with you and recycle them at home.

Fresh water is limited in many areas of India, therefore we encourage our clients to take short showers and to use water sparingly. We also ask our clients to follow any environmental policies that their hotel, guest house, lodge or camp may have in place - for example, they may give guests the option to not have their towels or bed linen washed everyday and by reducing the quantity of towels/linen they wash, they reduce water consumption, energy and use of detergents.

Community

We are committed to responsible, sustainable and ethical tourism in India and we’re proud to work with a fantastic supplier, based in New Delhi, which wholeheartedly shares our core values with regards to responsible tourism practices. We employ guides who come from within the different regions throughout India where we offer our holidays, and we pay fair salaries which far exceed government regulations, thereby removing the reliance on tipping for livelihoods.

During this holiday you’ll discover the tourist sites and national parks of India with expert local guides who will offer an insight into India’s culture, traditions, heritage and religions. Our guides in India are highly experienced, extremely knowledgeable and very charismatic, and we encourage our clients to make an effort to get to know them and show an interest in their culture and customs. We believe that by gaining a deeper understanding about India’s colourful culture, ancient traditions, rich heritage and diverse religious beliefs, you will have a much more interesting and meaningful travel experience.

We encourage positive cultural exchanges during our holidays and there will be plenty of opportunities for you to engage with local people whilst you’re in India. We recommend that you embrace any opportunities that you may have to interact with locals as it could be one of the highlights of your holiday. But please ensure that you are respectful when taking photos, especially of women and children. It is polite to ask for permission first and if they indicate that they do not want you to, please respect this. Do not offer money or push the issue.
It is important to respect the social, cultural and religious beliefs whilst travelling in India. India is a very conservative and religious country, therefore you should ensure that you dress modestly and respectfully. Men and women should have their legs and shoulders covered, especially when visiting rural villages or religious sites.

Gurudwaras (Sikh Temples) require everyone (men and women) to cover their head when entering then temples. At all the temples (Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh) and mosques in India, you’ll have to remove your shoes, sandals or flip flops and leave them outside. When inside a temple, you should stand in front of the idol or main sanctum for a few seconds with your hands folded as this is a sign of respect.

You may see children begging outside temples. We advise against giving gifts, money or sweets to children or even buying anything from them as it encourages begging. It is much better to just interact with them and support a local or international NGO.

We encourage our clients to support the local economy by buying authentic handmade products such as silk, cotton fabrics, wood carvings, pottery and silver jewellery at markets, villages and small-scale souvenir shops rather than hotel tourist shops or on organised shopping trips. When you buy products at markets, villages and small-scale souvenir shops you are helping to support a fragile economy and supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive. Visiting rural villages and markets also offers a great opportunity to gain an insight into the local way of life. When ‘bartering’ over the price please bear in mind that the seller might accept a price below its cost price because they need cash to feed their family, so don’t push too much just to save yourself a few pounds. Stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face.

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