India tour, Taj, tigers and Ganges holiday
Description of India tour, Taj, tigers and Ganges holiday
This itinerary is extremely popular for travellers wanting to capture the highlights of India for the first time - and with good reason. Not only does the itinerary visit all the locations in the Golden Triangle including Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, but also incorporates a unique and unobtrusive chance to see tigers in the wild at Ranthambore National Park and an authentic railway journey to the holy city of Varanasi.
Your holiday begins in the capital, Delhi, where you will experience an informative sightseeing tour of both Old and New Delhi. It later includes two reliable train journeys from Rantahmbore to Bharatpur and from Agra to Varanasi. What an original way to see India!
Varanasi lies on the famous and holy Ganges River. A boat trip along the river is a subtle way to observe locals going about their everyday life on the ghats or steps lining the shores. In Agra, you will be visiting the impressive Agra Fort and will have the chance to see the iconic Taj Mahal at sunrise – the quietest time to see it and a highlight of most people’s trip.
Another stop on this itinerary is the less visited site of Fatehpur Sikri, this was once a great city but is becoming abandoned due to the shortage of water.
Fancy getting close to Tigers in the wild? Then your trip to Ranthambore National Park should give you your best chance.
The adventure wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the famous pink city of Jaipur. The capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur is a busy city with a huge range of impressive buildings including the imposing Fort at Amber, all of which you will have time to explore.
PlanetThe company - The company that organises this holiday is a multi award-winning responsible travel company. They try to ensure that nothing they do at home (in UK) or abroad compromises the environment or wildlife or exploits people. They believe in ensuring that travellers are well-informed, as an informed traveller tend to be a more respectful and sensitive traveller. They also believe in giving back to the country, people wildlife and environments which are affected by tourism.
Informed Travellers - They are about to bring out a Responsible Wildlife Viewing guide. For anything more specific, e.g. rules about visiting gorillas, this information is also given to clients. In addition, they offer more information about the native people and cultures in a destination country, which all adds to a traveller being more aware.
In the UK - The UK head office has a good policy of recycling, reducing and re-using (electricity, paper, plastic etc). They also buy only fair trade goods such as tea, coffee, and use biodegradable detergents etc. They also make a point of buying only top eco-rated equipment (e.g. monitors).
Train travel - You will also be having two nights on an overnight train. Train travel is a great way to keep carbon emissions down whilst travelling, as otherwise the journey from Delhi to Varanasi and back would have to be by plane. Train travel is a great cultural experience too!
Ranthambore - Visiting Ranthambore helps conserve Indian wildlife including tigers by bringing in funds to the park. Of course all travellers are advised (as on all our holidays) how to respect the wildlife and habitats they come across. During the trip we use all Indian guides as another way to encourage the use of local services and keeping money in the country.
For every person that travels with the company, it plants trees through The Travel Forest initiative. Depending on where they plant and the requirement of the specific area, they plant either indigenous trees or a mix of indigenous and non-native species. Planting non-native seedlings may seem counter-intuitive but doing this can often help any remaining indigenous forest from being cut down (e.g. for fuel) as some non-native trees grow much more quickly than indigenous types. They particularly aim to save ancient or older indigenous forest, through offering an alternative option for fuel requirements of local communities. In addition to this benefit, their Travel Forest initiative helps with such things as planting for water-course retention, soil erosion, shade and even food – all depending on what is planted and where. They have planted almost 100,000 trees to date in various degraded locations including the Andean mountains in Peru, northern Tanzania and Malawi. This has always been done in conjunction with the local communities who plant and then tend the seedlings. Trees are far more important to the health of this planet (and us) than many people imagine. This global Travel Forest initiative can and does make a big difference.
As part of our commitment to the environment we have a programme to plant trees in Tanzania, Malawi, Peru etc. through the company’s foundation. This was set up to help alleviate poverty, conserve endangered wildlife, and protect earth’s environmental diversity for the benefit of us all. All the projects have a link with tourism in some way, and many benefit the wider world as well as local people, through conserving areas of natural beauty. We don’t just look overseas when considering the environment, even at the office the team planted tress in the fields surrounding the buildings to celebrate the company’s 21st birthday in 2019.
As a company we think about our partners overseas carefully. The company ethos is to use properties around the globe that have a similar ethical stance to ourselves. If they can use local suppliers for their provisions, be it food or furnishings then they do, and all offer a variety of menus including vegetarian and vegan/plant-based options. Our partners support the use of solar/renewable energies, and many are looking at ways of switching their current supplies to more eco-friendly options in order to be more efficient. The use of solar, water and air are options in use or being explored, as well as grey water run offs. Energy efficient appliances and practices, card operated in room lighting, low energy bulbs, and a change in laundry practices, are all in operation, and show just a few of the initiatives used. Our partners also use local staff within their properties. Many live on-site in seasonal properties for example reducing the travel emissions of the company, many come from the local villages and communities surrounding the properties. This includes everyone from house keeping to management and the guides that are from the locale.
Due to the nature of the holidays provided by the company, it is impossible to eliminate all flights but where possible we use the minimum flight hours an itinerary can operate with. The packages we have on offer include rail portions in some areas, which keep emissions low, many walking options and shared transportation.
Informed Travellers - In terms of information, all travellers are given guidelines on Travelling with Respect, which includes advice on cultural aspects of your travels as well as protecting the environment. For any community-owned or run project, they also have an Community Tourism Information sheet for travellers to help explain how to get the best from the experience, and what to expect (good and bad). For trekkers, the company have a Porter Policy in place, a copy of which is given to clients.
Eco-ratings & community tourism - The company works with partners on the ground in each destination, and only uses local guides. They also primarily promote locally-owned services (hotels etc). They have eco-rated about 300 properties worldwide which they work with closely, so they are very clear which accommodations have good environmental and social responsibility credentials. This information is used to ensure that any traveller wanting to ensure they are really making a difference, can choose between one property and another on eco-issues. They also promote community-owned projects and services where applicable and possible. Indeed they were instrumental in setting up two community-owned ventures in Tanzania and Peru.
Travel Philanthropy - The company backs a charity called The Tribes Foundation with funds and administration. This is a registered UK charity whose principle aim is to relieve the poverty of indigenous communities in areas outside of the UK which are affected by tourism. The charity backs poverty alleviation, education, cultural preservation and conservation projects within these regions. It has backed schools, clinics, micro-business projects and more. They are currently raising funds for 9 different grassroots projects in nine different counties, which travellers are encouraged to donate to if they would like to give something back.
Homestays - You will be staying in a homestay for 3 nights of this holiday. Homestays really benefit the local family hosting you of course, but they also help the immediate local community. They do this as they almost always recruit staff from the locality, but local foods and services. As far as the traveller is concerned, the ability to talk with local people in a friendly, informal way opens up an area and its culture and traditions so that the traveller can absorb and enjoy more of the place they’re visiting.