Northern India culture and wildlife holiday

“A 16 day guided tour of India's Golden Triangle by train, from Delhi to Jaipur. Featuring the Taj Mahal, temples, national parks, tigers and camel safaris. ”

Highlights

Delhi | Jaipur | Ajmer | Pushkar | Camel safari | Savitri Temple | Ranthambore National Park | Wildlife | Agra | Taj Mahal | Chambal Sanctuary | Boat tour | Bateshwar | Varanasi | Sarnath

Description of Northern India culture and wildlife holiday

The train is the quintessential way to travel in India, and this tour of Northern India combines scenic rail journeys with the Golden Triangle, Bengal Tigers and some of India's most spectacular sites.

Known for its wealth of magnificent cultural and historical attractions, the Golden Triangle is formed by India's three most visited cities: Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. Lead by a local guide, we'll spend time exploring the vibrant city street life, spice-filled bazaars and sights. Rickshaw rides through New Delhi are followed by the dazzling markets of Old Delhi. In contrast to the colourful chaos of the capital, Jaipur is full of wide streets and green gardens. We'll visit the nearby Amber Fort, the pink Palace of the Winds and the City Palace. Arriving in Agra in the evening, we'll watch the sunrise over the Taj Mahal, before visiting the Baby Taj and Agra Fort.

For wildlife lovers, the highlight will be a visit to Ranthambore National Park, where we'll go in search of Bengal tigers, sloth bears and crocodiles. We'll also take a camel ride through the desert, with the option to walk, to watch the sunset at Savitri Temple.

East of the cities, we'll hop aboard a small boat and float down the River Chambal, looking for turtles and cranes, to Bateshwar where 40 Hindu temples line the riverbanks. After a night on the sleeper train to Varanasi, there will be the chance to witness the spiritual evening aarti ceremony in the River Ganges and see the Buddhist temples at Sarnath.

Travel Team

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02 Nov 2019
£2120
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16 Nov 2019
£1899
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11 Jan 2020
£2065
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25 Jan 2020
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19 Dec 2020
£2199
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Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure.

Responsible tourism

Northern India culture and wildlife holiday

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

Most of the journeys on this trip are by train which means we get to mingle with the friendly locals as well as reduce our carbon footprint, avoiding travel by air and long journeys by road.

At Chambal we stay in the Chambal Safari Lodge which employs sustainable and ecological business practices. The lodge is actively involved in reforestation and habitat regeneration, supporting the planting of indigenous trees and shrubs and creating a self-regenerating nature reserve. It also supports the conservation of animals by working with the Forest Department to establish eco-development schemes, and with the WWF to create the Chambal river basin management plan. The lodge also has a policy of employing staff from the local area, providing a source of much needed income and helping to raise awareness of conservation practices and the importance of protecting the environment.

We also stay in a heritage hotel on the trip which was built in 1896 and maintains much of the original furniture. Our use of the hotel helps to provide a motive to keep it maintained for future generations.

Our wildlife viewing at both Chambal and Ranthambore is conducted in a way to minimise any negative effects on the environment. Both are conservation areas where the wildlife is protected and access controlled. We use small vehicles in both to minimise any disturbance to the wildlife

As a travel company we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key, and so all staff, Tour Leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage.

Community

Our Indian tour leaders are passionate about their country and have a strong desire to help travellers experience all it has to offer, encouraging our groups to eat in small local restaurants, try the local food, and support local shops and businesses. We run an annual dedicated training course for all our leaders, with a strong focus on responsible tourism practices, ensuring that our trips run in accordance with our code of practice. For example, at the start of each trip they provide guidance concerning local customs and culture so as to ensure that local sensibilities are understood and respected.

At several locations, including Agra and Jaipur, we visit local artisans who are keeping alive traditional crafts and ways of working. Our visits gives them support and an incentive to continue these age-old traditions.

All the hotels on the trip are locally owned and run, ensuring that the communities we pass through gets some benefit from our visit.

As a company we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of the UK travel industry body AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators.

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