India tour, rural India

Discover the rich heart of life in rural India on a glorious road less travelled – with history and grandeur woven in too.
Fort Ahilya Mandu palaces and temples Pilgrimage town of Ujjain Chandrabhaga Bundi Pangarh Lake Artisan villages Castle Bijaipur Udaipur
£3495 excluding flights
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14 Days
Small group
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Price includes all activities, tour leaders, local guides and drivers, meals, transport, accommodation & entrance fees as outlined in itinerary. Optional Single Supplement available *Nov tours includes Cattle Fair & Mar includes Holi Festival
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Description of India tour, rural India

Few visitors experience the day-to-day riches of rural India, so step off the usual tourist trails for a vivid experience of how the vast majority of Indians live. On this Indian road less-travelled, tour rural communities in open-topped vintage jeeps and partake in local life, from farming to craftwork.

Take the experience described with the word Godhuli ('the homecoming'), when dusk settles in a thousand villages across the subcontinent and the night creeps in. Buffalo wander back from the fields, blue jays dart overhead, smoke rises from the cooking fires and the aromatic smell of spices flood the air. Women in brightly coloured saris carry water from the well and children play on the path. A magical time...

Ease into your journey with a stay at the magnificent Fort Ahilya in Maheshwar as a guest of the Maharaja, before moving onto the explore the vast ruined city at Mandu - a collection of forts, palaces and temples said to be the largest in Asia. You'll also visit the beautiful Fort Amla, the pilgrimage town of Ujjain and the ancient temples of Chandrabhaga.

Bundi, meanwhile, is a historic town famous for bangle making and brass ware, guarded by the impressive Gagron Fort. From here, you head to Pangarh Lake, taking in rustic villages and the Menal temple complex en route.

You'll also visit the artisanal village of Athana on the way to Castle Bijaipur, a glorious historic base for three nights offering activities such as walking, cycling, horse riding and yoga, plus visits to local villages where you may be lucky enough to see an opium ceremony.

The beautiful lake-side 'White City' of Udaipur provides a glorious finale to your trip as you ease back into the hustle of life exploring its maze of characterful historic lanes in the lee of the imposing Chittorgarh Fort.


Price information

£3495 excluding flights
Convert currency:
Price includes all activities, tour leaders, local guides and drivers, meals, transport, accommodation & entrance fees as outlined in itinerary. Optional Single Supplement available *Nov tours includes Cattle Fair & Mar includes Holi Festival
Make enquiry

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Travel guides

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Rural India
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Holiday information

Small group tour:
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. Those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
The currency converter above works on today’s interbank exchange rate. We do take bookings in a variety of currencies, but the rates are often set months in advance and may therefore differ from those shown above which are for guidance purposes only. Please enquire for details.


1 Reviews of India tour, rural India

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 05 Dec 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The most exciting part of the holiday was travelling on the overnight train and the many opportunities we had to meet local people and glimpse a little of what their lives are like. I must also add the bustle and colour of the camel fair and the friendliness of everyone we met.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

I would say do not go with the idea that it is a luxury holiday. If luxury is what you want then choose something else. Certainly sleeping in palaces was luxury but that was only part of it.

The luxury tents had en suite facilities but we also had to share with the local wild-life. Camping is camping so be prepared!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I am not sure. We did travel on a full-size coach for a lot of the tour.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was one of the best holidays; in the top two.

Read the operator's response here:

We were very sorry to hear about the size of the bus, we usually use both small busses and public transport on this trip, but unfortunately as it was peak season a small bus was not available for us to use.

The tour visits several remote villages and communities and we make sure that money from the tour and tourists goes back into these small communities. However we are aware that we need to work with our local tour leaders to make sure this is communicated to everyone who travels with us.

Responsible Travel

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.

Planet and people

In our opinion, our India trips – where we steer our clients off the main tourist circuits and into the rural regions of the subcontinent, to interact directly with local people – is responsible travel at its most immediate and effective.

We stay with local families, visit local industries (learn to milk a buffalo, make a sari, cook a meal) and call on local organisation to learn more about the problems of the region and how we might help. Not only does this allow local people and visitors to interact and learn about each others culture, it ensures that the revenue generated by tourism goes directly to local communities.

On this trip, which runs through Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, we involve our clients in tree planting schemes as well as help directly with the financing of rural village schools; added to this our clients will have the chance to accompany members of the Bhil caste in learning how to milk the buffalo and turn it into lassi, visit a natural silk weaving centre famed for its manufacturing of exquisite saris and cook and eat a meal with a local family – all of which will be putting money directly into the local community.

In addition, on all our tours we employ local guides and drivers, stay in locally owned hotels and private homes, which again diverts important funds directly into the area. These are regions that have seen precious little from the boom in tourism, it is our aim to change this. We automatically make a contribution to climate care for every client we carry.

When you take one of our trips, we make a contribution to “Carbon Clear” – an organisation who work with hundreds of organisations to measure their carbon footprint and reduce their carbon emissions.

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