My Husband and I have recently returned from a vacation to Rajasthan India. We met our college aged son, who had spent the last five months studying in Jaipur, Udaipur and the Himalayan foothills. Our goal was to visit some of the areas where our son had traveled, to see some of the famous landmarks, such as the Taj Mahal and the numerous forts, monuments and palaces of the same time period and to soak up as much of the local culture and color as possible given our limited time frame. After contacting a number of Indian Tour groups on line we selected India World Travel and we were very glad that we did.
This is a small agency based in Jaipur, Rajasthan although they do arrange tours throughout the country. The owner and primary contact is Mr. Narenda Singh. He is passionate about introducing travelers to Indian culture and people which was particularly appealing to us. Unlike some of the other tour groups that we considered, he did not recommend any chain hotels. Most of the hotels that we stayed in had more domestic (Indian) tourists than American or European tourists. (As an aside, we saw very few American tourists, mostly English, French and German.) All but one of the hotels were exceedingly attractive, clean, well appointed and accommodating. (The hotel we stayed in in Udaipur was very attractive and had a good location but the water was iffy and the staff was not as gracious as at the other hotels. Hardly a crisis.) We researched all of the hotels in advance on trip advisor and in one instance we asked Mr. Singh to provide another alternative because of poor reviews.
Mr. Singh put together a full tour customized to our goals. He really encouraged us to get out of the cities and to experience small village life. He recommended a number of towns and hotels that were off of the beaten trail. Because of time constraints we were only able to stop at one (Castle Bijaipur) but it was one of the highlights of our trip. Mr. Singh arranged for us to have a single driver for all of our trip; also Mr. Singh, but no relation. As first time visitors I would definitely recommend traveling this way (versus taking trains or buses). I can only describe the traffic in India as insane and do not recommend renting your own vehicle for transportation. Also, navigating India can be overwhelming, so having a driver who knows where to stop for lunch, bank machines, etc. was great. In addition to arranging for accommodations and transportation (including one domestic plane ride) Mr. Singh arranged for tour guides at all cultural and historic sites, charted the entire vacation, recommended historic sights to visit, and recommended restaurants at our request. He was very accommodating and responsive to our stated desires.
If we travel in India again we will definitely contact India World Travel. We will also take Mr. Singh's advice and explore more of the off the beaten track locations. One aside, because India World Travel has a European office in France, a lot of the paperwork referenced Euros although we established our price in US Dollars. This was confusing to us at the last minute although there was no disagreement about the price. I just wished I had read the paperwork more carefully and clarified the final numbers sooner rather than later.
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