Valid for all trips departing January 1st, 2014 - December 31st, 2014 Last Updated:
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Introduction

From the monuments of Delhi to the colourful cities of Rajasthan, experience three weeks of northern India's best. Marvel at Jaisalmer's mud fortress and Bikaner's unique temple before journeying into the desert for an overnight camel safari. Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims and make your way to the Ganges River at Varanasi. Your expert CEO will take care of the hassles so you're free to see the sights or just soak up the vibe—India is home to great food, fascinating culture, alluring sights and friendly and inviting people. Discover the charms and mystery that make up this incredible country.

  • Drink in a kaleidoscope of colour and culture
  • Experience spiritual Varanasi along the Ganges
  • Marvel at the Taj in Agra
  • Wander vibrant cities
  • Revel in the colourful villages of Rajasthan.
Duration: 20 days
Start/Finish City: Delhi to Delhi
Service Level: Basic
  • Excellent value, amazing prices, quality experiences
  • Simple and clean hotels, guesthouses and hostels chosen for location and character
  • Affordable public and private transport for maximum cultural interaction
  • Plenty of optional activities tailored to your interests and budget
Physical Grading: 2
There'll be some light walking and hiking. Suitable for most fitness levels. Nothing too challenging.
Travel Style: Yolo
Fast, fresh and fun adventures that never slow down

Designed for young, budget-minded travellers, Yolo trips maximize time and money by squeezing the most out of a destination. This ain't your typical big-bus tour, though. Small groups, insider access and personal freedom to follow the whim of the moment are the order of the day, every day.

Trip Type: Small Group
Group trips average 12 travellers per departure, depending on the adventure. The maximum is usually no more than 16, but some can be smaller or bigger, depending on the trip. Check individual trips for details.

Itinerary

Route map for India on a Shoestring (AHRH)

Day 1 Delhi

Arrive in Delhi at any time. There are no planned activities, so check into to the hotel (check-in time is 12.00 midday) and enjoy the city. In the evening you will meet Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and your fellow group members to go over the details of your trip. Check the notice board to see what time and where the group meeting will be held.

At the meeting your CEO will ask to sight your travel insurance, After your meeting you may head out for an optional group dinner.

Our hotel is located in the commercial centre of Karol Bagh, about 10 minutes Metro ride from the city centre and 20 minutes from Old Delhi.

Day 2 Delhi

Enjoy a city tour by local streetkids, a Planeterra-supported project. It is estimated that 400,000 children live and work on the streets of Delhi. In most cases, their families are too poor to provide for them, they have run away from abusive home environments or they are orphans. Planeterra’s New Delhi Streetkids Project supports over 5,000 of these street children through strategically placed contact points, shelters and a health post set up by a local partner organization. These youth centers provide clothing, food, healthcare, education, counseling, recreational activities, job skills training and job placements. Through Planeterra’s partnership with Salaam Baalak Trust, scholarships are made available to young people who once lived and worked on the streets of Delhi. By funding vocational training in trade schools and universities, and making job-placements based on each child’s individual interest, we can help break the cycle of poverty and give these youth the opportunity to create a brighter future. Many of these adolescents have been fully-trained as tour guides and lead exciting tours through the enchanting inner city streets of Paharganj, the New Delhi railway station, and The Old City. This tour is a unique way for travelers to engage in these children’s lives and the guiding provides an opportunity for them to improve their communication and speaking skills.

Afterwards, an orientation walk takes you through Chandni Chowk, one of India’s oldest and busiest markets, or explore the history of the Sikh religion at the important Gurduwara, (Sikh place of worship), Gurdwara SisGanj. Stop for photos at the colourful spice market or visit the Victorian Connaught Place, one of the most prominent architectural remnants of British rule.

The afternoon is free to wander on your own, take a cycle rickshaw trip or visit the Gandhi museum, built on the site of his assassination, to learn more about one of India’s most famous sons. Other options include the ruins of Qutb Minar and Purana Qila, a crafts museum and the Indira Gandhi Museum or perhaps you would like to get a bird's eye view of Delhi’s from the Minaret of the famous Jama Masjid. The Masjid-i-Jahan Numa, commonly known as the Jama Masjid (Great Mosque) of Delhi is the principal mosque of Old Delhi in India. Masjid-i-Jahan Numa means "mosque commanding a view of the world, " whereas the name Jama Masjid is a reference to the weekly congregation observed on Friday (the yaum al-jum`a) at the mosque. Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and completed in the year 1656 AD, the Jarna Masjid is the best-known and largest mosque in India; its courtyard can hold up to twenty-five thousand worshippers. The mosque houses several relics in a niche in the north gate, including a priceless copy of the Qur'an written on deer skin.

The Sikh holy site of Gurdwara SisGanj stands at the site where the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur, was beheaded in 1675 on the orders of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb for refusing to accept Islam. Before his body could be quartered and exposed to public view, it was stolen under cover of darkness by one of his disciples, Lakhi Shah Vanjara, who then burnt his house to cremate the Guru's body. The severed head (Sis) of Guru Tegh Bahadur was recovered by Bhai Jaita, another disciple of the Guru, and cremated by the Guru's son, Gobind Rai, later to become Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and last Sikh Guru.

The giant circle of New Delhi’s Connaught Place, sitting at the centre of any map of Delhi, radiates with roads like spokes from a wheel. The circle’s obviously Victorian architecture was modeled after the Royal Crescent in Bath, England.

Late in the evening of Day 2 transfer to the train station for overnight sleeper train to Bikaner.

Approx travel time:
Overnight Train ride 8 hours.

Day 3-4 Bikaner and Camel Safari (B, L,D)

We arrive early in the morning and reach our hotel. We have a couple of rooms to freshen up and change and you can have your breakfast before we leave for our desert adventure. Bikaner is a semi arid part of the Thar desert with sandy dunes and scatterred villages. In recent years due to Canal network the topography of the region has changed quite a bit, but you can still see the harsh realities of the desert here.

We drive down in local jeeps to a village called Raisar from where we take our camels and ride into the desert We ride for a couple of hours through villages and fields to our lunch point at a shady area. After lunch, rest as the sun would be a little strong. Later take your camels again and ride for another 2-3 hours till you reach a point over the dunes. After witnessing a stunning sunset we climb down to where our tents are being pitched. You can pitch in with the cameleers and local villagers in pitching your tents, collecting dry twigs and organising yourselves.

Relish your evening with a simple but delicious meal. Your accomodation would be alpine safari tents with bedding. On the 4th morning you could walk up the dunes again for the sunrise. After breakfast ride camel carts back to the road head.

Bikaner is a 500 years old principality founded by Rao Bika. The place is still a very laid back town and devoid of tourist vibes. The city is known as the city of camels and you can find this mode of transport in abundance, primarily used for carrying goods here. You can visit the e National Research Centre for Camels if you want to learn it more.

Junagarh Fort is the focal point of the city. Built by the 5th ruler Raja Rai Singh in 16th century, the fort served as residential palace for most of the rulers. The walled city with beautiful havelis in red sand stone and some very interesting temples and bye lanes where time still stands still. Your CEO will give you an orientation of the Old City and the markets.

Approx travel time: 30 minutes to start point
Camel safari: 6-7 hours with rests in between.

Day 5-6 Jaisalmer

Arrive into Jaisalmer around midday (although remember, this is Indian Time!), with the last leg of the journey travelling through the stark landscape of the Thar Desert. Transfer to our hotel and then the balance of the day is free to rest after the long journey or explore the city at your leisure.

Jaisalmer, known as The Golden City, stands on a ridge of yellowish sandstone, in the heart of the Thar Desert. Crowned by a fort containing the palace and several ornate Jain temples, Jaisalmer was positioned strategically and was a halting point along a traditional trade route traversed by the camel caravans of Indian and Asian merchants. The route linked India to Central Asia, Egypt, Arabia, Persia, Africa and the West.

The fortified city is best explored on your own. Just wander through the lanes of the walled city and the town inside the fort. Houses, temples, Havelis, each reflect a very characteristic very different from other regions of the state. Do not forget to watch the setting sun's reflection on the fort from any of the vantage points.

Our accommodation here is next to the walled city. Rooms are double or twin-share with air-conditioning and ensuite bathroom.

Approx travel time:
By train 5 hours 30 minutes. It is a local day train which cuts accross the desert landscape so be prepared for lots of dust!

Day 7 Jodhpur

Travel eastwards to the centrally located metropolis of Jodhpur, the second largest city in Rajasthan, and formerly the seat of a princely state of the same name. A large and varied city, Jodhpur is sometimes called “Sun City” for its consistently bright, sunny climate. At Jodhpur, stark desert landscapes meet a riot of palaces, forts and temples, all enclosed within imposing city walls. Six enormous gates provide entry to the city centre: Nagauri, Merati, Sojati, Jalori and Siwanchi gates, plus Chand pol. Overlooking it all stands the imposing shadow of Meherangarh Fort

You can make the short climb to the top of a 125m high hill on the outskirts of the city and you arrive at the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort (Jodhpur ka kila), one of the largest forts in India. Originally started around 1459 by Rao Jodha, founder of Jodhpur, most of the extant fort dates from the period of Jaswant Singh (1638-78). The walls of the fort are enormous—up to 36m high and 21m wide. Admire the breathtaking view of the city from the ramparts, saving some time to check out the fort museum, which houses an exquisite collection of palanquins, howdahs, royal cradles, miniatures, musical instruments, costumes and furniture.

Experience firsthand the famed gentle nature of the Jodhpur people (well, so they say!) in the ancient Sadar Bazaar, one of the oldest markets in India. Handicrafts and tourism are Jodhpur’s two biggest industries, in that order, so it will come as no surprise that the shopping is superb. Glass bangles, cutlery, carpets and marble products are some of the most popular items; Jodhpur is also famous for its antiques. By some estimates, the furniture export segment is a USD200 million industry, directly or indirectly employing as many as 200 000 people.

You also have the option of Joining a local guide for a trip to the outlying Bishnoi tribal villages to experience village life firsthand, and make sure to try a Makhaniya Lassi before you leave Jodhpur—a delicious local treat.

And yes, jodhpurs actually do come from Jodhpur.

Our hotel here is a small guest house run by a local family. All rooms are double or twin share with air-conditioning and ensuite bathroom.

Approx travel time
Jaisalmer to Jodhpur is 6 hours by public bus. The bus will stop for a break enroute. These buses are used by local people and can get croweded at times but we will have our seats pre reserved.

Day 8-9 Udaipur

Continue your journey southeast to Udaipur, famous worldwide for its plethora of breathtaking lakes and Raj-era palaces. Most famous of these, and certainly the most photographed, is the Lake Palace, an island-palace where the white marble buildings (now a hotel) entirely cover a small island in Pichola Lake. Originally known as the Jag Niwas, the palace took three years to build and was inaugurated in 1746.

The city’s lakes—Pichola Lake, Fateh Sagar, Udai Sagar and Swaroop Sagar—are considered among the most beautiful in Rajasthan. An island in Fateh Sagar is even home to the Udaipur Solar Observatory, one of six stations participating in the international Global Oscillations Network Group (GONG), which studies the physical properties of the solar interior.

Relive life as royalty at Sajjangarh Fort, also known as Monsoon Palace, summer resort of the Maharajas. Sitting atop a hill with a panoramic view of the city’s lakes, the palace was equipped with an ingenious rainwater collection system, essential in the dry desert conditions of the region. Indeed, recent drought has sadly put an end to the once popular boat rides on Lake Pichola. Other options include a visit to the Jagdish Temple, the Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandir folk museum, Saheliyon-ki-Bari (the Garden of Maidens) and the City Palace and Museum.

Our hotel is located inside the walled city and barely 15-20 minutes walk from the city centre. The hotel has air-conditioned double or twin rooms with ensuite washrooms.

Approx travel time:

Jodhpur to Udaipur by public bus takes about 7 hours. The bus is a public bus and can get crowded at times.

Day 10-11 Pushkar

This morning travel to Ajmer and change to a local bus for the 14 km drive over Snake Mountain to Pushkar. Site of the world’s only temple to the Hindu god of creation Brahma, Pushkar is often called "Tirth Raj," the Raj (king) of pilgrim centres. No pilgrimage of Hindu places is considered complete until the pilgrim bathes in sacred waters of Pushkar Lake; indeed, the city is so sacred that no meat, alcohol or eggs are allowed within the city. However, most travellers know Pushkar for a different reason: the annual Pushkar Camel Fair.

The Pushkar Fair, or Pushkar ka Mela, is the world's largest camel fair, complete with both livestock and craft markets, camel races, concerts and exhibitions. It is celebrated on the day Kartik Purnima (night of the full moon), the day, according to legend, which the Hindu god Brahma sprung up the lake.

Follow local traditions and try out a camel ride in the desert, or wander the markets of this holy Hindu centre on foot or by bicycle. Climb to hilltop Savitri temple at dawn. Immerse yourself in the holy side of this sacred city and visit the 14th century Brahama temple and holy Lake Pushkar. Or, pick a more secular pleasure and take a cooking class or visit the market. Rajasthan is rightfully famous for its textiles, jewellery and handicrafts, and few places in the country are better for shopping than the bazaars of Pushkar.

Our hotel is walking distance from the Bramha sarover and the temple and is a basic resort with swimming pool. The rooms are air-conditioned with ensuite bathroom.

Approx Travel time:
Udaipur to Ajmer train takes about 7 hours. We change buses at Ajmer. From Ajmer to Pushkar is a half an hour local bus drive.

Day 12-13 Jaipur

Travel to the capital of Rajasthan and, like Jodhpur, also the former capital of a princely state of the same name. Clothed in pink stucco (in imitation of sandstone), wide-avenued Jaipur is one of the most important heritage cities in India, and home to India’s second most visited site, the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds. Here follow in the footsteps of the royal harem, or ride an elephant to the sandstone and marble Jaigarh fort, one of the most spectacular forts in India.

Founded in 1728, Jaipur, or “The Pink City” as it is often called, is unlike any other pre-modern Indian city, in that the entire town was planned according to the principles of Hindu architectural theory. The city is in fact built in the form of a nine-part mandala known as the Pithapada, which combined with wide streets makes for an unusually airy, orderly atmosphere. That the results of this urban planning have so endured to this day (present day population approximately 3 million) is nothing short of miraculous.

Enter the heart of the mandala (on foot or by cycle rickshaw) and you are in the central palace quarter, with its sprawling Hawa Mahal palace complex, formal gardens and a small lake. Built in 1799, the "Palace of Winds" was part of the City Palace, an extension of the Zenana or chambers of the harem. Its original intention was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen. Constructed of red and pink sandstone highlighted with white lime, the five-storied facade is peppered with 953 small windows. The breeze (hawa) that comes through the windows keeps it cool even in hot months, and gives the palace its name.

Just 15 km from central Jaipur is the ruined city of Amber, former capital of Jaipur state. Enjoy an included guided tour of the Amber Fort. Founded by the Meenas, Amber was a flourishing settlement as far back as 967 AD. Overlooking the artificial lake south of Amber town stands the Amber Fort/Palace complex, famous for its mixture of Hindu and Muslim architecture. At the bottom of a hill sits Amber Fort, initially a Palace Complex within the Fort of Amber on top of the hill (today known as Jaigarh fort). The two forts are connected through well-guarded passages. There are elephants ferrying tourists up and down but we do nor recommend this mode of transport as they are treated very shoddily and work in extreme conditions.

Our hotel in Jaipur is a quaint guest house run by a local family who love hosting and spending time with their guests. It is about 5 minutes tuk tuk ride and about 15 minutes cycle rickshaw ride from city centre.

Approx travel time:
Pushkar to Ajmer is half an hour ride. Ajmer to Jaipur is about 130 kms/ and 3 hours in a public bus.

Day 14-15 Agra

Continue this morning to the Muslim city of Agra. Agra is best known as the site of India’s most famous landmark, the Taj Mahal. Enjoy a guided visit to this icon of Mughal architecture either in the early morning or late afternoon for the best light, and be sure to bring lots of film! Ride one of the ubiquitous cycle rickshaws to visit the Agra Fort, the Taj’s less famous—but no less impressive—sister monument.

Constructed between 1631 and 1654 by a workforce of 22 000, the Taj Mahal was built by the Muslim Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his favourite wife, Arjumand Bano Begum, better known as Mumt?z Mahal. Mumt?z had already borne the emperor fourteen children when she died in childbirth, and it is the romantic origin of the Taj as much as its architectural splendour that has led to its fame worldwide. Actually an integrated complex of many structures, the Taj Mahal is considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, itself a combination of Islamic, Hindu, Persian and Turkish elements.

The walled palatial city of Agra Fort, was first taken over by the Moghuls, at that time led by Akbar the Great, in the late 16th century. Akbar liked to build from red sandstone, often inlaid with white marble and intricate decorations, and it was during his reign that the fort began changing into more of a royal estate.

However, it was only during the reign of Akbar's grandson, Shah Jahan (who would eventually build the Taj Mahal) that the site finally took on its current state. Unlike his grandfather, Shah Jahan preferred buildings made from white marble, often inlaid with gold or semi-precious gems, and he destroyed some earlier buildings inside the fort in order to build others in his own style. At the end of his life Shah Jahan was imprisoned in the fort by his son, Aurangzeb. It is said that Shah Jahan died in Muasamman Burj, a tower with a marble balcony with an excellent view of the Taj Mahal.

The fort was also a site of one of the most important battles of the Indian rebellion of 1857, which caused the end of the British East India Company's rule in India, leading to a century of direct rule of India by Britain.

Our hotel in Agra is a simple hotel with proximity to Taj and Fort. All rooms are double or twin share with ensuite bathroom.

Late in the evening we transfer to Agra Station or Tundla Station (about 25 kms from Agra) for overnight train to Varanasi.

Approx travel time:

Jaipur to Agra, the journey is about 5 hours. and Agra to varanasi - 13 hours overnight train ride.

Day 16-18 Varanasi

Varanasi, the quintessential Indian holy city where millions of Hindu travel to for pilgrimage, to worship, to mourn or to die. Walk the narrow twisting alleys, poke around some of the literally thousands of temples and shrines, and experience the energy of the dawn rituals of bathing and burial as you float past the famous ghats of the Ganges.

Sitting on the banks of the Ganges River, Varanasi is the oldest continually inhabited city in the world, dating back thousands of years. The culture of Varanasi is deeply associated with the river Ganges and its religious importance; the city has been a cultural and religious centre in northern India for thousands of years.

Our days here allow you the freedom to shop, wander and absorb the atmosphere of this unique city, while optional activities include the monasteries and ruins of nearby Sarnath, site of the Buddha's first sermon. Or spend an evening, floating along the ghats, soaking up the magical atmosphere of a candle flower ceremony as you watch the sun set to a delicate melody of traditional live sitar and tabla playing.

We take boats out onto the sacred Ganges River, both for sunrise and sunset. For the evening boat journey we enjoy a candle flower ceremony.

In the afternoon on Day 18 we travel to the railway station for our final journey - our return to Delhi by overnight train. Indian Railways, the world’s largest employer with 1.6 million employees, can certainly be counted as one of the marvels of modern India, and there is no better way to finish this trip than. Our last chance to experience this most Indian of transport, a microcosm of India itself.

Our hotel in Varanasi is located in the city centre. Rooms are airconditioned on double or twin share basis with ensuite washrooms.

Approx travel time:
Varanasi - Delhi overnight train is about 12 hours. It is not uncommon for trains in India to get delayed, especially in winters.

Day 19 Delhi

Day 18/19 - Overnight train, Estimate Travel Time: 13 Hours

Arrive back in the capital of India. The day is yours to explore the temples, markets and museums in this fast-paced amazing city.

Day 20 Depart Delhi

Depart at any time

What's Included

Planeterra-supported Delhi Streetkids walk. Entrance and guided tour of the Taj Mahal. Orientation walks in Old Delhi, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Pushkar and Jaipur. Entrance and guided tour of the Amber Fort (Jaipur). Overnight camel safari. Sunrise at Savitri temple (Pushkar). Ganges River boat trip at sunrise and sunset (including candle flower ceremony).

Highlights

Drink in a kaleidoscope of colour and culture, experience spiritual Varanasi along the Ganges, marvel at the Taj in Agra, wander vibrant cities, revel in the colourful villages of Rajasthan.

Dossier Disclaimer

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.

Itinerary Disclaimer

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Important Notes

1. India is a country which is very different to anything you will have experienced before. Although this means it is not the easiest place to travel, this is also what makes it so special. Pollution, poverty and the crowds can result in initial culture shock but should be seen as an exciting new challenge. During our time here we have come to love this large and wonderfully different country but we know that we should always expect to encounter some difficulties along the way.

2. In India there are very different attitudes to time keeping, public cleanliness, privacy and service. Trains will sometimes be late, plumbing can sometimes be temperamental and power will often just vanish. Optimistic menus turn out to have only one dish available and everyone, just everyone, will want to know your name. If you are able to travel with a lot of patience and a healthy sense of humour, then we know that you - like all of us - will be captivated by what India has to offer.

3. Depending on the lunar cycle, Ramadan will fall between June 28 and July 27, 2014. Please note that Ramadan is a month of fasting observed by Muslims throughout the world, during which time the followers of Islam should not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. Only about 20% of Indians are Muslim, but it is important to note that there may be some limitations to services and disruptions to schedules during Ramadan. Generally our tours still operate effectively during this period and food is available to non-muslims throughout the day. It is important to display increased cultural sensitivity during Ramadan in predominately Muslim areas of India. Please wear loose fitting clothes, that cover knees and shoulders, and try to avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public out of respect for those who can't at that time.

Group Leader Description

All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it's the best of both worlds.

Group Size Notes

Max 16, avg 10.

Meals Included

1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner.

Meals

Eating is a big part of travelling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. Vegetarians will be able to find a huge range of different foods - India is vegetarian heaven. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Meal Budget

Allow USD350-400 for meals not included.

Transport

Train, metro, local bus, charter bus, rickshaw, small riverboat, camel

About our Transportation

TRAIN
Traveling in India by train is an experience. Distances in India are long and Indian trains aren't the worlds best, but traveling in these adds a fascinating new dimension to a visitor's experience in the country. There is virtually no better way to get to make friends with the people and see the spectacular views of the diverse Indian countryside. The chaos on the Indian Railway stations is a replica of the life in India.

G Adventures uses a combination of AC 2 tier, AC 3 tier and sleeper class (for overnight journeys) and AC Chair car or second class seats for day journeys.

There are no restaurant or buffet cars on Indian Railways, but on long distance trains an attendant will appear in your coach and ask you if you would like to order food. Regular stops are made at stations where food is also available and on some trains many vendors board the train selling chai, cold drinks and crisps and biscuits.

Don't expect pristine western standards anywhere in India, but you'll find AC2, AC3 and AC Chair class fairly clean by Indian standards, with both western-style and squat toilets usually in a reasonably sanitary condition. Sleeper Class and 2nd class toilets may be a different matter! Bring your own toilet paper and hand wash soap or liquid.

Indian trains are quite safe to travel on, even for families or women traveling alone, and you are unlikely to have any problems. Having said that, theft of luggage, although rare is not unheard of, so just for peace of mind you might like to take along a chain and padlock to secure your bags (readily available at all Indian stations).

Generally, Indian Railways are very efficient, but Indian trains do run late, and sometimes it's hours rather than minutes. Make sure you have something to occupy your time – a good book, magazine or photos of your home country and family to show the Indian travelers also waiting for the train.

ROAD
Traveling by road is certainly not what people are use to in Western countries. Rules are not always followed, drivers appear to speed, do not stay in their lanes, overtake in seemingly dangerous situations, rarely use their mirrors or driving lights at night time. The horn however is used very frequently and can range from the latest Bollywood tune to Britney Spears! Although the government is investing large sums of money improving the road infrastructure, there is a lot more to be done. As a result some of the roads are poorly maintained, pot holed and uneven. This gets even more pronounced particularly during and after the monsoon. Travel time is very long in comparison to Western countries and short distances can take a lot longer than at home.

Local Flights

All local flights are included in the cost of your tour unless otherwise noted. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure.

Please Note: Only 1 piece of luggage that weighs up to 15kgs will be permitted on our internal flights in India. For any extra weight the airline may charge an additional fee at the time of check-in.

Solo Travellers

We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.

Accommodation

Simple hotels (15 nts), sleeper train (3 nts), camping (1 nt)

My Own Room

Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops, with the following exceptions: Nights 2, 15 & 18, Sleeper train

About Accommodation

A variety of styles of hotels/guest houses are used in India. These can vary in terms of service, efficiency and cleanliness. In many instances they might not be like what you are used to back home. Power cuts can and are a regular occurrence in many places, especially throughout North and Central India. Although a number of hotels have generators there may be times when these won’t work. It is also recommended when you are in your room to lock the door, as staff will sometime enter without reason.

Joining Hotel

Hotel Perfect
16A/2 WEA, Karol Bagh
Near Karol Bagh Metro Station
Delhi
India
TEL: 011 42502294/95

Joining Instructions

When arriving at the airport in New Delhi taking a cab is the most convenient way to get to your hotel. Because taxi drivers are famous for tampering with their meters and overcharging, use the prepaid taxi service offered at the airport - you can make the arrangements at designated counters outside the baggage-claim area of the domestic terminals and international terminal. Unfortunately scammers have set up similar services, so make sure the counter is operated by the Delhi Traffic Police. Your destination, the time of your arrival and the amount of luggage determine the rate, which you pay in advance at the counter, but should be between INR200-300. Take the receipt and locate your assigned taxi. Taxis are black with yellow tops and have yellow number plates. Once you get into the taxi, don't give the driver the payment slip until you reach your destination. If the driver demands more rupees, politely refuse, although if they have driven safely you may like to tip INR10-20.

Be aware too, that touts at the airports, even at hotel-reservation counters, may try to trick you into booking a hotel room by claiming that your prior reservation is invalid. Ignore them.

If this is your first trip to India an arrival transfer is recommended. If you have paid for an arrival transfer when you booked your trip our driver/local operator will be waiting for you with a G Adventures sign with your name on it. Please check carefully once you exit the baggage hall as there seem to be hundreds of people waiting outside in the arrival area. Please call our Transfer representative in Delhi Mr. Maninder on +919958690755 or Mr. Manish +919958690753. The office number is (+91-11) 45464546 Ext 230 during office hours.

Arrival Complications

We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.

Emergency Contact

Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

AIRPORT TRANSFER 
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:

Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel. 

If your call is specifically concerning Airport Transfer complications please call our local G Adventures Transfer providers directly at:
New Delhi Airport:

Dipesh
From outside India: +91 9958 690755
From within Delhi: 9958 690755
From outside Delhi: 09958 690755

Manish Singh
From outside India: +91 9958 690753
From within Delhi: 9958 690753
From outside Delhi: 09958 690753

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Office (Delhi)
G Adventures South Asia Manager, Rishab (Delhi, India)
Emergency number:
From outside of India: +91 99 7179 5447
From within Delhi: 99 7179 5447
From within India, but outside Delhi: 099 7179 5447

G Adventures Office Bangkok, Thailand
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time): +66-02-3815574

If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 01805 70 90 30 00
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

What to Take

What you need to bring depends on the trip you have chosen and the countries or regions you are planning to visit. We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as your are expected to carry your own luggage. As a rule we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 mintues with your bags which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 10-15kg/22-30lb. Suitcases are not recommended for G Adventures trips! Most travellers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size (no XXL ones please!) as they need to fit under the beds when travelling on sleeper trains. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like ipods and mobile phones. If your trip involves overnights in homestays, villages or camping then you usually have the opportunity to rent sleeping bags if need be instead of bringing them with you.

Checklist

Passport (with photocopies)
Travel insurance (with photocopies)
Airline tickets (with photocopies)
USD cash
Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
Day pack for daily personal items
Lock for all bags
Wet wipes / Moist towelettes
Alarm clock
Flashlight
Sun hat, Sun block, Sunglasses
Insect Repellent
Water bottle and Plastic mug for train journeys
Sleep Sheet
Ear plugs for train journeys or light sleepers
Small towel and swim wear
Toiletries (biodegradable)
Sturdy walking shoes/Sport sandals
Money belt
Shorts
Long trousers
Hiking pants/track pants
Shirts/T-shirts
Warm clothes for November-February: fleece, jacket, hat and gloves, warm layers
Umbrella or waterproof jacket.
Cover for backpack or plastic bags to keep clothes dry.
Camera and film
Reading/writing material
Binoculars
Pocketknife
First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Visas

Please note that visas for India are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. For the most up to date information please check your governments foreign ministry website or with you travel agent as rules do change. It is important that you check for yourself. For most travellers there will probably have an embassy and consulate in the country that you live in.

Standard Indian tourist visas are good for 6 months with multiple entry and exits. VISA IS NOT AVAILABLE AT PORT OF ENTRY AND must be obtained in advance.

For nationals of Afghanistan, China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan and Bangladesh if you are planning on entering India multiple times in a two month period will need to get special authorization.

a) If you are already in India you must register with FRRO (Foreign Regional Registration office).

b) If you are still outside of India you must advise consulate or embassy at time of visa application of your plans. You will need to provide supporting documents which includes airline tickets.

Detailed Trip Notes

In India English is widely spoken and transportation and infrastructure is good, but please remember that this is India- expect the unexpected! If you are able to bring with you a lot of patience, a great sense of humour and a willingness to try and interact with the local people, your travel experience wil be greatly enhanced.

Spending Money

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

As currency exchange rates in Asia fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com. As of Feb 2012 the exchange rate for INDIA was 1 USD = 49 INR (Indian Rupees). There are many ATM machines that accept both Visa and Mastercard but these are limited to major cities. We also recommend the use of cash and travellers cheques in USD currency. Major credit cards are accepted in most shops but they may charge a 2-4% transaction fee.

Emergency Fund

Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!

Departure Tax

All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.

Tipping

It is customary in Asia to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is expected - though not compulsory - and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from USD1-2 per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline USD20-30 per person, per week can be used.

Optional Activities

We suggest you bring along USD100 for additional sightseeing including

Delhi - Red Fort - INR100
Delhi - Qutab Minar - INR250
Delhi - Humayuns Tomb - INR250
Agra - Taj Mahal - INR750
Agra - Fort- INR250
Agra - Akbar's Mausoleum - INR100
Agra - I’timad-ud-Daulah (Baby Taj) – INR100
Agra - Nature Park – INR50
Fatehpur Sikri - Monument – INR260
Jaipur - City Palace - INR300
Jaipur - Raj Mandir Cinema - INR95
Jaipur - Amber Palace Fort - INR200
Jaipur – Elephant Ride (Amber Palace Fort) – INR960 per elephant (max 2 persons)
Jaipur - Jantar Mantar - INR100
Jaisalmer - Folk Lore Museum - INR10
Jaisalmer - Camel Ride - INR200
Jodhpur - Meherangarh Fort - INR250
Jodhpur - Palm Reading - INR150
Jodhpur - Umaid Bahwan Museum – INR100
Udaipur - Lake Pichola Boat ride - INR150
Udaipur - City Palace - INR75
Udaipur - Kumhbalgarh Fort – INR100
Udaipur - Bagore-Ki Haveli, West Centre Cultural Show – INR100
Udaipur - Cooking Class - INR500
Udaipur - Ayurvedic Massage – INR1000
Udaipur - Vintage Car Museum + Lunch - INR250
Varanasi - Sarnarth Deer Park - INR100
Varanasi - Dawn or Sunset Boat Ride - INR50
Varanasi - Ram Nagar Fort - INR150


All prices are per person (unless stated otherwise), and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators.

Health

Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that sometimes we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. In Asia pharmacies tend to stock the same western drugs as you get at home but they are usually produced locally so please bring the full drug name with you when trying to purchase a prescription drug. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.

Safety and Security

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:


www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/

Trip Specific Safety

We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

Medical Form

Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility' is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at:

www.gadventures.com/medical-form
.

A Couple of Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.

Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation

Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through support of international charities, local organizations and community projects in the places that we visit on our tours. G Adventures matches all individual donations and pays all administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation is doubled and goes directly to support our projects. For more information about Planeterra and the projects we support, or to make a donation, please visit www.planeterra.org

Planeterra Dollar-A-Day Program
Our Dollar-A-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to help us give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar per day for the duration of their tour. 100% of these proceeds will go directly to support our Planeterra projects.

To participate in this program please indicate at the time of booking that you would like to participate in G Adventures’ Dollar-A-Day program, either by clicking the check box online, or by advising your G Adventures specialist or travel agent. (Note: Donation will be charged in the currency of your booking)

Local Dress

In Asia the dress standard is more conservative than it is back home. When packing try to pick loose, lightweight, long clothing that will keep you cool in the usually hot and humid climate of Asian summers. In predominately Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim countries we ask that you dress respectfully and avoid very short shorts/skirts and singlets/tanktops when visiting small rural communities or visiting temples or mosques or other holy sites as this may restrict your entry. In Pakistan we recommend a head scarf for women while walking around. In northern India between middle of December to end of February, night time temperatures can be low, so bring a set of warmer clothes. Thermal underclothes, being small and light, can be very useful.

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that you'll receive a special discount code for free online prints and we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at customerservice@gadventures.com and we will send it on to you.

Newsletter

Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/

Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra's monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.

Travel Forum - The Watering Hole

Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you're interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.