Valid for all trips departing January 1st, 2014 - December 14th, 2015 Last Updated:
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Introduction

Religion and spiritual thought have ranked among India’s greatest exports since the dawn of recorded history: Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism all originated here, and the country boasts significant populations of Muslims and Christians, too. On this trip, you’ll explore the roots of some of the world’s major religions, visiting temples, shrines and tombs—including the legendary Taj Mahal—sacred to millions while absorbing the rich culture and vibrant daily life of this exciting country. Load up on memory cards; you’re going to need them.

  • Experience a spiritual journey to the soul of India's religious culture
  • Visit the Golden Temple and Taj Mahal
  • Explore the nuances of yoga and Hindu beliefs at Rishikesh
  • Witness the famous India/Pakistan border ceremony
Duration: 14 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: 3
Trips may include activities like hiking, biking, rafting or kayaking. No sweat, right?
Travel Style: Classic
The trips we've built our reputation on.

Designed for maximum variety, these trips are geared towards travellers searching for a healthy mix of active exploration, uncommon landscapes, amazing wildlife and local cultures.

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 Spiritual India (AHSH)

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 early evening (approx 17.00pm) you will meet your fellow group members and go over the details of your trip. Check the notice board to see exactly where and what time this meeting will be held.

New Delhi, the capital of India is one of the most historic capitals in the world and three of its monuments - the Qutab Minar, Red Fort and Humayun's Tomb - have been declared World Heritage Sites. Delhi offers a multitude of interesting places and attractions to the visitor, so much so that it becomes difficult to decide from where to begin exploring the city.

In Old Delhi, there are attractions like mosques, forts, markets and other monuments depicting India's Muslim history. New Delhi, on the other hand, is a modern city designed by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker. Tree covered wide streets with many roundabouts are notable in New Delhi. Home to many government buildings and embassies, as well as Rashtrapati Bhawan, the one-time imperial residence of the British viceroys; India Gate, a memorial raised in honour of the Indian soldiers martyred during the Afghan war; the Laxminarayan Temple, built by the Birlas, one of India's leading industrial families. Further out in the southern suburbs you will discover more history including Humayun's Tomb, said to be the forerunner of the Taj Mahal at Agra; the Purana Quila, built by Humayun, with later-day modifications by Sher Shah Suri; Qutab Minar, built by Qutb-ud-din Aybak of the Slave Dynasty; and the incredible lotus-shaped Bahai Temple.

There are a number of outstanding museums worth visiting including the Craft Museum, National Gallery, Birla House (Ghandi Smirti) and Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum. (Note many museums are closed on Monday).

There are so many options for dining, from age-old eateries in the by lanes of the Old Walled City to glitzy, specialty restaurants in five-star hotels, Delhi is a movable feast. There are so many restaurants and bars, catering to all the varied tastes and budgets.

The best of Mughlai cuisine can be enjoyed at Karims, (both in Jama Masjid and Nizamuddin) where recipes, dating from the times o the Mughals have been the closely guarded secret of generations of chefs. The finest Frontier cuisine is available at the Bukhara, recently voted as the best Indian restaurant in the world!! And at the other end of the scale there are the many popular roadside eateries where kababs, rotis and biryani are the order of the day.

A delightful outlet offering a range of Indian cuisines are the food stalls at Dilli Haat. Here, the cuisine of different states is made available. Set in the midst of a spacious crafts bazaar these cafes are a very pleasant place to enjoy food.

Day 2 Delhi/Amritsar

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.

This afternoon catch the Shatabdi Express to Amritsar.

Estimated travel time: 6 hours

Day 3 Amritsar

Amritsar, meaning "Pool of the Nectar of Immortality" is the spiritual and cultural centre of the Sikh Religion. Learn more about Sikhs on our visit to Harimandir Sahib, also known as the Golden Temple, the most sacred shrine in Sikhism. The temple sits in the center of a sacred lake, accessed by a marble causeway. The nightly ritual of moving the Guru Granth Sahib (holy book) from the temple to the neighboring Akal Takht building in a gold palki is worth viewing. Religious leaders blowing long horns or beating drums precede the palki. As the procession moves, people chanting wait for their chance to shoulder the sacred palki.

The Golden Temple kitchen serves free food daily to more than 40,000 visitors. After watching the preparation in the huge kitchens we will join in this event known as 'langar'. The food is simple and tasty and includes delicious dals laden with ghee, scrumptious roti and yummy vegetables. (Note the meal is had sitting on the floor, using your hands and a small donation should be given to the temple on completion of the meal).

Five minutes walk from the Golden temple is Jallianwalla Bagh also known as the site of the Amritsar Massacre of 1919, one of the defining events of India’s struggle for freedom from British rule. Powerfully depicted in the movie Gandhi, it was here on April 13, 1919, that British Indian Army soldiers under the command of Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer opened fire on an unarmed gathering of men, women and children. Official sources place the casualties at 379, but private sources put the number at over 1000 with more than 1200 wounded, and Civil Surgeon Dr Smith indicated that they were over 1800.

Amritsar sits right on the Pakistan-India border, we offer an optional trip to the border post to watch the formal flag ceremony, which is sure to be one of the highlights of the trip. Every evening hundreds of people gather to watch the famous goose-stepping parade and the ceremonial lowering of their national flags by the Indian and Pakistani army at sunset. The border also appeared recently in a Bollywood film 'Veer-Zaara' starring Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta.

Traditional handcrafted leather flat shoes, Amritsari Jootis, for men and women are available near the Golden Temple.

Day 4-6 Dharamsala/McLeod Ganj

We travel along more Himalayan mountain roads on to the famous seat of the Tibetan government in exile, Dharamsala (litterally "Rest House"). (Drive is approx. 6 hours). Sometimes known as "Little Lhasa", after the Tibetan capital city, Dharamsala has been connected with Buddhism for centuries, with many monasteries having been established here in the past. In the 8th century, however, these monasteries declined, with Hinduism experiencing a revival. The local Gaddi people are now almost all Hindu, and for the most part worship the goddess Durga.

When the Dalai Lama left Tibet, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru offered to permit him and his followers to establish a "government-in-exile" in Dharamsala. Since that time, many Tibetan exiles have settled in the town, numbering several thousand. Most of these exiles live in Upper Dharamsala, or McLeod Ganj, where they established temples and schools.

McLeod Ganj, or Upper Dharamsala (as it sits 450m higher in altitude), is the residence of Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama. Dharamsala pulsates with the sights and sounds of old Tibet, and although certainly more modern, life here is basically Tibetan in character. Shops strung out along the narrow streets of McLeod Ganj sell traditional Tibetan arts and handicrafts and the aroma of Tibetan dishes lingers in the air. As the name suggests, there is also a strong British influence here, and Mcleod Ganj retains a stronger colonial air than Lower Dharamsala. There is even a small Anglican church, St. John of the Wilderness, featuring exceptional stained-glass windows.

Kangra Art Museum in Kotwali bazaar has artifacts dating back to 5th century which display the rich past of the Kangra Valley. It includes a gallery of Kangra's famous miniature paintings, sculptures, pottery and anthropological items.

TIPA, the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, is home to the colorful and unique folk opera of Tibet: 'Lhamo' and is well worth visiting during our stay here.

Following the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950, Tibetan culture was endangered by the systematic destruction of all features of Tibetan identity. Monasteries were destroyed and looted of their treasures. Millions of books were burnt and precious statues melted down. Scholars were branded reactionaries and imprisoned, craftsmen's guilds were disbanded and the artists were forced to abandon their trade. Although in 1980 the trend was reversed and religion once again became more openly tolerated by the Chinese authorities, the damage was done. Former institutions of learning were not re-opened and a mere relaxation of disapproval cannot bring Tibetan culture back from the brink of extinction.

Because of this, in 1988 the Tibetan community founded the Norbulingka Institute in an effort to promote and preserve Tibetan culture in exile. The Institute, situated near Dharamsala, promotes the traditional arts and literary studies of Tibet to ensure they are not lost forever, and a visit offers the best introduction to Tibetan culture and art available anywhere in the world.

On Day 5 we have the option to visit Norbulingka. Set amidst beautiful gardens, surrounded by the green fields of the Kangra Valley, the Norbulingka Institute stands against a backdrop of the towering Dhauladhar mountains of the outer Himalayan range.

On Day 6 travel by overnight train to Rishikesh, estimated travel time is 10 hours.

DALAI LAMA TEACHINGS
The Dalai Lama sometimes gives teachings in Dharamsala (and other cities throughout India). To see the current schedule check the following web sites: www.dalailama.com

Days 7-8 Rishikesh/Haridwar

Rishikesh is a holy city for Hindus located in the foothills of the Himalaya in northern India. Legend states that Lord Rama did penance here for killing the demon king of Lanka. It is also known as the gateway to the Himalayas and is located around 25 kilometers away from another holy city, Haridwar. Rishikesh is the starting point for traveling to the sites that form the Char Dham pilgrimage — Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri.

The sacred river Ganga flows through Rishikesh. In fact, it is here that the river leaves the Shivalik mountains Himalayas, and flows out into the plains of northern India. Several temples, ancient as well as new, can be found along the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh. The city attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists each year, from within India, as well as from other countries. Rishikesh, sometimes nicknamed "the world-capital of Yoga", has numerous yoga centres that also attract tourists. It is believed that meditation in Rishikesh brings one closer to attainment of moksha, as does a dip in the holy river that flows through it. It is also becoming a popular spot for white water rafting enthusiasts, both from India and abroad, as it offers medium to rough rapids in the course of river Ganges.

Day 9 Agra

Estimated train travel time: 8-9 hours.

This morning we take the train to Agra arriving late in the afternoon. Optional visit the Agra fort, via cycle-rickshaws.

The walled city of the 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.

Day 10-11 Jaipur

On Day 10 we see sunrise in the city of Agra a city that is best known as the site of India’s most famous landmark, the Taj Mahal. We visit the great icon of Mughal architecture the Taj Mahal in the early morning for the best light- be sure to have plenty of memory in your camera! This afternoon we visit I’timad-ud-Daulah, also known as the ‘Baby Taj'. It was built before the Taj Mahal by Nur Jahan, Queen of Jehangir, for her parents. The first Mughal building to be faced with white marble and where ‘pietra dura’, (precious stones inlaid into marble) was first used.

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.

On Day 11 we have an early morning Bus journey to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan.

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 Hawa Mahal, "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.

After breakfast on Day 11 we have the option to visit the ruined city of Amber, former capital of Jaipur state. 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.

During our time in Jaipur you may also wish to include a visit to the Jantar Mantar, or Royal Observatory. The term Jantar Mantar actually refers to a collection of architectural astronomical instruments built between 1727 and 1733 by Maharaja Jai Singh II at his then-new capital of Jaipur. It is modelled after the one that he had built for him at the then Mughal capital of Delhi. He had constructed a total of five such observatories at different locations, including the ones at Delhi and Jaipur; the Jaipur observatory is the largest of these.

Another great option is to see a Bollywood film in India it is much, much more than what we are accustomed to in the west. The atmosphere, energy and pure fun (not to mention volume!) has to be experienced to be believed. The Raj Mandir Movie Theatre is widely acclaimed as the largest cinema hall in Rajasthan, and one of the best in the country. The exterior is adorned with asymmetrical curves and shapes with stars, illuminated by hidden lights at night. The reception has a number of glittering chandeliers hanging in domes from the ceiling. The auditorium is spectacularly decorated with indirect lighting of changing colors hidden behind the plaster troughs of walls and ceilings. Even if you do not understand the language of the film screened, you will be entertained anyway by the emotions involved in the movie and of course the crowd..

Day 12-13 Pushkar

We catch a local bus to Pushkar (about 3 hours) . Pushkar is a holy town on the banks of a small lake in central Rajasthan. This is believed to be the only town in the world to house the temple of the creater (Lord Bramha) as per Hindu beliefs. The town has scatterred temples across small hills. The place has today also become a spiritual haven for tourists from world over. Apart from temples, the town has Dunes around to go on an optional camel ride. Our CEO also takes us for a morning hike to Savitri Devi Temple. You also have the option of visiting the Dargah of Sufi saint who is regarded holy by both Muslims and Hindus of the country. On Day 13 we take the afternoon train to Delhi (approximately 7 hours journey).

Day 14 Delhi

Depart at any time.

What's Included

Planeterra-supported Delhi Streetkids walk. Old and New Delhi tour. Golden Temple visit and evening Wagah border ceremony (Amritsar). McLeod Ganj orientation walk. Rishikesh orientation walk. Taj Mahal visit (Agra). Agra orientation walk. Jaipur orientation walk. Pushkar orientation walk. Ajmer Dargah, Bramha Temple and Pushkar Lake visit.

Highlights

Experience a spiritual journey to the soul of India's religious culture, visit the Golden Temple and Taj Mahal, explore the nuances of yoga and Hindu beliefs at Rishikesh, witness the famous India/Pakistan border ceremony

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. PLEASE NOTE: The Feb 19th, May 13th and June 10th departures will run a reverse itinerary

4. 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 Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the CEO 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 15, avg 12

Meals

Eating is a big part of traveling. 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 USD280-350 for meals not included.

Transport

Train, metro, local bus, charter bus, jeep, cycle-rickshaw, auto-rickshaw.

About our Transportation

TRAIN
The best way to see India is at ground level on the railway system. In fact, no visit to India would be complete without the experience of tavelling on a train and negotiating the busy railway stations. The chaos in the Indian Railway stations is a replica of the life in India. Indian trains are not merely a conveyance they are an odyssey so sit back relax, be patient and enjoy the show.

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, music, a magazine or photos of your home country and family to show the Indian travelers also waiting for the train. You should also have snacks and water for the journey.

ROAD
Traveling by road in India or Nepal 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! In India, although the government is investing large sums of money improving the road infrastructure, there is a lot more to be done. As a result, in both India and Nepal, some of the roads are poorly maintained, pot holed and uneven. This gets even more pronounced particularly during and after the monsoon. Travel time covering relatively short distances is very long in comparison to Western countries.

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

Hotels/guesthouses (12 nts), sleeper train (1 nt).

My Own Room Exceptions

Night 6 overnight 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 La Vista
938/3, Naiwalan (Illahi bux road)
Karol Bagh
Delhi
India
011 – 28753184/2875755

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
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 Fb 2012 the exchange rate for INDIA was 1 USD = 49.00 INR (Indian Rupees). There are many ATM machines that accept both Visa and MasterCard but these are limited to major cities. 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 USD50 for additional sightseeing including

Delhi - Red Fort - INR100
Delhi - Qutab Minar - INR250
Delhi - Humayuns Tomb - INR250
Rishikesh - River Rafting - INR500
Agra - Agra Fort - INR250
Jaipur - Jantar Mantar/Royal Observatory - INR100
Jaipur - Raj Mandir Cinema - INR150
Jaipur - Amber Fort - INR200
Jaipur - City Palace - INR300
Dharamsala - Yoga Class - INR150
Dharamsala - Ayurvedic Massage - INR150
Dharamsala - Cooking Class - INR150
Ajmer - Bal Prakash -

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.

Associated Planeterra 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.

The Bal Prakash Children’s Center supports at-risk children of the Thar Desert (Ajmer, India) learn self-sufficiency skills in sustainable agriculture and food security. The center serves over 82 students, between the ages 6-16. The children are provided with an education and the skills necessary to help them develop into self-sufficient adults with a brighter future to care for they communities. The children work together with a full-time horticulturalist to learn to grow their own fruits and vegetables, which fully supplies their meal program. The children also learn to care for animals that live on the grounds.

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 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

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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.