India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend and the great grand mother of tradition— Mark Twain
Travel is life intensified and no place is this truer than in India, where the senses are aroused by the colors, smells, cultural contrasts, and majestic beauty. India will challenge you with its size, clamor and diversity, but if you enjoy diving in and thrive on sensual overload, then it is one of the world's most rewarding destinations. Vibrant drama and subtle charms unfolds all around you, impacting on every moment. And on a luxury India tour you quickly develop an abiding passion for everything that makes it so unique.
Nothing in this country is ever quite predictable; the only thing to expect is the unexpected, which comes in many forms and will always want to sit next to you. India is seen as a litmus test for many travelers — but with the right guides, you can always accentuate the beautiful idiosyncrasies and step clear of the baffling challenges. After years of experience, India is not a challenge to us. Let us plan your trip in this remarkably diverse country, tailoring an adventure that celebrates why everyone who visits, falls in love.
When to come? The coolest weather is during October to February and it is a pleasure to visit India during these months, with the whole country ripe for exploration. At other times of year we'll suggest regions and destinations that have agreeable weather.
India's capital epitomizes the impression that this county is a feast for the senses. Colors swirl, cultures collide, streets are dotted with elephants and rickshaws and sizzling food. It is always an overload and there's no question that New Delhi can be a challenging place to adjust to. But once you settle in, with the help of unflustered local guides, you can start exploring its outstanding heritage sights.
The Qutab Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, fthe world's tallest building – back in 1193. This imposing 73-meter structure of sandstone and marble introduces the city's old Islamic history. Then there's the Red Fort, an imposing 17th century structure made of red sandstone, where the Prime Minister addresses the nation every 15th of August (Independence Day). A walking tour of the palatial gardens and the many buildings that housed the royal family takes you back to the days of the glorious Mughal empire.
Fatehpur Sikri was the capital of Akbar, the third Mughal ruler and widely considered the greatest military commander and administrator from the dynasty. Legend says that Akbar had no male successor after him. He longed for a son. Salim Chisti, a famed Sufi saint of the time lived at the place where the city was later constructed. Akbar came to him bare feet and asked his blessings for a son. Later on, when his wish was fulfilled, he decided to build a fortified city complex in the saint's honor. Akbar even named his first born son Salim (Emperor Jahangir).
Such a story may sound like folklore but there's a lot of truth behind it. And in a time of vast wealth for the Mughals, this elegant city inspires in both its scope and its detail. For many visitors, it rivals the Taj Mahal in its presentation of old-world glamor and glory. Remarkably, it was only inhabited for 15 years and it really feels like an old ghost town.
The Taj Mahal is widely considered the symbol that identifies India; a labor of love, a mute testimony of an emperor's undying adoration for his beloved queen, an evocation of an old civilization's quest for beauty. The Taj Mahal is the mecca for most who visit this part of the world and it's included in almost all our private India tours. To be able to stand there, at the vaulted entrance, watching the magnificent white mausoleum become a reality, is a justification for traveling 10,000 miles around the world. Remarkably, it's not the only World Heritage Site in Agra.
Stay a couple of days and you can see the Taj Mahal at different times of the day, with the sun bouncing off the marble in contrasting ways. In addition, explore the magnificence of the Red Fort, baffling in both color and scale. We also guide you to much lesser-known sights, like the tombs of Miriam and Sikandra, and the temples of Balkeshwar and Kailash.
Walking around the old city of Jodhpur is quite a delight, with almost all buildings painted blue, donkey carts plying the lanes, food fries on the street corners, where the people watching is fascinating, and you're never far from temples and gardens for a moment of serenity. Jodhpur's fort is probably the most impressive in the whole country, perched on a mountain with glorious views over the Blue City. Seeing the whole fort requires at least half a day and our guides ensure you won't miss the fabulous sandstone carvings and rooms of Zenana Deodi, the inner palace area.
The renowned annual camel festival takes place each November at the time of the Kartik Purnima full moon. In addition to the holi festival, it is one of India's most highly-rated travel experiences, a grand spectacle on an epic scale, attracting thousands of camels, horses, and cattle and is attended by nearly half a million over the two weeks of the festival. Attend int he festival in comfort, lodging in a luxury tents while your guide provide's an insider's experience.
The "City of Lakes" is renowned for its lavish royal residences, spectacular architecture, and as one of the most romantic cities in the world. A highlight of a visit, the City Palace, overlooking scenic Lake Pichola, is a monumental complex of nearly a dozen palaces, courtyards, and gardens, famed for their intricate peacock mosaics. Udaipur is also a shopper's paradise, and we'll guide through the nooks, small alleyways, and bazaars jam-packed with every manner of handicrafts, textiles, and jewelry.
Jan Morris describes Calcutta, as it was known, as an open-air museum of a single brief period – among the countless successive layers of Indian history – the period of the British Raj. In present day Kolkata one will glimpse rustic and often majestic bungalows, clubs, cricket pavilions, commissioner's offices, barrack blocks, steepled churches, pompous hotels, canals and railway stations of imperialism, and not temples, ghats and maharajas' palaces. The erstwhile capital of the British Raj has architectural gems strewn all around. India’s second-biggest city is a non-stop of humanity, rife with the contrasts of wealthy and squalid, refined and desperate, modern while decayed.
The most populous city in India never sleeps, a city of chaos where seemingly everything and everybody is on the move. Congested with traffic jams at all hours of the day, polluted, and frentic, it is claimed Mumbai is India's only true city and different than almost any place on Earth. Mumbai features Asia’s biggest slums, as well as the world’s most expensive home, a human spectacle on a grand scale.
Varanasi is considered to be the oldest city in India, having existed since mythological days. Varanasi is the spiritual nerve center of India, a sacred city is the one that every Hindu wishes to visit at least once in their lifetime. The dramatic setting on the banks of the Ganges River, the holiest of Indian rivers—is an unforgettable sight. It is a hypnotic destination for anyone who seeks deeper cultural immersion, an unending wave of Sadhus and pilgrims surrounding you. The nearly one hundred bathing Ghats on banks of the Ganges including the haunting “burning ghat,” where the dead are burnt in the most revered of Hindu funeral rites.
Along the city's winding streets are some two thousand temples, including Kashi Vishwanath, the “Golden Temple,” dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.
In Kerala discover India's lush mountains, emerald tea plantations, golden beaches, and tranquil backwaters. A tropical paradise where you can paddle backwaters, trek the rocky Western Ghats, hike through the the mists of colonial-era hill stations, and rejuvenate with Ayurvedic treatments.
BEST TIME TO GO
October to March
NEED TO KNOW
Bhutan & Nepal
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All Departure Notes
Family Tours of IndiaFew destinations in the world are as exotic, fascinating, or thrilling for families
India Luxury ToursExplore India's rich history and colorful cultures on a private, custom luxury tour
Highlights of India TourIndia the most extraordinary place that the sun visits on its rounds—Mark Twain
South India TourExplore the picturesque southern landscapes, colonial-era town, and bustling Mumbai
India Luxury TrainEnjoy the classic sights of Rajasthan by one of the world's most luxurious trains
Rambagh Palace JaipurRajasthan's iconic hotel, is an architectural masterpiece and elegance personified
Umaid Bhavan PalaceA palace of architectural splendor, marvelous heritage of Jodhpur, and a true royal experience.
Oberoi UdaivilasA sumptuous 50-acre property cited by Travel + Leisure as the best hotel in the world
"We were pleased that Indochina Travel was small enough to provide the things larger companies cannot, yet with all the benefits of using a larger one. In Saigon, we were honored to visit our guide's family. The BEST parts of our trip were the PEOPLE we met, especially the real, local people, not just the famous ones (though they were fascinating as well). Cuong made this possible throughout our time with him."
—Ric Haas, Menlo Park
"Chris and I had a wonderful journey. Thanks to you, everything was flawless. All of the guides were superb (especially Thiha in Burma). The accommodations were top-rate in most cases, the special activities and personal service much appreciated!"
—Ann & Chris McMurray, Alexandria, VA
"Overall, we had an excellent trip! Don and I both loved Bhutan and Myanmar. Both countries are beautiful, each in their own way. Our main comment would be to say how wonderful our guides were. As we've discussed in the past, it's really the difference between a good trip and great one. It was really nice to have the same guide for the entire itinerary, you really get to establish a rapport and they get to know us. We thought both guides were very professional, knowledgeable and personable, and we learned a lot from both."
—Irene Ing and Don Ershig, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Boating - "Thank you for an amazing adventure, we were delighted at every turn and the activities and people we met were thoroughly fascinating. We really the appreciated the authentic experiences we shared. Our girls are still talking about the trip, please give Linh and Duc our best!"
—The Anderson Family
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Few destinations ignite the imaginations and senses like India, from – the bustling streets of Delhi, the color and smells of the markets and spice bazaars, exotic personal encounters, and striking architecture on a scale rarely experienced. During this family journey through the north and south of India, explore the dynamic sights of Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur, and the more tranquil settings of Kerala and Kovalam, exploring the forests and jungles of Periyar and Ranthambore. Consider the country's festivals, such as the Pushkar Camel Fair or Holi, for an even more spectacular trip.
Explore the timeless beauty and experience the exotic cultures of India in luxury. During your days, India will flood your senses from every direction, but in the evening retreat to opulent palaces fit for Maharajas. Our custom, private luxury journeys in India will expose you customs going back millennia. In Varanasi, experience India's holiest city, on the banks of the Ganges River, at dusk while rhythmic drumming accompanies lantern-bearing priests bidding the gods and goddesses a restful slumber. In Khajuraho, witness the full spectrum of local life — love, anger, divinity, war — depicted in detail on every inch of its 85 Hindu and Jain temples. In Panna, enjoy a private game drive in search of the graceful and elusive Bengal tiger while exploring nine majestic UNESCO World Heritage Sites along the way. With the finest local guides and incomparable service, we will take you on a voyage of discovery through this unforgettable land. Contact us for a tailor-made journey to India of a lifetime.
Northern India is a ‘jewel’ in India’s crown and offers visitors a scenic and cultural wealth they would not find in a single region anywhere else in the world. From lush forests and valleys to majestic mountains, deserts to royal cities, palaces, parks, ancient monuments and temples, northern India is a traveler’s dream destination. The journey begins in the capital city of Delhi and continues to the south-east, the setting for the renowned Taj Mahal. Westwards stretches the vast deserts of Rajasthan and its vibrant princely heritage in Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur. Eastwards lie the temples of Khajuraho and the holy city of Varanasi.
Everything you've heard is true — India is one of the most exotic destinations in the world. From the moment you set foot in India, the traditional ‘Namaste’ gesture - two hands joined together in welcome - will greet you. This greeting encapsulates the warmth, hospitality and culture that make a journey to India so memorable. Home to 27 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, endless variety is the leitmotif of India. The complex cultures of this 5,000-year-old civilisation fire the imagination. With its ancient customs that peacefully co-exist with ultra-modern technology, India is a true melting pot of people, languages, religions and cultures. The fascinating diversity continues through dramatic deserts and palm-fringed beaches, verdant valleys, magnificent mountains, wild jungles, intricately planned Mughal gardens, fairytale palaces and soaring skyscrapers, quaint bazaars and opulent malls.
Mumbai and Chennai form the gateways to exploring the south - a more tropical, slower, relaxed and exotic India. From the garden city of Bangalore and historic Mysore, to the picturesque Kerala, the quaint hill station of Ooty and Kochi, the oldest European settlement in India and the starting point for the tranquil backwaters of Kerala’s canals and rivers, South India is a wonderful melting pot of beautiful architecture, temples, beaches, Ayurvedic therapies, ancient martial arts, dances and a variety of mouth-watering cuisines.
Visit one of the world's most romantic monuments by the colors of sunrise before the crowds, a magical time to visit the iconic temple. The world’s greatest monument dedicated to love is awe inspiring. We will also visit the nearby Agra Fort and a local market. Accommodation is in the luxury Oberoi Amarvilas, in a room with an unobstructed views of the Taj.
Step aboard into a world of red carpets and high teas with maharajas....rediscover a bygone age of elegance, opulence and romance. Designed to recreate the elegance and pageantry of the personal carriages of erstwhile maharajas, the interiors of this luxury train in India is suffused with nostalgia. Elegance of a bygone era and state of the art amenities coalesce seamlessly to offer luxury living in the quaint interiors of the Maharaja Express. Whereas the life off the train is designed to offer cultural interactions, life on board is all about refinement, opulence and elegance. All guest salons are been named after a precious stone or the Navratnas. Each coach incorporates the gemstone after which they are named as its motif.
Travel as once did the Maharajas of India, with your own butlers and all the elegance of a bygone era – getting high on spirits in the exclusive Safari Bar served in imported hand cut crystal glasses, or over range of world cuisine and Indian delicacies served on fine Limoges plates and gold & silver plated cutlery in one of two exclusive restaurants.
Explore the complex and rich cuisines of India’s most interesting culinary regions, including the south near Chennai, central India in Mumbai, and the north in Udaipur and Delhi. Enjoy accommodation in the country’s most luxurious hotels while privatlye touring the cultural highlights in each destination.
Experience the ultimate private tour focused on India’s compelling traditional and contemporary art, timeless royal, colonial and religious architecture, and ancient crafts. Explore markets, galleries, street bazaars, and boutiques, as well as meeting with artists working in a variety of mediums or per your preferences.
India’s unique location blesses it with a topographical diversity that is unparalleled in the world. From an extended peninsula in the south that kisses the Indian ocean, to the majestic Himalayas in the north that creates a natural barricade from central Asia, from the Thar desert in the west to the jungles and hills of the north-east, India’s topography is second in diversity to only its people. But when we speak of India we not only speak of the land but also the unique mix of her people, their culture, food and language. It’s a treat for all your senses.
This seven-day photo tour of Northern India, commencing from New Delhi and culminating in Varanasi, essentially, brings to you the best of architecture, culinary and religious experiences from this part of the world; something which you have likely never experienced before on a single trip. It is also a great opportunity to engage in people to people interactions something that every travel photographer craves for.
When we hear the word ‘India’ it is hard not to imagine a developing world and the worn anecdotes that goes with it and your first impressions will only strengthen that notion. It’s only when you reach the end of this tour that you will begin to realize that there is more than what meets the eye. It’s a nation that’s struggling to shake off an age old identity in order to transform, yet all the while it’s trying to retain the values from its past. More aptly it is a country of diversity in every form and every sense of the word.
While diversity could very well be the theme of this unique photography tour, each participant is encouraged to capture and express the vision of India that they have through their own lens. Our destinations have been chosen to provide the maximum opportunity to capture the most vivid aspects of the country and its people. At the beginning of our trip we will have an informal meeting where we will discuss the tour, the amazing destinations that we will be traveling to, and the goals each of us have. We'll share our expectations and discuss how we can actually attain those.
Varanasi is widely considered to be the oldest city in India, having existed since mythological days with its name referred in by some of the oldest Hindu scriptures. It's dramatic setting on the banks of the river Ganga, the holiest of Indian rivers, is an unforgettable sight. No wonder this sacred city is one that every Hindu wishes to visit at least once in their life time. Our visit to Varanasi will be an eye opener for even the most widely-traveled photographer and for a portrait and street photographer, Varanasi is a dream come true. The Taj Mahal is widely considered the symbol that identifies India. A labor of love, a mute testimony of the undying love of an emperor for his beloved queen.
The Taj Mahal is the mecca of any photographer, to be able to stand there at the vaulted entrance and watching the magnificent white mausoleum become a reality before his own eyes. It’s a place that’s worth traveling 10,000 miles for.
Riotous colors, tranquil spirituality, chaotic crowds, and devastating poverty. A river cruise on India's Ganges will exposes one to the country's greatest extremes in a rich tableau by the sun's early rays. This Only-in-India can be shocking experience but should not be missed for those seeking to have a fuller grasp of Indian culture and unlike all the majestic monuments seen up until now, a cruise on the Ganges features the human aspect of India.
At its heart, India is a land of festivals, big, colorful ones, that are true manifestations of its rich and complex cultures and traditions, where people from differing religions coexist in harmony. While the celebrations happen all over the year, October till January is the time when the country can be seen at its vibrant best, though Holi, in March, is worthwhile.
The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra enjoys an unrivalled position amongst luxury hotels in Agra, being located just 600 yards from the iconic Taj Mahal, with unobstructed views from some rooms.
Rajasthan's iconic hotel, is an architectural masterpiece and elegance personified. Stay like royalty at one of the best heritage hotels in the world.
The residence of Maharaja Gaj Singh II, Umaid Bhawan Palace counts among the most opulent homes ever built, with over three hundred and fifty rooms placed in between acres of splendid gardens. One wing houses the iconic Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace Hotel, allowing guests to get a taste of the royal life.
Fit for a maharaja, the Udaivilas were cited as the best hotel in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine. The Udaivilas are a sprawling palatial resort set in 50 sumptuous acres overlooking a fairy-tale lake. The over-the-top opulent hotel combines modern conveniences within a historic and supremely romantic setting.
Located in the Diplomatic Enclave, teh Leela Palace is Delhi's only modern palace. Everything has been custom-made for the property by leading artisans, from the textiles to the silverware. Behind the visual splendor, there’s a warmth of welcome that puts all guests at ease. A sumptuous five-star hotel, purpose-built only several years ago, features elegant interiors fusing traditional and modern, Indian and European motifs to create a spectacular visual feast, from the curated collection of modern art (tours available) to the magnificent displays of fresh flowers (approximately 14,000 blooms delivered daily). The lighting, which includes modern Venetian chandeliers, is perfectly pitched to capture the mood of each space.
Step aboard into a world of red carpets and high teas with maharajas....rediscover a bygone age of elegance, opulence and romance. Maharajas' Express - an initiative of Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) - is the latest luxury train to be introduced in India. Dubbed India's equivalent to the Orient Express of Europe, this Maharaja train is rated by prestigious travel magazines and luxury guides as one of the greatest rail journeys in the world. Maharaja Express has been designed to redefine executive travel. But there's more to it than sheer class. With its 7 tastefully crafted rail journeys, it presents India in a way never seen before. Long before the arrival of colonial power, India used to be the land of maharajas. Kingdoms were founded, cultures flourished and art developed.
Guests could engage in recreational activities inside the Rajah Club - Lounge Car. Rajah Club has a well stocked library with general books and pictorial guidebooks offering glimpses of Indian Maharajas who used rule their kingdom before India became democracy. Board games and card games could also be enjoyed in Rajah Club over sip of your favorite wine. At one end stands the bar and at the other stands a souvenir shop named Treasure Chest from where you could buy mementos of this royal train journey. Come live a Maharaja life now on board most luxurious train in the world. Embark on a saga of adventure, elegance and romance on board Maharajas' Express, which definitely is one of the finest travel experiences in the world, a journey like no other.