Back from India!

Apr 5th, 2005, 11:15 AM
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Back from India!

I just returned from India a few days ago. It was a fantastic experience. I went with a company called Imaginative Traveller (a UK company). I read about them on the Lonely Planet chatroom and they were exactly what I wanted. Low key, very "untour" like, small groups (we had 13 people) and some out of the way places. I took the Moghul Highlights tour which brought us through Delhi, Jaipur and and Agra with small villages inbetween. I loved everything but really enjoyed the smaller, quieter places and unique Heritage Hotels.

We took an early safari in Ranthambore Park one morning(saw no tigers but it was very peaceful and lovely - it should be at 6:00 in the morning!) We got caught up in the Holi day festival when leaving the park. Luckily when they finally got around to throwing cow dung at people, at least we were in our bus at that point and not the open-aired jeep we were in! We had a lovely camel ride one day, stayed in a desert resort of beautiful mud huts and other really unique places. The people in our group were terrific. It varies, but this particular group ranged from ages 28 to around 50ish. Our guide has had them as young as 18 and as old as 78. (He said the 78 year olds had more energy!) Our guide was the absolute best and made the trip wonderful. I would highly recommend this company. They have trips all over the world. Unfortunately, as an American, most of the trips are a bit too long for my schedule, but I'm sure they would all be great. This is a very well respected company.
Dori is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 12:20 PM
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Ah! Back with us now! Sure many would like to hear about the hotels
JamesA is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 12:30 PM
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One was a small Haveli turned into a heritage hotel. It was built in 1890 by a Marawa jeweller. We were the only group staying there as these places are small and intimate and in remote parts of Rajasthan. Besides the desert resort that I really enjoyed, another place we stayed was the Maharaja's Palace in a small village called Karauli. The descendants still run and live there. It is not in any tour book and only the Imaginative Traveller and one other French company use it. The rest is by word of mouth. We stayed two lovely nights there.
Dori is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 04:43 PM
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Glad to know about your trip..I was on the Imaginative Traveller tour in November similar to the one you took (North India Highlights), only it went on to Varanasi..Didn't you love the hotel in Mandawa..I loved the whole trip..Imaginative Traveller is a great small group company..We are booked on another tour for November, back to India called Kerala in Style..
I would go back and do the same tour all over again..It was amazing..You have got me excited all over again!!
TracyB is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 06:49 PM
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can you tell us some more about what you did and what you liked and anything that you may not have liked? thanks
rhkkmk is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 04:17 AM
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They do have an excellent reputation and your post bears this out. Very soft 'adventure travel' but so much fun.

Good for you! Maybe it will encourage a few more Americans to be a little more adventurous instead of sticking to the 5 star hotel could be anywhere trip.

I often wonder what they are frightened of exactly.

alice13 is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 06:26 AM
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I was in fact the only American on the trip (which didn't surprise me at all). Our guide was very happy that I was there because he said that he doesn't get that many Americans. Three of the 13 did go on to Varanasi after that but most went our own ways. Rhkkmk, there really wasn't anything I didn't enjoy. It was all an experience. TracyB, who was your guide? Our guide was named Abhishek.
Dori is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 08:45 AM
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There weren't any American's on our tour either..In fact everyone was from England/Scotland, Australia and Canada..It is hard not to enjoy all that India has to offer. I am so glad we didn't do the 5* route..It was so amazing to rough it just a little..The laughs we had about the inch thick matresses and hard beds, just seemed to make the trip more special..Or going down the extremely narrow roads that could barely fit 1 vehicle and so bumby that you felt you were in a popcorn popper.Or the overnight train from Agra to Varanasi!!.It just gave me a whole new perception on travel..Don't get me wrong, I go like a nice hotel, and often book 4*'s but this was a whole new experience....Our tour guides name was Vishu..I swear, he was the nicest and smartest person I had ever met! There was nothing he couldn't do..He knew everything about everything and could even draw!! He was from Bikaner i believe..This next tour we are going on with Imaginative Traveller is called Kerala in Style and is called Connoisseur Style..It is decribed as staying in "Unique and Traditional Places"..including a houseboat 1 night..I think it sounds great..They have come up with these types of tours for those who might want to travel adventure style, yet stay in something a little more comfortable..Regardless, I can't wait and we are not even going until November..
TracyB is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 01:41 PM
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I'm so happy your trip to India turned out to be wonderful--especially given all the impolite questions you were asked prior to departing. I'm sure all that has just melted away.

Sounds just fantastic! Thanks for the report.
Leely is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 10:36 AM
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Imaginative Traveller sounds great! How do I contact them??
Elainee is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 11:03 AM
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You can contact them at Everything is on line, but you can also order a brochure.
Dori is offline  
Apr 8th, 2005, 05:07 PM
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Thanks! Fascinating website. Great values. I think the honeymoon trips are our speed.
Elainee is offline  
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