Here are some pictures from our India visit in February of 2017 with GoAhead Tours.
- Day 2 -- Arrival in Delhi.
- Day 3 -- Old Delhi, Jama Masjid, rickshaw ride, Gandhi, Salimghar Fort.
- Day 4 -- New Delhi, Sikh Temple, Qutb, Humayun's Tomb.
- Day 5 -- Bus to Agra, Akbar's Tomb, Taj Majal, marble inlay factory.
- Day 6 -- Fatehpur Sikri, train to Ranthambore.
- Day 7 -- Ranthambore National Park and game preserve.
- Day 8 -- Hindu temple, Jaipur, City Palace.
- Day 9 -- Amber Fort, Floating Palace, carpet and textile factory.
A few random thoughts:
- This tour was the Golden Triangle of Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra, plus the game preserve at Ranthambore. If you are going on a tour, make sure it includes Ranthambore, as that was a definite highlight. GoAhead Tours did a fine job of covering all of this area. It is pretty fast-paced, as there is a lot to cover. Even at that, this only covers a small area in Northern India. An optional tour extension went to Mumbai and Cochin in the south, but we will have to do Southern India another time.
- The weather was perfect for us in February, with highs in the high-70's to mid-80's. Even at that, it can get hot walking around. We can't imagine what it's like to do this tour in the hot months. Also, it was still too cool for the mosquitos to be out in any force, so us taking anti-malarials was probably overkill.
- Our doctor had us completely paranoid with her speech about, "Now when you get the diarrhea, you'll want to have Pedialyte with you..." We played it safe and did fine. The better hotels treat the food right, and give you bottled water to brush your teeth with.
- India certainly lives up to its reputation as a land of contrasts. Our tour guide Raj would point out that they just launched a rocket with a record 110 orbital satellites, but "...they still refer to us as a third world country." On the other hand, a video in the airport talked about new sanitation programs, as 53% of the population still defecates in the open. We saw at least 40-50 urinating in the open and one defecating on the tracks in the train station. That's what might make me call it a third-world country.
- For being called Hindustan (land of the Hindu), the bulk of the sightseeing that we did was not the local culture at all. The forts, the Taj Majal, the tombs were all built by the invading Muslims or the Moghuls (Mongols). The most prominent local culture on the tour itself was Sikh. We much enjoyed the trips into the Hindu temple, the local food, and the times we were more connected to the local population. If we go back to Southern India, we will want to find a tour that concentrates more on this aspect of India.
Here is the group photo from the Taj Mahal. Our tour director Raj in on the right.