My wife and I just returned from a fantastic trip to India arranged by a tour company that we found through Zicasso. This agency is based in Delhi and provided a flawless trip for us. We didn't make it easy for them. We spent a week in North India and a week in the South. Our first week was disrupted by terrible weather in the USA but the travel company rescued our entire itinerary with a couple of compressions and some early morning departures. And they did this in 45 minutes!
We visited Delhi, the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, Jaipur and Agra in the north. Then we flew to Chennai (Madras) and spent 2 days in Tiruvannamalai to visit the Ramanashramam there. Then we went to Pondicherry and returned to Chennai stopping in at Mamallapuram for the 7th century temples. We enjoy 'boot camp' touring so we stuffed in as many temples, churches, towns etc as we could.
All of this in 9 days, 6 hotels, 2 drivers and myriad of guides all of whom were excellent. The level of service and hospitality was astonishing throughout. We were careful to eat at the hotels or at restaurants recommended by the guides so we had no trouble with upset stomachs etc. Not a single connection, reservation etc went wrong so we were mightily impressed.
In the north, the Taj Mahal is unbeatable. Actually it is unbeatable anywhere. No pictures begin to do it justice. In the South we loved Tiruvannamalai. It is a lively town built on the side of a very famous mountain - Arunachala. The ashram was busy providing religious services for the manh pilgrims and visitors. We visited other ashrams and none of them matched this one for the quiet dedication to prayer and service.
One other memorable feature was the driving. Driving in India is a non-contact sport, carried out at maximum genial aggressiveness. You just go with the flow and trust your driver!
We would change absolutely nothing. All the hotels were wonderful ranging from the over-the-top Amer Vilas in Agra to an eco-hotel (Sparsa resorts) in Tiruvannamalai. The food was wonderful and all the rooms were great.
Well, we would like to have stayed longer!
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