I had planned this trip for more than a year and had numerous conversations with this travel company regarding what I wanted on this trip. I repeatedly expressed my desire for authentic experiences. For cultural immersion. Many or our experiences were strictly non authentic for tourists only. An example . On day one we were taken to a high end restaurant where the only customers were pale white tourists. The meal was pre ordered without asking what we might like to eat. The food wasn't spicy as I expected .I told guide that I liked spicy Indian food . The guide told me " even Indian people do not like spicy food" . Really? Another example. Holi festival . A large group of tourists only were taken to someones backyard where we threw colored powder on each other and danced to Zumba music . Cruise ship version of Holi that is occasionally replicated where I live too,I was given a separate holi experience after multiple extremely heated conversations with company. I was in India to experience India. It was great. But why did I have to go thru all that ? Also, company personal were often at odds over what our daily plan were to be. We visited several cities. At each airport we would be picked up by a company representative who would go over our daily itenerary that was often at odds with our planned itinerary . Changes which had never been discussed with me prior. After insistence from me and some heated conversation we would usually get it straight. Tour company always shifted blame for problems and never ever took responsibility for multiple problems.
Our experience of Old Dehli was personally wonderful for me . Our guide was the difference. He personally knew this area very well . He gave us a personal experience that only someone of his knowledge could . I will never forget it or him. For my daughter it was visiting village near Taj Mahal where she interacted with children. They taught each other dances and had fun. Once again the guide was wonderful .
For beginners, I would not use this tour company . I would have attended a cricket game or just sat and watched local kids played as it is the most popular game in the country. I would have gotten out of city more often. The drive from Agra to Dehli was very informative.
We thank you for sharing your feedback.
We are glad to know that you enjoyed services of guide in Delhi, driver and enjoyed the Holi festival in a small village near Agra.
Regarding Holi, we do not recommend any of our guests to venture locally as it is not safe. This was discussed with you during the trip and we raised concerns about this. There have been instances where locals are intoxicated, throw harsh colours, mud, eggs etc. on people and since you have a young daughter it is even more dangerous for her. Considering this situation, we suggested you to play holi in an environment where not only tourists but also locals come but they are well-mannered. All top companies arrange Holi for guests in a controlled venue only where sophisticated crowd come and use only herbal colours. But, as you wished to have an experience of Holi with villagers, we took an acceptance from you regarding “Safety factor” and arranged the visit for you (which we are glad you enjoyed).
Regarding Restaurants, we choose good restaurants considering the food requirements of foreign guests. We had offered lunch in a restaurant which is rated amongst the best in country. We are sad that you did not like the food. Regarding having authentic food, this was already covered in local food tour that we had arranged for you and you enjoyed the same. Also, the local host offered you a very authentic meal.
Regarding Immersion experiences, we had included the best of the cultural immersion experiences that are designed and managed by top local companies who not only are being used by top tour operators globally but have also been awarded by TripAdvisor and other tourism bodies. We are sad to know that you did not find it as per your expectations. We arranged as many local immersive experiences as possible but hope you understand the safety constraint that we have to work within (be it food, Holi or any other experience) in arranging these activities.
Regarding the itinerary schedule, I have personally monitored the tour and all sequences of tours were properly arranged. Our local representatives, only ask whether you wish to do “x” trip first or “y” trip later. That is keeping in mind your convenience and choice.
Since your trip schedule was already very hectic, there was no room for out of the city tours or cricket matches. The itinerary was finalised and mutually agreed upon and everything was done as per that. The only thing that did not happen as per itinerary was a visit to a local cafe that was unfortunately closed due to Holi.
We hope the above addresses your concerns.
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