➜We have specially created the kid-friendly holiday tour to include a diverse range of activities and settings, so no one gets bored at any time. The pace is quick enough to keep things interesting, but never too fast for comfort. Each location gets two to three days and nights to explore and experience.
➜Explore India by plane, train, boat, safari jeep, and more with fun-seekers both old and young.
Namaste! Delhi is one of the oldest cities anywhere in the world, and your adventure will lead you to sights both historical and brand new. This is a city of magic, adventure, and a colorful everyday life swirling around you. Arrive before the package tour starts to spend time exploring all it has to offer. You will find interesting museums and cultural spots, art galleries, bazaars, and many shops offering anything you can imagine.
An experienced, English-speaking guide will take you through out Old and New Delhi to see a variety of interesting sites. View the fortified walls around the old city and pause for reflection near the Jama Masjid mosque, which was built by Shah Jehan in 1656. This example of traditional Islamic architecture borrows inspiration from ancient Persia. Created from red sandstone and white marble, the striped minarets and black and white patterned domes are quite showy and impressive. Cast your eyes upward to see the Hindu-inspired roof brackets and beams. The artfully laid marble floor includes a pattern reminiscent of traditional prayer mats. Artifacts and religious relics of Mohammed are displayed in a pavilion nearby.
As the second day of your family holiday in India continues, you have a chance to board a rickshaw with a guide who will take you through the labyrinthine streets and all of the bazaars and marketplaces found there. You will find shops selling household items, decorations, spices and other food goods, colorful saris and more.
At last, the tour comes to Raj Ghat, where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated in 1948 after his assassination. Today, the landscaped property rests near the Yamuna River. A lack of slab of marble with walls surrounding it has engraved the phrase “Hai Ram” which means “Oh God” and was Gandhi’s last words. Other important quotes are carved into the walls. Although this is the most popular monument to visit, there are also some to Indira Gandhi, her son Rajiv, Nehru, and Narayanan.
Soon, the group heads to New Delhi for shady streets and additional monuments to explore.
One of the more popular stopping spots, and a favorite among kids, is Jantar Mantar, a solar observatory. This unique red building features many arches and openings to look inside. It was built from sandstone and marble, and is surrounded by lovely trees and gardens full of flowers. What is most unique about this solar observatory, which is smaller than a similar one found in Jaipur, Rajasthan, is that, despite being built in the 1700s, still tells time with utmost precision. Inside, the marble pillars create a sundial effect. Some of the slits and archways in the wall aligned with the spring and autumn equinoxes. The other instruments within align to the North Star and the planets in the solar system.
As bustling life moves all around you in India’s capital city of Delhi, you can find a restful spot for your family with plenty of grass and trees. One of the countries UNESCO world heritage sites, Humayun’s Tomb, is the next stop on our tour. Many people consider this elegant building with numerous arches and grand dome at the top, to be a forerunner of the Taj Mahal. While you may thrill to the red sandstone walls and delicately carved latticed windows and inlaid marble, the kids can work off some energy romping of the lawns
Built in the 1500s for a Moghul emperor and his family, this tomb’s design was inspired by Persian style architecture. The gardens are, like many from the time period, divided into square sections by walls or channels of fresh water. The property also includes other monuments, some in disrepair, but all historically interesting and important.
1: The National Museum
Walk into the cool quiet of the National Museum to explore the multicultural history and present of India in all its glory. It specializes in both historical and artistic displays, with a wide range of artifacts from the earliest era until now, and more than 200,000 pieces of artwork spanning the past 5000 years. The collection of artifacts was originally displayed in the Royal Academy in London England, but was moved back to the National Museum in the mid-1900s.
Some of the most impressive collections include Harappa and Mohenjo-daro native artifacts. These civilizations created stone, terra-cotta, wood, and bronze statues, many interesting miniatures, armor and weaponry, jewelry, and more. There are also displays of non-Indian history in the Central Asia and pre-Columbian antiquity showcases. Altogether, the accumulation of Indian historical and cultural items gives residents and visitors to New Delhi a wonderful sense and appreciation of India itself.
The entrance ticket price comes with a multilingual audio guide.
2: The National Rail Museum
Children and adults alike will love exploring the 10 acre National Rail Museum park. Outside, multiple steam engines from the 1800s are parked on the grass amid comfortable walking trails for easy exploration. Inside, you can learn from many Indian Railway displays featuring authentic photographs from the early years, signaling equipment, antique furniture from trains, and more. Some of the highlights of the visit include the Fairy Queen steam locomotive, the Prince of Wales Saloon, constructed in 1875, and the Maharaja of Mysore saloon that still contains a beautiful rosewood bed and chairs covered with rich brocade fabric. A fire engine from 1914 is also included in the museum. If looking at the amazing trains and displays not enough, kids can hop aboard a toy train for a quick ride in the park.
Activities and Sites Included in the Tour
• Jama Masjid
• Old Delhi walking and rickshaw tours
• Sheeshganj Gurudwara Sikh Temple
• India Gate
• Humayum Tomb
• Rah Ghat
• Jantar Mantar solar observatory
• Train museum
The third day of your trip to India begins with a delicious breakfast at the hotel. Next, all the group heads to Samode and the popular Samode Palace Hotel, which lies in the midst of everyday life in this Rajasthani village. You approach the Palace Hotel through an iconic gated archway, down cobblestone streets, and passed the people who live in Samode going about their usual lives. For those who enjoy sinking into the culture of a place they visit, this gives a perfect opportunity to see how the locals live, work, and enjoy themselves.
Men with turbans stroll into temples for prayers. Women polish gemstones and make lac bracelets. Children play varied games between the houses and down the edge of the street. A pig may be seen wandering loose and sniffing around. The Palace, which was converted to a hotel recently in its 400 year existence, provides an excellent starting point for local exploration.
Guided Tour Through the Samode Palace and Samode Village
During your stay, you will enjoy modern Indian cuisine at the Samode Palace Hotel’s restaurant. These unique creations will give you a true taste of the country in unexpected ways. Some of the meals you may enjoy include chicken kebabs, tandoori duck, aloe vera fritters, rose petal pannacotta, banana flower croquettes, and, for dessert, perhaps a masala chai crème brûlée. Not only will you get to eat delicious meals, you can take a tour of the kitchens to learn more about how Indian chefs prepare meals. View the clay tandoori oven and the vast selection of spices used. Vegetarian meals are available, and there are also options like pizza and French fries that may appeal to picky children. Lunch is served buffet style and can include salads, soups, and pasta dishes. Breakfast is also a buffet with various types of omelets and delicious puris, or fried bread, with gravy or other accompaniments.
Samode Local Activity Options
Although the Palace is so lovely you may not want to leave, the village offers many excursion opportunities. Take a stroll to the marketplace to see interesting handicrafts. Visit nearby wells that have given water to the people of this region since ancient times. Consider an afternoon Safari by jeep, camel, or horse. If you wish to go further afield, a jaunt into Jaipur, the pink city, is recommended.
On your second day staying at the Samode Palace Hotel, more excursions are available. From the hotel, consider taking a camel ride to Samode Bagh, which is the hotel’s farm. Large fields of spinach and lovely pink roses will give your eyes a treat. Besides writing on a camel, you could also sit on a camel card, or arrange other transportation.
The afternoon brings travelers together again for a drive to the Ranthambore National Park. Although this drive takes approximately four hours, there will be wonderful sights of the countryside to enjoy on both sides. The National Park offers a Jungle Villas, which are four-star accommodations standing in the midst of a large beautiful garden with fountains playing in the nearby lake. The two jeep safaris that run every day give you the chance to spot exotic wildlife and take in the scenery in different regions of the Ranthambore National Park and Tiger Reserve.
Start early on the fifth day when you wake up in the beautiful Ranthambore National Park to begin your adventure into the wilderness and spot elusive wildlife from an open-topped Jeep. This game drive experience may bring you in sight of sambar, nilgai, and chital antelope, grazing gazelle, hyenas, sloth bears, jackals, crocodiles, and even, if you are lucky, tigers.
Optional Activities After Morning Safari Ride
If you are ready for more adventure after the morning safaris, consider a trip to Prakratik. Here you can experience a unique NGO project that brings alternative energy to the villages. Instead of cutting down trees for firewood and fuel, they are instead able to plant tens of thousands of trees to protect important ecosystems. The energy comes from biogas processing, educational programs bound for thousands of children, and they also offer modern hospital care in the region. It is rewarding to see how the efforts in the area are helping to both improve the lives of the villagers and protect tiger habitat.
Families may enjoy hiking to the 10th century ruins of Ranthambore Fort, which is scattered throughout the National Park, and is quite an impressive piece of regional history. It was active until the 1800s, and many battles over the region were fought throughout it. Finally, the Jaipur rulers claimed it for themselves. The ruins now include fast walls and ramparts, pavilions, temples and tombs, and even palaces. The Ganesha Temple at the top of the structure is a site of pilgrimage for many believers annually.
This excursion begins with a vehicle ride to the path starting point where hikers a light and begin the easy walk around the fort. Not only will you get to see this historical site, but the location offers excellent vantage points for the wilderness all around. Allow approximately 1.5 hours for exploration.
Note: The Ranthambore Fort property is home to large troupes of grey langurs, a type of monkey that always seems to be hungry. If you do bring food on your hike, be very careful around them, or you may lose it all or have other problems. It is best to leave the wildlife alone.
Make sure you return in time for the 14:30 Safari excursion back into the park. This occurs after the lunch hour. It gives you an additional opportunity to see some of the iconic species that live naturally in this part of India.
Note: Ranthambhore National Park is closed from July 1 to September 30 due to the height of monsoon season. If you visit India with our package tour at this time, you will be treated to similar excursion opportunities and game drives at the Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary. While this excludes the fort, and chances to see a tiger are smaller, there are still many wonderful sites to see and unique species to view in their natural habitat.
After breakfast, the 5 hour drive to Agra begins. This is an ancient city, and surrounds the important Yamuna River. The great Mughal emperors of the 1500s to 1600s ruled here from the seat of power for multiple generations. Agra was the ultimate central city of the day with many examples of greater education, the arts and culture, and temples or mosques representing religious importance of the area. This was the place many famous historical scholars, philosophers, and writers came from.
During the five hour journey to this important city, the vehicle stop at Abhaneri Village. Here, you may see one of the most impressive examples of a step well, or Chand Baori, that was built way back in the 800s. It is massive, intricate, and incredibly important for as the old-time villagers that lived here. In fact, the whole design of the step well was created here in Abhaneri as a way to always have reserved water for everyone to use. It is 13 stories or 100 feet deep and features 3500 steps. If you recognize the Chand Baori, it might be because you saw it in such movies as The Dark Knight Rises, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Bhoomi, The Fall, and Bhool Bhulaiyaa.
Another point of interest in the area is the unique architecture of the Harshat Mata Temple. But after allowing sufficient time to stretch your legs and see both of these sites, the journey to Agra continues.
The next stop along the way is at the Keoladeo Ghana National Park in Bharatpur. Way back in history, this land was used for hunting ducks by the Royal family. Instead of shooting birds now, the World Heritage Site is well known for birdwatching. Many ornithology fans flock to the park at dawn or dusk to see the wide variety of birds.
Our tour through the 12 square miles of Park is done comfortably on the back of a bicycle rickshaw. If you would prefer to pilot your own craft, regular bicycles are available. If the lakes and marshes are currently high, and streams run over the chosen pathways, there are also Safari boats that may offer transportation.
Keep your eyes open and you will spots many of the 300 different species that visit Keoladeo Ghana National Park. Some of these include storks and herons of various species, and flocks of geese swimming on the lake. You can also spy turtles, and larger animals such as nilgai bovines, wild boar, holding jackals, fishing cats, and blackbuck, among others.
Just a 90 minute drive remains to reach Agra and check into the comfortable hotel.
Nothing could be more stunning than a sunrise over the beautiful white dome of the Taj Mahal. It will be worth the early waking time to take in the glow of the morning sun coming up behind this iconic structure.
No trip to this part of the country would be complete without a visit to the unbelievably grand Taj Mahal. To get the best photo opportunities and experience of you that will take your breath away, we leave early to view this architectural masterpiece at sunrise. It took 22 years to build this glorious wonder, which was an emperor’s tribute to his deceased wife. As the rising sun light up the white pillars and dome of the Taj Mahal, many people experience a variety of emotions. It has been called an example of paradise on Earth, a poem, and a dream.
After basking in its beauty for a while, hop aboard a Tonga, or horse-drawn carriage, for the journey back to the hotel. As the horse’s hooves clatter on the road, the garlands of marigold flowers swaying and emit a heady aroma.
Enjoy a delicious breakfast at the hotel, and return to your room to get ready for the next adventure. This time, you will visit Agra Fort on the Yamuna River. Mughal emperors built and fortified this fort in the 1500s and reigned here for three generations. The exterior is impressively strong and seem impenetrable. Step behind its towering red walls, however, and you will experience the delicate artistry of carved marble and many decorations. A walk through the Halls of Public and Private Audience are worth the journey alone.
The afternoon brings you from the past into the present. Board an electric tuk-tuk with a knowledgeable guide who will wind through the narrow streets of Agra bazaars and marketplaces. This tour will take about two to three hours and will allow you the opportunity to stop along the way for shopping or a closer look.
Look at this article for more information about the tuk-tuk tour through Agra.
At the end of this enjoyable day, you will be brought to the Agra train station to board a high-speed, air-conditioned train for your return trip to Delhi. A car and driver will be waiting there to return you to the hotel for a relaxing evening.
From the New Delhi Airport, we will take a short flight near the Himalayan Mountains to the “Queen of the Hills” town of Shimla. This takes approximately 1.5 hours and affords stunning views out the windows. Shimla is a mountainous town, which consists of many buildings that line a 13km ridge that stays cooler than the land below.
This made it a popular spot for British visitors in the 1820s and beyond. It was even deemed a summer capital by the British Raj in 1864. Over the years, various architectural styles blended together to create a rather whimsical ambience: part merry old England, part Arabian Nights. For example, the Shimla Post Office has the timbers and plaster of Tudor style buildings. Gorton Castle is a plain Scottish style with Saracenic arches. Town Hall has medieval influences.
The heritage walk in Shimla begins with an overview of the sites you will see by an experienced and knowledgeable guide. They join the group for sightseeing in order to add information about the history of the buildings and location itself. This begins at the Viceregal Lodge, which is the building where viceroys stayed during the summer months prior to 1940. The tour continues past the Gaiety Theatre, Christ Church, and Scandal Point. The church it displays some very artistic Victorian and Gothic architectural accents. The unusually named last point is frequently visited by friends and neighbors who wanted to gossip and share scandals.
The quote above The Mall’s Pavilion reads “Our Built Heritage is Our Identity. Let’s Preserve It.” This motto embodies the importance that current authorities place on the historical ambience of Shimla. Along The Mall Promenade and in the Heritage Museum you can see old-time photographs of English youth cared for by Indian amahs, fancy carriages carrying the families to church, and other scenes of the time when British subjects came here to live and enjoy the culture and climate. Inside the church, a pew is marked with a brass plaque designating the favorite seat of the British Viceroy.
As you continue to tour through Shimla, you will find yourself intrigued by the multicultural parade of people visiting the shops and other locations along the street. Next to the Hindu holy man, who wears an orange robe and ash on his face, walks a Sikh woman in a sparkling traditional outfit with her children at her side. Comes Tibetan refugees, who make up a large proportion of the town’s population. If you spot a wide-brimmed hat in the crowd, it may be a Gurkha soldier from a local Army encampment.
The next day in Shimla starts with a delicious and healthy breakfast followed by an invigorating hike that will take approximately 3 to 4 hours. There are various paths and plans available, so you can have a hike specifically tailored to your physical ability and endurance. Just talk with your experienced hiking guide the day before to make the best plans.
Guides lead groups of 1 to 5 people each. Groups of six people or more will have at least two guides.
Hiking around this mountainous town offers many opportunities to visit beautiful vistas, entrancing waterfalls, and isolated temples of cultural significance. If you have the energy, follow your guide to remote villages and monasteries nestled in the tree-covered hillsides.
This part of Hamachal Pradesh will wow you no matter which way you look. The natural beauty surrounding the town believe you inspired and refreshed as you go out into the natural world. The high mountains are capped with snow. Sparkling rivers run through verdant valleys. All around our burbling streams, bird-filled forests, and orchards that produce many different types of fruit. The guides are experienced in this part of India and know which trails to take to get you the best photo opportunities and experience.
These trails are mostly uphill when you head out from Shimla into the forest. Each teen or adult will carry a day pack to carry water, energizing snacks, and whatever other items you need. After you reach the mountain top and spend some time gazing over the landscape below, hop in a waiting car for a ride back to the hotel
A walk down Mall Road in the cool evening will let you experience a modern glimpse of life here, and afford many opportunities to buy unique items and souvenirs.
When you imagine a toy train, you may envision a very small thing that children play with. However, this toy train is really called the Himalayan Queen, and is a narrow-gauge rail train you can ride with your whole group. It was originally built in 1903 in order to help British visitors take all of their luggage and belongings up the mountain to Shimla. The tracks went from Kalka to Shimla, a journey of 96 kilometers. Although updates have been done since then, the rail system was given UNESCO world heritage status.
WRITING this train not only helps you envision historical journey between towns, but also provides plenty of fun for the whole family and a bit of a thrill, especially if you are scared of heights. The comfortable carriages with open windows travel through 100 tunnels and across the steep hills covered with lush forests. Any nervousness will quickly disappear as you look in all at the beautiful mountain and stunning views of the landscape below. The train is not fast, but it is comfortable. However, if you choose to skip the train ride, a car will be provided for you.
Toy Train Journey: The train departs at 10:40 and stops at Solan at 13:15. A seat in the first class compartment is included with this tour.
The exciting three-hour train ride will bring you to Solan and another small journey by car to the Prakriti Farms near Chandigarh. This traditional farm uses organic methods to raise various crops on 42 acres of fields. The property is edged by forests and hills of the Shivalik. Get ready to get your hands dirty, or just observe, as you take part in harvesting a few plants. Meet locals in traditional outfits from the farm and the village nearby. Then, join in the fun of cooking up a healthy, organic feast. Make sure to sample a cup of masala chai tea, a very popular beverage throughout India.
Travel back in time when you come to the Prakriti Farm, but do not worry about the amenities being primitive. The Farm has all the conveniences of the modern age, but the practices of the past. You will get to eat delicious food grown locally, as well as enjoy true hospitality from the Prakriti owner, Colonel Kaushal and his wife, the visitor host, and everyone who works there.
During your time at the Farm, hikes and safari excursions around the property will keep you entertained. Comfortable campsites will encourage you to sit back and relax to enjoy the ambience of the countryside.
You might be joined by the farm dog called Snowy on one of the hikes around the property. He will stay on the farm when you head farther out through the villages of Rail and Majra. A stop at the local dam is worth a photograph or two. The area nearby is called the Sutlej floodplain. In the warm months, wheat or other crops cover the land with green.
All the hiking and the presence of such fresh, organic crops will increase your appetite for the delicious meals cooked from Mrs. Kaushal’s special recipes. The gracious couple will sit down with the group and share their knowledge and experience with farming, food, yoga, Punjabi culture and history, and more. The chats and stories will carry you into the evening with a blazing campfire and the glorious stars overhead.
Prakriti Activities to Enjoy:
• Trekking and hiking in the wilderness
• Organized nature walks
• Forest walk at night
• Farm education and hands-on help
• Bird feeding and watching
• Tractor rides
The morning starts with a drive to the Chandigarh Airport for a short trip by air to the next stop on this family-friendly India adventure tour: Mumbai. Before checking in at the hotel in this bustling modern city, a guided tour through the Dharavi slums will show you another side of India.
The Dharavi slums are the second largest ones in the entire world. The people who live there engage in over 1 billion US dollars’ worth of commerce every year.
The largest slum in Asia may be more poverty-stricken than the neighborhoods elsewhere in the city, but the tour through it is not just an episode of pity. Industry exists amid the shack-like homes, and hard work is the backbone of its success. The tour brings you in contact with a diverse range of specialties such as tanning leather, manufacturing soap, recycling materials, embroidery, poppadum making, and baking of other foods. Women engage in many creative jobs here. There is even a brisk trade in specialty snacks that export to Europe and the United States.
Every aspect of Indian life has its own cultural identities. Strong focus on family and community exist in these narrow streets. It is a melting pot of people from every part of India who come together to forge out a life for themselves and their families. Churches, mosques, and temples stand side by side, and everywhere you turn is a new experience.
Four of the stopping points on the tour include a climb to a factory rooftop to view Mumbai in the distance, a tour of the recycling center to see how plastics and computer parts get a new life, the Kumbharwada Pottery Colony, and the local center of poppadum making women.
Mumbai fills a narrow island rising above the waters of lush mangrove marshes and the ocean. The tour group drives over one of the many causeways and bridges and onto the streets of this modern city. Views of the Arabian Sea will let you understand Mumbai’s long-ago origins as a fishing port. Today, over 16 million people call it their home, and they conduct every type of business imaginable. This many people in the available dry land makes it near the top of the list for population density worldwide.
A modern patina spreads readily over everything that Mumbai has to offer. Things move and change quickly, industry is prevalent, and commerce surges forward. However, amid the busy malls and high-rise buildings, you will find the old Mumbai still active. Old-world marketplaces entice shoppers. Art Deco and British-era architecture mix with modern styles. The glitzy glamor of Bollywood also makes it mark on the city. Your tour with an expert guide begins just after breakfast.
The tour begins at the most iconic landmark Mumbai contains: the Gateway of India. Built in 1911 to welcome King George V and Queen Mary to the city, it is made of yellow basalt and rises 26 meters above the streets. It has wonderful examples of Indian artistry in the turrets at the top and the stone carving and lattice. Walk through just as the royal couple from Britain did over a century ago, take a few steps down to the water, and enjoy a boat ride around the harbor to get a new glimpse of Mumbai life and industry. This is an optional excursion.
The tour continues on its way to one of the largest dhobi ghats in the city. “Dhobi” is the word for the people who work there, and “ghat” is similar to our laundromat. Dozens of workers, who inherited this job from their ancestors in most cases, pound, wash, and rinse clothing in concrete vats of water. The large dhobi ghat near Mahalaxmi Station employs up to 200 men, women, and children at a time. Many people in the city send out their dirty laundry to be washed in this way.
No trip to Mumbai would be complete without a stroll through the colorful Crawford Market. Thus named after Arthur Crawford, the first municipal commissioner of Bombay, it lies in the part of the city that was once primarily British. Now, it serves a diverse customer range from all over. The colorful awnings overhead provide protection from the hot sun, and all the fresh produce and meat make your mouth water.
As the evening draws near, ask your guide for restaurant recommendations. Then, take leisure of do more exploring on your own before retiring to your hotel
If you do not want to sit back and rest your feet, consider taking one of these optional excursions.
Elephanta Caves – You would be sorry to miss this unique location that rests on a Mumbai Harbor island. Descend into cooler rock caves to see massive carvings of Shiva in various guises. Amid the modern city’s bustle, this reminds visitors that India and Mumbai are steeped in a rich cultural and religious history. This world heritage site gives you the opportunity to pause for reflection.
Prince of Wales Museum – If you want to see more art and artifacts, a visit to the museum in the city is a must. The architecture alone is worth a look with its gleaming dome and gothic-style towers. Inside you can view historical artifacts from ancient times, Nepali art, Tibetan bronze sculpture, and 2000 miniature examples of India’s artistic styles
Bollywood Tour – Mumbai has been the center of Indian film industry from the first movie was created in 1896 at the Watson Hotel. Bollywood has become a worldwide sensation, and upward of 1000 full-length movies are made annually. Of course, TV series, informative documentaries, and plenty of commercials are also filmed. On this optional tour, you can get a thrill to see Bollywood studios, some celebrities if you are lucky, and possibly some filming taking place. Directions to some celebrity houses for photo opportunities outside are included.
Price based on two persons in a double room
• Prices are in USD Excluding international flights
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