Unforgettable India Trip Notes

Unforgettable India

Last Modified: 13 May 2016
Unforgettable India
Trip code: HHSU
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Visit India and discover this vibrant, intoxicating, inspiring and dramatic country. Tour India's chaotic city streets and peaceful countryside, from the Mughal splendour of Delhi and Agra to tiger-spotting in Bandhavgarh National Park. Soak up India’s culture and history, smell and taste a world of spices, blush at the erotic Khajuraho carvings and see pilgrims undertake their daily rituals on the Ganges' ghats. This adventure will provide unforgettable sensory experiences of unpredictable, chaotic and enchanting India.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodationFinish point description
ThemesAccommodation NotesFinishing point instructions
Is this trip right for you?Meals introductionEmergency contact
Why we love itMealsVisas
MapTransportWhat to take
ItineraryMoney mattersHealth
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderTravel insurance
Physical ratingSafetyA couple of rules
Included activitiesJoining pointResponsible Travel
Important notesJoining point descriptionThe Intrepid Foundation
Group sizeJoining point instructionsFeedback
Your fellow travellersFinish point
Style
Original
Themes
Explorer
Is this trip right for you?
- Old Delhi can be very busy and crowded. While it’s an exciting place to see local life moving around you, be aware that on the walking tour you’ll need to navigate through people, tight spaces and walkways.
- - Rajasthan can reach extremely high temperatures in the summer. While we aim to do our walking tours early in the morning when it’s cooler, remember to keep hydrated and to bring a hat, sunscreen, a long-sleeved shirt and anything else that will protect you from the sun.
- - We visit a number of temples on this trip, which requires a certain level of modesty. Please bring clothes that cover the arms and pants/skirts that go past the knees
- - This trip travels by overnight train from Delhi to Varanasi.
Why we love it
- - The Taj Mahal is not only an sumptuous masterpiece of Indian architecture, but also a truly meaningful stop on any traveller’s journey
- - Old and New Delhi fuse to create a city that pays homage to past empires, while wrestling with its modern identity
- - Experience the wonder of camping on the banks of the Ganges near Varanasi.
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 New Delhi
Namaste! Welcome to India.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
India's capital is an exciting, busy, and often chaotic city but it's also one of the most interesting in the world with historical sites from different eras, museums and galleries, shops and endless bazaars!
There are plenty of things to see and do in free time. Visit the World Heritage-listed Mughal masterpiece of Humayun's Tomb. This was the first garden tomb in India, built way back in 1570. Wonder at the tall brick minaret of Qutub Minar, which was started back in the 1100s. Explore the mighty Red Fort of Delhi. Part palace and part fort, it plays an integral part in the history of the city with former residents ranging from royal families to British soldiers.
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Humayun's Tomb - INR500
  • Delhi - Qutub Minar - INR500
  • Delhi - Red Fort - INR500
    Accommodation
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Day 2 New Delhi
    Join your group leader on an excursion into the sights and sounds of Old Delhi! Set off on the city's modern metro system, then get a taste of India's famed public transport with an option for a cycle rickshaw ride through chaotic streets, such as the famous Chandni Chowk. Make a visit to the Jama Masjid, Delhi's oldest mosque and one of its most impressive buildings, then visit the Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) to learn about the Sikh religion.
    This afternoon is free for further exploration or jump on an Urban Adventure.
    Included Activities
    • Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
    • Delhi - Jama Masjid
    • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
      Optional Activities
      • Delhi - Gandhi's Delhi Urban Adventure - INR2500
      • Delhi - City Food Crawl Urban Adventure - INR3500
      • Delhi - Home-Cooked Experience Urban Adventure - INR4000
        Accommodation
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Day 3 Agra
        Leave Delhi early to catch the Shatabi Express to Agra (departs approx 6am - 3 hrs). This comfortable train is one of India's fastest.
        Visit the Taj Mahal - a masterpiece of shimmering white marble set amid beautiful formal gardens. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his wife Mumtaz, this 'teardrop on the face of eternity' (as it was described by writer Rabindranath Tagore) lives up to all expectations.
        Built in 1565 by Emperor Akbar, Agra Fort was originally designed to be a military structure. It was converted to a palace in Emperor Shah Jahan's time with mighty sandstone walls enclosing the beautiful white marble pearl mosque, palaces, halls, courtyards and fountains. The fort eventually became the emperor's prison after he lost power in 1658.
        Included Activities
        • Agra - Agra Fort
        • Agra - Taj Mahal
          Accommodation
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Day 4 Chanderi

          Catch a morning train from Agra to Lalitpur (approx. 4 hours) followed by private jeeps from Lalitpur to Chanderi (approx. 2 hours)
          Chanderi is a small medieval town - home to Muslims, Hindus and Jains. Still off the beaten track, Chanderi is a place where you can experience the life of a movie star - the moment you stroll into town, you instantly become the centre of attention.
          Enjoy dinner in at the home of our local guide, a great chance to meet his large family.
          Included Activities
          • Chanderi - Home cooked dinner & family visit
            Accommodation
            Guesthouse (1 nt)
            Meals
            1 dinner
            Day 5 Chanderi
            Visit Chanderi Museum which boasts objects dating from the 10th to 12th centuries.
            Join our guide for a look around Chanderi's temples and mosques, and walk out to ruins beautifully situated in the fields.
            Included Activities
            • Chanderi - Guided village walk
            • Chanderi - Traditional music performance
              Optional Activities
              • Chanderi - Museum - INR120
                Accommodation
                Guesthouse (1 nt)
                Day 6 Orchha
                Drive to Orchha (approx 5 hours/173 km).
                Situated on the banks of the Betwa River, Orchha has changed little over the centuries. Originally a hunting area, it became the capital of the Bundela rajas and, as a result, Orchha has more temples and palaces than any town of this size deserves.
                Experience an evening puja ceremony at the Ram Raja Temple.
                Included Activities
                • Orchha - Ram Raja Temple puja (prayer) ceremony
                  Accommodation
                  Deluxe permanent tent (1 nt)
                  Day 7 Orchha

                  See the stunning Orchha Palace, built by Bir Sing Deo for his friend Jehangir, the great Mughal ruler.
                  Visit Taragram, one of Intrepid's Responsible Tourism projects. This unique papermaking plant was set up to give tribal women from the area a chance to work outside the traditional areas normally afforded to them. All the paper is made from recycled clothing and wood pulp.
                  Take the chance to experience the local flavours at a cooking demonstration by our local friends.
                  Included Activities
                  • Orchha - Taragram visit
                  • Orchha - Orchha Palace
                    Optional Activities
                    • Orchha - Cooking demonstration - INR400
                      Accommodation
                      Deluxe permanent tent (1 nt)
                      Day 8 Alipura
                      We depart Orchha around 9am for a 3 hour drive to Alipura.
                      We arrive around midday and after checking in and a freshen up its time for a guided village walk. This evening we enjoy a group dinner at Alipura Palace.
                      Included Activities
                      • Alipura - Village Walk & Palace Dinner
                        Accommodation
                        Heritage Property (1 nt)
                        Meals
                        1 dinner
                        Day 9 Khajuraho
                        Drive to Khajuraho (approx. 3 hours).
                        Far from any major population centres, modern or historical, Khajuraho's remote location saved its stunning 1,000-year-old temples - infamous for their explicit carvings depicting the entire Kama Sutra - from destruction by foreign invaders.

                        Khajuraho's 'Kama Sutra' Temples were all built during the Chandela Dynasty 1,000 years ago, most within a 100 to 150-year time frame. These temples have baffled foreigners and Indians alike since their rediscovery by the British in the late 19th century. What they were built for and what the delicate and erotic carvings mean is open to wide interpretation. Some believe that these intricate designs, all located on the exterior of the temple, were meant to symbolise the leaving of sexual desires before entering the holy sanctuary within. Others argue that these carvings were a way of teaching young boys in the hermitage about life outside of religion. We take a tour of the western temple complex.
                        Visit a local Hindu family for a home-cooked vegetarian meal and gain an insight into the life of middle-class Indians.
                        There's the chance to view a classical dance performance tonight.
                        Included Activities
                        • Khajuraho - Kama Sutra temples
                        • Khajuraho - Home-cooked lunch & family visit
                          Optional Activities
                          • Khajuraho - Traditional dance performance - INR550
                          • Khajuraho - Sound & light show - INR500
                            Accommodation
                            Hotel (1 nt)
                            Meals
                            1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                            Day 10 Bandhavgarh National Park
                            An early start this morning for a long drive to Bandhavgarh National Park (approx. 7 hours). There are no established toilet stops on this route, so we need to make do with bush toilets. Make sure your music player is charged, you have lots of water and your favourite book at hand.
                            Bandhavgarh National Park is truly one of India's most magnificent wildernesses with a relative abundance of tigers compared to other national parks, so our chances of spotting some are high.
                            This evening head into the park and enjoy a jeep safari. As well as tigers, this fine park also boasts leopard, jungle cats and sloth bears. Keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready.
                            Included Activities
                            • Bandhavgarh NP - Evening Wildlife Safari
                              Accommodation
                              Resort (1 nt)
                              Day 11 Bandhavgarh National Park/Overnight Train
                              Another early morning, but this time to head back into the National Park on a jeep safari to search out more wildlife. Afterwards drive to Katni (approx 5 hours.) Around 5:30pm we board our overnight train for the 15 hour journey to Varanasi. Your tour leader will help you purchase snacks at the station and ensure you stock up on water. Its never a bad idea to stock up on toilet paper for long train trips.
                              Included Activities
                              • Bandhavgarh NP - Morning Wildlife Safari
                                Accommodation
                                Overnight Sleeper Train (1 nt)
                                Meals
                                1 breakfast
                                Day 12 Varanasi
                                We arrive around 11am this morning (barring train delays - more common in the winter months of Jan-Feb).
                                The ultimate destination for all Hindu pilgrims, Varanasi is full of temples, shrines and devotees. It is truly one of the world's most amazing cities.
                                Perhaps visit the Ram Nagar Fort which lies about 14 km from Varanasi on the opposite bank of River Ganga. Built by Maharaja Balwant Singh in the 18th century, it's the ancestral home of the Maharaja of Banaras.
                                Spend the evening soaking up the magical atmosphere of a candle flower ceremony, serenaded by traditional musicians on a Ganges river cruise as the sun sets.
                                Included Activities
                                • Varanasi - Sunset Candle Flower Ceremony
                                  Optional Activities
                                  • Varanasi - Ram Nagar Fort - INR150
                                    Accommodation
                                    Hotel (1 nt)
                                    Day 13 Varanasi
                                    Start early with a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges, passing the many ghats and temples along the river. This boat ride is one of the highlights of any trip to Varanasi. Watching the sun rise over the Ghats is a spectacular sight and one not to be missed. the rest of the day is free to wander the laneways and ghats. find a sunny spot and watch lifer and death along with cricket games, haircuts, religious lessons and the comings and goings of life along the Ganges.
                                    Included Activities
                                    • Varanasi - Sunrise Boat Ride
                                      Accommodation
                                      Hotel (1 nt)
                                      Day 14 Varanasi/Overnight Train
                                      Enjoy a free day in Varanasi. We will have shared day use rooms until our departure tonight. We depart Varanasi this evening around 7pm on the overnight train to Delhi. This is another long journey (approx. 12 hours). We travel in 3 AC class, where each bunk is made up with a sheet, blanket and pillow.
                                      Accommodation
                                      Overnight Sleeper Train (1 nt)
                                      Day 15 New Delhi
                                      The train arrives early this morning into New Delhi Station (approx 9am) where our tour comes to an end. Please don't book flights out until after 1pm to allow for train delays (more common due to weather conditions in winter but can happen any time of year. Airport transfers and additional accommodation are available to book in advance should you wish to plan your onward travel arrangements in advance.
                                      Itinerary disclaimer
                                      ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

                                      OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
                                      Physical rating

                                      Included activities
                                      Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
                                      Delhi - Jama Masjid
                                      Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
                                      Agra - Agra Fort
                                      Agra - Taj Mahal
                                      Chanderi - Home cooked dinner & family visit
                                      Chanderi - Guided village walk
                                      Chanderi - Traditional music performance
                                      Orchha - Ram Raja Temple puja (prayer) ceremony
                                      Orchha - Taragram visit
                                      Orchha - Orchha Palace
                                      Alipura - Village Walk & Palace Dinner
                                      Khajuraho - Kama Sutra temples
                                      Khajuraho - Home-cooked lunch & family visit
                                      Bandhavgarh NP - Evening Wildlife Safari
                                      Bandhavgarh NP - Morning Wildlife Safari
                                      Varanasi - Sunset Candle Flower Ceremony
                                      Varanasi - Sunrise Boat Ride
                                      Important notes
                                      1. A single supplement is available on this trip. See under the Single Traveller section of your Trip Notes for more information.
                                      2. Please note that information was incorrectly sent to some travellers that mentioned this trip would visit Panna National Park instead of Bandhavgarh National Park. We apologise for this miscommunication.

                                      Group size
                                      Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
                                      Your fellow travellers
                                      GROUP TRAVEL
                                      As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

                                      SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
                                      Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

                                      A single supplement is available on this trip. On the following nights a single room is not available:
                                      Day 2 Overnight train
                                      Accommodation
                                      Deluxe permanent tent (2nt), Guesthouse (2nt), Heritage Property (1nt), Hotel (6nt), Overnight sleeper train (2nt), Resort (1nt)
                                      OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
                                      The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

                                      TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
                                      Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.

                                      CHECK-IN TIME
                                      Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

                                      PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
                                      If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

                                      Some of the accommodation along the way is very basic, staying in local guesthouses and homestays with limited facilities. Some facilities are shared and some accommodation has cold water only. We use a mixture of air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned rooms.

                                      SLEEPER TRAINS IN INDIA:
                                      Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned (fan-cooled at times), a great way to travel long distances and still get maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths, sheets, pillow and blanket are provided but some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. There are basic toilet facilities at the end of each carriage, but no showers available on overnight trains. Please note you may be sharing with locals in a same/mixed gender situation. Most trains have a dining carriage or a food/snack cart that is brought through the carriages. There are also plenty of vendors selling tea, coffee, water and snacks during the journey.
                                      Meals introduction
                                      While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
                                      Meals
                                      2 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners
                                      Transport
                                      Auto rickshaw, Cycle rickshaw, Metro, Overnight sleeper train, Private vehicle, Train

                                      There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning.
                                      Money matters
                                      The official currency of India is the Indian Rupee (INR).

                                      The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM), which are readily available in most towns.

                                      Look for Bank of India or ICICI ATM's. Our experience has shown they are the most reliable ATM's to use for withdrawals. Your tour leader should be able to direct you to these banks.

                                      Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange, so please bring clean bills, and small denominations are most useful.

                                      The use of credit cards can be restricted, mainly to major hotels, shops and establishments.

                                      SPENDING MONEY
                                      When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                                      Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members.

                                      If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.

                                      The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:

                                      Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest INR20. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.

                                      Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest INR100 per day for local guides.

                                      Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a porter in addition to your leader. We suggest INR50 per day for porters.

                                      Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of INR100-INR150 per day is generally appropriate.

                                      Local transport: For a half day city tour we suggest INR50 per day. For a full day city tour we suggest INR100 per day.

                                      Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $US 5-7 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

                                      All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.

                                      Budget for meals not included: 180.00

                                      EMERGENCY FUNDS
                                      Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
                                      Group leader
                                      All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

                                      Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
                                      Safety
                                      Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

                                      We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

                                      Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

                                      For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

                                      http://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety

                                      SAFETY FOR WOMEN TRAVELLERS:
                                      Women should exercise caution when travelling in India. Reported cases of sexual assault against women are increasing; recent sexual attacks against female visitors in tourist areas and cities show that foreign women are also at risk. While the risk of an incident occurring on your trip is very low, below are some things you can do for your safety and peace of mind when travelling:

                                      - Respect local dress codes and customs, perhaps dressing more conservatively than you do at home
                                      - Avoid isolated areas, including beaches, unlit city streets and village lanes when alone at any time of day
                                      - Avoid travelling alone on public transport, or in taxis or auto-rickshaws, especially at night
                                      - If you have to use a taxi get them from hotel taxi ranks and use pre-paid taxis at airports. Try to avoid hailing taxis on the street. Some cities (including Delhi and Chennai) have special taxi services for women with women drivers
                                      - If you’re being collected at the airport by a driver make sure they have properly identified themselves before you set off.
                                      - When leaving your compartment on overnight trains (ie. going to the bathroom), ask a male travel companion to accompany you where possible

                                      For further information and advice, visit:
                                      www.gov.uk/government/policies/supporting-british-nationals-overseas/supporting-pages/advice-for-women-travellers
                                      www.smartraveller.gov.au/tips/women.html

                                      http://www.intrepidtravel.com/women-safety-india

                                      FESTIVALS - HOLI & DIWALI:
                                      Travelling in India and Nepal during Holi can at times be unsafe - drinking and drug use is more widespread during this holiday. Your leader/guide will advise your group on what places to avoid on the day.
                                      It may be necessary to alter your itinerary for the day.

                                      Diwali (a lunar festival generally held from mid October to mid November every year) is celebrated by local people letting off fireworks in the street. It can be very noisy for several days with extra pollution caused by fireworks. As there are no restrictions on buying fireworks in India there are often injuries caused by people exploding them inappropriately.
                                      During this festival your leader/guide may be required to alter your itinerary to avoid large crowds gathering and using fireworks.

                                      PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
                                      While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

                                      HERITAGE HOTELS:
                                      On this trip you will be staying in some heritage hotels and traditional guesthouses, and these are one of the charms of this trip, but occasionally staircases, balconies and passages etc don't always comply with western safety standards. Please don't expect elevators in these properties as they are preserved to their original state.

                                      TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
                                      Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!

                                      SEAT BELTS:
                                      Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

                                      LIFE JACKETS:
                                      While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.
                                      Joining point
                                      Hotel Pooja Palace
                                      15A/11 WEA Puja Park
                                      Karol Bagh
                                      New Delhi
                                      110005
                                      INDIA
                                      Phone: +91 1125745275
                                      Joining point description
                                      Located in the Karol Bagh market area, surrounded by a mix of local stalls, shops and restaurants, as well as some western shops. It is only a 25 minute ride by auto rickshaw (INR70-80 with bargaining) to get to the heart of Delhi, Connaught Place. Rooms are equipped with AC, TV, fridge and telephone. There is a restaurant and 24 hour room service. Luggage storage and safe deposit facilities are also available at the hotel.
                                      www.hotelpoojapalace.com
                                      Joining point instructions
                                      Delhi's Indira Gandhi's International Airport is approximately 25km from Karol Bagh. One of the biggest airports in the world, it can be quite chaotic and can take some time to process your visa and collect your luggage.

                                      The taxi ride from the airport to our starting point hotel takes approx 1 hour and costs between INR 500 - 600 (prepaid traffic police booths).
                                      IMPORTANT: Please avoid taxi touts who tell you that they have a metered taxi parked outside the airport. Previous passengers have complained that they have been charged hefty amount for the transfers.

                                      The Delhi metro is another option from the airport. Trains depart between approx 5am and 11:30pm, the trip takes approx. 45 mins and costs around INR100. Please refer to the metro map for lines, changes and directions to Karol Bagh where most of our hotels are located. http://delhimetrorail.info/delhi-metro-map

                                      Intrepid offer a pre-arranged transfer service option. Enquire with your agent and advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your trip departure. If you have purchased an arrival transfer you will be met in the arrivals hall after clearing customs, your representative with sign board will be standing near the Costa Coffee next to gate no 5.

                                      Please do not exit the gates, Costa coffee is just before the exit gate no.5.

                                      If you have any problems and cannot locate our representative, or if your flight is delayed please call the following 24 hour numbers:
                                      +91 9911 972 636
                                      +91 9999 916 229

                                      If you do not have a mobile phone, there are public phones next to Costa Coffee. Calls cost 1 rupee per minute

                                      Failing the above please take a taxi to the hotel (using the instructions below) and advise your group leader. When you walk out of the exit door, you will easily be able to spot popular metered taxi counters such as Meru Cabs/Mega Cabs or Easy Cabs, show them your drop location and pay them as per the meter once you get to your hotel.

                                      Check in time at hotel is 12 midday.
                                      Finish point
                                      Hotel Pooja Palace
                                      15A/11 WEA Puja Park
                                      Karol Bagh
                                      New Delhi
                                      110005
                                      INDIA
                                      Phone: +91 1125745275
                                      Finish point description
                                      Located in the Karol Bagh market area, surrounded by a mix of local stalls, shops and restaurants, as well as some western shops. It is only a 25 minute ride by auto rickshaw (INR70-80 with bargaining) to get to the heart of Delhi, Connaught Place. Rooms are equipped with AC, TV, fridge and telephone. There is a restaurant and 24 hour room service. Luggage storage and safe deposit facilities are also available at the hotel.
                                      www.hotelpoojapalace.com
                                      Finishing point instructions
                                      A pre-booked departure transfer to the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 15 days prior to your trip start date. If you plan to stay longer, this departure transfer can only be offered in conjunction with post-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.

                                      Delhi's Indira Gandhi's International Airport is approximately 25km from Karol Bagh. One of the biggest airports in the world, it can be quite chaotic.

                                      A taxi to the airport takes about 1 hour and should cost between 450 -500INR. Hotel reception or your leader can help you arrange a taxi.

                                      A local social enterprise, Sakha Wings, runs an all-women taxi service which provides extra peace of mind and security for solo women travellers. To book at taxi with them, call +927 870 8888 or register on their website http://sakhaconsultingwings.com/hire-a-cab.php

                                      Before check in you must have your check in luggage x-rayed and sealed. Also ensure at check in that your hand luggage is tagged. (This is a mandatory in order to clear security.)

                                      Check-out time from the hotel is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.
                                      Emergency contact
                                      For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us

                                      For transfers and accommodation issues, Intrepid's India office can be reached on their 24 hour numbers:
                                      +91 9599 914 852 or +91 9999 005 019

                                      In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on: +91 9599 914 852

                                      While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

                                      We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

                                      You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

                                      India Ops: +91 9599 914 852, +91 9999 005 019
                                      Visas
                                      Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                                      INDIA:

                                      An E-Tourist Visa (eVT) Facility is available for holders of a passport for a number of countries. This facility allows travellers to pre-register and pay for their visa prior to travel to India. The Visa is collected upon arrival at one of 16 designated airports in India. Please note strict guidelines on the below website.

                                      https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html

                                      An E-Tourist Visa (eVT) visa on arrival is available for select nationalities including but not limited to the following

                                      Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, German, UK and USA passports.

                                      Passport holders from these countries can apply for an E-Tourist Visa (eVT) to have their visa issued upon arrival at 16 major airports in India.

                                      Please follow the instructions at - https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html and complete the application for your E-Tourist Visa.

                                      - Please be aware of strict conditions regarding application and travel (check under ELIGIBILITY section).

                                      - E-visas are only available for entry of up to 30 days. If you plan to be in India longer you will need to apply for a tourist visa at an Indian visa application centre in your home country.

                                      - Please note that travellers entering India overland from Nepal are required to apply for a visa in advance their home country. Visas will not be issued on the Nepal/Indian border.

                                      - The E-Tourist Visa DOES NOT apply to travellers entering India overland. Please check your trip notes if you are crossing a border between India and Nepal.

                                      - Indian visas are difficult and time consuming to obtain in Nepal.

                                      Tourist visas are available in Single and Multiple Entry. Be sure to check the date you require a visa from and the length of time you will need to cover, especially if you change countries during your trip.

                                      For your visa application you need to include the following information under the local contact section towards the end of the application. :

                                      PEAK India
                                      25/3 East Patel Nagar
                                      New Delhi 110008
                                      Phone: +91 11 4500 6400

                                      Please note that this information can change at any time. Please always refer to https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html . This is the official visa online site. There have been reports of other non-official websites that travellers should be aware of.
                                      What to take
                                      What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).

                                      Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

                                      Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

                                      http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/trips/packinglist.pdf

                                      TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT
                                      It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary that your luggage gets stowed separately (and unattended). The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers, for when it comes to travelling on local buses and trains it's often only the smaller bags that will fit into the storage areas inside the bus or your cabin. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.

                                      LUGGAGE STORAGE
                                      Where Intrepid covers the cost of luggage storage during included day trips, we allow for one bag/backpack only, so it's advisable that you travel lightly and keep luggage to a limit of one item (plus your day pack). Extra luggage storage will be at your own expense.

                                      SLEEPING BAG:
                                      While a sleeping bag is not compulsory for this tour, many travellers have found one useful for camping, overnight trains and poorly heated hotels, particularly during the winter months of Dec/Jan when temperatures are low.

                                      WATER BOTTLE:
                                      Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.

                                      IMAGES FROM HOME:
                                      During our trip there will be many opportunities for you to meet and talk with locals. One way to start any conversation is with pictures. We recommend that you bring some photos / postcards of your family, home, city or country where you live, animals peculiar to your country etc.

                                      PASSPORT COPY:
                                      Please bring a photocopy of your passport main page and airline ticket if you will require airline reconfirmation at the end of your trip.

                                      WARM CLOTHING:
                                      It comes as a surprise to many travellers that India can be cold (ie. below zero!) during winter (particularly Dec/Jan), even in some cities and even when not at high altitudes. Make sure you are prepared for the weather during these months by bringing adequately warm clothes with you, including thermal underclothes and an appropriate jacket. Many hotels in India do not have central heating, so a warmer set of clothes to sleep in has also been recommended by our past travellers.
                                      Health
                                      All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

                                      You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
                                      Travel insurance
                                      Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

                                      When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

                                      If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

                                      http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
                                      A couple of rules
                                      Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

                                      Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
                                      Responsible Travel
                                      We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.

                                      http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

                                      LOCAL DRESS:
                                      Dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees by wearing sleeves and long trousers. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in areas of predominantly hot climate. In many rural areas women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.

                                      The Intrepid Foundation
                                      Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

                                      The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

                                      http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

                                      Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in India include:

                                      * Pollinate Energy is a social business with a simple mission – to improve the lives of India’s urban poor by giving them access to affordable, clean energy products. Pollinate identifies and trains local people, their Pollinators, who have provided solar lights and cook stoves to over 8,000 families and counting.
                                      pollinateenergy.org

                                      * Asha Ka Jharna (AKJ) provides services to disabled children and adults. They run three special schools, currently assisting around 160 children, and an old-age home for the short-stay of elderly people. AJK also provides vocational training, participates in diagnostic camps and distributes aids and appliances to physically disabled persons.
                                      ashakajharna.org/

                                      For more information, or to make a donation please visit: www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/?projectcountry=india

                                      Feedback
                                      After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

                                      http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback

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