India, Nepal and Sri Lanka epitomize the fundamental reasons we travel – to experience the unfamiliar, to meet and learn from other societies, and to encounter a world far removed from our own.
India is surprising, impressive, daunting, compelling – an endlessly fascinating puzzle; and few countries can match India’s frenetic pace and boundless energy. It is the very definition of contrast – at once mystical and ever practical. It is infinitely patient while at the same time rushing headlong into the high-tech world of the future. It has the some of the world’s oldest cities and areas of great natural beauty from the lush tea plantations at the foot of the Himalayas, to the ancient limestone caves at Borra.
The grand sweep of human history is carved across the face of India; and nowhere has religion played a more important role in the culture and society of a people than here. Ancient Buddhist monasteries, the rock caves of Ellora and Ajanta, and the more than 3,000 marble caves in the hills of Shatrunjaya, all attest to the power of man’s beliefs.
There are also national parks to explore, the great Thar Desert to discover and the lazy backwaters of Kerala to enjoy.
India’s palaces, heritage hotels and desert camps offer astonishing India tours in luxury. The raucous bazaars of Mumbai and Delhi, rare royal Bengal tigers, the romantic Taj Mahal, and the warmth of the Indian people capture your heart and imagination.
India shares a border with Nepal, which sets quite a different pace with its isolated hamlets, Buddhist stupas draped with prayer flags, and a way of life that, in many areas, seems almost immune to modernity. It is a trekker’s paradise with eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including the highest point on the planet, Mount Everest. It also is home to the medieval city of Bhaktapur.
The Royal Chitwan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers a rare chance to glimpse the endangered royal Bengal tiger, rare one-horned rhinoceros or golden monitor lizard in the dwindling wilderness.
The tiny island nation of Sri Lanka sits in the Indian Ocean southwest of the Bay of Bengal. Sri Lanka is experiencing a positive renaissance following the end of some three decades of unrest. A boom in infrastructure development in both rural and urban centers across the island, including new development projects by major hotels, is helping the country to, once again, attract interest from international travelers.
Sri Lanka is home to eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites- the ancient cities of Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya; the sacred cities of Anuradhapura and Kandy; Dambulla’s Golden Temple; the old town of Galle; Sinharaja Forest Reserve; and the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka.
The country has 24 parks that support wildlife, which includes elephants, leopards, sloth bears, deer as well as reptiles such as vipers and crocodiles. More than 400 bird species have been identified here. Sinharaja Rainforest and Peak Wilderness Sanctuary offer exceptional bird watching opportunities.
Together or separately, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka present a tantalizing menu of unique travel and tour experiences.
India: A Northern Adventure 11 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Adventure Travel, Recommended
Starting Price: $7,150
Experience India’s first luxury mobile tented camp in stunning high latitude settings while exploring the towns and villages of the northern province of Ladakh. On this journey, you can participate in a traditional sunrise prayer ceremony at a monastery and explore Nubra Valley and the village of Turtuk, the only place in India where you can witness the centuries-old Balti culture. Experience the Ganges at sunset and witness the Aarti Ceremony at Parmarth Niketan. Explore the striking spiritual ambience found in Haridwar.
President’s Pick: India 14 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Adventure Travel, Recommended
Starting Price: $12,600
“I’ve traveled to the furthest corners of India ever since I was a child, and have always been in love with the country, its history, and its politics. For a long time now, I have felt that India had all the tools to be truly great, if it would just get out of its own way. That applies especially to tourism. For years, every commercial and magazine article talked about palaces and grand monuments. All integral parts of India, however, hardly the complete story. I began to look for community involvement – an integral component to the equation of authenticity. I was disappointed with the answers I received. Where was the value, where was the authenticity? Many seemed reluctant to explore new ideas. I want to introduce you to the India I know such as in this itinerary where we take you to Haridwar, closer to the source of the sacred Ganges River, where the water flows clean. You witness an aarti ceremony in the evening along the river, where prayer ceremonies are performed with passion, not for tourism’s sake. Indeed, you’ll find few tourists here. This is the authentic North India I want to share with you.”
The Silken Thread – Tribal Connections 18 Days Inspired Expeditions Interest(s): Safari Tours, Adventure Travel
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Step off the well known trails to carve out a one-of-a-kind travel experience that is uniquely yours, Northeast India is home to more than 200 ethnic groups, each with its own tribal language. This journey takes you into villages rarely visited and offers a wealth of cultural encounters with traditional people who still operate under the tribal system. Most of these people can trace their history directly back to Southern China, which you will see in their faces and in their handed-down traditions.
Heritage of a Nation 13 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel
Starting Price: $9,530
This adventure is unlike a typical India tour. On this journey, you have the rare opportunity to experience an ancient Hindu festival in Haridwar - the wildly colorful spectacle of Ardh Kumbh Mela, a festival that rotates to one of four destinations in India, Your journey will be tailored around one of the seven sacred bathing dates (see Day 4). You will discover the rich heritage of a nation, and savor the spiritual ambience found in Haridwar and its Hindu temples and ashrams. Witness the sacred Ganges River during a twilight Ganga aarti ceremony. Enjoy ride on a local train. Explore the great global cities of Delhi and Mumbai. You will leave India with a greater understanding of this vast, ancient and complex land.
India – Saving Tigers 12 Days Precious Journeys™ Interest(s): Safari Tours, Adventure Travel, Family Travel, Recommended
Starting Price: $5,350
Explore India's natural wonders on this dynamic family adventure that includes learning to be a junior naturalist with stays in luxury tented camps. Track tigers and sloth bears and so much more.
India 12 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Adventure Travel, Family Travel
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Explore the desert kingdoms and historic cultures of India's Rajasthan
Northeast India, Sikkim & Bhutan 14 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Adventure Travel, Family Travel
Starting Price: $8,695
Discover the famous tea plantations of Darjeeling and Glenburn, and the historic monasteries and fortresses of Bhutan.
Deserts of North India 17 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel
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Discover North India's desert and its cultures, wildlife and powerful Mughal architecture.
Sri Lanka Adventure 16 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Adventure Travel, Recommended
Starting Price: $5,680
Sri Lanka is multi-faceted destination with historic cultures and adventures from whitewater rafting to forest trekking.
India – Gujarat & Karnataka 17 Days New Reality Interest(s): Safari Tours, Adventure Travel
Starting Price: $8,490
This journey explores one of the oldest world religions, Jainism. The adventure also celebrates the home state, Gujarat, of India's newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Custom India, Nepal & Sri Lanka Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s): Safari Tours, Adventure Travel
Starting Price: $5,600
Experience India's ancient civilizations, Nepal's dramatic mountains and Sri Lanka's island culture.
South India 17 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel, Family Travel
Starting Price: $8,350
Enjoy the rich variety South India has to offer from high-tech Bangalore, to the wildlife haven of Nagarhole National Park. Take in Chikmagalur, an important Jain pilgrimage center with its colossal, 10th-century statue of Gomateshwara. Experience the quiet charm of Mysore’s verdant gardens, tree-lined boulevards and sacred temples, and savor an overnight river cruise on the backwaters of Kerala on your own private, traditional houseboat.
North India 13 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Adventure Travel
Starting Price: $6,690
North India presents a remarkable wealth of culture, history, heritage and majestic architecture to explore.
Speed Collection India 16 Days New Reality Interest(s): Adventure Travel
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