So, September is almost halfway gone, and I’m still at home. I can’t wait until it’s safe (and possible!) to travel again. As many of you know, I help take care of my parents, so I’m definitely living with “at-risk” family members…I have to be extra careful. As of September 1, I’ve been in quarantine for six months…I began my quarantine on March 1, the day after I arrived back from a trip to Walt Disney World, followed by 3 days of work training in Virginia Beach. I would love to return to either destination right now! I’m going a bit stir-crazy, I must say.
During this time, when I haven’t been re-scheduling or canceling trips for my clients (I am a travel agent, you know!) I’ve been learning about new destinations; continuing training with the vendors I plan to work with going forward (I and the agency I work with now have a list of vendors that we will never work with again, thanks to their incredibly short-sighted Covid-19 refund policies); and along the way, discovering new destinations that I would like to explore.
I’m not sure why India is screaming at me “Come Visit!”. India has never been on my Bucket List…in fact, it was probably one of those destinations that I thought that I would never visit. I think that one of the reasons I want to visit now is because India seems so exotic. I want to leave and go somewhere completely different, I’m really tired of visiting Winn Dixie & CVS. I’ve been cooped up way too long…I need to explore. India seems like an excellent place to begin my post Covid-19 travel life. India is an exotic part of the world, unlike any destination I’ve visited.
Another reason is that the more I read about this destination, the more I want to see it for myself. Recently, while researching a trip to Morocco for a client, I happened upon a tour going to India. I read all about that tour, and down the rabbit hole I went. I found four tours of India from four different suppliers, and I’m pretty sure that I have settled on the one that I want to do. For this trip to India, I’m going with Globus Tours. They have been doing guided tours for over 90 years (You can read a bit about them here), and this tour has everything that I think I want to see while in India. Since, this will probably be a once-in-a-lifetime trip, I definitely want to throw all things “India” into this trip that has ever interested me. Most of the tours that I found do not visit the Ganges River. For me, I couldn’t justify a trip to the Indian Sub-Continent without seeing the Ganges in person. I vividly remember studying about this river in my 8th grade Social Studies class. I never imagined that I would someday visit!
How do you express your eternal devotion to the love of your life? Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan enlisted the help of more than 20,000 workers and 1,000 elephants to erect a towering white marble mausoleum in honor of his wife who died during childbirth. A sunrise visit to the magnificent Taj Mahal, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, will more than likely be just the beginning of my love affair with India. The itinerary I’m looking at will visit Agra & the Taj Mahal on the fourth day in India. It is sure to be a memorable day!
Day One: Welcome to India! Hotel check-in available mid-afternoon.
Day Two: DELHI Orientation drive includes the Red Fort, Jama Masjid, India Gate, and the Presidential Palace. Rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk, Delhi’s famous bazaar. Visit to Qutub Minar. Welcome dinner includes an Indian cooking demonstration with a local chef. (Breafast, Lunch & Dinner included)
Day Three: DELHI Visits to Humayun’s Tomb and Gurudwara Bangla Sahib. Afternoon drive to Agra. AGRA Free time this evening. (Breakfast & Lunch included)
Day Four: AGRA Sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal and visit to Agra Fort. Visit a marble workshop. Free time this afternoon and this evening. Optional Tour: Enhance your free time in Agra with a tour of the ancient village of Kachhpura. (Breakfast included)
Day Five: AGRA Visit to Fatehpur Sikri (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
BHARATPUR Train trip to Ranthambore National Park.
RANTHAMBORE NATIONAL PARK Free time this evening. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included)
Day Six: RANTHAMBORE NATIONAL PARK Morning and afternoon game drives in search of the elusive Bengal tiger, leopard, sambar deer, sloth bears, marsh crocodiles, striped hyena, and more. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included)
Day Seven: RANTHAMBORE NATIONAL PARK Morning game drive. JAIPUR Free time this afternoon before dinner in a local Indian noble family home with sari- and turban-tying demonstration. (Breakfast & Dinner included)
Day Eight: JAIPUR Visits to Amber Fort, City Palace and its museum, Jantar Mantar, and Hawa Mahal. Free time this afternoon before a farewell dinner. (Breakfast & Dinner included)
Day Nine: JAIPUR Free time this morning before flying to Delhi.
DELHI Free time this evening.
Day Ten: DELHI Fly to Varanasi. VARANASI Guided sightseeing to witness the Ganga Aarti (spiritual worship) on the ghats (steps) leading down to the Ganger River. (Breakfast included)
Day Eleven: VARANASI Sunrise boat ride to watch local religious ritual—the Hindus’ devotional bathing in the Ganges. Free time this afternoon. (Breakfast included)
Day Twelve: VARANASI Free time this morning before flying back to Delhi.
DELHI Free time this evening. (Breakfast included)
Day Thirteen: DELHI Your tour ends with breakfast this morning.
Please note that some flights depart Delhi very early in the morning. In these cases, breakfast is not included on Day 13, and you will need to depart for the airport the prior evening (Day 12) or just after midnight (Day 13).
For me, this tour checks off all of my “India Must-Dos”. In no particular order, here is my Bucket List for India:
- Taj Mahal
- Tiger Safari
- Boat ride on the Ganges River
- spiritual worship of the Ganga Aarti
- travel by train in India
- The Red City of Fatehpur Sikri
- Rickshaw Ride
The Taj Mahal is one of the most recognizable iconic scenes in the world. Read this article for some really cool facts about India’s most iconic mausoleum.
RANTHAMBORE NATIONAL PARK
Ranthambore National Park is one of the biggest and most renowned national parks in Northern India. The park is located in the Sawai Madhopur district of southeastern Rajasthan, which is about 130 km from Jaipur.
Once considered as one of the famous and former hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur, today the Ranthambore National Park terrain is a major wildlife tourist attraction that has drawn the attention of many wildlife photographers and lovers.
My eighth-grade self would not allow me to visit India without seeing the Ganges. The Ganges, is a great river of the plains of the northern Indian subcontinent. Although officially as well as popularly called the Ganga in Hindi and in other Indian languages, internationally it is known by its conventional name, the Ganges. From time immemorial it has been the holy river of Hinduism.
One of the things that I kind of remember from my 8th grade Social Studies class was the Ganga Aarti…confession time…I had totally forgotten about this until I read about it in the itinerary description…then boom! I was back in the classroom at Adamson Junior High in Rex, Georgia. I’ve forgotten my teacher’s name (it will probably come to me about 3AM), but I remember a lot of the lessons he taught us about world destinations. Sometimes, I think education is lost on youth! The Ganga Aarti is the daily ceremony that takes place every evening to offer prayers to the sacred river Ganga . Thousands gather here every evening for this ritual event.
I’ve always wanted to travel by train, and it seems like this would be so cool to travel by train (for a short duration) in India. This may be in part because I recently watched the Wes Anderson movie, The Darjeeling Limited. If you haven’t seen this, it’s a fascinating and odd film about three brothers traveling by train to visit their mother. Traveling by train to Ranthambore National Park seems like an exciting journey!
Fatehpur Sikri in India is a red sandstone city that was once the extravagant capital of the Mughal Empire in the 16th Century, Fatehpur Sikri now stands deserted as a well preserved ghost town. It was mysteriously abandoned not long after it was established but remains as one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture in India.
This tour seems like a wonderful way to get away from the boredom, drudgery & isolation of the Covid-19 Quarantine. I’m planning to place a deposit on this trip as soon as borders begin to open up, and I feel it’s safe enough to leave Vero Beach, Florida! Thankfully, even if things haven’t changed drastically, this Globus tour is limited to an average of just twenty guests per departure. With this size group, there will be room to roam with extra space between me and other travelers—while still getting up close and personal to the experiences I’ve been dreaming of. At Globus, their Small-Group Discoveries include all the features of a traditional Globus escorted tour, complete with expert Tour Director, Driver, and Local Guides who ensure that your health and safety is their top priority. This Small-Group Discovery vacation is the perfectly sized tour.
If you’d like to travel to India (or anywhere else!) just give me a shout! I’d love to help you turn one of your Bucket List destinations from “Some Day” to “Today”!
Now, I think I’ll travel to India the only way that is currently possible, by watching a movie….I’m off to watch “Slumdog Millionaire”. If you haven’t seen this, hunt it down!