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The Best of India: Treasures of the North and South

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Road Scholar
Program #18716RJ
21 Days | 20 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Discussion Board

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Mazel Pernell Mar 21, 2015 at 06:10 PM

I read a number of posts on this board about getting the India visa and wanted to share my own experience. Even though I'm booked on the October 19 Best of India departure, I wanted to start the process early just in case I ran into delays as some others have mentioned.
In the USA, the Indian embassy has outsourced visa processing to Cox and Kings Global Services LLC (CKGS) which has an office in Washington, DC that is convenient to where I live. I logged onto the CKGS site at http://www.in.ckgs.us/ and completed the Visa Application Form. To avoid penmanship issues, I downloaded the forms with the Adobe reader and typed the information directly into the form. I double and triple checked my input to insure that I had provided all of the requested information. After printing the form, I signed it in every space requiring a signature and keeping the signature within the space allowed. Using the provided Checklist, I ensured that I compiled all required forms and copies. Two copies of the ticked checklist must be included in the application package.
I made an appointment online for Tuesday morning. During my 11:00 am appointment I delivered the application package along with my passport to the WDC office. I was finished and on my way out of the office by 11:10 am. The entire staff was efficient and extremely friendly. By mid-afternoon that day, I received an email stating that my application had been forwarded to the Indian Embassy. On Thursday I received another email that my visa and passport had been picked up by FedEx. They were delivered to my home on Friday. Four days from start to finish far exceeded my expectations.
Just a few other thoughts – 1) Even though the application process shows a one year visa option, CKGS informed me that the embassy does not offer a year visa. Since I had applied more than six months before my travel date, I opted to get a five year visa rather than fill out the forms again and coming back in a couple of months as would be required to obtain a six month visa. 2) If you’re not near one of the CKGS offices, the application package can be delivered to them and/or returned to you via FedEx for a reasonable price. Instructions and office addresses are on the CKGS site. 3) All fees including the FedEx delivery fee can be paid online at the CKGS site. Be sure to print copies of all payment receipts.
Good luck to all choosing to step out on your own to obtain your visa. With a great deal of attention to details, the process can be quick and painless.

Mazel Pernell Mar 16, 2015 at 09:55 PM

I'm traveling solo on the October 19 Best of India departure and looking for a roommate. I'm an active 67 year old female tennis player who has traveled to all seven continents and more than 50 countries. Until two years ago I traveled mostly solo and independent. Then I discovered Road Scholar. They do all the planning and do it well, all at a reasonable price. This will be my fourth RS tour but definitely not my last. If you're also looking for a roommate, please contact me directly at mvpernell@gmail.com.

Susan Friedman Mar 16, 2015 at 08:05 PM

My husband and I (73,71) are old India hands but have never been on a tour together. We are considering the new trip to Sri Lanka and Southern India next Feb., but would like to hear first how some of you feel about a group of 24? I went alone on an OAT tour whose max was 16, and 24 sounds like a lot. We also wonder if anyone familiar with India travel can tell us how good a job Road Scholar does.
-Susan Friedman
Susan Baker Mar 16, 2015 at 10:12 PM

We have used OAT and Road Scholar for travel and, hands down, Road Scholar consistently offers an outstanding experience -- excellent speakers and lecturers, more activities, great educational value and definately a better value for what you pay. I do like the smaller OAT groups; there were 25 on our recent India trip and it worked out very well. Our Indian guide was outstanding. We are still marveling over all that we saw and learned.
Susan Friedman Mar 18, 2015 at 06:24 PM

Thanks, Susan Baker. We have signed up for the trip because of your helpful words.

Theodore Wendel Feb 06, 2015 at 03:15 PM

My wife (Joanne) and I (Ted) just registered for the October 13 thru November 2, 2015 trip. India has been our our must see list for some time. Would like to hear from others going these dates.

Frederick Cowles Jan 30, 2015 at 05:52 PM

We're enrolled in March 17-April 4th program and working on visas. Road Scholars suggested Gen Visa, but they tell me they need EIGHT WEEKS (no longer enough time) and it costs extra. Gen Visa suggests we do it in person in NYC, but even that approach requires giving up possesion of our passports for several days and at least two trips into the City. The Indian government promotes an on-line "visas on arrival" approach available for US citizens arriving in Delhi (our case), and we don't give up passports. Anybody out there taking this approach, or successfully (or not)doing it on previous trips with Road Scholar? Fred Cowles
Minna Greene Jan 30, 2015 at 11:36 PM

No, I am using GEn Visa and had to pay extra to speed up the process.. I haven't received my visa and passport back yet.
Minna Greene Jan 30, 2015 at 11:36 PM

Yvonne Porter Feb 01, 2015 at 09:32 AM

Yvonne Porter Feb 01, 2015 at 09:39 AM

I just got home from this program (1/9-29, 2015), and did the visa in the fall. I used GenVisa (and you still have to do the online visa app to get the paperwork to send to GenVisa), but I was very careful to be accurate with my application and had my passport back with the visa in approx 3 weeks. GenVisa was very helpful over the phone answering my pre-app questions, and emailed the tracking info for when they sent me back my passport. I did not expedite (since I did this in October and had plenty of time). I don't know if I hit them in a quiet time but I had no problems, nor did I hear of any from my group. Personally, I would not do the 'at airport' option, having now been through the bureacacy and lines at the Delhi airport - I wouldn't add another layer of paperwork to be done onsite.
Minna Greene Feb 01, 2015 at 07:01 PM

Three weeks. That is amazing. I sent Gen Visa my visa application on December 22nd along with $265 to expedite the process and I still have not received my passport and visa . I plan to call them again next week. Minna Greene

Minna Greene Jan 23, 2015 at 10:22 AM

I wondered if anyone going on the February 20th trip to India was leaving from Ohare Airport in Chicago. It would be fun to connect.
Don Janke Feb 16, 2015 at 10:13 AM

Yes, we are going on the Feb. 20th trip leaving from Chicago O'Hare. We live in Michigan.

mark wiger Jan 20, 2015 at 02:32 PM

Preparing for the program begining January 31, 2015 I would like to use my cell phone with a sim card purchased in Delhi. It sounds like I need to provide documentation and there may be several days turn around time to complete the process. Has anyone had experience with this? Is it possible for Road Scholar (or perhaps the Delhi hotel) to assist allowing me to get a head start on the application process?

Linda Kime Jan 13, 2015 at 05:52 PM

There are four times when we have a home-hosted meal. Should we bring hostess gifts (as is done in OAT and GCT)?
Mary Ellen Lyons Jan 14, 2015 at 03:20 PM

Gifts are not expected at all, yet if you care to bring I am sure they would be graciously received by the hostess.
Ignazio Macaluso Jan 14, 2015 at 04:28 PM

Yes, as Mary explained, you can bring them a gift if you want to, but it is not expected and please don't feel obligated.

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Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

at no additional cost on this date ...
18 nights of accommodations
48 meals: 17 breakfasts, 15 lunches, 16 dinners
15 Expert-led lectures
21 Field trips
7 Hands-on experiences
1 Performances
1 Flights during the program


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