18716
India

The Best of India: Treasures of the North and South

Dive into the vibrant culture of India, discovering its grand cities, sacred monuments and exquisite gardens on this unique academic adventure.
Rating (4.98)
Program No. 18716RJ
Length
22 days
Starts at
3,999
Flights start at
1,050
64 Reviews
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4.98 Average
Molly
(5)

Just returned from India North and South. Excellent trip, superior tour guides, bus drivers and assistants, above average accomodations. Food was divine! If your going to India, go north and south for the full experience.

Fehema
(5)

Shagzil Khan was a great group leader and instructor This was a trip of a lifetime and was very fulfilling. I didn't want it to end.

Shari
(5)

India is a treasure trove of culture, geography, arts, people, animals, and beauty. The country far exceeded my expectations. Shagzil Khan brought India to life for us with his expertise and personality.

Ellen
(5)

This tour exceeded my expectations. From the crowded streets of the market in Delhi, to the beauty of the Taj Mahal and the tranquility of the Kerala backwaters, India is a study in contrasts. Our guide, Anurag, was extremely knowledgeable and enriched our experience with his commentary. He was ever patient, professional and solved ever minor problem that arose with grace. Most of all, I came away with a sense of the warm, friendly people of this beautiful country. Our group had such a good time! This is the fourth Road Scholar trip I have taken. Each has wonderful, but the variety of experiences on this trip was exceptional. Highly recommend!

William
(5)

When one reaches one's seventies, it is tempting to spend time complaining about what's wrong with the world today. It is refreshing to report that one of the things that's clearly RIGHT with the world today is ROAD SCHOLAR.

Marcia
(5)

Being the 2nd traveler in the household I didn't get the opportunity to review the trip formally. I know now that I should have provided my email for that opportunity. Nonetheless: What Was Great: 1. The Trip Leader. Like most things in life, the interaction of knowledgeable, intelligent, organized and approachable individual makes the difference. Jayanta Kar was our trip leader; I don’t think a better exponent of India is available. With minor exception, we left on time, we arrived on time, we saw what we were supposed to see and came away awed. This was our first interaction with RS and I fear that his performance set such a high bar that we can never get better than this! He also laughed at my jokes which made him an exceptional companion. He gets a 10 out of 10 2. The Accommodations. For the most part, we were booked into 4- or 5-star hotels. The staff was welcoming, the rooms clean and quiet, and the physical arrangements easy to get around. One downside was that for those of us who lack dietary discretion, the menu plan was almost always all-you-can-eat buffet of well-prepared, delicious local, western & international cuisines. I felt obliged to sample it all. Fortunately, there was a bit of elastic in my trouser waistband. 3. The Tour Schedule. India is a big country (and, as we learned) which is, in truth, really many nations with 6+ millennia of history before the USA was even discovered that have only recently come together as one. The schedule was ambitious but doable. Interweaving urban & rural historic & fun was well thought out. We could have used more time! I highly recommend this tour. 4. Pre-Trip Recommended Reading. I was not enticed by the suggested reading list. Although I am not a speedy reader I elected to read a concise (600 pg) history of India and it was challenging but very rewarding to read about it and walk through it at the same time. The book was "India: A History" by John Keay (Grove Press).

Louise
(5)

Every thing "clicked" beginning with the relief of seeing the Road Scholar greeter waving the welcome sign at the Delhi Airport (our flight from Dulles was 18 hours late) to our raucous farewell dinner during which we shared many surprising and exciting spontaneous experiences not described in the program material. Road Scholar has mastered the logistics and components of the Trip. And our Guide wonderfully contributed to the process of bringing us all together as "family." India is joyfully alive. Should it beckon you in the slightest don't hesitate...just GO.

William
(5)

The tour of India was extremely will lead and managed

Greg
(5)

The Best of India: Treasures of the North and South was an outstanding Road Scholar Adventure. It provided us with a very thorough look at the beautiful country of India. The pace was appropriate, the sights were fantastic, the people in our small group were very friendly. Mostly though the success of the experience is due largely to our exceptional tour leader Shagzil Khan. He made the trip so enlightening and interesting. We both came away with a better understanding of India's culture, people, history and will tell everyone we know that it is worth a visit. Thank you Shagzil for a fantastic experience sharing your beautiful country with us.

Lawrence
(5)

A very diverse tour of a very diverse country! Tuktuk and bike-rickshaw tours of chaotic cities and a relaxing river cruise of a jungle backwater. The famous sites: Taj Mahal, Temples, Mosques, Forts, Museums; and also the less famous sites: local villages and school, and visiting with local residents -- even helping cook dinner after first shopping in local markets. Five-star accommodations and great food; opportunities for shopping (souvenirs or heirlooms); and time to relax or explore on one's own. It's all amazing!

Robert
(5)

Very interesting sites, great accommodations and meals, our primary tour leader was outstanding, and our other local guides were very knowledge. All transfers, hotel registrations, meal reservations, entrances to sites, pickups by our bus/rickshaws/tuk-tuks/jeeps, even our camel carts ran like clockwork - allowing us to focus on enjoying the trip. My favorite activities included: the Taj Mahal & the Baby Taj, our visit to the Sikh Temple, the Home Hosted dinners, the Clement Village Retreat, Abhaneri Step Wells, Somnathpur Temple, Mysore Palace, the spice plantation, and of course the Kerala houseboats. So much to see, learn and experience.

Janet
(5)

Five star trip! This trip was exceptionally well planned and executed by Road Scholar. We were educated and amazed and pampered. The trip leader Jayanta was exceptional. The food was tasty, and at times dangerously fire hot, but there were always milder choices and no one ever went hungry or unsatisfied. Western style toilet were always available. A quality comfortable face mask for Delhi and Agra pollution is nice to have. Take along an open mind, extra storage room on your camera, extra suitcase space for the delightful things you will want to buy. Leave your politics at home and you will have a delightful time. I only wish I had bought more from the street vendors working for their livings.

Joy
(5)

This programme may look expensive, but for all the things it includes it is a bargain. For anyone who is nervous about going to India, don't worry - the guide takes excellent care of you. Our guide, Jayanta, was absolutely the best

Erika
(5)

This tour, the north and south of India, was incredible, largely owing to an outstanding tour guide, Shagzil. He is an intelligent, quick-witted, well-organized, humorous story teller who has a vast knowledge of Indian history, religions, politics and culture. We always felt well taken care of, as we traveled to so many wonderful places and had so many different and interesting experiences. An exceptional tour!!!

Luis
(5)

I can not imagine a better way to visit India for the first time. The Program provides high quality lectures, accomodartions, transportation and meals. All major concerns are managed by well trained persons. The guide we had was outstanding.

Richard
(5)

The quality, variety, and number of experiences included in The Best Of India exceeded my wildest expectations. From the bustle and chaos of Delhi to the serene Kerala Backwaters, from Pink City Jaipur to a spice plantation, from the dust, noise, and litter to the perfection of the Taj Mahal, India is full of fascinating contradictions. There were temple, mosque, synagogue, and church visits along with house, school, village, and factory visits. We traveled by bus, pedicab, Jeep, cab, camel cart, plane, train, tul tuk and boat. Eco Lodges were a welcome respite from the intensity of the exciting cities. The curious and interesting Road Scholar participants added to the overall experience. Leading throughout and providing insight to all subjects India including flora, fauna, history, economy, mythology, caste system, arranged marriage, and numerous other topics was guide and guru Shagzil Kahn. He arranged, directed, informed, and advised with patience, compassion, grace, and humor. He is Road Scholar's "India Whisperer." But above all, beyond the riot of color, exotic scents, cacophony of sounds, and the endless variety of tastes, lies the sincere warmth and friendly welcome given to us by all the Indian people that we encountered. Truly a trip of a lifetime. Five Stars!

Margaret
(5)

I had always wanted to see the Taj Mahal. On the Best of India from North to South program we got to see this fabulous monument from three different perspectives over two days. Our group of twenty bonded during the three weeks and shared many more wonderful experiences from eating dinner at the home of locales to several days and evenings spent on a Kerala riverboat cruising peacefully and watching for birds. And another time, we saw wild elephants alongside the road as we drove through a wildlife preserve. Under the careful guidance of our knowledgeable and supportive group leader, we had a wonderful introduction to India.

Elizabeth
(5)

Fantastic trip. We saw and did much more than I would have been able to alone. Having a guide who knows the country is invaluable.

Carolyn
(5)

This program is excellent!

Stephen
(5)

Extraordinary & delightful. I was very much looking forward to this trip, yet it far exceeded my wildest dreams & expectations! If you have any interest whatsoever in visiting India, this trip is for you you! Even if you have no interest in visiting India, take this trip anyway, it was change you!

Nancy
(5)

The best trip yet with Road Scholar! I can't think of one thing to make it any better. Our tour leader, Shaitan, was superb! He went out of his way to accommodate each one us with great patience and friendliness. Not to mention his knowledge and willingness to answer so many questions. I especially liked our home visits, our stay at The Clement Retreat and village visits, our houseboat stay in Kerala and ,of course, The Taj! Thank you again for a memorable experience. Nancy Agerton

Susan
(4)

Excellent introduction to India. See the famous landmarks and learn about the wide variety of cultural, historic, and religious influences in different parts of the country. Caution: air pollution and traffic in the cities can be hazardous.

Raymond
(5)

The Best of India - North and South is a wonderful program. We got to see so many interesting sites and experiences -- densely populated Delhi, magnificent Step-Well, historic forts and palaces, and of course, The Taj Mahal. But there was a whole lot more. The time spent on the house boats in the Kerala Backwaters were so relaxing, the Kerala Folklore museum in Cochin was fascinating, etc. And a quintessential ride on the Indian Railways through the countryside.

Margaret
(5)

North and South India is an amazing way to experience India for the first time. If you are lucky enough to get Jayanta Kar as your guide your experience will be elevated to a whole different level. MRB Toronto Canada

Linda
(5)

We had a fantastic experience. The mixture of time in urban and rural areas was really great. The program was extremely well organized and our tour leader was excellent.

Elizabeth
(5)

I would recommend this tour to anyone interested in learning about Indian history and culture. Spending time in both the north and south provided a richer picture of the country than would be possible from visiting one area only. While three weeks is a long time, the trip provided a broad range of experiences and time in both urban and rural areas. The trip also included less intense days that enabled us to rest up between the more rigorous travel and touring days. Accommodations were excellent throughout, bus travel was pleasant, food was plentiful and delicious, and our guide -- Anurag Srivastara -- was outstanding. Very much appreciated his knowledge of the country, leadership, and sense of fun.

Virginia
(5)

This is a truly outstanding program that provides an excellent overview of India, its history, its people, and its wide religious and cultural diversity. Shagzil Kahn, our leader, was the very best available. The program is physically demanding in terms of the group being almost constantly on the go and traveling fairly long distances.

Louis
(5)

Our tour of India was a superb experience filled with discovery and new insights. The program was expertly organised by Road Scholar and their partners, facilitating every step for us from preparation to execution to conclusion. Thank you for a wonderful trip and everlasting fond memories.

George
(5)

This is a fantastic program, beautifully run by the local controllers. And with one of the finest leaders (Shagzil) I have encountered among many RS trips. It contrasts two of the major areas of India and provides surprising opportunities to see (with explanations) how life progresses there and how it is changing. It is active, lots of on and off of busses and a fair amount of walking, but perhaps less demanding than the posted activity level suggests. The food was superb...some of the best and most varied Indian food I have encountered, spicy but not overwhelming. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Richard
(5)

A core benefit of this tour was that it covered parts of both North and South India thereby giving a better perspective of modern India.

Carolyn
(5)

Our 3 week trip to India was wonderful, informative, and well organized. Singh was the best guide ever!

Judy
(5)

India is a huge country with lots of diversity. This is the perfect trip to experience a little bit of everything. Our guide Anurag was the best!!!

Donald
(5)

Just returned. This was a fabulous trip. Anyone interested in India would do themselves a favor to take this trip. Our guide was of the highest caliber I have ever encountered on a trip like this.

Amy
(5)

It’s been 4 months since I returned, and I remain smitten with India. I knew nothing about India before I went. Seeing the differences between the North and South was great, and I have continued to enjoy the reading list. Our group leader, Jay, was exceptional. He kept track of local events and got us into a couple of unscheduled festivals and a group wedding in Rajasthan! The Taj Mahal does not disappoint. We saw a European man proposing marriage there. But some of the smaller more out of the way sites were just as good and less crowded. I’m thinking of the Abhaneri stepwell in Rajasthan in the North and the Keshava Temple near Mysore in the south. The riverboats were perfectly timed to give a bit of relaxation on what was a very active tour. The hotels were nicer than I expected, there was always a wide choice of food, and Jay made sure that we had access to western-style toilets almost all of the time. (Although one of my best memories was using a squat toilet in a private home while waiting to cross a state border in the South.) Yes, the air in Delhi is polluted, and it was very hot in Kochi but this was a great tour. I highly recommend it.

Vickie
This reviewer did not give a star rating.

A wonderful trip. It includes the cultural north and the diverse south.

Bill
(5)

If one is looking for an experience that touches all your senses, India: The Best of the North and South, is highly recommended. India is a country that has to be seen to fully appreciate and understand. Much to see and learn--and many questions to ponder.

Karen
(5)

This program was fascinating. I came back with new knowledge and appreciation for a part of the world I knew very little about. For a program to convey the history and culture of a country as large and complex as India in only 3 weeks is a challenge, but Road Scholar accomplished that and did an excellent job of giving us a good feel for the "real India." I can't stop thinking about this trip. The Indian people were so warm and friendly and treated us like royalty. Our guide, Shagzil Khan, was exceptional and really made the trip. He is so knowledgeable, interesting, professional and caring. His presentations were excellent and he kept the whole trip flowing smoothly. All the historic sights were interesting (forts, palaces, temples, etc.) but my favorite experience was the village retreat where we each had our own little cabin with front porch and took a camel cart ride into the village to interact with the village people. The relaxing houseboat experience was also very unique. Home dinners with hosts in different cities let us meet real Indian citizens and hear about their lives. Even the scenes out the bus window as we passed ingenious Indians going about their daily lives were interesting. Food and accommodations throughout the trip were very good (king size beds in all but two hotels; beautiful pools everywhere.) My husband and I feel very privileged to have gone on this trip.

Janet
(5)

I usually travel on my own, but chose Road Scholar to visit India. Every aspect of the itinerary was well planned and I was very happy with the food and accommodations. Because of the knowledge of our group leader and local guides, I learned more about India than I could have ever done on my own. It was an unforgettable trip!

Gerald
(5)

This tour is great! A whirlwind of travel and cultural education, one of my best travel experiences. Never a dull moment!

Michal
(5)

The Indian people may be the friendliest and most welcoming people on earth. An amazing trip: a banquet for the senses and the intellect. Very well balanced between urban and rural. Spent wonderful time with families in a Ragistani village.

Bill
This reviewer did not give a star rating.

CALL me if you want to know why my evaluation sheet is missing so many comments for your questions!

Martin
(5)

This was my fourth Road Scholar tour and while all of them were outstanding this Tour of India was exceptional. It presented the diversity and complexity of India in a way that opened my eyes to how challenging and exciting its history and religions are and how intertwined they are.with all of Asia. I wish I had taken this tour first.

Kent
(5)

India North and South was an outstanding exposure to Indian people, culture and history. We saw a lot and learned a lot!

Karen
(5)

The trip to India was a truly transformative experience. India should be on everyone's bucket list!

David
(5)

If you go to India, make sure Shagzil Khan is your guide. He is the best guide I have ever had on a tour, and I have been all over the world!

Carol
(5)

A life changing experience. Partook in adventures I have only seen in books and dreamed about. The group and guide were the BEST.

Sarah
(5)

This trip was a fabulous survey of Indian history and culture. We saw the diversity and progress of India. Meeting with families was a great experience and we had many spur of the moment experiences at festivals that brought the country to life. The people are more friendly and welcoming than any country I've visited.

Roxanne
(5)

This was my first tour group travel experience, and it was so much more than I expected. The group meshed well and the program was fantastic in so many ways.

Linda
(5)

The Best of India was an excellent program. I felt that I had learned a great deal about India. Looking at the syllabus it is amazing what we accomplished in 21 days. The other thing I learned is that there is so much more to India. It would take months of travel to adequately cover and learn about India.

Rita
(5)

This program was conducted at a relaxed pace. We learned a great deal about India and its people. The exotic places we visited were awesome and it was rewarding to meet the people in their homes and tribal villages. I have happy memories which will enrich my life going forward.

Mordechai
(5)

I went hoping for the trip of a lifetime, I came home with all of my expectations fulfilled. Our guide, Dheerendra Singh Nathawat was wonderful, a combination of teacher, mentor and Jewish mother.

Larry
(5)

Very easy to navagate and informative.

Ewan
(5)

Fabulous program - Road Scholar takes you where other groups do not go, great camel-cart ride to a small village, loved the homestay activities, the markets, our group leader was superb and managed all of us and our needs with the greatest of ease.

Joan
(5)

A great adventure for the seasoned Traveler who thinks there is more too Learn!

Albert
(5)

I found this program to be a well balanced between historical India and current times while finding the right ratio between modern India life styles for western audience. In addition, the quality of the hospitality was excellent, and we were treated exceptionally well

Irwin
(5)

This is our third trip with Road Scholar and thay exceeded our expectations!!!

Ann
(5)

This is what I wanted it to be the experience of a lifetime the breath and diversity of what we saw and what we participated in for example meals in Indian homes of a variety of economic levels was fantastic and road scholar kept us safe and the trip was totally efficiently and beautifully run.

Ronald
(5)

This amazing trip opened up this large and diverse part of the world that had previously been outside our comfort zone. We found many amazing places, a longer history than we knew, and warm welcoming people.

Donna
(5)

This was the trip of a lifetime. Just jammed full of incredible sights, hands-on experiences and new buddies. There were lots of field trips where you get up close and fully engaged with the Indian people to begin to see how they live and think. I always appreciate Road Scholar trips because I often have questions about all that is swirling around me and Road Scholar provides the experts to answer my questions authoritatively. I can't recommend this trip highly enough. Our trip guide is one of Road Scholars' best so he was able to smooth out lots of bumps and also provide lots of answers.

Lisa
(5)

This program touring both in the north and south of India was outstanding! It far surpassed my expectations. I could not have been more pleased with the quality of this trip. I got an amazing introduction to the rich and complex history, culture, and people of India. Our tour manager, Shagzil Khan was outstanding from beginning to end. His patience, great knowledge of and passion for his country, sense of humor, and compassion made this trip a pleasure to experience. I highly recommend this tour to anyone who has a desire to explore the amazing and welcoming land of India and her people.

Richard
(5)

This is a tremendous program with many learning opportunities!

Kenneth
(5)

I thought this was an absolutely fascinating program. India is a huge country and you cannot see all of it in three weeks, or even come close to doing so, but this program provides good variety with visits to famous monuments, a visit to an Indian village, dinner with Indian families and cruising on houseboats in the Kerala backwaters. The accommodations were generally very good. We were able to experience a lot of different tasty foods. Our guide, Shagzil Khan, was excellent. He is very knowledgeable about Indian history and culture and presented his various lectures in a lively and informative manner. He is very personable and interacted very well with the members of the group and went out of his way to assist members of the group with any problems that they had. I would highly recommend this program to anyone who wants to get a taste of India.

Janet
(5)

This trip was amazing! It surprised us at each level and in every city with adventures. We felt safe and were kept well informed as to proper behavior and how to enjoy ourselves each day. We had a better than expected experience with a compassionate guide.

Margaret
(5)

The Best of India-Treasures of the North and South EXCELLENT tour -each day was as if I was living a history lesson! The citiznes of India are a gracious and generous people with layers and layers of history that makes their culture so complex. This tour delved into the complexity and revealed the beauty of India. The tour was above and beyon d my expectations!!!






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