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 (4.95)
Program No. 18716RJ
Length
22 days
Starts at
3,999
Flights start at
1,050
67 Reviews
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4.95 Average
Virginia
(5)

The true test of a company is how they take care of their customers in a crisis. We were on a 3 week trip to India just as the coronavirus pandemic was accelerating and the entire time Road Scholar monitored the fast changing worsening situation. Our guide and everyone connected with the tour made sure we remained healthy, everything from issuing high grade masks, adjusting the itinerary to avoid potentially hazardous situations, and instituting other health practices. Road Scholar wisely suspended the last half of our trip, recalling us back to the USA. They quickly and behind the scenes arranged the homebound flights (not an easy task given the airline chaos), enabling us to enjoy our remaining days on the tour. No one on our tour got sick and we all got back home 2 days before India went into lockdown. We are grateful that Road Scholar took good care of us, kept us healthy and got us home safely.

Merv
(4)

This trip contrasts north and south India. Amazingly the areas are different in many respects. The communist area was particularly interesting.

Julie
(5)

What an amazing experience! The adventure of a lifetime! On top of that, this is an organization that is more interested in your safety, your well-being and the quality of your experience. I know; I traveled with them during the Coronavirus crises.

Mary
(5)

The trip was scheduled to start just as the coronavirus was spreading. It started as scheduled but because of conditions in India and the world, modifications were made for the participants safety and as the government of India wished. Nevertheless, I would without any reservations take another trip to any part of the world through Road Scholar.

Galen
This reviewer did not give a star rating.

What an amazing trip. First was an amazing guide. Jay was just outstanding. His knowledge of India enhanced the trip greatly. Super guide. If you want to see “all” of India this is the trip. From Delhi to the back waters of waters ofKerala you get an amazing view of India. Would highly recommend this trip. You will love it. Galen and Marilyn Hadley

Leslie
(5)

This is a very well planned trip. You get to see a real cross-section of this terrific country. It is a busy program but no strenuous climbing; just reasonable, and always interesting, walking. Shagzil Khan is an amazing Group Leader and added a lot of fun to the experience. Don't hesitate to take this trip.

Samuel
(5)

Although we are experienced travelers who have now been to 74 countries and all 50 US states, this was our first Road Scholar tour and our first visit to India. We did not know what to expect of either the tour or the country, but were blown away by both. This was simply the best tour we have ever had. Our guide, Shagzil Khan, was was everything that a tour group leader should be. He was friendly, humorous, knowledgeable, completely tuned in to an American clientele, proud of his country and eager to share his enthusiasm, well organized, and a great communicator. I highly recommend this tour

Joan
(5)

The "Best of India: Treasures of the North and South" program was fantastic! It provided a good overview of the complexity of the country and it has inspired me to learn so much more. I hope to go back, soon!

Linda
(5)

INDIA IS A BLEND OF BEAUTY AND BLIGHT, HONKING HORNS,TRAFFIC AND CRAZY DRIVERS, WEALTH AND POVERTY, FRIENDLY AND SMILING PEOPLE, CROWDED CITES, NUMEROUS HISTORICAL PALACES, HISTORY, RELIGION,VAST AGRICULTURAL AREAS, SPICY FOODS, COLORFUL CLOTHING AND A WONDERFUL PLACE TO VISIT. OUR WONDERFUL TOUR GUIDE, ANURAG MADE IT COME ALIVE!!!!

Katharine
(5)

India is an extraordinary country, rich in history and beauty. The forts, palaces, mosques, and temples are grander than anything imagined. People were universally friendly and welcoming. With Road Scholar you have an opportunity to experience the best of India.

Pamela
(5)

I had the trip of a lifetime on the Best of the North and South of India. The sites, the people and the tour guides exceeded all my expectations and have inspired me to learn more about India and follow India's continual progress into the future.

Linda
(5)

A truly wonderful experience that exceeded all my expectations.

Colin
(5)

This is a first class program for those wishing to experience the life and history of India in all its riches and culture to its poverty. From the Taj Mahal and other glorious palaces to the Backwaters of Keralaa. It is well directed and superby lead by experienced and knowledeable experts.

Lisa
(5)

This India trip changed my world view and opened my mind and heart to India. I highly recommend the Road Scholar organization as they took such excellent care of us every step of the way!

Kathryn
(5)

I cannot say enough good about this program...It was excellent. The itinerary gave us a balance of tourist points (Taj, tombs, forts, museums, etc.) and what I will call the "real India", (dinner in homes, meal prep, village celebration) etc.) which gave us opportunities to interact with the delightful people of India...and in large and small towns and areas. Our group leader, Singh is one of the BEST...knowledgeable, thoughtful, kind and fun!

Steven
(5)

This was an extraordinary, outstanding travel-learning experience. It exceeded my high expectations, and I'd recommend it highly for all who want to broaden their horizons and enjoy an action pact exotic Indiana Jones-packed travel experience. S t e v e, Ph.D. Boston area.

Richard
(5)

I was ambivalent about traveling to India, but I am so glad that we did! The color, the art and architecture, the people, the history and culture, and the amazing food as well as our fantastic guide provided us with a memorable experience and much deeper understanding and appreciation of India.

Caroline
(4)

India is an amazing destination and Road Scholar does a very good job guiding you through it.

Paulo
(5)

The sights, the culture, landscape, diversity, people, food, and the Road Scholar logistics were all top-notch. But if you are considering joining the same or similar itinerary in India, you need to ponder two key variables, viz., a. the air quality the North (especially Delhi, Agra and Jaipur) as well as in Mumbai (if you're planning a stopover en route, as I did) is horrible and poses a serious health hazard; and b. nowadays, visiting India as a tourist directly or indirectly supports the proto-fascist, Hindu-supremacist policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling BJP party, which are undermining at a breathtaking speed the secular, tolerant and pluralistic principles enshrined in the Indian Constitution.

Kathleen
(5)

We were very capably shepherded by an extremely knowledgeable and personable leader through a wide variety of experiences that we probably would never have been able to manage or even access on our own. Trip of a lifetime!

Kay
(5)

Visiting different parts of India gave me a better understanding of the country. This trip was terrific--the food, the sites, the guides, the various means of travel, the colors, the people we met. All in all, a wonderful experience.

Tracy
(5)

This was an outstanding program! If you have three weeks you will become very familiar with many of the wonderful sights and treasures of both northern and southern India. There is a lot to see and learn, and this tour gives you a lot of both. There is a great combination of sights, sounds and hands-on experiences that provide a lot of insight into the history, culture and daily life in India. You visit both urban and rural settings. I recommend this trip without reservation!

Ingrid
(5)

This is an excellent program. Once you're there and get started you forget how many hours flying time you had to cover. I am so glad I participated. Ingrid H., Florida

Melinda
(5)

A dream come true journey to India! Tour leader, Jay, was knowledgable, humorous, patient and willing to indulge our interests, like tasting fresh water chestnuts from sidewalk seller. An active tour, be ready to GO and be open to the learn with each step. I’ve learned that who we travel with is as important as our destination. Grateful to Road’s Scholar and already thinking of what adventure to explore next!

Nancy
(5)

Our Road Scholar tour through India was the most amazing touring experience of my life. Every step of the way we delighted in the richness and diversity of India's culture and people, its history and hospitality, its foods and handicrafts. I came home longing to return!

Mary
(5)

The well curated North-South India itinerary ensures the trip of a lifetime! Site visits are made meaningful by expert guides. Four and five star hotel accommodations guarantee comfortable lodging and fine dining. Experiential learning is furthered through hosted dinners at family homes. In combination, these elements support personal learning about new ways of being and seeing.

Mayme
(5)

North and South India Program with leader Shagzil Khan contains informative, educational, and inspirational insights. India is an amazing country of many contrasts. Experiencing India's history, sites, peoples, and cultures enriches one's life.

Alice
(5)

This is a fantastic, all inclusive exposure to all the diverse communities in India. I loved it!

Peter
(5)

This trip to India is an experience of a lifetime. If you are curious, hungry and open-minded go and enjoy!

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 every 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!

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).

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.

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.

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!

Carolyn
(5)

This program is excellent!

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!






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