by Tim Spelman
My wife Laurel and I and our Norwegian cousins, Anne and Egil, had a completely fulfilling travel experience in India with IndeBo. We loved the history and architecture (beautiful caves, temples, palaces and forts), town life (markets), culture (dance and music), food (uniformly excellent, including three cooking schools) – and especially the people.
Traveling with IndeBo is the only way to go, from our perspective. We are mid-60’s retired people and no longer interested in missed travel connections, bad hotels and inedible food. IndeBo organized our itinerary completely, from hotels to drivers and guides, and we appreciated their thoroughness and attentiveness.
Flying in and out of Delhi, we flew five times within India to make good use of our time (one month). Within 24 hours of our arrival, we were walking the streets of Old Delhi, visiting the Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, Hindu and Sikh temples – and then the British Raj era government buildings. An evening of Sufi music where we were the only Westerners was unforgettable.
We then flew to Aurangabad, starting point for the caves of Ajanta and Ellora. UNESCO World Heritage sites as old as the 2nd century BC, these Buddhist and Hindu masterpieces are not to be missed. After a few days in Mumbai, seeing this magnificent teeming city with its Raj era buildings and colorful Crawford Market, we flew almost to the southern tip of the country to Cochin in Kerala. We stayed at Philipkutty’s Farm, a charming island resort and took a boat trip on the backwaters. Seeing Kathakali dance, a nearly 400-year-old tradition, was fascinating.
If we had a favorite part of the trip, it had to be Tamil Nadu state. We drove from Cochin, up into the tea growing region of Munnar, then down into Tami Nadu with its rich history of over 30,000 Hindu temples. In addition to the stunning temples in Trichy, Thanjavur and Mammalpuram and the dance festival in Mammalapuram, we celebrated four different days of the Pongal harvest festival with townspeople and a family.
Flying on to Ahmedabad, we drove into the charming countryside of Rajasthan. On one day, we passed a funeral and a wedding along the road, arriving finally at Mt Abu, location of the incomparable Dilwara temple of the Jains, a masterpiece of craftsmanship. After several nights in picturesque Udaipur, seeing the richness of the markets and temples, we took a train through the countryside, arriving at Jodhpur. We wandered through the market, ending the day at a delicious cooking class.
Flying back to Delhi, we went by train to Agra. Everyone sees the Taj Mahal, and we can attest that it was no disappointment. After days of clouds, the sun appeared and we spent the day experiencing the power, skill and beauty of this special place.
Before our trip, Laurel was uncertain about going to India, but now she is planning our next trip there – and it will be with IndeBo.