Sunset at Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Immerse Yourself in the Splendours of India on a Holiday of a Lifetime

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India is a deep-dive destination, where the cultural experience has the potential to overwhelm you. But with that intensity comes a vibrancy that can’t be matched anywhere else in the world. Furthermore, India is one of the world’s great cultural destinations. It is one of the cradles of civilization, with ancient landmarks and historical wonders dating back thousands of years. It’s the birthplace of four of the world’s greatest religions and home to some of the most impressive temples in the world. It has massive cities, gorgeous landscapes, deep jungles, and some of the best food in the world. For Globetrotters, the ultimate way to experience India’s culture is on Goway’s exclusive Holiday of a Lifetime, Splendours of India.

Suggested Itinerary: 
17-Day Splendours of India: Holiday of a Lifetime

World-Class Landmarks on an Exclusive Holiday of a Lifetime

You don’t need to be familiar with the Goway brand to know that a Holiday of a Lifetime is a special experience. These high-end journeys take travellers on small-group vacations to some of the world’s most popular destinations. They feature first-class or deluxe accommodations and guided tours that include both local experiences and visits to popular landmarks. Each tour group is led by a handpicked tour guide that handles all the little details like vehicle transfers and tipping restaurant and hotel staff, while also ensuring your needs are met throughout your journey. Every Holiday of a Lifetime comes with Goway’s “Promise of Something Special,” which is what it sounds like: a guarantee that this will truly be a vacation you remember for the rest of your life.

The 17-day Splendours of India: Holiday of a Lifetime begins in Mumbai, the largest city in the country, where you’ll deep-dive into the hustle of modern India. There’ll be a bit of culture shock at the size of the crowds and the pace at which life moves here, but you’ll adjust quickly, especially as you take in highlights around the city. A full-day tour will showcase both the new and old parts of the city with stops at the University of Mumbai, the open-air laundromat of Dhobi Ghats, Mani Bhavan, where Mahatma Gandhi stayed while in town, and the Gateway of India, the massive stone arch on the waterfront.

Gateway of India and boats as seen from the Mumbai Harbour in Mumbai, India
Gateway of India and boats as seen from Mumbai Harbour in Mumbai

Fly into Rajasthan and connect to Udaipur, often considered the loveliest city in India. Tour the City Palace, the lavish home of the Maharajah and which is the largest palace in the state. You’ll then experience the city’s gorgeous lake culture with a boat ride across Lake Pichola. Drive northwest to Jodhpur, located in the Thar Desert. Admire the 1,440 marble pillars of the Ranakpur Jain Temple, visit the massive fort of Mehrangarh, and see the white marble memorial of Jaswant Thada. You’ll then venture into the desert for a jeep safari and visit the Bishnoi villages, where you’ll meet the Bishnoi, who practice a strict form of Hinduism that forgoes meat and alcohol and protects the environment at all costs. For the Bishnoi, even cutting down trees is forbidden.

City Palace and Pichola Lake in Udaipur, India
City Palace and Pichola Lake in Udaipur

From Jodhpur, head to Jaipur, the Pink City, where you’ll explore the gorgeous Amber Fort. A city tour will also take you to the Palace of Winds, with its many-windowed façade, the City Palace, and the Jantar Mantar Observatory. Leave the city behind and head into Ranthambore National Park to go on safari for a couple of days. Each day, you’ll head on dawn and dusk game drives in the jungle to spot the colourful birds and search for tigers in the wild.

Board the Shatabdi Express and ride to Agra, stopping off at the ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri along the way. In Agra, you’ll visit India’s most famous icon, the Taj Mahal, the marble mausoleum that beguiles all who see it in person. Cap off your time in the city with a trip to Agra Fort as well as the orphanage that used to be run by Mother Teresa.

Fly to Delhi and connect to Varanasi, the country’s most sacred city. Sitting on the banks of the River Ganges, Varanasi is the spiritual heart of India. Start with an excursion to nearby Sarnath where Buddha preached his first sermon after gaining enlightenment. Then visit a local museum and cap off the day with an evening rickshaw ride to see the ghats and witness the Aarti Ceremony that lights up the banks of the river with light offerings. The following morning, board a river vessel to cruise along the river and visit the cremation ghats, where devout followers cremate their loved ones in the river.

Boats on the Ganges River along a shoreline of ghats, Varanasi, India
Boats on the Ganges River along a shoreline of ghats, Varanasi

The final stop on your Splendours of India tour is Delhi, which consists of Old Delhi and New Delhi, the capital of India. Start with a tour of Old Delhi where you’ll see the Red Fort and Jama Masjid Mosque, ride a rickshaw through the marketplace of Chandni Chowk, and stop by Raj Ghat, where Ghandi was cremated following his assassination. Then venture into New Delhi to see India Gate, the Presidential Palace, the Mughal masterpiece of Humayun’s Tomb, and Qutub Minar, a towering minaret that’s the symbol of the city. You’ll then return home with memories to last a lifetime.

Suggested Itinerary: 
17-Day Splendours of India: Holiday of a Lifetime

India’s Unbeatable Culinary Legacy

It may be impossible to pick any one thing as a highlight of a trip to India, but you’d be forgiven for thinking the food trumps everything else. As a result of the country’s cultural diversity, Indian cuisine is as varied as any in the world. A Splendours of India: Holiday of a Lifetime reflects this diversity by including varied culinary experiences that showcase both the high-end dining scene as well as humble home cooking. Each region has its own specialties, so as you journey across the country, you’ll experience new flavours and ways of cooking food.

Tandoori chicken, India
Tandoori chicken

In Mumbai, you kick things off with a welcome dinner at Khyber Restaurant, which is popular with locals and visitors alike. Located in the heritage district and frequented by celebrities like Paul McCartney and Richard Gere when they’re in town, Khyber is a gorgeous place to experience the cuisine of the northwest frontier province. The Tandoori Raan, which is a leg of lamb cooked in a tandoor, is especially recommended. You’ll also experience world-class restaurants in Udaipur and Varanasi. In Udaipur, visit the Ambrai Restaurant at the Hotel Amet Haveli, which overlooks Lake Pichola and offers tandoor dishes in as romantic an atmosphere as possible. In Varanasi, you’ll dine at the Great Kabab Factory, which showcases kebab styles from all over the world.

Of course, part of the appeal of India is connecting with the locals, who maintain a celebrated heritage of culinary traditions. In Jaipur, you’ll visit Sankotra Haveli, the mansion of a local noble family, where you’ll enjoy a set menu and get to interact with your hosts, experiencing an authentic Indian welcome. Similarly, in Agra you’ll enjoy high tea with a local family, where you can chat with your hosts over snacks and drinks and gain insight into the local way of life. Women can even enjoy some Henna painting after tea. The combination of local encounters and dinners at world-class restaurants is a part of what makes the Splendours of India: Holiday of a Lifetime so special.

Henna (mehndi) painting, India
Henna (mehndi) painting

A Bright Burst of Indian Culture

It’s impossible to overstate how unique Indian culture is. There’s nothing like it anywhere in the world. And due to the sheer number of ethnic and regional heritages that play into Indian culture, it’s impossible to define it as one unchanging thing. Part of the appeal of an Indian vacation is experiencing a taste of this diverse nation and the profound cultural traditions that define it.

Few things have more sway over Indian life than religious festivals. Luckily, the Splendours of India: Holiday of a Lifetime has departure dates that coincide with two of the biggest festivals in the country: Holi and Diwali. In 2020, Holi falls on March 10th, when travellers are in Jaipur on their holiday of a lifetime. They’ll experience the bright bursts of colour that define Holi in one of India’s loveliest cities. Similarly, Diwali falls on November 14th, also when the tour is in Jaipur. This festival of lights is arguably the biggest festival in the country, and seeing the Pink City transformed into a glowing sea of lights is breathtaking.

Two painted elephants during the festival of Holi, Jaipur, India
Two painted elephants during the festival of Holi, Jaipur

Even if you don’t visit during these festival periods, you’ll experience a taste of India’s intense culture. For instance, a rickshaw ride through Varanasi takes you alongside the ghats that are the centre of the city’s famous funerary rites. Also in Varanasi, you’ll visit a local khusti or pehlwani school to witness the unique art of Indian wrestling. Visit an akhara or wrestling gym to watch the students practice their martial arts and learn about the life of discipline and celibacy undertaken by khusti students.

Combine this kind of unique cultural insight with classical experiences like a train journey from Jodhpur to Jaipur, which transports you back to a bygone era of travel, and the aforementioned visits to the Bishnoi Villages, and you have an unforgettable cultural experience that gives you a taste of India’s stunning diversity.

Decorated gateway at Amber Fort, Jaipur, India
Decorated gateway at Amber Fort, Jaipur

The Splendours of India: Holiday of a Lifetime is the ultimate way to experience this most colourful of nations. Whether seeing breathtaking landmarks like the Taj Mahal, dining on sumptuous tandoori lamb in a lakeside restaurant, or watching the funerary rights in the waters of the Ganges in Varanasi, you’ll experience a taste of India’s profound power.

Suggested Itinerary: 
17-Day Splendours of India: Holiday of a Lifetime

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Aren Bergstrom
Aren Bergstrom

Globetrotting Editor - You might say that Aren was destined to become a Globetrotter after his family took him to Germany two times before he was four. If that wasn’t enough, a term spent in Sweden as a young teenager and a trek across Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand confirmed that destiny. An independent writer, director, and film critic, Aren has travelled across Asia, Europe, and South America. His favourite travel experience was visiting the major cities of Japan’s largest island, Honshu, but his love for food, drink, and film will take him anywhere that boasts great art and culture.

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