Good Indian Travel agents
Good Indian Travel agents, Excellent India Travel Agents, India Travel Agents , Best India tour operators, India Tour Operator:
This is an unsolicited review of my trip to India (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Chandigarh) in December, 2011. Let me begin by stating that my trip was organized by Director of Swadeshi Journeys and he did a wonderful job. I could not have been more pleased. He and his organization, based in Delhi, took care of all of the details. Of course… it’s India, so unexpected things will happen. In that instance, I simply called him or had the hotel do so and he worked out the details. At major transitions, he was either personally available or called the guide/driver to check how we were doing and speak with me by cellphone. He was obviously receiving frequent daily updates on our trip. I felt that he was readily available and eager to help make our trip easier and better. The purpose of my trip was to travel from Boston, Massachusetts, USA to Chandigarh in northern India for a colleague’s wedding, and I decided to see other highlights of the Golden Triangle during this trip. I consulted Lonely Planet to identify my interests and then contacted a US based tour operator. I wanted 5 star hotels and a private guide and driver for me and a friend I was traveling with. However, the estimate from the US tour operator was prohibitively expensive and so I sought alternative choices – namely reputable India-based operators.
I found Swadeshi Journeys on a Frommer’s web site where a review from a satisfied customer raved about Swadeshi Journeys. I emailed them the same itinerary I discussed with the US operator. He answered my email within 4 hours and provided me with an estimate which was 40% the cost. I asked him for a reference and he connected me with a previous client. We talked by phoned and I was convinced Swadeshi Journeys was reputable and would do a great job. After about 20 more emails between me and Swadeshi Journeys to tweak the itinerary, I made the leap of faith and wired him the money for the trip. I should note that I had bought the international tickets from Boston to Delhi independently and had him do the internal arrangements, but he could have easily done the international flights just as well. Prior to leaving the US, he confirmed the itinerary, receipt of funds, and airport pickup location with me.
Day 1 In Delhi, Swadeshi journey’s representative and the driver met me with a sign at the exit. Smooth. Easy. No problems. I spent a day and a half in Delhi. The hotel was The Park: not Swadeshi’s recommendation but one I received from a family member and specifically requested. This was a solid 4-5 star hotel but not as well maintained as the other hotels Swadeshi Company had arranged for me. We rested and then walked around Connaught Place (CP) on Day 1.
On Day 2, we were met by a driver and guide in the morning at the hotel. In Delhi, we saw theJama Musjuid, Mahatma Gandhi cremation memorial Rajghat, Qutub Minar, parliamentary and presidential buildings, and did a cycle rickshaw tour of Old Delhi (great experience).The guide was responsive to my special requests. I wanted to visit a hospital, which we did. I wanted to see the Bahai Lotus Temple, which was beautiful from the outside but closed that Monday. We stopped for lunch and it was more of an ordeal than we needed. That’s why on further days, we instructed the guide/driver that we simply wished to stop for a drink and snack and we made dinners our second main meal of the day after breakfast. (Restaurants provide drivers and guides complementary meals when they arrive with tourists which is pretty standard.) The guide then suggested 1-2 shops. The first was an expensive shawl store and we didn’t buy anything. The second was a government-run ‘Cottage Industries’ (CI) shop where the prices are low and fixed. We bought several items at the latter store and another Cottage Industries shop later in the trip (they are located throughout the country). Most of what we wanted to buy could be purchased at one of these CI shops where the quality was very good and there was no haggling. Keep in mind that you may feel under pressure to purchase items at various CI and non-CI shops throughout the trip and it is entirely your prerogative to say “no” and simply walk out of any store where you feel pressured or not interested. The guide in Delhi, Sateesh, was good. The driver, Kedar, a direct employee ofSwadeshi Journeys, was great. We spent many days with Kedar and we learned that he is a gem of human being. One thing we did not appreciate is that Delhi is very foggy this time of year – there are travel delays (air, train, car) and one can often not see the monuments before 11AM until the fog lifts. We were dropped off at the hotel and were on our own for dinner. That’s were CP is handy. There are plenty of restaurants and bars there. Just be very careful walking around. Many Indians there are helpful but there are also many hawkers and folks interested in your money. Pickpockets are rampant. We had drinks at the bar 1911 at the Imperial Hotel – beautiful but expensive. Then, we had dinner at the United Coffee House –historic restaurant with beautiful interior. Be very careful crossing the street. Where busy, we would wait for a group of Indian to cross and join them. On Day 2, Kedar met us at the hotel and we drove to Agra. This was a grueling 5 hour drive with starts, stops, honking, various animals crossing the road – not a big deal if you’re used to this but an experience if you are from another less populous country. We met guide Amit, who frequently works with Swadeshi Company and Kedar. Amit gave us a great tour of the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort. He was knowledgeable with respect to history and also how to navigate through the monuments efficiently. We stayed at the ITC Mughal Sheraton – Swadeshi’s suggestion – which was magnificent. They have a great Indian restaurant, Peshawari, which was the best meal on the trip.
On Day 3, Kedar picked us up and we drove to Delhi stopping at Mathura, birthplace of Krishna. Kedar found a Brahman to take us through the temple – a worthwhile experience. In Delhi, we flew to Chandigarh to attend my colleague’s wedding.
On Days 3, 4, and 5, we were in Chandigarh which I will not elaborate upon extensively except to say that it has a very different feel that Delhi and Agra. It feels calmer and more civilized. We visited the Nek Chand Rock Garden, the Rose Garden, and walked near Sukhna lake – all worthwhile. Apart from the flights in and out of Chandigarh, Swadeshi Journeys did not arrange this portion of the trip. We stayed at the Taj Chandigarh, which was top notch.
On Day 5, we flew from Chandigarh to Jaipur where we were met at the airport by a driver and a representative of Swadeshi Journeys. Immediately after making contact, the company Swadeshi Journeys also called to inquire about our flight and check how we were doing. We drove to the hotel, The Trident (Swadeshi’s recommendation), located near the Water Palace. The hotel is in excellent condition and the service is world class. Honestly, I have stayed at some amazing hotels in NY, Chicago, Europe and the service at the Trident stands out. We attended the Amber Fort sound and light show that night, which I recommend. The following morning, we were met by guide Supash and driver Satinder. Supash, who frequently guides for Swadeshi in the area, was superb. Very good English, extremely knowledgeable, very personable India Travel Agents. We ascended the Amber Fort by elephant (Swadeshi’s suggestion – a very good experience), spent 2.5 hours there, then drove to the Tiger Fort. Walked around the Tiger Fort and then drove down to the city of Jaipur where we walked through the old city bazaar en route to the Observatory. The Observatory is a highlight of the trip to India, and seeing it with a guide as knowledgeable as Supash made the experience even better. Here, Supash showed us techniques used over the last 200-300 years since the Observatory was built to calculate time of day, position of the stars and moons, etc. Afterward, we went to a CI gem store and bought some earrings. We also had our palms read – unusual and unique experience which I suggest if you have the time (25 minutes per person) – by a man named Mahindra. Palm reading involves using the date and location of your birth along with lines in your hand to identify celestial at forces which affect your body and mind. If you believe this, and some forces need tweaking, you can use precious and semiprecious stones in the form of rings and pendants to balance the planets and powers unique to you which may be off balance. The reading was a powerful experience but we didn’t buy any stones based on his recommendation and there was no pressure to do so.
That evening, Christmas Eve, we ate outside at a “Gala” put on by the Trident Hotel. It took place in their exquisitely-lit back garden where a band with dance floor entertained. We danced and ate well. Overall a very good experience. Upon check out from the trident, there were some questions about some additional fees (taxes, etc.) that were being requested of me. I simply had them call Swadeshi and the problem went away. The next morning, we flew from Jaipur to Delhi by Air India. I was previously warned to avoid this airline since they notoriously run late and, true to their reputation, they ran more than an hour late. Upon arrival in Delhi, we were met by Swadeshi Journey representative and our driver Kedar who took us to the Park for our last afternoon and night. I walked around CP and ate at Saravana Bhavan, South Indian cuisine, which was good and inexpensive. Kedar picked us up the next morning to take us to the airport. In all, this was an excellent trip that Swadeshi Team orchestrated beautifully. We packed a lot in, covering 4 cities and taking 3 internal flights. There were plenty of transfers which all went smoothly and knowing I could contact him at any moment by phone and/or email was very reassuring. His price is unbeatable – particularly compared to US-based travel operators.
I strongly recommend his organization and couldn’t imaging using another tour operator on my next trip to India. Lastly, I should also mention that I volunteered to write this review and was not asked nor pressure to do so by him.
Contact information is:
24*7 Mobile: 0091-9811191601
Swadeshi Journeys Pvt. Ltd.
Crown Plaza Building, East Patel Nagar,
Near to Hotel Jaypee Siddharth New Delhi- 110008.
INDIA Tel. : 0091- 11 – 30527097, 25732255, 42481763.
Fax : 0091 – 11 – 42481763
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org;
Web site :http://www.north-india-holiday-packages.com
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E A Boston 🙂