I went to India for 5 weeks in 2016 and though I had a wonderful time and was completely in awe of this majestic and mysterious place, many cities, like Varanasi, for example, felt almost closed to me because they were so rich and multi-layered that I couldn’t penetrate them traveling on my own. I took in the holy city of Varanasi: the busy flower market, the surprising paan market, the sari stores, and the crowded banks of the sacred Ganges to the best of my ability. I joined walking tours, read books, and talked with locals, yet I still felt like there was so much more to experience in this place and without true guidance I would never know what those experiences might have been.
Feeling like I was only scratching the surface of Varanasi and other places led me to seek out the most knowledgeable and creative trip operators for Wild Nectar’s India offerings. I’ve curated a collection of trips that will take you well into the minds and hearts of the Indian people, and deep into the soul of this fabled land.
Let’s consider first, The Soul of India, a trip that visits Delhi, the Taj Mahal, the Jaipur palaces, Varanasi, Mumbai–all the places you’ve seen in your dreams. Yet on this trip, experience them with Travel & Leisure’s, “World’s Best Outfitter” (10 years in a row!), a company run by an Indian family, and see these places through the eyes of people with deep reverence for their own past. The Soul of India program includes the region’s very best, 5-star hotels and the service in India is unparalleled.
Go even deeper and engage the senses by exploring The Flavors of India on a Food and Tea Adventure. Getting to know a culture through its food can sometimes show you much more about a people than seeing its most popular sights. On this program, taste for yourself the street food, the world class restaurant offerings, the multitudes of local dishes, and the world of spices and teas. Take a cooking class, visit a tea plantation, and get to know locals as they share their culinary heritage with you.
India is home to 564 protected wildlife areas and wildlife enthusiasts should not rest until they've seen some of India’s wonders. We recommend India Tiger Quest offered by a wildlife-passionate operator known for their extensive conservation efforts. You can’t adequately prepare yourself for what it would be like to see a majestic, growling tiger in the wild! And this Snow Leopard Expedition starts in Delhi yet takes you deep into Ladakh to track not only the elusive snow leopard, but also ibex, Tibetan antelope, blue sheep, shapo, marmot, pika and the Tibetan hare.
I wish I had been aware of the ship, the Ganges Voyager when I traveled to India, as I would have liked nothing better than to set aside the safety concerns of traveling overland and instead would have welcomed a fantastically rich itinerary on a beautifully appointed river ship. The Secrets of the Sacred Ganges program on this 56-passenger ship starts in Kolkata and travels through bustling towns, tiny villages, temple complexes, and even nature reserves where you can spot the iconic Royal Bengal Tiger. This itinerary is so varied and complex, I invite you to see just how in-depth a ship expedition through India can be, vs. a land trip, and certainly vs. traveling on your own. Several other fantastic India trips grace our curated Asia trip collection.
I invite you to explore our offerings and please contact us so I or my colleagues can help you locate the perfect India adventure. I’ve traveled the world and there’s absolutely no other place like complex, colorful and aromatic India. My trip there was a very moving experience for me and I hope with all my heart that you get to experience it too.