November 24, 2022

India: Tour Operators

tour operators

MMost India holiday specialists offer both escorted tours and private car trips tailored to your interests. A local agent or guide will meet you on each flight and train and escort you to the hotel, assist you with check-in and discuss any issues or additional guides you require.

Expect to spend around £3,000 pp, based on two sharing, for a private two-week trip to Rajasthan staying in four-star hotels or prime heritage properties.

Expect to spend £3,000 pp on a two-week private trip to Rajasthan

Credit:
© Blend Images / Alamy Stock Images/Blend Images / Alamy Stock Images

Here is a selection of tour operators with a strong focus on India:

ampersand (020 7819 9770; ampersandtravel.com) is a company that has consultants who travel extensively and an easy-to-browse website with a great selection of carefully chosen hotels around which to build private trips, from high-end palaces to down-to-earth places in great locations.

audley (01993 838000; audleytravel.com) has a team of over 20 India specialists who work with clients to develop bespoke itineraries around the country, including homestays in heritage properties and organize excursions and activities according to your interests.

helmsman and kings (020 7873 5000; coxandkings.co.uk) is India’s oldest travel agency and a pioneer in private car travel. Drivers from the main cities are employed by the company and accompanied by guides for all local excursions and transfers. The company also offers a selection of guided tours for groups of up to 25 people.

Great train journeys (01904 521936; greatrail.com) offers escorted and bespoke tours combining luxury hotel trains with journeys on attractive local services.

Leggings (020 7487 9111; greavesindia.co.uk) is a specialist family business with three offices in India. Known for rolling out the red carpet in Rajasthan and hosting special experiences, he has also introduced boutique hotels and cheaper guesthouses for those on a budget.

Kerala connections (01892 722440; keralaconnections.co.uk) is a small specialist specializing in South India. It has a portfolio of over 150 hotels, many of which are small boutique properties or private homes in the land of tea and coffee.

Munnar Tea Plantation

Credit:
© 2012 Dmitry Rukhlenko/Dmitry Rukhlenko

Martin Randall Tourist attractions (020 8742 3355; martinrandall.com) offers high-level cultural tours covering aspects of Indian art, architecture and history. “Essential India” is a good choice for beginners as it covers the main sights. Other itineraries include gourmet Kerala and British Raj architecture. The lecturers are all scholars specializing in India.

Pettitts Tourist attractions (01892 515966; pettitts.co.uk) Over 25 years experience in organizing bespoke tours in India including Rajasthan and South India.

A real vacation (020 7359 3938; realholidays.co.uk) The team have good first-hand knowledge of all their Indian properties and guides and have put together all sorts of unusual experiences such as flying between royal cities in Rajasthan by Cessna light aircraft and escape to smaller destinations. heritage towns and known nature reserves.

Riviera Travel (01283 742300; rivieratravel.co.uk) offer popular escorted tours based on larger four-star hotels and for groups of up to 38 people, keeping prices low. Its “classical extension of India and Shimla” encompasses Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, as well as the former British hill station of Shimla; from £1,959 including flights and some meals.

Elephants in Jaipur

Journey to the steppes (01285 601783; steppestravel.co.uk) offers both bespoke independent tours and expert-led group tours. Over the next year, he is offering group visits to the Jaipur Literature Festival, a textile tour of Gujarat with V&A curator Rosemary Crill and a trip through Assam with Lee Durrell.

Trail seekers (020 7368 1200; trailfinders.com) is a reliable flight specialist that offers further discounts on international fares booked as part of a private tour; a classic 11-night tour of Rajasthan costs from £1,850, including some meals, guiding and all flights.

Transindus (020 8566 3739; transindus.co.uk) offers private trips and guided tours at great prices for groups of 12-16 across the country. It cuts costs by mixing smaller rural heritage properties and train rides. It has its own offices in Delhi and Cochin.

The ultimate travel agency (020 3131 7249; theultimatetravelcompany.co.uk) curates bespoke holidays around the country with some of India’s most alluring palaces and hotels catering to those who want every aspect of their holiday to be beautifully curated. It also organizes several themed guided tours each year.

The Indian Himalayas

Credit:
© 2001 Frank Bienewald/Frank Bienewald

village paths (01223 750049; villageways.com) runs private treks and small-group holidays in the Indian Himalayas staying in village communities that directly benefit from tourist visits. He recently introduced similar trips to rural areas of Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala and Satpura in Madhaya Pradesh.

Wild Frontiers (020 8741 7390; wildfrontierstravel.com) runs some of the most interesting small-group tours (maximum 12 people), with a focus on the ‘Indian Village’. They are good value at around £2,000 for two weeks, including heritage or four star accommodation, all meals and admission (international flight extra). Itineraries range from a convertible tour of southern Rajasthan (“India in slow motion”) to wild drives in Kashmir. It also offers home-style Christmas and Easter holidays in a palace near Udaipur, and can arrange private bespoke trips around the country from its Delhi office.

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