My Educational Adventure to India

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My Educational Adventure to India

I love to travel to places that are out of my comfort zone. When the opportunity came to join a Signature educational with Abercrombie and Kent I knew this was a great opportunity to see incredible scenery, fascinating culture and explore somewhere new for myself as well as my clients.

Myself and 7 other Signature advisors arrived after a long 23 hours to Delhi. Our hotel was the Taj Mahal Palace Delhi located in New Delhi. The first day we enjoyed a tour of the city and met our amazing guide Kashani. We visited a Sikh temple where they feed sometimes up to 20,000 per week. People volunteer their time and food and their religion believes in the poorest people eating along with the people with means. We helped rolling dough into naan and flipping it on the fryer for the mid day meal. Next we had a lunch at an historical hotel in the old city followed by a hair raising rickshaw ride through the old city. We visited a mosque after that and learned about how both Hindus and Muslims live in relative harmony. That evening we had a tour and dinner at our hotel.

The next day was a 3 hour drive to Agra. We checked into the beautiful Oberoi Amarvillas. This hotel is definitely worth the splurge. Not only is it a breathtaking hotel but it is steps from the Taj Mahal. Guests of the hotel can be taken by golf cart to the entrance and skip the line. We had a sunset visit and the crowds were pretty heavy but we got some great photos. The next morning we got up early and saw Tah Mahal at sunrise and had a tour from a wonderful knowledgeable guide. The structure is even more amazing in person than the pictures. Our guide explained about the symmetry of the building and exact placement of the building and symbols. The marble used makes the structure absolutely luminescent. It was one of the amazing experiences I will ever see. My advice for travelers 1-2 nights in Agra at the Oberoi and see sunrise and sunset. Sunrise is a lot less crowded and the Taj glows.

After this breathtaking experience we drive 5 hours Jaipur. What a city! So much vibrant life and color. We checked into the lovely Leela Palace and enjoyed plunge pool rooms with private daybed and courtyard. Leela palace treated us to a dinner in their sparking, candlelit dining room. The food was indescribably delicious. I’m getting used to these Indian spices!

The following day we embarked on a fascinating city tour which included the Amber Fort and Royal palace. The local families, especially women in their colorful saris are eager to take pictures with American and also love to pose for pictures. We also loved pictures of the vibrantly painted elephants roaming the streets. We spent the evening at the spectacular Rambagh palace for dinner.

Early the next morning we boarded a flight for Udaipur. This beautiful city is what I compared to the Lake Como region of India. Seven lakes cover this region with Palace and breathtaking resorts along the shores. We enjoyed a city tour visiting the city palace and being treated to a cooking demonstration at a local family home. We had some free hours that afternoon to enjoy the sumptuous Leela Palace Udaipur.

We enjoyed a bit of leisure time the following morning to see the sunrise over the lake. We then visited the ancient Eklingi and Nagda temples where we made flower offerings. Lunch at the Oberoi Udaipur villas followed. We had the amazing privilege of being invited into the home of our guide Sunny to meet his sweet family and enjoy some home snacks and see how he and his family enjoy day to day life Another early morning and we are off to Mumbai on a one hour flight. This vibrant city is one of the financial capitals of Asia. The city teams with immense sky rise buildings and one of the largest slum villages. The contrast is incredible. Once into the city you see beautiful Victorian buildings from British colonial times. We enjoyed a city tour and experienced the fabulous Taj Mahal Mumbai palace for a 2 night stay.

The last full day in India was definitely the most memorable. We had the “five senses tour”. First we visited the area where the dabbawallas sort the various lunch tiffin boxes for the day workers. One of my favorite parts of this tour was our Bollywood dance lesson. We all got to let our hair down for a bit and dance. We then had an amazing thali lunch followed by a visit to the spice market. We took the local train there which was definitely a sensory experience to be remembered. The spice market was a feast for the nose with various spices being individually mixed for each family request. We enjoyed a lovely meal at the Oberoi Palace Mumbai hotel that evening.

A few very interesting things I learned on this trip about India and its culture. India has the most UNESCO world heritage site in the world at 27. Arranged marriage is still widely practiced by 90% of the population. Most people I met were very devoted to family, community and religion. Locals were incredibly warm and friendly and loved tourist. Kids would always wave at us and smile and families wanted to try to talk with us.

I loved time in India and have the most amazing memories. I would love to get to know other regions since I am told everything changes every 60 miles.

Abercrombie and Kent was the best way to experience India. They always helped us feel taken care of and safe. From the moment you arrive until stepping back to your return flight they are making sure your journey is memorable and life changing.

Please contact me and I can help make your travel dreams become a reality!

Kathy Hirst

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