Are you ready to ride an elephant to Amber Fort? Or view the majestic Taj Mahal at sunset? Sodha Travel is excited to announce our Golden Experience Giveaway! You and a guest can win a private 6 day/5 night tour of Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur that includes deluxe hotel accommodations, private vehicle and driver, comprehensive touring, entrance fees, airport transfers, and much more!
Start your tour in Delhi, India’s capital and the illustration of heritage. Delhi is a bustling metropolis that incorporates the ancient with the modern. Amidst the skyscrapers, the monuments stand as a silent reminder to India’s legacy. Driving from the airport, you will be impressed with the tree-lined streets and garden parks. After an evening at leisure, enjoy a full day tour that starts in Old Delhi: Red Fort, a marvel of red sandstone; Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India; and Raj Ghat, a Memorial to Mahtama Gandhi. Also enjoy a rickshaw ride in the streets of Chandni Chowk. After lunch, explore the sites of new Delhi, including the Qutub Minar, which is the tallest stone tower in India. Also tour Humayun’s tomb, built by the widow of the second Mughal Emperor, Humayun, and an outstanding monument in the Indo-Persian style. Later, drive past the imposing India Gate, the Parliament building and Rashtrapati Bhawan, the President’s residence.
The next morning, drive to Agra by private transport. After a traditional lunch in the home of a local family, visit the Agra Fort, a magnificent citadel with marble palaces, ornate alcoves and terrace pavilions. In the evening, enjoy a sunset visit to the Taj Mahal. Built in the 17th century by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj took over 22 years and 20,000 men to build. The monument is truly a wonder of the world.
After an evening at leisure, drive to Jaipur, en-route visiting the perfectly preserved and deserted red sandstone city of Fatehpur Sikri. On arrival in Jaipur, transfer to your hotel. Jaipur, the vibrant capital of Rajasthan, owes its name, foundation and planning to the great astronomer and warrior Maharaja Jai Singh II. The city is fondly called the “Pink City” due to the pink colored buildings and avenues. The following day, tour this enchanting destination, starting with the Amber Fort. The final descent to this ancient city is made by elephant back—a truly memorable experience! In the fort, you will see magnificent palaces and halls covered with mirrored mosaics. After lunch, explore Jaipur City. Visit City Palace, a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture that is still occupied by the Royal family. Also view the Palace of the Winds and visit Jantar Mantar, the solar observatory. In the evening, spend independent time exploring the vibrant markets and bazaars. Jaipur is especially known for jewelry, fabrics, rugs and textiles.
There will also be a few special surprises for our winners, so be sure to enter and win for your chance to visit India! You can also enter on our Sodha Travel Facebook page, and the more you share, the more chances you have to win!
Agra, the Mughal capital for nearly a century, is one of India’s most visited cities. Together with Delhi and Jaipur, it is part of the popular Golden Triangle tourism circuit and known for its marble and stone inlay handicrafts. The city also houses the famed and majestic Taj Mahal, considered one of the most worldly photographed symbols of love.
In addition to the Taj Mahal, many Agra tour programs also include visits to the following:
Agra Fort – An impressive fort with royal pavilions, courtyards, marble carvings, and palaces
Sikandra – Akbar’s tomb that blends Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jain, and Buddhist elements
I’timad-ud-Daulah – Often called the Baby Taj, this mausoleum is considered a draft of the Taj Mahal
Fatehpur Sikri (25 miles from Agra) - A deserted and perfectly preserved red sandstone city
Sodha Travel also recommends exploring the hidden spaces of the city, and we are pleased to offer two unique tour programs in Agra. The first is an Agra Mughal Heritage Walk. Stroll through alleys, discover local temples, and observe the daily life of the locals. This tour is also part of a community development program that seeks to build sustainable livelihoods for women and children from low-income neighborhoods. We also recommend The Lanes of Old Agra. Very few travelers have an opportunity to visit the more historic districts of the city. After your tour of the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, take a rickshaw or tonga ride to Old Agra. As you explore the narrow lanes, visit with local artisans, browse the local crafts, peep inside shops, and enjoy a cup of chai while reliving the times of a city that has an enduring history. Both of these half-day tour programs are available year round, though please remember that for the Lanes of Old Agra, the Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays.
**The Sodha Travel team wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving! Kindly note that in recognition of the holiday, our office will be closed on Thursday, November 22 and Friday, November 23. Enjoy the feast!
Our Colors of India tour is now open! Join us on a women-only, 10 day/9 night itinerary in Northern India: Delhi, India’s capital; Agra, home of the majestic Taj Mahal; Jaipur, the Pink City of Rajasthan; Rajsamand, a Mewar town; and Udaipur, the City of Lakes. Travel with a group of women who share in the excitement of India, and make new friends in a supportive, safe, and enriching environment!
This package includes 5* accommodations with daily breakfast, economy airfare from Udaipur – Delhi, comprehensive touring with an English speaking guide, entrance fees to the monuments, airport transfers, fuel surcharges, and many special experiences, including:
- Sunset visit to the majestic Taj Mahal
- Overnight stay in a historic Mewar Palace
- Lunch at the home of a local family
- Elephant ride to Amber Fort
- Private mehndi (henna) session and Rajasthani cooking class
- Evening boat ride on Lake Pichola
- Rural ramble and dinner at Deogarh Mahal
To maintain an intimate cultural experience, this tour is limited to 18 guests. Also, if you are a solo traveler but wish to share a room, Sodha Travel will pair you with a roommate (based on availability.) Please visit our Colors of India page or contact us for more information.
Travel with a group of women who share in the excitement of India and make new friends in a supportive, safe, and enriching environment!
Coming soon, Sodha Travel will debut Colors of India, a 10-day tour for women only that includes Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Rajsamand, and Udaipur. In addition to superior hotel accommodations, comprehensive touring, entrance fees, and airport transfers, this tour will include many special and authentic experiences, including a private mehndi (henna) session, a Rajasthani cooking class, yoga sessions, and lunch at the home of a local family. Travelers will also have the opportunity to ride an elephant, stay overnight in a historic palace, and experience a traditional folk dance!
To maintain an intimate cultural experience, tour participation is limited to 16 guests. The proposed tour dates are October 8-17, 2012. Check back soon for a complete itinerary and pricing!
In May, Sodha Travel started planning a customized tour for Jack Haggin and his wife, Ella. Like many worldwide travelers, Jack first referred to the internet and guide books when planning a 3-week trip from Delhi – Rajasthan. However, he started to become overwhelmed at the options and contacted us for assistance. Jack had already booked certain accommodations and day tours online, and we stepped in to coordinate the additional services.
During our conversations, I learned of where Jack and Ella had independently reserved their hotel accommodations in Delhi and Agra. I expressed my concerns, as these properties were very poorly ranked in my files in regards to security and sanitation. Also, the hotel in Delhi was not centrally located, which was important to Ella. However, the guest house came highly ranked in a popular guide book, and he decided to keep the reservations. I was also concerned about the local transport company he had confirmed through the hotel, but he felt if there were any serious issues, the hotel would reimburse his money.
Jack and Ella returned from India in mid-October, and last week I received the following email from Jack. It is reposted with his permission:
Wow, where to start. India was a spectacular country. The colors, the people, the food, the history, and the architecture were mind blowing. It was unfortunate that I missed so many of the positive elements of India the first week of our trip, due to the incompetence of our vendors that I had reserved online. Our hotels in Delhi and Agra were not clean, as you had professionally indicated in an early phone call. We even had bugs in our room in Agra. Lots of bugs. The day tours had “guides” that I seriously question were even guides?? Their clothes were not clean, they asked for money for meals and made us wait in line at the sites. Then there were the vehicles. Our car had no A/C, torn upholstery, and a funky smell. And then our car broke down en-route from Delhi – Agra. We had to wait over four hours until a replacement vehicle was sent, trying to communicate with a driver who spoke no English. To top it off, the hotel would not refund our money for these services. The hotel manager said it was their policy and written in the contract, though we never signed a contract!
Then, as you know, our services started with Sodha Travel. The representative arrived at our hotel to transfer us to the railway station in Agra for our train to Jaipur. He was on time, well dressed, and communicated clearly. The vehicle was clean and the driver was polite. And the good things kept on coming – our hotels and havelis in Rajasthan were just beautiful. The cars were well maintained and the tour guides were knowledgeable on everything regarding the destination. Each representative and guide was on time and it all flowed so easily. It allowed Ella and me to relax and enjoy our surroundings, which is what we are ultimately supposed to do on vacation! They also gave us restaurant recommendations and helped us barter in the markets.
Please keep my email and feel free to share it with other travelers who are considering booking services independently in India. My wife and I have traveled all over the world, including Chile, Bolivia, Morocco, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, and many countries in Europe and Latin America. As wonderful as India is, I would not consider it easy to navigate without professional advice and assistance. This is also not to say that my experience should be used as an example for all travelers, as I am certain many people have had good experiences in India when not using a specialized travel agency. But I really, really encourage people to think about what experiences they could be missing out on by trusting the internet and guide books for their information. Don’t risk it. If I could do it again, I wouldn’t think twice about calling Sodha Travel to plan every detail of my trip. Your team was very professional and reliable and such a relief to Ella and myself, in more ways than words can say.