INTERNATIONAL CULTURE TOUR, A MEMORABLE TOUR OF RAJASTHAN
The Auckland Museum Circle members departed on this amazing 21 day journey through India to experience the Royal heritage of the Princes of Rajasthan. Key places visited included Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Pushkar, Deogarh, Udaipur, Ranakpur and Jodhpur.
To go to India for the first time is to be thrown into a maelstrom of humanity. Travelling by bus, taxi, tuktuk, or camel is no hardship for every moment is filled with a tableau of human activity, colour, noise and a unique chaos. It is impossible to detail the three incredible weeks we had in Delhi, Agra and Rajasthan. We had three superb hosts, Durgapratapsinh (Chuck) Sisodia, the Maharaj of Pratapgarh, his daughter Ambika, and nephew Sanjay Singh. We appreciated that in India to organise a tour such as this without problems is nothing short of a miracle and their impeccable connections had us dining with members of the Rajasthan royal families, given a special lecture on Indian miniature paintings, entertained by dancers and fireworks, enjoying a silver service barbeque in a formal garden in the desert and having a puja performed by the holy men during the religious festival at Pushkar.
So we went from palaces to tents, from exclusive jewellery stores to the camel fair at Pushkar where 25,000 are traded in a two week period and from the teeming city of Delhi to the small walled town of Deogarh.
All the centuries merge so that you still see people living in grass woven huts and houses made from cow dung. All modes of transport are heavily used.
We saw women walking gracefully with enormous loads balanced on their heads, small beggar children sliding alongside the bus windows carrying sad babies, camels pulling carts, elephants still working in the cities and every motorised vehicle loaded well over any safety limit we understand. Four to a motorbike, eight in a three wheeled tuktuk, people on the top of buses, tractors pulling cartloads of women in brightly coloured saris, or loads of marble, a man on a bike stacked with 6 large plastic drums, and trucks obscured by their loads so only the front was visible and understandable a sign on the back of every truck, "HORN PLEASE' as wing mirrors were no use..
It was a very happy group of eighteen, who did their best to help the economy of India but certainly came away with insights and images of this amazing country that cannot be appreciated until you have actually spent time there. It won't be a surprise if most of us return."
I want to thank you so very much for the wonderful holiday you and your family organized for us in Delhi & Rajasthan.
I now have the most marvelous memories of India & the gorgeous variety of land, life, architecture & people. Everything was well organized by you, Ambika & Sanjay. You gave us a happy & healthy time together."
Lady Phillipa Tait
What a wonderful trip you all gave us. I am still raving to everyone about it, as it was so magical."
I have just come back from collecting my 300+ photos from India. What an astonishing time you gave us. How will I ever say thank you to you for my Indian experience - it exceeded all my expectations. Being the last member of my family to travel to India, I thought I knew what to expect. India had so much more to offer - I will never forget the sights from the bus window on the "lively highway". India living on the road - everyone so happy, smiling, laughing and getting about their daily lives with the hustle and bustle of life all around. The beauty of the buildings, the palaces, the contents of the museums, the colour of the women's saris, the pollution haze, and the sounds of life. Pushkar with the camels, horses, cattle and everything else that we experienced there were for me a real highlight. I have so many amazing memories to treasure. Thank you for the introductions to members of your extended family. They were special times and each one of them gave us another insight into "India" We were very privileged to meet such interesting people. The gala evenings, the food we were able to taste and the wine we experienced - everything will be talked about and remembered for ever.
Auckland is just buzzing with tales of jewellery shopping, pashmina passions, cocktails, full moons etc. I am sure there is a waiting list for your next trip already.
Once again thank you for the most wonderful adventure of my lifetime. I have been to some extraordinary places but never enjoyed a trip as much as my time in India. You all made it so exciting and memorable."
It is hard to put into words what an amazing experience we had on our trip through Rajasthan - the vibrant colours, incredible noises, delicious food and beautiful sites were so diverse and magical. The tour that Chuck and Sanjay prepared for us was personalised to our needs and filled with added extras that we would never have experienced without their wonderful knowledge and connections - who would have believed we would meet with the Princess of Jaipur or be having cocktails with the Maharajah of Udaipur overlooking the glamorous Lake Palace - just magnificent! The quality of accommodation was exceptional and the unique palaces we stayed in were divine and full of fascinating history. We also felt so privileged having Sanjay as our personal guide providing us with the inside story on the many palaces that he had family connections with.
We were looked after with care and attention at all stages of our travel, from the regular emails before departure right through our tour, to ensure that everything we needed was provided for. We would highly recommend a visit to Rajasthan with Royal Heritage Tours! Truly memorable."