In addition to the larger destinations, which we introduce divided by region/state, there are also the tourist enclaves that are a bit out of the way but are a very worthwhile destination – on their own or in combination with trips to other areas. Here we briefly introduce some of the classics. They are all places with special significance – not only for the inhabitants. Even if we want to make village tourism more popular, there is no getting around these cities if you want to get closer to the “Indian phenomenon”.
It is easy for us to integrate these places into a tour specially put together for you.
Varanasi is considered the essence of India. Here, everything is multiplied by 3. Countless worshippers populate the many ghats day and night and bathe in the filthy Ganges. They listen to the Aarti chants at the Dasashwamedi Ghat every evening, the dead are burnt almost continuously at the Burning Ghats, small rowing boats sail along the ghats with the occupants placing small light-flower offerings on the Ganges – an almost indescribably fascinating atmosphere prevails here, so that one never tires of walking the 84 ghats again and again. Unless, of course, you go exploring: 5,000 temples are spread throughout the city, the old town entices with narrow lanes, the Ramnagarh Fort on the other bank of the river is worth a tour, the largest university in Asia (Banares Hindu University) can be visited and only a short drive away is Sarnath, the place where Buddha gave his first teaching discourse.
We also offer the following: Sailing boat tour on the Ganges, visit to the famous silk weaving mills, village visit in the area (Chiraigaon), concert in the evening (Varanasi is also considered the cultural centre of India, especially in terms of music and poetry), meeting with projects and/or experts. A week can easily be filled with a wide variety of experiences – and for shorter stays you can choose the one that suits you best from the rich programme!
The holy city of the Sikhs in the state of Punjab is rather off the tourist routes. Well connected to Delhi by train, plane or car, Jammu, Chandigarh or Dharamsala would be the next interesting places.
But it is also possible to spend a longer time in Amritsar to learn about the Sikhs and their history, among other things. The atmosphere of the Golden Temple is so indescribably beautiful, you have to experience it for yourself. Together with the many worshippers, you can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere at any time of the day. Stowing away the holy scriptures is an experience as is a visit to the huge kitchen where volunteers prepare huge quantities of meals and serve them for free. Even the washing up is done in community work.
The old town invites you to stroll around, a park has been dedicated to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre – an opportunity to get acquainted with the sad history from colonial times, you can visit Hindu temples and you must not miss the Waggah border ceremony, where ceremonially Pakistan and India indulge in their national feelings.
Srinagar in the state of Jammu + Kashmir has a past as a paradise for hippy travellers, British recreationists on houseboats, Indian honeymoon couples, as well as a centre of the Kashmiri separatist movement with civil war conditions. Today it is a fairly quiet surprisingly clean and mostly peaceful town, which was the victim of heavy flooding in 2013. Tourism has picked up again and many travellers enjoy the beautiful location on Lake Dal and Lake Nagin. However, things have become more turbulent again in recent years. There are times when Srinagar is easy to visit (also combined with an overland trip to Ladakh or the Amarnath pilgrimage or stays in holiday resorts like Gulmarg or Sonamarg), in others not. When the situation looks stable, we are happy to have Srinagar travellers.
The houseboats on the lakes with old splendid furnishings offer a particularly nice accommodation experience. A trip on the Shikara is the most beautiful way to explore the lakes. The old town invites you to stroll around, various mosques can be visited and the Mughal gardens promise garden art and tranquillity.
If all the photos taken of the Taj Mahal in one day were printed out in 9×13 and laid end to end, how long would the distance be? And although everyone knows the pictures, it is a completely different experience to see the Taj Mahal in real life, to step through the gate and see the harmonious complex before your eyes. Despite the large crowds, it is peaceful and quiet. A wonderful experience!
Other attractions include the huge Agra Fort, the Itimat-ud-Daula and the nearby abandoned town of Fatehpur Sikri. For lunch or tea, we recommend Sheroes, a cafe run by acid victims, and for more realities, a visit to the laundries on the Jamuna River.
A tour to Agra can not only be linked to Jaipur and Delhi for the Golden Triangle but can also be combined with other nearby places like Deeg, Vindravhan, Mathura or the Keoladeo Bird Park at Barathpur.