Journey Through Rajasthan

India

Culture

Discover Rajasthan's forts, palaces and rural villages

15 days Ask us for pricing This is the price per person for a private tour (based on 2 people travelling) excluding international flights. Contact us for pricing for other group sizes including individuals.
Intro, Dates & Prices

Intro

This in-depth tour of Rajasthan takes you to some of its iconic cities and hidden rural villages. Travel through Mandawa and Nawalgarh in the Shekhawati region, renowned for its intricate havelis. Drive to Bikaner, on the fringes of the Thar Desert. Stop off at the village of Kheechan where thousands of Desmoiselle Cranes congregate each year (Oct-Nov) and continue on to the spectacular desert city of Jaisalmer and wander the labyrinthine alleyways of its living fort. Drive to the Blue City of Jodhpur, visit the impressive Mehrangarh Fort and the nearby Bisnoi tribal community. Finally end your Rajasthan trip in Udaipur, known for its lakes and magnificent palaces. Stay in some of Rajasthan's best boutique properties and support local people and initiatives through a number of sustainability-themed activities enriching your travel experience.

Note: this tour does not include Jaipur or Ranthambore. If you wish to include these places you could extend your trip by doing our Golden Triangle tour or we can customise your tour so you can add these places at the start or end of this tour.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Grand havelis of the Shekhawati region
  • Hidden alleyways of Jaisalmer Fort
  • Huge flocks of Demoiselle cranes in Kheechan
  • Stay in 300-year old regal fort in Chanoud
  • Boat ride on Lake Pichola in Udaipur

Places Visited

Delhi - Nawalgarh - Mandawa - Bikaner - Jaisalmer - Kheechan - Jodhpur - Bishnoi Village - Chanoud - Udaipur

What's Included

Arrival & departure transfers
Ground transport with driver
Accommodation
Meals (refer to itinerary for meal plan)
English-speaking guides
Entrance fees to sites & parks

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Itinerary
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Day 1 : Arrival - Delhi

On arrival in Delhi airport you would be met by our representative and transferred to the hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure or you can take a walking tour of Hauz Khas village.

Let us know if you would like to arrive earlier for a pre-tour of Delhi or to visit other places in India.

Meal plan: n/a

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Day 2 : Delhi - Nawalgarh

After breakfast, you will be driven to Nawalgarh in Rajasthan's Shekhawati region. Upon arrival, check-in at the hotel. After resting for some time you will proceed for a nature walk and farm visit followed by high tea.

Overnight in Roop Niwas Kothi, Nawalgarh

Meal plan: Breakfast

The Shekhawati Region is a semi desert region in north Rajasthan. It derived its name from its ruler Rao Shekha, with Shekhawati meaning 'the garden of Shekha'. The towns of Shekhawati region are known for their amazing painted havelis. So varied and architecturally rich are the havelis that this region is dubbed as the "open art gallery of Rajasthan". The plethora of painted havelis in rich artistic tradition makes them fascinating. Most of the buildings are dated from 18th century to early 20th century. The Shekhawati region is dotted with so many havelis that tracking them is something akin to a treasure hunt. Various forms of fine art adorn the walls and the ceilings of these structures as a contrast to the otherwise flat and barren land. The havelis are noted for their frescoes depicting mythological themes and huge animals. Some later day frescoes reflect British influence in the form of steam locomotives and trains depicted on them.

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Day 3 : Nawalgarh - Mandawa - Nawalgarh

After breakfast, enjoy a half day sightseeing tour of Mandawa, known for its intricately designed havelis. You will visit the Chowkhani Haveli, Gulab Rai Ladia Haveli, Lakshmi Narayan Ladia Haveli and Mohahanlal Saraf Haveli.

Return to Nawalgarh, rest of the day you will be at leisure to relax at the hotel or explore area on your own.

Overnight in Roop Niwas Kothi, Nawalgarh

Meal plan: Breakfast

Renowend around the globe as the open-air art gallery of Rajasthan, Nawalgarh is known for its Painted Havelis adorned with intricate Frescoes (wall paintings).

The 18th century busy market town of Mandawa is well known for its forts, havelis and stepwells, constructed by wealthy village merchants. After the migration of the rich merchant families, the havelis were left abandoned, though their spectacular appearance has been preserved. The beautiful wall paintings of Mandawa's havelis take on various themes, from local legends and animals in early mythology, to British influence on Indian culture during the 19th century, with images instead showing cars, trains and English men in hunting attire.

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Day 4 : Nawalgarh - Bikaner

After breakfast, continue your exploration of Rajasthan as you set off for the old city of Bikaner. On arrival, check into the heritage hotel and spend the rest of the day relaxing and exploring the property. Enjoy sundowners in the evening. 
 

Overnight in Narendra Bhawan, Bikaner

Meal plan: Breakfast

Lying in the north of the desert State, Bikaner is dotted with scores of sand dunes. Bikaner retains the medieval grandeur that permeates the city's lifestyle. The city is often referred to as ' the camel country'. The strategic location of Bikaner on the ancient caravan routes that came from West/Central Asia made it a prime trade centre in those times. Bikaner stands on a slightly raised ground and is circumscribed by a seven km long embattled wall with five gates. The magnificent forts and palaces, created with delicacy in reddish-pink sandstone, bear testimony to its rich historical and architectural legacy. Surging lanes, colourful bazaars with bright and cheerful folks make Bikaner an interesting experience. Modern Bikaner is the result of the foresight of its most eminent ruler Maharaja Ganga Singh (1887-1943) whose reformative zeal set the pace for Bikaner transformation from a principality to a premier princely state.

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Day 5 : Bikaner

After breakfast, you will be taken for half day sightseeing of Bikaner visiting the famous Junagarh Fort, Museum and Lallgarh Palace. Afternoon is at leisure and then early evening proceed to the sand dunes of the Thar Desert to watch the sun set. Optional camel ride can also be arranged. Return to the hotel for dinner.

Overnight in Narendra Bhawan, Bikaner

Meal plan: Breakfast

Junagarh Fort was originally called 'Chintamani' and was renamed Junagarh or 'Old Fort' in the early 20th century when the ruling family moved to Lalgarh Palace outside the fort limits. It is one of the few major forts in Rajasthan which is not built on a hilltop. The modern city of Bikaner has developed around the fort. The fort complex was built under the supervision of Karan Chand, the Prime Minister of Raja Rai Singh, the sixth ruler of Bikaner, who ruled from 1571 to 1611 AD. Construction of the walls and associated moat commenced in 1589 and was completed in 1594. It was built outside the original fort of the city, about 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) from the city centre. Some remnants of the old fort are preserved near the Lakshmi Narayan temple.

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Day 6 : Bikaner - Kheechan - Jaisalmer

After breakfast set off for the Golden City of Jaisalmer. En-route visit the village of Kheechan, where huge flocks of Demoiselle Cranes return from their breeding grounds in Eurasia. Stop off for lunch and then continue your journey to Jaisalmer. Upon arrival, check into hotel and rest of the evening is at leisure.

Overnight in Killa Bhawan, Jaisalmer

Meal plan: Breakfast

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Day 7 : Jaisalmer

After breakfast, enjoy a half-day sightseeing tour of Jaisalmer visiting the vibrant Jaisalmer Fort, the havelis (Patwon-ki-Haveli, Salim Singh-ki-Haveli), Gadi Sagar and the museum. Afterwards we will visit a local NGO which is doing sterling work to support women and girl-child empowerment and development. After lunch, you will go to a workshop to watch intricate mirror work done by ladies followed by puppet making, which can be purchased as souvenirs and also support the women. Return to the hotel.

Overnight in Killa Bhawan, Jaisalmer

Meal plan: Breakfast


Jaisalmer, the golden beauty etched in yellow sandstone, stands tall against miles of gleaming sand. Founded in 1156 AD by Maharawal Jaisal, Jaisalmer’s location kept it almost untouched by outside influences and even during the days of the Raj, Jaisalmer was the last to sign the Instrument of Agreement with the British. Very few cities can boast of the magnificence that surrounds Jaisalmer. 'Sonar Kila' , the Golden Fort, rises out of a desert haze, its yellow sandstone walls and bastions taking on a golden hue in the afternoon sun. The fort stands atop the 80m high Trikuta hill, where a quarter of Jaisalmer's population still lives. Within the fort are also beautifully carved Jain temples of the 12th to the 15th centuries. One can also see Badal Vilas Palace - the former ruler’s 20th century palace, as well as some impressive merchant mansions (havelis) including Patwon ki Haveli (1805), a five-storey building with carved pillars and murals, Salim Singh and Nathmalji ki Haveli.


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Day 8 : Jaisalmer - Jodhpur

After breakfast, depart for the Blue City of Jodhpur, the second largest city in Rajasthan. Stop en-route at an eco-farm where you will take a tour of the farm showing how crops, vegetables and fruit are grown here using traditional methods. Enjoy a delicious lunch here and then continue on to Jodhpur. The afternoon will be at leisure, then enjoy an early evening heritage walking tour of the old city. 

Overnight in House of Rohet, Jodhpur

Meal plan: Breakfast & lunch

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Day 9 : Jodhpur and excursion to Bishnoi village

After breakfast, drive to the nearby Bishnoi villages to experience how the Bisnoi people live in harmony with their surroundings. They also play an important role in protecting the endangered blackbuck. Later, you will be taken for half day sightseeing of Jodhpur to visit the majestic Mehrangarh Fort and Jaswant Thada. Evening free at leisure.

Overnight in House of Rohet, Jodhpur

Meal plan: Breakfast

The Bishnoi people, ​the 'premier ecologists of the world', have protected nature for more than 500 years and are responsible for the very survival of species such as the Black Buck antelope (India's most beautiful antelope and a rare and protected species today). They share a beautiful relationship with this special animal, wherein the antelope stays close to Bishnoi habitation, never leaving it, and displays complete trust in the Bishnoi people.

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Day 10 : Jodhpur - Chanoud

After breakfast, you will be driven to the small village of Chanoud. Rest of the day you will be at leisure to explore this charming village yourself or you can relax in the fabulously restored 300-year old fort - Chanoud Garh. In the evening, try your hands at preparing some traditional Rajasthani cuisine followed by snacks and dinner.

Overnight in Chanoud Garh, Chanoud

Meal plan: n/a

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Day 11 : Chanoud

After breakfast, you can take a village walk to see the local school, artisan workshops shops and the historical temples. Return to hotel and enjoy your lunch. Afternoon is free at leisure. Early evening take a jeep safari in the countryside (on a shared basis) to witness the spectacular sunset view.
 

Overnight in Chanoud Garh, Chanoud

Meal plan: Breakfast

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Day 12 : Chanoud - Ranakpur - Udaipur

After breakfast drive to the Lake City of Udaipur, one of the most picturesque cities in Rajasthan. En-route you will visit the impressive Ranakpur Jain Temples. Afterwards, continue drive to Udaipur. Early evening take a private boat ride on Lake Pichola.

Overnight in Jagat Niwas Palace, Udaipur

Meal plan: Breakfast

The Ranakpur Jain Temples are the largest and most important temples of the Jain cult. Built in the 15th century and dedicated to Lord Adinath, the temples were constructed in light-coloured marble and are supported by more than 1400 exquisitely carved pillars.

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Day 13 : Udaipur

After breakfast, take morning tour of the Lake City, including the City Palace, Jagdish Temple and Sahelion-ki-badi. Afternoon is free time for you to explore more of the city yourself and to buy any souvenirs (Udaipur is famous for its miniature paintings). 

Overnight in Jagat Niwas Palace, Udaipur

Meal plan: Breakfast

Udaipur is often called ‘Venice of the East’ or the ‘City of Lakes’, and was founded by Maharana Udai Singh in 1559 AD. According to legend, Udai Singh was guided to establish his capital on the very spot that a holy man was meditating on near Pichola Lake. Surrounded by Aravali Ranges, forests and lakes, this place was less vulnerable to external invasion than Chittaurgarh. Maharana Udai Singh died in 1572 and was succeeded by Maharana Pratap, who valiantly defended Udaipur from Mughal attacks. Maharana Pratap is the most revered Rajput icon who gallantly fought the Mughals in the battle of Haldighati in 1576. Mewar continuously defied foreign invaders and has a history of bloody battles, until the British intervention in the 19th century, when a treaty was signed to protect Udaipur. Upon gaining independence, Udaipur merged with the union of India.

The Lake Palace (Jag Niwas), located in the middle of Pichola Lake, is the finest example of an architectural and cultural marvel. The grand City Palace on the banks of the lake, along with the Monsoon Palace (Sajjan Garh) on the hill above, enhances the beauty of this magnificent city. This is one of the largest palace complexes in the world. Udaipur is also the centre for performing arts, crafts and its famed miniature paintings. The Shilpgram festival is a great crowd-puller during New Year celebrations.


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Day 14 : Udaipur

After breakfast, take a heritage walking tour along some of the hidden lanes of Udaipur where you will learn more about the history and culture of the city. Sample some street food/snacks and pop into some of the small shops for any last-minute souvenirs. Udaipur is known for its 'miniature' paintings. Afternoon is at leisure and later in the evening, enjoy a cooking demonstration at a homestay where you can also chat to the lovely owners.

Overnight in Jagat Niwas Palace, Udaipur

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

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Day 15 : Departure - Delhi

Transfer to Udaipur airport for your flight to Delhi or Mumbai, and connect with your international flight home. 

Note: extensions to other parts of the region or India can be organised. Contact us for more information.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Accommodation

Accommodation

All accommodation subject to availability. Final accommodation choices will be confirmed after booking.

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Roop Niwas Kothi

Nawalgarh (2 nights)

Unwind in the serene atmosphere and old world charm of the hotel and experience the true essence of Rajasthani hospitality. It is a horse lover's paradise, with stables of the most popular breed of horses in India - the Marwari. The main activities at the hotel spur from the horses, from visiting the stables to riding the horses. The rooms are elegant and bright and offer views over either the stables, lush gardens, or the pool. Rooms are en suite and are fitted with air conditioning.

Visit hotel's site
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Narendra Bhawan

Bikaner (2 nights)

Comfortably appointed, the Residence Rooms are a tribute to the eclectic tastes of the household. Elaborate ceiling details, Bikaner terrazzo floors and traditional crafts sit in harmony with Portuguese tiles and a distinctly English colour palette. Light and fresh, these rooms are a calm sanctuary set apart from the hyperactivity of the city.

Visit hotel's site
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Killa Bhawan

Jaisalmer (2 nights)

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House of Rohet

Jodhpur (2 nights)

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Chanoud Garh

Chanoud (2 nights)

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Jagat Niwas Palace

Udaipur (3 nights)

Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel is an early 17th century haveli nestled in the fertile valley on the eastern banks of the famous Lake Pichola. The haveli is made in the typical Mewar style and provides visitors with a very relaxing and regal experience. The hotel also offers excellent views of Udaipur's palaces.

Visit hotel's site
Extensions

On The Tiger Trail (9 days)

On the tiger trail through Bandhavgarh and Kanha

The Golden Triangle (5 days)

Marvel at India's most incredible forts and palaces

Kolkata & Sunderbans (6 days)

Discover colonial Kolkata and the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve

Wildlife of Tadoba & Pench (9 days)

A real life Jungle Book.

Kolkata & Darjeeling Snapshot (7 days)

Ideal extension to Bhutan

Himalayan Extension: Ladakh to Kashmir (5 days)

Travel across the spectacular Himalayan Highway

Beaches (1-7 days)

After exploring the busy cities, there's no better place to relax than one of India's paradisiacal beaches

Treks & Walks (1-12 days)

Himalayan treks, village walks and more

Hill Stations & Mountains

Escape the city and unwind among some of the most breathtaking mountain and hill scapes the world has to offer.

City Extensions (1-4 days)

Visit the must-see sights and the hidden depths of India's most vibrant cities.

Monks, Tribes & Rhinos (20 days)

Himalayan mountains, unseen tribes & amazing wildlife

Journey through the Indian Himalayas (20 days)

Travel through the Himalayan foothills via Shimla & Amritsar to Ladakh

Classic Bhutan & Assam Cruise (18 days)

Experience Bhutan's rich culture, colonial Kolkata and rural life in Assam

Glimpse of India & Nepal (16 days)

Golden Triangle and the Himalayas

The Himalayan Silk Road (16 days)

Travel India's Silk Road from Kashmir to Ladakh

Textile Tour of India (16 days)

Textile tour of Gujarat & Rajasthan including the Mewar Festival

Taste of South India (15 days)

Experience the flavours and exotic spices of South India

Treasures of Maharashtra (15 days)

Mighty sea fortresses, rock-cut cave temples, and verdant hill stations

Kerala Calling (15 days)

Tropical mountains, tea & spice plantations, and backwaters

Best of Bhutan & Bengal (15 days)

Experience the culture and landscapes of India & Bhutan

Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival (15 days)

Wildlife, tribes & rural life in Assam and Nagaland

Journey Through Rajasthan (15 days)

Discover Rajasthan's forts, palaces and rural villages

Big Six of India (15 days)

Spot tigers, lions, leopards, buffalo, rhino & elephants

Best of Assam & Meghalaya (14 days)

Wildlife, diverse cultures & rural life in hidden North East India

Birds & Wildlife of Rajasthan (14 days)

Uncover the regal wildlife of Rajasthan

Hampi and Beyond (14 days)

Discover Karnataka's stone temples, wildlife and coffee farms

Taj, Tigers & Temples (14 days)

Perfect mix of classic sights and off-beat places for first-timers to India

Spirit of South India (14 days)

Temple towns of Tamil Nadu to backwaters of Kerala

Big Cats of India (14 days)

Experience the thrill of the Indian jungle ...

Himalayan Wildlife of Ladakh (14 days)

Track the Himalayan brown bear & snow leopard on a once-in-a-lifetime trip

Heart of India (14 days)

Take in the highlights of central India

Delicacies of North India (14 days)

Discover the huge diversity of North India's cuisine

Wildlife of North East India (14 days)

Diverse wildlife in Assam and the Sunderbans

Tribes of North East India (14 days)

Remote tribal cultures in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam & Nagaland

Kerala & Karnataka Explorer (14 days)

Idyllic backwaters, tropical forests & ancient temple towns

Tribes & Temples of Eastern India (14 days)

Visit remote tribal villages of Orissa & Chhattisgarh

Roof of the World - Ladakh to Kashmir (14 days)

Experience dramatic Himalayan scenery, Buddhist and Islamic cultures

Best of Bengal & Sikkim (14 days)

Colonial Kolkata, Darjeeling toy train & Buddhism

Kerala - Trekking the Western Ghats (13 days)

Explore this UNESCO biodiversity hotspot on foot

Maha Kumbh Mela Festival (13 days)

Once in 12 years - the largest gathering of humanity on earth

Gujarat's Tribes & Wildlife (13 days)

Gujarat's Asiatic Lions, Salt Flats & Textile Villages

Glories of Gujarat (13 days)

Tribal villages, temples, salt flats & the world's last Asiatic lions

Hidden Rajasthan (13 days)

Rural villages, grand forts & wildlife

High Indus Valley of Ladakh (12 days)

Attain lofty heights over soul-soothing Ladakh

Glimpse of India (12 days)

Golden Triangle, tigers & exotic Kerala

Markha Valley Trek (12 days)

Set foot in Ladakh's hidden Himalayan valleys

Essential Rajasthan (10 days)

Discover the forts, palaces, villages and desert of Rajasthan

Living Bridges of Meghalaya (7 days)

Waterfalls, hills and living bridges in North East India

Classic Kerala

Tea, spices, backwaters & beaches

Reviews

Kolkata is a real eye-opener. The walking tour was a real highlight and our guide was great at showing me places I`d never have found otherwise. The Sunderbans was just beautiful. The guide was very friendly and the boat cruises were relaxing. My cottage was delightful and the food at the Tiger Camp was delicious. A great way to end the trip!

Jennifer , Raj, Tigers & Mangroves, India

Outstanding trip, custom made to our desires. Once again, Travel The Unknown did not disappoint, exceeding our expectations. The in-country coordination worked with clock-work precision.

Vladimir Lange & Amy Opfell (USA) , Tailormade India

I`m sure I could not have found a better operator for the type of complicated Indian tour I wanted to undertake on a limited budget. India is an intimidating country to visit, and I suspect that some operators look down on the first time visitor, or disparage their requirements. Travel the Unknown, by contrast, helped me all the way, and their local guides were superb.

Andrew Martin , Tailormade North East India

This trip was very well put together and ticked all the boxes that we had requested. The accommodation throughout the tour was of a high standard and our experiences in the national parks was wonderful spotting many different animals including tigers, leopards, sloth bears, lions, jungle cat plus countless number of birds. Thank you Rahul for tailoring this trip to our requirements.

Nigel & Margaret Turner , Tailormade India Wildlife & Birding tour

We went on the Spirit of South India Tour and had a great time on our honeymoon. There was a good variety of places visited and the hotels, drivers and guides were all very good. We would definitely recommend this tour.

Rachel , Spirit of South India, India

I would highly recommend Travel the Unknown to anyone visiting India. The service we received both prior to, during and following our travels was always timely and excellent. We were able to customize our trip to our liking and to enjoy a wide variety of activities. The guides in every location were outstanding! Honestly. Having travelled through much of the world I can truly say that we have never been more impressed with the quality of the guides arranged for us in each location, as well as the service we received. Similarly, the hotels were excellent and allowed us to live very comfortably while, at the same time, enjoy an authentic Indian experience. If you haven`t already booked your trip with Travel the Unknown, then either do so now....or at least give them a chance to show you what they can offer.

Tracey & Gary , Tailormade India

This was my first experience of using Travel the Unknown having enjoyed small group adventure holidays for many years. I was attracted to the company because it seeks out the more unusual and lesser known areas of a country and I was not disappointed by my visit to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. There is a clear contrast between the people and the scenery of these two regions and we saw very few western tourists particularly in Arunachal Pradesh. The tour was well organised with plenty to see and do.

Keith Lewis , Monks, Tribes & Rhinos, India

This was a very varied and interesting trip to a forgotten part of India. If you like off the beaten track travel it is definitely worth the effort but go with an open mind and keep a smile on your face.

Richard Williams , Monks, Tribes & Rhinos, India

Thank you for organising our holiday in Kerala. I certainly wouldn`t have had the time or the knowledge to put together such a trip. Munnar was my favourite and the accommodation throughout was excellent.

Vik , Kerala Calling, India

A really well planned trip. We experienced life in Northeast India in just the way we wanted to. We loved the game reserves and saw a rock python which thrilled our guides as it is even rarer than the tiger! We visited villages and were able to interact with local people and loved the busy markets in Delhi and Calcutta. A special highlight was the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland; shown to us by our very own Naga guide Kezo. Kezo accompanied us for 15 days of our trip and ensured that we had many very special experiences - even taking us to the home of one of his Aunts where we spent a couple of hours sitting by the bonfire chatting.

Ann Holgate , Tailormade India

What an excellent service! Rahul adapted, extended and improved our trip so many times without a qualm and we ended up with the trip of a lifetime. The destinations are unusual and interesting but everything has been checked out by the team and works brilliantly. I can`t wait to do another trip.

Penelope Smith , Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival, India

The tour was an amazing experience for our first visit to India. The country, its people and its cuisine were friendly,delightful, colourful and exceeded all our expectations. Travel the Unknown have put together a superb unique package that we have no hesitation in recommending to anyone with an interest in food and culture.

Elaine & Neil Smith , Delicacies of North India, India
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