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Often an assault on the senses from the moment you touchdown, India has been a favoured destination for over half a century for both independent travellers as well as those wanting super luxury travel experiences. From the snow-capped mountains of the high Himalaya, the wind swept deserts of Rajasthan, the pristine jungles of Madhya Pradesh, to the tranquil backwaters and tropical beaches of Kerala in the south;the subcontinent offers much, catering for all tastes and budgets. Whether you want to stay in a Maharajah's Palace, witness the hustle and bustle of the street markets of Delhi's Chandni Chowk, go on safari to see a Royal Bengal Tiger, take a boat ride at dawn on the river Ganges in Varanasi or kick back and relax on an authentic houseboat in South India's backwaters;India has this and much more on offer. Add to all of this a rich 10,000 year history and some of the most iconic historical and cultural sights in the world including the Taj Mahal and it's easy to see why this amazing country has been attracting visitors to its shores for so long. The one thing that makes a trip to India truly special though is the people. Over 1.3 billion Indians of various castes and creeds bring a swirl of colour to the lands they inhabit and their generous and friendly nature leaves visitors with memories they will cherish for the rest of their lives.
India holidays with A&K
Udaipur leaves visitors wide-eyed for many reasons: its exquisite architecture, elegant white hotel swaddled by serene Lake Pichola and floodlit Monsoon Palace 'floating' high in the night sky. But for one A&K traveller, there was another major surprise. At sights including the Jagdish Temple he was amazed to find tourist crowds being parted to allow him, his wife and their guide, Vikram, through. 'It was quite extraordinary,' he writes. 'I have never seen other guides move their customers aside. Vikram is excellent, and clearly has the respect of his peers'
Vikram is just one of a stellar A&K supporting cast who made the Rajasthan holiday so memorable. Take a bow our staff in the UK, guides on the ground, and driver, Viru, who made light work of a thrilling road trip enlivened by recalcitrant cows, haughty camels and rickshaws. 'Driving in India takes special skills,' says Air Commodore Leaning. 'Viru is one of the best.'
For nearly 30 years Abercrombie & Kent's large, highly experienced team have been offering luxury Indian holidays. We offer the country's best vehicles, hotels ranging from sumptuous to heritage to homestays and a network of guides and consultants embracing experts in everything from museums, art and architecture to conservation, food and history. With privileged access, they make the unique possible: An Indian cookery lesson in a private home? A private peek at a royal crystal collection? A Bollywood film set visit? Not a problem.
The subcontinent is such a diverse, intoxicating, sensory overload, it's hard to know where to start. Take a holiday or tour to India with A&K and we'll show you Delhi's teeming bazaar and awe-inspiring Raj architecture, Agra's Mughal Taj Mahal, and Rajasthan's mountains and deserts frescoed with palaces and forts.
You can walk in Himalayan foothills or Ladakh's high altitude desert, watch teeming life on Varanasi's sacred Ganges or study the erotic carvings of Madhya Pradesh. We'll take you to throbbing Mumbai's famous harbour, Bangalore's 'Silicon Valley' and lovely Mysore's palaces and festivities. You can flop on Goa's beaches or float through Kerala's backwaters eating masterful food.
We offer it all. And you're travelling with the knowledge that you're in the safest, most reliable hands. When Mumbai was engulfed in the chaos of 2008's terrorist attacks, our guest Mrs Lacey, was evacuated from her hotel at 4am. Our guide had located her room, and descending the ladder, she was overjoyed to hear: are you with A&K? 'They were,' she says, 'the most reassuring words I have ever heard'
And when Air Commodore Leaning and his wife needed urgent medical care, we made sure they got the best. The very best. Their holiday was uninterrupted. 'When things go wrong,' he wrote, 'you really appreciate the depth, concern and sheer professionalism of a company such as yours. Abercrombie and Kent, take a huge group hug from Jo and me: you were simply outstanding.'
Our experts can tailor-make the perfect holiday to suit your individual requirements, however, if you need inspiration or a starting point, below are some of our suggested trips and experiences:
Below are some of our suggested places to stay:
Early Booking Offer
Stay for 4 nights and only pay for 3 nights. Experience glamping at its very best in a Luxury Suite Tent. This offer is valid for limited dates and must be booked by the 31st March 2017. Subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply
Incredible Royal Escapes by Taj Hotels
Explore India with Taj Hotels, stay a minimum of six nights, four nights to be in one of the Grand Palaces in Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur or Hyderabad and receive 20% discount on spa treatments and Food and Beverage ( soft drinks only). Valid for travel between the 16th April until the 30th September 2017. Subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply.
Incredible Royal Escapes by Taj Hotels with 1 free night in Agra
Prices from £3,499pp include 2 nights in Taj Delhi, 1 night in Gateway Agra, 2 nights in Taj Rambagh Palace, 2 nights Taj Lake Palace, private transfers throughout and BA flights in Economy Class London to Delhi and internal flight from Udaipur to Delhi.
Explore India with Taj Hotels, stay a minimum of seven nights, four nights to be in one of the Grand Palaces in Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur or Hyderabad and receive 20% discount on spa treatments and Food and Beverage ( soft drinks only) and one free night in Agra at The Gateway Hotel Fatehabad Road, Agra. Valid for stays from now until the 15th April 2017 ( not valid for travel from 20th December 2016 to 7th January 2017). Subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply.
25% off spa therapies, complimentary WiFi and further discounts when you stay 6 nights or more
Discover India staying with Oberoi hotels. Stay a minimum of 6 nights at selected Oberoi Hotels and receive further discounts as well as 25% off spa therapies and complimentary high speed WiFi. Valid for travel from now until the 30th Septemberl 2017. Subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply. Selected hotels are; Oberoi Amarvilas - Agra, Oberoi Rajvilas - Jaipur, Oberoi Udaivilas - Udaipur, Oberoi Vanyavilas Ranthambore, Oberoi Mumbai, Oberoi Grand Kolkata, Oberoi Gurgaon - Delhi and Wildflower Hall Shimla - Himalayas.
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Annie, Brandon, Debbie, Margaret, Vicky Hamlin, Vicky Smith and Rachel - are experts in designing travel experiences across the region to suit your personal needs, interests and budget. Their intimate knowledge of every hotel and resort featured in our Orient, India, Australasia and Indian Ocean portfolio, together with our own network of offices throughout these areas, allows us to offer unique in-depth knowledge, unparalleled insider access and the VIP service for which Abercrombie & Kent is renowned.
Read about our lastest experiences in our Travel Blog pages.
To find out more about our Orient team, click on the consultant links below or call them on 01242 547 704 or enquire online
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Our recent awards
Our driver Sonu was excellent. He more than anyone helped to make our visit comfortable. We had complete trust in him and it was helped by his excellent driving right throughout the journey- Delhi traffic or express highways. He was very courteous and thoughtful. We can't praise him enough!
- KB, London
Best time to be there
From October to March the weather is refreshingly cool with minimal rainfall in most places. India's main festivals also take place during this time, such as the Pushkar Fair in Rajasthan, the Republic Day of India and Holi, the festival of colours.
8 hours 20 minutes non-stop
GMT +5 1/2 hours
Required for UK passport holders
Yellow fever certificate if arriving from an endemic area