This trip to Rajasthan, from which we have just returned, was our first visit to India and our first time on an organised group holiday. What a marvellous experience of both it was. Riviera has put together a most varied, imaginative and culturally aware tour. A big part of the enjoyment was the travel itself, mostly by coach but there were also a couple of internal flights, a train journey, in one instance a fleet of cars, the occasional taxi and tuk-tuk ride and (on an optional excursion) a jeep and a camel cart. The hotels chosen were superb. We ate mostly in the hotels, where the cuisine was excellent, though there was often the possibility of eating locally instead if one preferred.
The itinerary was well paced, with two-night stays alternating with one-night stays. Flying out of Delhi more or less on arrival, our first destination was Amritsar and the Sikh Golden Temple, a truly spectacular start to the visit. This was followed up, breathtakingly, by Agra and the Taj Mahal and thereafter a dazzling array of forts, palaces and temples, taking in also Jaipur and Jodhpur, Pushkar and the Khimsar Fort provided relaxing rural interludes and the lake-side resort of Udaipur was a delightful final destination before our return to Delhi
Much of the success of the tour was down to our guide Kate de Witte who kept us fully informed about arrangements throughout and whose warmth and calm efficiency contributed greatly to a relaxed, friendly ambiance. Manjet Singh, our Indian guide, was highly knowledgeable and his commentaries on the places we visited, as well as on aspects of Indian culture and society, were a huge plus, entertaining as well as informative. One or two other guides were brought in locally: Mandeep, who accompanied us in the Golden Temple, provided much enlightenment there.
For anyone wanting an introduction to the vast ‘otherness’ of India, we cannot recommend this trip highly enough.
Review by Heather and Robert Lloyd on 5 November 2015