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Rajasthan, the Taj Mahal & Amritsar’s Golden Temple Tour

We’ve been home three weeks from this Tour and are still buzzing with excitement at the whole experience. The tour is quite hard work with many early morning calls and travelling from one place to another.  It is never dull and every day brought something amazing to enjoy. The Golden Temple at night on our first day really gave the tour a WOW factor start, Taj Mahal, Forts, Palaces, traffic, cows, you name it.  Many thanks to Serdjo and the team for helping making this tour so memorable.

Review by Eddie & Sandra Clark on 30 March 2016

We would like to thank everyone who helped to make our recent holiday such an enjoyable experience. It was our first visit to India and we thoroughly enjoyed it. There was a lot of waiting about at the airport on arrival, but we realise that this was mainly due to the Indian immigration systems rather than to anything within Riviera’s control.

The hotels we stayed at were usually very good - the only exception being the Radisson Blu in Jaipur, which did not come up to the same standards of food and service.

Our Tour Manager, Serdjo, was really helpful and did an excellent job - he is certainly one of the best Tour Managers we have ever had contact with, both within Riviera and other companies. Our local guide, Mayang, was also very helpful and well informed. The two of them together made the tour extremely enjoyable and kept things running smoothly.

Thank you again to all concerned for our wonderful holiday,

Review by Olwen Evans-Knibb on 8 March 2016

We have just returned from our trip in India and would like to say WOW what a fantastic experience it was.  Everyone involved was amazing, knowledgeable and helpful.  The trip was packed full of so many experiences and although we were on the road early and sometimes for a long time, I thought it was very much worth it to see so many different sites.  The range of hotels was great, offering something for everyones taste.  I particularly loved the heritage hotel and the local trips they put on for us.  I could not fault the whole experience and would like to say a very big thank you to Gill and her team for making the trip so special in every way.

Review by Julie Pill on 8 March 2016

I have just returned from the Rajasthan, The Taj Mahal and Amritsar tour of India with Gill our Tour Manager. The tour exceeded my expectations, Gill was brilliant - calm and efficient with a great knowledge and sense of humour.  Yes, it was exhausting but what else can you expect from travelling such distances.  The two local guides kindeep? And Kunal were brilliant gave us lot of information not only on the sites but also on the culture of India.
The itinerary said we were to go to the Golden Temple on the day we arrived in Amritsar, but as we had a delayed journey to Amritsar we arrived at the hotel late it was decide that we would see the evening ceremony the next day. Yes, we had a very busy day but I’m so pleased we did it this way. I’m not sure I would have had the ‘wow’ factor seeing the golden temple in daylight having seeing it the night before. This way I had a double ‘wow’ seeing it in the daylight and then bathed in light in the evening.
Thank you for a great trip

Review by Brenda Holbrook on 8 March 2016

Fabulous.  A great itinerary, with plenty of variety, at a sensible pace.  Well-organsied, excellent hotels, many superb Indian meals.  We’re so glad we opted for the Amritsar and the extended Rajasthan tour, which we just as interesting as the better-known attractions.  A holiday to remember – thank you!

Review by Bob and Jackie Hammersley on 11 March 2013

This was a fantastic trip. Well organised and with a brilliant team of guides. The itinerary was well thought through and carefully paced. The hotels were all excellent with friendly staff who took great pride in looking after their guests. This was our first experience of a fully guided coach tour but this trip could convert us! “It did what it said on the tin” but with quite a few extra little treats. We would recommend this trip to anyone who wants to see and learn something of the history and cultures of India on a friendly and supported tour. Full marks and thank you.

Review by Peter and Ursula on 23 April 2013

My wife and I went on your Rajasthan, Taj Mahal and Amritsar Golden Temple tour in February 2013, the holiday was magical, everything we wanted and more, we could never have managed the itinerary on our own in the time. Everything was well organised and went smoothly with few grumbles, our guides Kate and Kamlinda entertained and looked after us very well and didn’t lose anyone in the chaos of India.
Accommodation was excellent and travelling around was very comfortable and not too hectic, we saw all levels of Indian culture and life from the top to the bottom, our driver and bus boy were first class, looking after us well while also managing to avoid everything else on the road, even while negotiating narrow mountain tracks. We have no hesitating in recommending this tour with Riviera Travel particularly if you are not a seasoned traveller.

Review by Betty & Richard Fleet on 25 June 2013

Dorothy and I are first time travelers with Riviera. After this experience, it will be the first of many future holidays with this company. From start to finish, our holiday has been excellent. The sights and sounds and cultural diversity of India, was vividly brought alive via the Riviera itinerary. Our accommodation was excellent, as were the travel arrangements by plane, coach and train, as well as our excellent Indian guide.
But the real guarantee of success - underpinning everything, was the co-ordination of our daily programme by Sarah, our Riviera Tour Guide. She was consistently enthusiastic; was meticulous in her planning; superb in the occasional “trouble shooting,” and a mine of useful information. Nothing was too much trouble for her, and all done with a smile. She is the consummate professional. Sarah is an excellent ambassador for Riviera and for India too. We feel indebted to her for our brilliant experience.
Thank you, so much. Mark & Dorothy.

Review by Mark Bailey & Dorothy Hayley on 20 October 2013

My wife and I thought that this was an excellent and excellently-organised trip. We were a little apprehensive about joining an escorted tour as we have always organised our own travel, including holidays in the Far East, but we could never have arranged such a comprehensive, informative and comprehensive holiday by ourselves.

Although, at times, it was tiring, we enjoyed almost every moment of it.  We particularly liked the fact that it was based on the assumption that the group was made up of intelligent people.  Kate de Witte, our tour leader, was a very important factor in the success of the holiday; she was very amusing and informative and ensured that everything ran smoothly. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble for her. What a genuinely nice lady.

Review by A M Wilson on 11 November 2013

We cannot praise the organisation, the guides - Sarah & Kam - the coach driver and bus boy or the itinerary enough. A great taste of India with a number of highlights. The hotels, stops to break up the drives and visits to the great sights, sounds and smells of India were planned well and with great consideration to everyone on the tour. Hotels were excellent. We experienced many ways to travel through India and the rest days were in beautiful hotels full of atmosphere, especially Khimsar Fort - loved it!
This is the first trip with Riviera and hopefully some time in the future we shall be travelling with this company again. Travel with confidence and our recommendation. Thank you for an memorable holiday.

Review by Robert & Gillian Lamb on 11 November 2013

Truly an incredible experience. The sites to visit are obviously iconic but the organisation was first rate. Timing and presentation was very professional.  Little organisational things like group tipping, no big deal but very useful.  Hotels were varied and excellent. All forms of Indian transport (including railway….again iconic) made it a wonderful experience. The tour leader Sarah was excellent as was the local guide Dilip, very knowledgeable and transmitted information professionally. Maybe we were fortunate with a small group at the end of the season, but the camaraderie enhanced the tour. Where next…....

Review by Geoff and Rani Frost on 6 May 2014

We have travelled many times with Riviera and have never been disappointed. This tour of Rajasthan was just wonderful. We loved Amritsar’s golden temple, and the border closing ceremony between India and Pakistan was a sight to behold. From then on, the sights and experiences just got better and better.
We would like to thank our Tour Manager Sarah, for a brilliant holiday experience. Helpful, considerate, very knowledgeable and professional at all times, Sarah was very funny and created a perfect atmosphere throughout the tour.

Review by Terry & Claire Needham on 14 May 2014

I have just returned from an excellent tour of some of the most wonderful cities of Rajasthan, Agra etc.  I had long wanted to visit theses places and the Riviera tour did not disappoint.  The travel and hotels were excellent.  Sara our tour guide was informative, funny and like a mother hen.  Kamlinda our local guide has a vast amount of information to lay before you, alongside his corny jokes.   Our fellow travellers were good company which is a bonus when on a tour.   I thoroughly recommend this tour to anyone who is a little apprehensive about visiting India, in the excellent hands of Riviera you will enjoy a positive experience.
Julie Slimm

Review by Julie Slimm on 2 December 2014

On Friday I returned from the best educational holiday of my long life. I had the privilege to be a member of a tour led and managed by your representative Ms Sarah Amorin and guided by Kam.

From start to very end this was a master class in how to do it and pours nothing but praise on its operational organiser & guide & home based planners.

I find that there is nothing I can grouse about; from transport to accommodation, management (herding cats and platting fog come to mind), knowledge and skillful guidance all were excellent - and that from a retired officer!

Thanks Riviera - nothing but praise and appreciation.

Review by Ken Orme on 4 December 2014

Thank you so much Riviera for a wonderful adventure! I thought this would be my one and only trip to India, but thanks to our excellent guides Sarah and Kamalendra I shall have to return someday. The sights, the sounds, the scents, the people all conspired to make this an unforgettable glimpse into a fascinating country. The hotels were superb and complete contrasts, from the expected comfort of the Radissons, to the idyllic setting of Pushkar and the incredible Khimsar. The places we visited were full of contrasts too, palaces, forts, temples, and all accompanied by Kam’s interesting, amusing and absorbing information. It was thanks to Sarah and her organisation that the group worked well together and all seemed to enjoy each others company. What an incredible journey - thank you again to all involved.

Review by Roz Reader on 9 December 2014

We’ve just returned from this tour and had the most wonderful time. We were a bit anxious about a tour - normally preferring to organise our holidays independently, but we didn’t regret a minute of it. Riviera communicated well before we started the trip and even threw in a few extra meals due to the exchange rates improving. The quality of the accommodation was first class, staying in a couple of unique and very restful hotels. The tour bus was comfortable with toilets, plenty of space and drinks on board.  But what made the holiday so enjoyable was our ‘crew’ - Kate our English guide, Buvinder our Indian guide, Surrinder the driver, and Basant the assistant. Kate and Buvinder were so knowledgeable and the level of information given was just right. Everyone was extremely helpful and cheerful the whole time. We had a couple of issues, outside the control and remit of Riviera, and Kate helped us out very willingly and discretely.  She’s a real star! The pace of this tour was very relaxed (apart from the first day which is a bit hectic) and we visited some magnificent places - The Golden Temple at Amritsar being the real highlight of our holiday. We also upgraded to the Taj Lake Palace Hotel in Udaipur and it was worth every penny. In all, we would highly recommend this holiday to anyone - excellent value for money. Will definitely be travelling with Riviera again.

Review by Sally & John Ellis on 16 February 2015

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

Just returned from this wonderful trip. The visit to the Golden Temple at Amritsar was a stunning start to a tour that improved day by day.   The pace of the tour was necessarily fast to fit in all the things we had to see and do.   The trip to the Taj Mahal in the early morning was superb (thanks Riviera for the group photograph by the Taj - a lovely touch). The camel fair at Pushkar was a highlight - I don’t think any of us had ever seen anything like it before - and combined with the evening tour to the local holy bathing that’s it was a truly memorable experience. The hotels were all very good with the Heritage Hotel at Khimsar Fort bringing a welcome day’s rest and lovely buffet in the unusual restaurant on the ramparts.  The journeys on “the big orange bus” with superb driver Mr Ghan and his ever-smiling helper Sonou,  plus the train to Pushkar, the jeeps at the Amber Fort and the Tuk-Tuk ride in Jodpur were all great fun.  Thanks particularly to Tour Manager Richard Hochuli and local guide Abbi Singh who worked very well together.  Richard’s patience and relaxed good humour added greatly to our enjoyment of the holiday.   How he kept our large (38 people) group together and got us all to the right places at the right time was nothing short of miraculous.  Thanks Richard.  Dennis and I both loved this trip and our thanks to Riviera for detailed information beforehand and brilliant organisation on this fantastic tour.

Review by Carole Holiday on 4 December 2015

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