What We Love
- India is a country with a captivating array of cultures, landscapes, and people (1 billion and counting). The colors, the spices, the landscapes—this country is a feast for every sense. No one does color and pageantry quite like India does.
- The multitude of festivals reflect a great religious diversity. While the majority of the country practices Hinduism, there is a large contingent of Christians, Sikhs, Muslims, Jains, and Buddhists. Festivals give visitors a glimpse into the legends that long ago shaped the deep-rooted beliefs of these world religions.
- Our favorite festival is the week-long Pushkar Camel Fair, where hundreds of traders gather from distant regions to barter and sell goods—but, most importantly, to trade camels.
Things To See & Do
- Behold the Taj Mahal, India’s most iconic landmark—and rightfully so. No photograph will ever capture the beauty of this place. One simply must see it in person to understand its power and why many regard it as the most romantic gift of all time. Built between 1631 and 1648 on a hill by the Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife, who died giving birth to their fourteenth child, the Taj must be visited at least twice at different times of day to see how it changes with the light.
- Explore the State of Rajasthan in northern India, the most popular destination in the country. This area is home to the ornamental palaces of the maharajahs, impregnable forts, and colorfully rich sights of sari-clad women working in dusty fields or painted and bejeweled sacred cows roaming bustling streets.
- Visit Jaipur, known as the "Pink City of Rajasthan," the capital of this famed region. The city was ordered to be painted pink in honor of Prince Albert's visit in 1883 because pink is deemed the traditional color of welcome.
- Wander the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of Winds, located in the old walled city, and see the façade of 953 airy windows used by the ladies of the palace to watch the outside world without being seen.
- Roam the pillared pavilions and exquisite buildings of Amber Fort. Do not miss the spectacle of the Sheesh Mahal (the Palace of Mirrors), where the walls are inlaid with mirrored motifs that shimmer and dance to the flame of a single candle.
- Travel to Udaipur, another city in this region, where the extravagant lifestyles of the maharajahs are on opulent display in its many palaces, lakes, and temples. The royal family had a City Palace, a labyrinth of courtyards decorated with inlaid mirror motifs and galleries covered with frescoes, as well as two palaces on adjacent Pichola Lake.
- Visit a fifteenth-century Jain Temple in Ranakpur or see the second-century BC Ajanta and Ellora Caves outside of Aurangabad. These are astounding rock temples that have been carved out of cliffs by Buddhist monks and are adorned with sculptures and frescoes.
- Pilgrimage to Varanasi, the holiest and oldest living city in India. It is an unforgettable experience to see the Hindus wash away their sins in the holy water of the Ganges River.
- For those wanting a nature experience, there are a number of national parks to explore. Ranthambore is a wildlife sanctuary and the former hunting ground of the royal family. The park offers the best chance to spot a royal Bengal tiger in its natural environment.
An excellent complement to a journey to India is a visit to its small island neighbor to the south, Sri Lanka, a country of rich Buddhist heritage, tropical rainforests, game parks featuring Sri Lankan leopards, and an ancient capital city full of carved palaces and temples. The countryside is home to nearly 500,000 acres of lush tea estates, 350 waterfalls, countless sleepy villages, coconut farms, and the distinctive Sri Lankan stilt-fishing. Go inside this age-old island nation and uncover the wonders of its sacred temples, rich landscapes—and leopards and elephants, oh my!
What We Love
- Bhutan is a Buddhist kingdom nestled in the heart of the Himalayas. It is a mysterious land of soaring peaks, 60-foot rhododendrons and magnolias, colorful costumes, terraced farmland, mani (prayer) walls, chortens (shrines), and temples.
- While their king has the title Druk Gyalo, meaning“Thunder Dragon King,” the Bhutanese are about the nicest people you will ever meet. In fact, in 1972 the fourth Dragon King coined the term "Gross National Happiness," a metric he deemed more important than the Gross National Prodcuct (GNP).
- While tourism has increased over the last decade, Bhutan is still one of more intact, unique, and traditional cultures in the world. What is also fascinating is the way in which the Bhutanese have absorbed the modern world on their own terms—guarding what they feel is sacred, while tucking a cell phone under their traditional belted robe.
- Color! It seems that every aspect of Bhutanese life is colorful and decorative. It is abundantly apparent while trekking through villages of brightly painted houses, encountering artisans making wooden masks, gold and silver ornaments, textiles, and thangkas (religious paintings).
Things To See & Do
- Travel to Thimphu, Bhutan’s temple-dotted capital, and meet monks in impressive monasteries.
- Continue to the stunning countryside to climb the twisting steps of the legendary Tiger's Nest Monastery, perched off the side of a mountain 3,000 feet above the valley floor.
- Visit local farms to understand their daily way of life.
We recommend a combination trip to Nepal and / or India.
What We Love
- Nepal has more geographical diversity than one might assume. While it is the mountaineer's ultimate destination, containing eight of the 10 highest peaks in the world, including Mt. Everest, Nepal has a variety of habitats from sub-tropical jungles to high-altitude deserts, and a flat fertile strip of land known as the Terai along the country's southern border.
- In addition to breathtaking vistas, Nepal has a fascinating culture created by a diverse mix of 22 million people of various ethnic groups. Hinduism and Buddhism are the dominant religions, but these are intertwined with Tantrism, animist rites, and shamanistic practices.
- The physical strength and toughness of the Nepalese is unrivaled, as anyone who has climbed with a Sherpa guide can attest.
- Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, is a vibrant mix of old and new. This eclectic city is where Hinduism and Buddhism blend together and create a fascinating and mysterious place. Narrow cobbled streets are peppered with glazed-over Ganesh shrines and pagodas, while old women in saris walk along with young women in Levis and Tevas. One never knows what is around the corner: a soccer game in the street, an impromptu parade, a colorful market, or a praying monk.
Things To See & Do
- Head up into the Himalayas, the highest mountain range on Earth. There are a wide range of treks with varying degrees of difficulty. One does not have to be a mountaineer to enjoy the splendor of these breathtaking mountain ranges on foot. There are plenty of sweeping views as one hikes the foothills.
- Hike the Everest Foothills up to Base Camp. Learn about village life and its history. Visit the principal monastery of the region. See the vegetation change at different elevations, and last but not least, lay one's eyes upon the most famous mountain in the world.
- We can also arrange a helicopter trip to Base Camp.