I felt that I'd seen something of the 'real' India. We stayed in hotels run by native Indians and visited local craft centres and co-operatives. Being allowed to walk down the main street of a small country town was an amazing experience. Buying an apple from a stall created an interested crowd which was quite scary in itself but again an experience. In Ghandi's Memorial Park, Delhi, we were of more interest to some visiting schoolboys than was his Tomb and gathered an extra fifty or so blue-shirted lads to our party, all jostling for our attention and demanding to be photographed.
The hawkers and beggars were very persistent but Bushan and the temporary guides were experts in avoiding conflict and gave sound advice in dealing with them. it could be upsetting though. Young mothers presenting half naked babies and people with appalling disabilities struggling to sell postcards or souvenirs.
This was no 'luxury holiday' being pampered and spoiled. It did require a degree of stamina and self organisation. eg wake up call 7.00am, showered, dressed etc, packed and cases outside the door of the room by 7.30 am, then get breakfast before being ready to leave for 8.00 am. All hotels were clean and comfortable with towels provided and en-suite facilities, just one night my sister and I had to share a large King size bed as against twins, but it was so large it didn't cause a problem. This was an amazing holiday like nothing I'd previously experienced. Exodus are responsible tourism personified and I would recommend their holidays to anyone. Being a fairly fit pensioner in my late sixties this grade of holiday was well within my capabilities. You do need to be flexible with your food requirements though. Don't expect 'Fish and Chips and beefburgers every where. Hindus are generally vegetarian and much of the available food was thus. Very tasty too.