It was an amazing tour and a life time experience for me. It is like a tour with a subtext depending on how much you want to capture. You will not only see great places but if you want, you will have the chance to mingle with the society in both India and Nepal and you may strikingly understand the real meaning of some words, you may have to revise your understanding about global and historical economic issues and the way you live and the things you care for.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
I think the most highlighted place and the event of the tour should be Varanasi with the trips to Ganges, the night and the morning ceremonies, and the streets. It is a place out of this world and we could not have enough of the place and we went to the ghats, to see the gathering of the people there for the night ceremony on the second night we stayed there as well. I should also mention Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri city, the train trip, a great chance to have long conversations with the local people, the Buddha temple in Lumbini, visit the garden, and the Durbar Square, the forest of temples. A personal highlight was the bamboo swing ride at the top of a hill visited during the trekking in Pokhara. You may get the chance if you go there in the holiday season ahead of Diwali.
- What did you think of your group leader?
Jatin Bansal, Jeetu, was a top notch guide, with his personality, humanity, and his ability to cope with the unexpected situations along with his knowledge and his willingness to give information on his country, religion, and history. He will give the opportunity to talk on issues and get a real insight other than just simple sightseeing. You can count on him when you are away from home and when you need help, he will be there for you as he managed to look after one of the group members who suffered an unfortunate accident while running the tour smoothly for the rest of the group. You can also count on him on picking healthy and delicious street food and his taste of rum. Don't miss his Old Monk offer along with chat at the dinner table :)
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Consider this trip as a marathon and save your energy and your memory card until the end of the tour. You may also try to keep your activities light after you return home as you will be physically tired and you may have concentration issues as you will not want to return mentally. It is a very well organised tour, providing the most possible comfort level, but still it would be better to get some information about the countries you will be travelling to before you go, especially about their economic situation and population, then you wouldn't be surprised or disappointed about the conditions of the roads or the general living standards. The tour program with all the optional activities may exceed your expectations but still do not miss Jama Mescid in Delhi in any condition. And Kathmandu deserves more attention, definitely more than an ox car ride, so if you can manage, leave Chitwan as early as possible so that you can spend enough time in the Durbar Square and the old town on the afternoon you arrive Kathmandu and by that you can spare the afternoon of the next day which is the last day of the tour to visit Bhaktapur, a listed World Heritage site near Kathmandu. Don't waste the daylight in Thamel, the shopping area in Kathmandu.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
- I just want to repeat our guide's words each time he said when we were getting off the bus; "take your sun hat, sun screen, sun glasses (I was there in October) your camera and a bottle of water" and I would like to add enjoy and try to understand a different world than the one you have seen so far.