Very enjoyable - covered a lot of ground, saw some amazing (and humbling) sights and had superb support from guides and crew who worked really hard to make this a trip to remember.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
For me the whole trip was about seeing the Taj Mahal and it did not disappoint. We went in the morning (though missed sunrise as it was rather misty) and it really did take my breath away. We had plenty time to wander at our own pace and take it all in.
Also thoroughly enjoyed cycling out in the countryside. We took a walk to a local village from the Tiger Reserve and loads of children led us across the fields to explore where they lived, posing for photos, playing with our hair and chatting away though we did not understand a word. It was a lovely experience.
- What did you think of your group leader?
- Harish and Pramod worked really hard to make sure everyone was happy though we all had different requirements (and demands). They are enthusiastic and knowledgable as well as striking a respectful balance with the locals who were interested in us every time we stopped.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
It got chilly in the evenings in December (especially in the Tiger Reserve, though also in some hotels) - I wished I had more warm clothes.
Try to stick with at least one other person when cycling through the villages - we sometimes had youngsters throwing rocks and sticks at us (though I have to say that most of the locals were very friendly!)
You won't get much chance for shopping - there are some organised trips to carpet/ marble/ jewellery places but limited opportunities to go round local markets - ask early if this is something you really want to do.
We got a better exchange rate for our £ at money-changers in town than at the airport. You won't find ATMs every day and some people struggled to use their cards.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
I've travelled in India before but the sights and sounds and traffic and poverty still catch me every time. Take time to take it all in - the rides through the countryside are amazing - seeing people at work and going about their business in brightly coloured clothing and being surrounded by locals within minutes at every chai stop. This trip was the first for me where the locals were armed with camera phones and they were as interested in taking pictures of us as we were in them.
All in all it was a great trip and we used just about every minute of every day. Be prepared for lots of early starts and some lengthy bus transfers - the trip covers a wide area but it's ok if you are expecting them.