India is emerging as a fast-growing luxury destination, owing to availability of luxurious properties across the country. The most desirable tours in the luxury segment are the ones that cover destinations of ‘The Golden Triangle'(Delhi-Agra-Jaipur), Rajasthan and Kerala. Rajasthan undoubtedly has an added advantage in attracting visitors due to the maximum number of Taj and Oberoi properties. These properties follow high standards of services and give a worthwhile experience to its guests.
Luxury travel in India is best experienced as a private and customized tour. It means that the travelers would have the entire tour tailor-made to their specifications and preferences. They can include and skip destinations as per their interests, though some routings are necessary. For instance, a traveler interested in wildlife may include ‘Ranthambhore’ to his program, whereas someone looking for a more spiritual tour can include Varanasi – one of the oldest living civilizations in the world.
Considering the comfort and luxury of the traveler, the luxury tours offer a private chauffeur driven car for each city. Guides provided are also exclusive, experienced and licensed. By opting for a luxury tour, a guest is more assured for the quality of services as he/she gets the optimum quality; be it the accommodation, transport or guide.
The tour duration would depend on the availability of time with the traveler. In case they have around 6-7 days, then an ideal tour that can be covered would be ‘The Golden Triangle’ i.e. Delhi, Agra & Jaipur. Delhi – the capital city of India has much to offer from great architecture to colorful markets, from a rich history to well preserved heritage. Home to the famous ‘Taj Mahal’, Agra is an important city of the Golden Triangle. Jaipur is the city of colors with royal forts and palaces. For adding more destinations in Rajasthan, apart from Jaipur, one would need a minimum of 2 weeks time. Within 2 weeks, one can easily cover the main locations of Rajasthan like Jaipur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Ranakpur and Udaipur (apart from Delhi and Agra). Desert cities of Bikaner and Jaisalmer offer picturesque sunset of the dunes, camel rides and old ‘Havelis’ (former royal residences). Udaipur has been ranked as one of the most beautiful cities in the world and is also known as the ‘city of lakes’.
For spiritual tours, a visit to the holy city of ‘Varanasi’ is really important. One can combine it with the ‘Golden Triangle’ in a minimum of 10 days. Varanasi is situated on the bank of the Holy river Ganges with its ancient architecture, customs and belief. It also holds significance for ‘Sarnath’ which is the place where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon to his five disciples. Currently it houses the famous ‘Stupa’ holding relics of the Buddha and it also has the monastery ruins and the ‘Ashoka Pillar’.
For the more adventurous traveler who wants to explore the most and enjoy everything from culture to traditions, from sand dunes to lakes, from forts to palaces, from wildlife to hill stations and from backwater to beaches; around 3 weeks would be sufficient for a luxurious and relaxing tour.
Rajasthan has lot of luxury properties and places like Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Jaisalmer offers beautiful palatial hotels. Kerala’s major locations are Kochi, Alleppey, Periyar, Munnar and Kovalam. Though Munnar being a hill station is less visited from December to February. Periyar offers jungle trek & boat ride in the reserve to enable travelers watch the wildlife closely.
While the North India and Rajasthan (west) is more about architecture, history and culture, Kerala is all about natural beauty with its hill station, beaches, wildlife and backwaters. An ideal way to combine both in a single trip is to take flight from Udaipur to Kochi via Mumbai, after completing the Golden Triangle and Rajasthan. Flights are advisable for the luxury traveler instead of the trains, unless it is the luxury trains. However, one needs to keep in mind that luxury trains run on fixed days, dates, itinerary and routing and the program cannot be customized. If someone wants to experience the luxury trains along with other states in India, a good option would be to take up at Rajasthan tour with the luxury train for about 10-14 days and combine it with a private and customized tour to Kerala or Varanasi, Khajuraho etc. for another 10-12 days.
The best time for luxury travelers to visit India is November to February when India has winters and the climate is cold. However, during the peak season of Christmas and New Year, luxury properties have inflated rates. Travel between 15th December to 10th January turns out to be a bit more expensive than at other times during the season.