2020 February 10 to 20
A Gay Travel India Adventure Tour
Immerse yourself in India’s adventurous wild side on our gay India adventure vacation, including whitewater rafting, hiking, and yoga. Visit exquisite temples, palaces, and landmarks (including the Taj Mahal), experience rich local culture, enjoy exotic cuisine, and ride camels and elephants on a friendly gay group tour!
Lots of tour companies visit the vast subcontinent of India to see its many treasures, but only HE Travel immerses you into India’s adventurous wild side! Our gay India Adventure tour begins in Delhi where we delve into the local culture and are swept away to another time and place. Delhi, India’s modern capital, is also a very ancient city filled with hundreds of historic landmarks.
From Delhi, we start our active adventuring by visiting local villages and experiencing rural Indian life to see the cultural traditions that Indians have followed for centuries. Later we head to the countryside around Jaipur where we hop on bicycles to witness the feudal legacy that lives on in this region. As we bike among farming villages, we will provide endless entertainment to local villagers who will be intrigued by westerners riding bikes through India!
We will hike among the Aravalli Hills surrounding Jaipur and also see the massive elephants that played an important in the building of the forts and palaces of this spectacular region. Afterward, there is an optional camel ride! As we drive from Jaipur to Agra we will ride bicycles or walk through Keoladeo Ghana National Park, a small but important bird Sanctuary near Bharatpur.
Our next destination is the famous icon of India, the Taj Mahal. Our HE Travel tour group will not only visit the Taj Mahal itself, but we will walk along the maze of trails which zigzag through the grounds. This allows us to see this monument from several glorious vantage points: the appearance of the Taj Mahal varies greatly in hue, color, and radiance depending on the time of day, sunlight and clouds, season and setting.
Our last stop will be Rishikesh, considered by many to be the “Yoga Capital of the World”. Our final adventures of the tour include whitewater rafting, hiking, and of course…yoga!
Guests arriving in Delhi will be met and transferred to our lovely hotel. Delhi is made up of seven ancient cities, spanning the 11th to 20th centuries. The region has seen the rise and fall of many emperors who left thousands of monuments commemorating the grandeur and glory of bygone ages. Very few cities in the world can boast such a profusion of architectural styles. To allow maximum flexibility of flights, there are no activities or group meals planned today.
After breakfast this morning, we will walk the streets of Old Delhi with a private guide and be immersed in India’s history. Gain a new understanding of the country’s ancient cultures while seeing life at the local level. Learn about the impressive design of the city’s ‘Havelis’ (private mansions), discover the significance of historical sites like the Red Fort, and admire handmade crafts sold at the market in Chandni Chowk. By walking the same paths that the locals do, you’ll be genuinely immersed in the Old Delhi lifestyle.
Lunch today will be on your own. This afternoon we will visit New Delhi, which was designed and built by the British in the 1920′s. It’s a city of wide boulevards, impressive government buildings, as well as green parks and gardens. We will also visit a monument from Delhi’s past – Humayun’s Tomb. This evening we will visit Gurudwara Bangla Sahib; one of the most prominent Sikh temples. Our drive will take us along the ceremonial avenue, Rajpath, past the imposing India Gate and Parliament House. We will dine together this evening at a delicious restaurant in town for our Welcome Dinner.
Today we will head to our hotel in Jaipur, a city known for its historic forts, palaces, and gardens. On the way to Jaipur, we’ll see the evidence of lucrative trade routes over the Thar Desert: remains of luxurious palaces, temples, and forts built by successive rulers, including Hindu Rajputs and Muslim Mughals. A feudal legacy lives on here, in ornate pleated veils, voluminous turbans, tinkling bells, and mirrored saris – all symbols of an exotic past. This is a great destination for shopping, with outstanding values in textiles, jewelry, metals, and precious stones.
This afternoon, we will explore Galta Ji, a large Hindu temple complex. Enjoy these temples that are home to a large colony of monkeys, which has led to its nickname, the monkey temple.
In the evening we will enjoy a thrilling jeep safari to see the city at night. Take in the views of Albert Hall, Hawa Mahal (Wind Palace), Birla Mandir and Jal Mahal. The drive will continue on to the Amber Fort with a breathtaking display of lights on the majestic bluff-top building. Tonight we’ll have the evening to explore and have dinner independently.
This morning we will make our way to Amber Fort (also known as the Amer Palace), a spectacular fortress that protects a complex of palaces, temples and exquisite marble and mirror halls and apartments. From here we will hike 2-3 hours to Jaigarh Fort, then drive to Nahargarh Fort, which overlooks the city of Jaipur with fantastic views, a beautiful palace complex, and a uniquely designed stepwell. As you ascend, you will have beautiful views of the valley, covered in dense forest and streams.
Later tonight we will have the option of learning about Rajasthan’s traditional art of block printing. This process flourished since the 12th century when the art received royal patronage from the kings of the era.
Departing through the outlying settlements of Jaipur and with the Amber Fort as our backdrop, we commence our bicycle ride. By noon, we will arrive at Ramgarh Lake and enjoy lunch under a huge Banyan tree. After lunch, we will explore the village on foot and Jeep. Guests may enjoy an optional camel ride this evening before shuttling back to our Jaipur hotel. Dinner tonight will be on our own.
After breakfast, we will start our drive to Agra. Along the way, we will stop near Bharatpur to explore Keoladeo Ghana National Park, a small but important bird sanctuary. Originally a duck-shooting preserve, the wetland is now a world-renowned birding destination. We’ll walk or cycle along the narrow road to the open wetlands at the end. We’ll then continue to Agra, once the capital of the Mughal Empire, and check in to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free. Feel free this evening to enjoy the optional activity of a grand, Bollywood-style live performance “Mohabbat-e-Taj”, based on the love story that inspired the creation of the Taj Mahal, or an optional yoga and meditation session before sunset on the lovely hillside overlooking the Taj Mahal.
Rise early today to get a sunrise perspective of Shah Jehan’s monument to love. The Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor as the final resting place for his favorite Queen, Mumtaz. This perfectly symmetrical monument took 22 years (1630-1652 A.D) of hard labor and 20,000 workers, masons and jewelers to build. It was designed by the Persian architect, Ustad Isa. Verses of the Holy Quran are inscribed in the main building and at the top of the gate’s 22 small domes, which signify the number of years the monument took to build. The elegant main dome of the Taj has a diameter of 60 feet, and directly under the dome is the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal. Fantastic inlay work of semi-precious stones decorates the exterior and interior.
During our sunrise walk, we will gain breathtaking views of the Taj Mahal. We’ll enjoy the beauty of the monument from different perspectives and angles, as the colors shift subtly with the increasing daylight.
After some downtime, we will head to Agra’s Old City. Here we will learn about the legacy of India’s long history including Hindu traditions and a 200-year-old sweets shop. Equally important, we will get a local perspective about how modern-day India is reshaping itself to be prepared for the future. We’ll enjoy dinner together tonight in Agra.
Today we drive from Agra to Delhi Airport, then fly to Rishikesh, which calls itself “Yoga Capital of the World”. This area offers a myriad of yoga and meditation classes, surrounded by forested hills, soothing and tranquil for mind expansion. There are opportunities for crystal healing in this gorgeous location, known also as the gateway to treks in the Himalayas.
We will awake to a spiritually refreshing yoga and meditation session to start the day off balanced. After breakfast, we will prepare for a morning of whitewater rafting. Before we hit the water, we’ll make a stop at Shivpuri for some rock climbing! Then we will enjoy the light river rapids with our expert guide. We will enjoy lunch together and a little relaxing before we head out for our next activity.
The adventure continues this afternoon, as we hike the Mala Kunti Trek, in the nearby mountains. After a full day of adventure, we will enjoy dinner together at a local Rishikesh restaurant.
After breakfast, we will begin our day with a full-day trek to Kunjapuri Temple, one of the most revered Hindu shrines. As we hike through green forests we will have spectacular views of the snowcapped mountains of the Himalayas. There are 290 stairs on along the way so we will take our time and enjoy a day out in nature. From the temple, we will enjoy views of Haridwar, Rishikesh and the Doon Valley.
This evening we will make our way to the Ghats of the Ganges River and enjoy the Aarti Ceremony, which is part of the evening puja (prayers) to thank Mother Ganges for her divine light. As the Aarti fire ceremonies take place, bells are rung and the chanting/singing provides a fascinating, magical and spiritual closure to the day. We will then enjoy our farewell dinner together.
Today we will fly from Rishikesh to Delhi for connecting flights home. In Dehli, a few day rooms are available for a shower or brief rest before your connecting flight. After a tour full of exotic adventure and outdoor activities, we’ll all head home with lifetime memories and cameras full of colorful images.
Price includes: Transfers between Delhi Airport and hotel on arrival and departure; All surface transportation within India as outlined in tour itinerary; Flights from Delhi to Rishikesh to Delhi, including airport departure taxes; Luxurious hotels for 10 nights; Daily breakfast, 5 lunches, 7 dinners (including Welcome and Farewell dinners); Admission to sites described in itinerary; Services of English-speaking Indian guides, plus HE Travel tour director (with minimum number of participants); All hotel service charges, government taxes, porterage, and gratuities for drivers and included meals. HE Travel provides complimentary Medical & Evacuation Insurance for every US Resident on our group tours who does not have other coverage.
Not included: International flights to and from Delhi; Visas for visiting India (information about obtaining a visa will be sent about 4 months before departure); Camera/video fee which is charged at some monuments; Lunches and dinners not described as being included; Gratuities for guides and HE Travel tour director; Personal items including: alcoholic beverages, snacks, laundry, and telephone calls.
Optional Tour Choices:
$1600 Single Supplement (for solo travelers who wish to enjoy a private bedroom and bathroom)
“I was not expecting to be as enthralled with India as I was. I found the people and the sights to be more beautiful than I imagined they would be. I am so pleased to have made the trip.” – R. Borneman, Houston, TX
So are most of the people who travel with us. You do not need to pay extra to travel by yourself. Prices are per person, and the single supplement applies only if you’d like a room by yourself. For selected trips, including cruises, we will charge half the single supplement if you request a roommate but we can’t match you with someone.
This tour starts and ends in Dehli, India.
During our time in India, we will spend a good portion of each day walking, hiking, or trekking on uneven urban streets and village roads, on trails, and on hilly terrain. We’ll ride elephants and bicycles, practice some yoga, and enjoy rock climbing and whitewater rafting in a beautiful and exotic setting. To fully enjoy this tour you should be in good physical shape and able to walk around unevenly paved ancient sites for 1-4 hours each day.
For answers to your additional questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-294-8174