The expert's experience: Anthony and Kerry’s trip to India
Our Carlisle-based travel consultant, Anthony Clarke, and our Cruise & Worldwide Manager at our Newcastle branch, Kerry Wafer, were recently sent on a FAM trip to India to explore the country firsthand and educate themselves on what the nation has to offer.
The pair went on a 6-day adventure arranged by Wendy Wu to broaden their knowledge of India and all that it has to offer. FAM trips are designed for our travel consultants to learn more about destinations and tourism operators in order to provide our customers with better-informed travel advice when planning their next trip.
In this blog post, we'll look at the activities that Anthony and Kerry engaged in whilst visiting India, along with some of their favourite memories from the country.
Following a long day of travel, Anthony and Kerry began their adventure by boarding a Wendy Wu tour bus and meeting their guide, MK. The group set off to their first stop, the 17th-century-built Jama Masjid, which is renowned for being the largest mosque in India. MK educated them on the history and culture of the building before giving them some free time to explore and take pictures.
After exploring the mosque, the pair took a rickshaw ride through the local streets to get a feel for the living conditions in the area. Kerry compared this to a "Hollywood set," noting that there was something new to encounter at every turn, from cows pulling carts to bikes and scooters speeding past.
Shortly after, they were taken to the India Gate, a monument honouring the 90,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives in World War One. They were given a briefing about the history of the gates by MK as they were shown around the local stalls around the memorial.
The group then headed back onto the bus. They took a brief trip past the residence of the President of India, Rashtrapati Bhavan, before heading to a Wendy Wu-selected restaurant to enjoy a three-course meal. They enjoyed a traditional Indian dinner that Anthony praised for being "extremely rich in flavour."
They finished the day with a visit to the Qutb Minar, also known as 'The Tower of Victory', before heading back to the hotel and exploring the local area.
The group woke early on the second day and travelled to the city of Jaipur by bus, taking in breathtaking scenery along the way. They saw many cows, dogs, and even a few monkeys along the road as they got a taste of country life and how it contrasts with city living in the nation.
Upon arrival in Jaipur, also known as the Pink City, the group headed straight to the hotel for lunch before meeting MK for a tour of the city’s attractions. On their way to take a tour of the world's largest stone and marble observatory, the Jantar Mantar Observatory, they enjoyed the views of the city’s stunning architecture, passing by renowned landmarks such as the Hawa Mahal, also referred to as the "Palace of the Winds."
After their tour, the group headed to Maharaja’s City Palace, which is part museum and part royal residence for the King of India, who drove past the group whilst they were visiting!
The group were then taken to the local night markets before being invited into the home of a local family for a cooking demonstration. While the group were on their travels across the nation, the family, who run a popular local restaurant, wanted to treat their tastebuds with some mouth-watering traditional Indian cuisine. Kerry and Anthony enjoyed a “surreal" evening of entertainment at the family's house, which culminated in a stunning firework display.
The third day began with a trip to Jaipur's widely recognised Amber Fort, a popular tourist destination noted for its aspects of innovative architecture. The structure is home to the underground tunnels that connect Amer to Jaigarh Fort which were constructed for Queens to make a safe escape at the time of an attack or war. MK educated the group on the fort's history and culture, outlining each specific section of the structure the group was in before giving them free time to explore the attraction and take pictures.
Following the tour of the monument, the group went to a traditional print and carpet production workshop, where they saw how carpets and fabrics were manufactured. Anthony described the experience of learning how to create carpets by hand as "incredible."
They then enjoyed a much quieter evening than the previous one, finishing the day in a local restaurant with food, live music, and traditional dancing.
The fourth day began with Kerry and Anthony taking a bus to Ranthambore National Park. Upon arrival, the group went on a three-hour safari tour of the park, which Kerry described as ‘absolutely brilliant.’ They encountered local wildlife along the tour, including monkeys sitting in trees, plenty of deer, and even a sambar.
As the group were keen to see a tiger in the wild, the park ranger was on alert for anything that could lead to one. Eventually, he spotted some tiger footprints along the road and upon following the trail, discovered one lying in the middle of the path. Following the tiger into the woods, the group snapped numerous pictures, before encountering another tiger that they were so close to they 'could almost touch it'.
The group ended the evening quietly once more at the Sher Garh Resort, an incredible luxury resort inside the national park.
On the fifth day, the group woke at the crack of dawn and returned to the Safari in search of more tigers. They didn't see any tigers that day, but they did appreciate the magnificent scenery of the jungle around sunrise.
After this, the group headed on a 5-hour bus journey to Agra, a city on the banks of the Yamuna River in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The city is most famous for being home to the Taj Mahal. When the group arrived at their hotel, they were able to enjoy the view of the significant monument from the hotel rooftop.
Following a few hours of sightseeing, the group proceeded to the local Marble factory, where they were educated on how the Taj Mahal was built and were given a quick overview of the process of making marble.
The final day started at 4 a.m. with the group heading to the Taj Mahal to watch the sunrise. MK had their morning planned out, with a photographer ready to capture photos of the group at Princess Diana's bench.
Anthony and Kerry were given a thorough tour of the Taj Mahal and educated on its cultural and historical past before being given the opportunity to wander around the attraction and take photographs. Kerry described it as 'another WOW moment to tick off her bucket list.'
The group then were given time to explore the Agra Fort, a 16th-century fortress of red sandstone located on the Yamuna River before heading back to Dehli to make their flight home.
Anthony had this to say about his trip to India:
"What an incredible experience. There isn't a single negative thing I could say about this trip; it was wonderful and couldn't be criticised in any way. The entire itinerary was excellent and perfectly organised, allowing us to see so much of the magnificent country in such a short period of time. This trip is ideal for bucket listers, explorers, and those who enjoy culture, history, and architecture. Brilliant."
Kerry had this to say about her trip to India
"Visiting India is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I am grateful to have had. Wendy Wu is an excellent company, and the guide was, in my opinion, the best you could have. He was highly knowledgeable and thoroughly explained all the landmarks and details. He looked out for us and educated us on India's rich history."
We are extremely grateful to Wendy Wu for welcoming Anthony and Kerry to India to experience its breathtaking beauty.
If Kerry and Anthony's trip to India has sparked your interest, locate your closest Dawson and Sanderson store and contact one of our knowledgeable advisors who can assist you in finding the best prices on this location.