To say that Vinay Sharda is proud of his native India may be an understatement.
“No matter how many tours you have done or how many countries you have visited, India will hit you like a gale-force wind—a storm of colors, diversity, sound, and smell,” says Sharda. “The country is strikingly diverse, and there is absolutely no tour like a tour to India.”
Sharda serves as the vice president for Indo Asia Leisure Services, a travel company that offers tours to India and other destinations in the Indian subcontinent: Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Tibet. One of the multi-country programs he suggests for North American groups is India and Beyond, which covers the southern India state of Kerala and Sri Lanka.
“In Kerala, you will see the exquisite lagoons, wandering rivers, and astonishing nature,” Sharda says. “One of the main highlights in Sri Lanka is witnessing the Kandy Perahera, a religious festival that’s been celebrated from the times when the tooth relic of Lord Buddha was brought to Sri Lanka in the fourth century.”
The North India, Nepal, and Bhutan itinerary is another popular option for country-hoppers. This tour focuses on the culture and traditions of the destinations, highlighting both similarities and differences. After a visit in northern India, the group heads off to the heart of the Himalayas, Nepal, and closes in the untouched landscape of Bhutan.
Indo Asia has plenty of options for groups that want to focus solely on India. The northern part of the country is covered during the Highlights of Rajasthan with Pushkar Festival tour.
“You will witness exceptional architectural grandeur of royal palaces, feel the love at Taj Mahal, enjoy delicious Indian delicacies, and revel in the vibrant camel festival in Pushkar,” says Sharda. “The colorful men and women, music in the air, and spirituality make Pushkar one of the most famous festivals of Rajasthan.”
As part of the South India Sampler, travelers will be immersed in Kerala’s traditions and natural beauty. The area’s culture can be experienced through dance, literature, arts and crafts, cuisine, and local festivals.
Top photo: Local festival in Kerala
Photo by Indo Asia Leisure Services