It's been nearly two weeks that we returned from our trip. First of all we want to thank you for your really great suggestions and immense support.
It is nearly impossible to highlight any part of the trip. All the accommodations, hosts, drivers, guides, boatmen were excellent! Let's try to make some special remarks according to the order of our destinations:
- Kerala and Tamil Nadu were great - thanks to the friendliness and helpfulness of Mr. Shahul, our driver, thanks to the lovely hosts in our homestays in Kochi, Mararikulam and Munnar, thanks to the insights into culture and labour of the people living there. We really enjoyed the visit on the prawn farm, the overnight backwaters tour, the Kathakali performance, the great temples in Madurai and Thanjavur and the lovely landscapes.
- The mountain hiking with Rajeev was very interesting even if there was a misunderstanding in the goals: He was prepared for a walk across the spice farms while I was up to reach one of the higher summits of the Western Ghats. But in the result it was irrelevant. The highlight of the tour was that we observed a Bamboo Pitviper and other animals.
- In Pondicherry we made - after the guided tour - a tour on our own, wandered around the town, took a taxi to Auro beach, were we went swimming (and got sunburnt ;-))
- As regards Delhi and Agra: Of course the time we spent there was way too short, but we saw a lot of nice places. A special mention: It was a big surprise and a nice experience to meet a female guide and a female driver in Delhi - as well for us as for Monika and Khushi! Glad to see that your agency supports organisations like Sakha Cabs, go on with that, please!
- Pranpur and Chanderi were the highlights too. It was very interesting to watch the rural life in Pranpur, and it was overwhelming to see Chanderi so rich with historic monuments! And Khalley-bhai! Such a well-informed guide, witty and with so much passion for his homeland, his profession and his clients! Outstanding!
In Mumbai we had another five nice days with our daughter, and because of our earlier experiences with big cities like Kochi and Delhi we were well-prepared to cope with the megalopolis.
So we are perfectly satisfied with your work and with our travel (thank you also for the fast correction of the wrong booked ticket for the flight to Delhi)! One minor suggestion: It was difficult to communicate with the people in Amraee guest house, because there was almost nobody who speaks English. So maybe it could be helpful to prepare a little kind of dictionary - for the guests as well as for the staff - with some crucial phrases like: "Breakfast will be at 8.30" - "Driver will wait for you at 9.00" ;-)
So once again - thank you very much! India has been a great experience for us, and we're sure that we'll repeat this experience in the future.
P.S. May be we were really unusual guests - we didn't took a camera with us, what astonished most of the people we met. I feel it's better to explore something with all senses instead of replace the optic sense with a camera. So often we saw people who missed the whole impression of a place or of an event, searching the right adjustment for their cameras ...
With the distance of another two days I would like say: The best experience was the close contact to the ordinary life of ordinary people.
All the best to you and your colleagues,
Frank and Vera Haney
March 15th, 2015
Travelled in India in February 2015
Itinerary included Kochi – Kumbalanghi – Marari – Munnar – Madurai – Thanjavur – Pondicherry – Delhi – Agra – Pranpur - Mumbai
"Our stay at the Amraee guest house was pleasant. Hopefully we will stay there during future travel to Chanderi. The guest house staff were very courteous and prepared simple yet delicious vegetarian meals for us. We look forward to seeing them again. Kallebhai acted as a friendly knowledgeable guide.
My thanks to you for your prompt response and assistance in making our stay possible.
"We are back after our holiday in Pranpur. We enjoyed good time and hospitality at Amraee.
The food was excellent and the service was courteous with Rajpal and team. Sight seeing in Chanderi and village trail of Pranpur also was very well arranged and could get close to the village life and people at Pranpur. Weather was cold and staff mentioned that it was very unusual this period to be so cold. We could get a heater from second day and hence was useful. We purchased dress material and artecrafts directly from the village folks."
K M Prabhu
"Pranpur – good village tours with local resident working at the Amraee guesthouse – no English but we had a pretty effective interpreter in Idrees, our driver.
The arts and crafts too were fascinating and we managed to get to see a lot of home looming in Pranpur and Chanderi as well as more commercial scale weaving at the Rehwa Society set up in Maheshwar. In addition we saw a lot of other home craft activity such as pot making, beedi rolling, brasswork etc in Pranpur where people were very hospitable. We were able to make some very pleasing purchases along the way.
We were impressed by Amraee Guest House in Pranpur in which we were outstandingly well looked after. The food was delicious and the accommodation and service spot on."
Angus and Jennifer Frazer
"Sarah and I had a wonderful trip to Agra, even though it was a very short stay. Our guide was very knowledgeable, helpful, and engaging and had a great sense of humor. It was a pleasure traveling around with him. The heritage walk in Agra was very special. What a unique tour and the youth we interacted with were vibrant and excited about their community. I greatly appreciated the chance to interact with the community rather than staying in the confines of the tourist areas.
Upon our return to Delhi, everything was arranged so smoothly to meet with a taxi at the bus stop. Our female driver was excellent and able to safely drive us through Delhi in time for some shopping and our flight.
Thank you to you Gouthami and Travel Another India for your arrangements, timely responses, and great help. I will be in touch for future travels in India.”
Agra and Delhi
"Its been a week today since we left Amraee, but I still feel the pure
ambience and the warmth of its people. The entire trip,esp. our stay at
Amraee, interacting Mr.Rajpal, Sakulal, Jagmohan and others, enjoying simple
village style food made with love, spending time in the village, meeting
craftspeople and talking with them, smiling children and adults happily
posing for my camera....and much much more made our trip so memorable.
I commend your initiative on rural tourism and wish to come to Pranpur again
"We had a wonderful stay at Hodka and enjoyed the local hospitality and good
food at the resort. The visit was timely and we had a good weather to enjoy
and go around places. The locations were really off-beat. We could do good
sight-seeing and could visit to Nirona, Than, Chari Dand, India Bridge, Kala
Dungar and Hodka village in addition to White Rann and Rann festival at
Dhordo. Bhungas were really nice and kept us warm in the cold weather.
Maintenance of the place is really well managed and the resort staff were
cheerful, cooperative and helpful."
K M Prabhu, Bangalore
“Your home is perhaps the most beautiful spot not only in Goa but maybe all of India!! We immensely appreciated your warmth, hospitality and phenomenal food. The past few days were a refreshing reprieve from our hectic lives in Delhi and a perfect introduction to India for my sister. We look forward to future visits and will recommend Arco Iris very highly to all of our friends.
James, Jessica & Sarah
USA, August 2013
Arco Iris, Curtorim, Goa
"Prachi and I had a great trip to Ladakh, it was the most inspiring trip we have had. The beauty of the place and the hearts of the people there make it such a welcoming place. Interacting with organizations like SECMOL and PAGIR made the trip a unique and inspiring experience.
Thanks so much for organizing this wonderful trip for us :"
Prachi Kochhar and Vivek Dham
August 2013, Himalaya on Wheels
"Our Son, Dhruv (age 12 yrs) is a Duchene’s Muscular Dystrophy patient and is in wheelchair for last 5 years. Due to nature of his condition he is dependent on us for all things.
Dhruv wanted to see the Himalayas - we thought that this was impossible, but with the help M/s Travel Another India, Dhruv’s Dream was fulfilled.
For couple of years we were trying to take him for a vacation, but the biggest challenge was of accessibility. We were looking for good travel agency who can arrange tours for wheelchair persons but unfortunately was not able to find one who can understand the problem of wheelchair persons.
We came to know about “TRAVEL ANOTHER INDIA” who arranges tours for wheelchair person.
We contacted Ms Gouthami of Travel Another India and discussed our problem with her. She suggested us SRINAGAR and informed us that she will take care of everything and we need not worry about anything. True to her words we were able to enjoy Kashmir without any tensions.
We were accommodated in Hotel Grand Mahal and it is equipped with ramp and user friendly rooms and toilets. The staff was very cooperative and took good care of us especially of our son.
The driver Mr Manzoor was so co-operative and very helpful and he took us to those places which were accessible and he helped us in lifting our son from the car and again putting him inside the car and never complained about it.
For a 13-yr old it was a wish come true. He was so happy as for him being able to see Kashmir and Himalayas with own eyes cannot be expressed in words. All thanks to Travel Another India and Ms Gouthami for all the arrangements and wish them very best.
Now my son is looking for another adventure next year and we will definitely contact Travel Another India for the arrangements."
Mumbai, May 2013
“Thanks for arranging our holidays in Khanapur and Goa which was a refreshing and memorable experience and a good break.
Look forward to exploring more of TAI. Heard good things about Rann of Kutch experience.”
K M Prabhu from Bangalore
The Hermitage Guest House, Khanapur and Arco Iris, Curtorim, Goa
“When I first read about Olaulim Backyards, ... it seemed like a virtual paradise. One often finds that these promotional pieces are just an exercise in creative writing, but Olaulim Backyards was all that it promised and much more! While it was unique in so many ways, it was the warmth of our hosts that made it a truly enjoyable experience and one that we will want to go back to again and again.
Thank you for helping organise one of the best holidays we’ve had. And for helping us make a new set of friends - we're looking forward to our next meeting with Savio, Pirkko, Manuel, Shameena and their extended family. We're going to find it difficult to do 'conventional' holidays going forward, so you will certainly hear from us the next time we're thinking of a vacation.”
N Krishnan from Mumbai
Olaulim Backyards, Goa
“We had a great trip to Kutch and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Shaam-e-Sarhad resort.
I still can't get over the sights, the smell and the sounds of the Great Rann of Kutch.
Suviena and Kishan were great trip leaders and they made sure that our trip was very comfortable.
I would love to visit Kutch again, 3 days is just not enough."
Thanks for everything!!
Gayathri Krishnaswamy from Chennai
Shaam-e-Sarhad, Hodka, Kutch
“The trip to Leh was awesome, which truly energized us and brought us back with cherished memories. The whole experience was great and well supported by HoW.”
Simon Abraham from Mumbai
Himalaya on Wheels
“For me this was my longest holiday in last several years and am glad it was far beyond what I had expected.
... the feedback and the information and plan for the trip prepared by you and Piyush gave a lot of confidence and the arrangements from the airport till I was dropped back was fantastic.
I would simply say - even in today's time it is possible to rely on people and you would get what you have been promised, unlike the general experience of people. Hence I would recommend your team to anyone who plans to come to Leh.
The choice of resorts, homestays and hotels were really good and the guide cum driver knew the place very well being a local and the vehicle was also in top condition.
I would like to recommend to those who visit Leh, to consume the water as provided by the hotels (popularly known as tap water) instead of drinking bottled water (popularly known as mineral water) as the water in and around Leh is the most natural and clean water anyone would get to have.
LEH as a destination, was a trip to "paradise', Nature in all its grandeur- unbelievable and is best experienced than described.
The mountains, the landscape and the vastness were spell binding. I had only seen such pictures in National Geographic or such other publications or films.
I would also wish to congratulate the PAGIR group and their initiative and wish it a great success!!
Divyesh Parikh from Pune
Himalaya on Wheels
“Had a nice trip - enjoyed the food particularly. I will be back to Chanderi and Amraee.”
Avijit and Monica from Delhi
Amraee Guest House, Pranpur
"We enjoyed our stay in the Green Hotel immensely. We loved the green natural and yet very clean surroundings, the fact that it was so large that the children could run around in safety. The grounds were also nice to walk around in for the adults. The rooms were large too, and did not feel cramped. The staff was excellent and very patient with all our different demands.
I think the only point that was missing was the food. I wish there was simpler south Indian food available too, since that’s what we like and it can’t be so difficult to offer a couple of courses. The north Indian food is too heavy and spiced, especially in the hot weather. For vegetarians, you should have a simpler, lighter menu - maybe jain food or Tamil food.
Thank you again for the memorable holiday."
Naga Nandini from Bangalore
The Green Hotel, Mysore
“My name is Anika. I am nine years old.
During the summer vacation my family wanted to go somewhere together so we decided to go to Mysore. We stayed at a place called The Green Hotel. It was very nice because it had a very big and pretty garden. The food is also very nice here and they have a library with very nice books. There is also a craft shop where there are many pretty things to buy. Over all it is a very good place.”
Anika Gururaj from Bangalore
The Green Hotel, Mysore
“Just wanted to send you all a few pics from Tushar and my recent visit to Turtle Bay. I think we both had a fantastically relaxing weekend at the beach - a warm inviting ocean to constantly dip into; long, clean beaches to stretch out legs out on, superbly attentive staff (thanks Ganesh!), and exquisitely comfortable hammocks that claimed many an hour of lounging, reading and napping. A great experience - my first at a beach on the Arabian Sea! Thanks for all of your hospitality - I'll definitely be back. All my best” -
Michael MacHarg from Bangalore
Turtle Bay, Kundapura
"Thanks so much for an astonishing, yet simple, time at Pranpur! My whole family is absolutely in love with the place and its people. My children, who were always hooked on to TV, never mentioned it in our entire stay :-)"
"I am indebted to Shishir (from Black Swan) to have recommended this holiday experience to us"
"Above all, the warm hospitality of the people in the resort and the village is something that urban people can’t possibly come across in cities. Each home and person that we met was very open to sharing and welcoming strangers. We even enjoyed a home-cooked meal at one village home. The taste is very earthy and brims with love. A memorable experience for me was the long interaction I had with the government school headmaster and teachers to understand their perspective on education. My daughters enjoyed the short pottery sessions, and want to continue exploring more in the art form"
Anirudh Phadke from Indore
Amraee Guest House, Pranpur
“I have stayed there for 4 nights with my husband and my 2 years old son. I wanted to visit unknown part of India and choose this region.
The room was simple and clean for country side guest house. We slept well. They used the Chanderi saree for their curtains. Most of the staffs in this guest house are artists. Manager is painter. You can see his art all over the hotel. Also others are weavers, potter etc.
This hotel does not have so many foreign tourists in the past. So staffs are very simple and not rude, like asking tips etc. (not like Agra, Jaipur, etc.) They just welcome us and smile. Always very helpful and kind. Their English is not good at all, but they really try hard and do their best. I think it should not be a big problem. If you are really stuck, you can ask Kalley bhai to help. He was again really helpful and sweet person. He is Chanderi offical guide. He is very honest and hard working. His knowledge is really amazing.
Amraee Guest House, Pranpur
“We had the most wonderful time at Leh, Ladakh and thank you all of you for making it memorable. We will always cherish this beautiful experience”.
Neenu Kewlani from Mumbai
Himalaya on Wheels
“Leh in the month of October has harsh cold climate, but luckily I faced no issues in relation to health. It is a very scenic place. Pangong Lake was visited by us on the full Moon night. We enjoyed the view even in chilled climate of -3 degrees. This was possible as we had perfect host Himalaya on Wheels. Travel for people with disability is an issue and especially at a place with hilly topography. My dream of visiting Leh, Buddha Monastery, Indus, Zanskar-Indus Sangam & seeing the beautiful Pangong Lake was fulfilled because of Himalaya on Wheels & Travel Another India.”
Sunita Sancheti from Mumbai
Himalaya on Wheels
"Ladakh has always been one of my travel destinations (esp. from a photographer's point of view) and this past summer I was given the rare opportunity of the time and ability to travel there alone, with just my photographic gear. I was introduced to Travel Another India (TAI) and contacted them for prices while providing them with a rough itinerary. Within a couple of weeks, we had chalked out a travel plan which included all my requests as well as additional trips that I had not been aware of. For a woman travelling alone and also having specific food requirements, TAI made sure they accommodated all my needs in the best possible way! Needless to say, my trip was a huge success in every way and thanks to Travel Another India and their wonderful staff for all the arrangements. I ended up changing my itinerary at the last minute while in Ladakh, and even that went smoothly.
Ladakh is unspoilt in its natural beauty with the kindest and friendliest people inhabiting its land. The views of the mountains and the rivers Indus and Zanskar are stunning and breathtaking! While the entire region is at a high-altitude and temperatures can fluctuate between extremes, travelling within Ladakh is far easier than one would imagine, given the incredibly maintained roads and the high security there. I stayed at a local guest house in Leh with a panoramic view of the majestic Himalayas from my room window! I was able to travel to all the destinations in my itinerary (the monasteries, Leh city, Pangong Lake, Nubra valley, Lamayuru with a stay-over at Uleytopko and Tso Moriri lake which was an added feature)! I am so glad I changed my trip - Tso Moriri is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited! It is remote, with harsh weather, but the experience of driving to Tso Moriri and staying at the home-stay there with a braying donkey outside my window on a snowy night is by far the most unforgettable experience I have had! The other very memorable experience was at Pangong Lake - sitting by the lake at 7 a.m. looking at the magnificent mountains across the lake and listening to the silence - a happy, peaceful warm silence.
As I mentioned in the beginning, Ladakh has the friendliest people I have ever met! They are a patient, shy and forgiving lot and I suspect a lot of it has to do with their religion and culture. While I am all for everyone experiencing Ladakh at least once in their lifetime, it is also my hope that the tourists learn to respect and admire and emulate these simple and happy folk!"
T Sunita from USA
Himalaya on Wheels
“Travel Another India; an experience that all, who wish to uncover India, should have. India was an intimidating destination for us (two young Australian travellers), but the incredibly useful help received from the kind and friendly Gouthami made our time there something unique.
The warmth we received in welcome to the home of Sahana and Srinivas in Channapatna was, after months of hard travel, such a lovely change. Their home is more than comfortable, and the food cooked for us totally delicious!! Watching the production of top quality wooden toys in the factory below the house made our shopping for and appreciation of their quality so much more fulfilling. Watching the skill of the many young women employed in the factory was astounding, the training being provided to each is extensive. Again, another quality and informative two days! I was even kindly taught to ride the family motorbike - very trusting!
Our experience with Gouthami and her approach to making our trip special truly was a great way to organise our holiday and open up some of India's many contrasting and unique facets.
Thank you, Travel Another India.“
Luke Garrett and Rebecca Latimer from Australia
“We very much appreciated the environment and hospitality. We were on a very short two days stay as a transit so it suited our needs. Just that my 5 year young daughter longed for a swing :)) so maybe you can put up something on the tall trees for children to explore.
The Green Hotel was very comfortable and eco friendly, plus very clean and I have already recommended it to my friends. I hope to stay there for a longer duration next time and experience more of Mysore and your hotel” -
The Green Hotel, Mysore
“Sitting on a charpoy in the middle of a mango orchard, listening to Babu Ram relate the Dhol-Maru narrative around a bonfire is an experience of a lifetime. The youngsters from Pranpur were amused that somebody would be interested in an epic they have heard several times in their lives. Thankfully, that did not take away from Babu Ram’s enthusiasm.
The thrill of trying my hand at the loom, of watching Bhaiyya Dada create a pot out of a lump of clay and listening to the women in Babu Ram’s family sing folk songs will stay with me for a long time. The forest trek with Jagbhan acquainted me with more plants and birds than all my biology classes!
And nothing can compare with the feeling of standing in a cave in which, millions of years ago, people from the Neolithic age must have stood and drawn stick figures.
Little Rubina, who helped me climb down a hill I climbed in careless bravado, and Lala Ram’s, son who kept crawling around me trying to get me interested in the jalebi he was eating — Pranpur was an experience in connecting with an India very different from the one where I live and one that spans across several aeons.”
Anusha from Delhi
Amraee Guest House, Pranpur
“The natural beauty of Ladakh is incomparable and I would term it as ‘Heaven on Earth’. Being a wheelchair user, I tend to enjoy nature more as it is usually more accessible. The natural beauty of Leh is so magnificent and overpowering that it completely humbles you and radiates a sense of peace and calm. No wonder I survived so well without mobile or internet connectivity and without worrying about time during the six days I spent there.
Each mountain in this dry land is a different colour. Each view is such that you would want to photograph it. Two significant tourist locations are Khardungla pass, the world’s highest motorable road, and the Pangong Lake, a 134 km long lake extending from India to Tibet. Being nature’s gifts, both these places are fully accessible. For me, the beauty was so overpowering that it was easy to overlook some inaccessibility. Moreover, Ladakhi people are very welcoming and helpful. Members of the Himalaya on Wheels team went out of their way to ensure I enjoyed the trip, assisting me wherever required. Given a chance, I would run back every year to de-stress and be one with nature.”
Director, AccessAbility, Delhi
Himalaya on Wheels