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A&K’s 2019 Travels in India

December 14, 2018 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

Leading luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent has just released its 2019 portfolio of luxury private and small group journeys throughout the Indian Subcontinent.

Since establishing a presence in India in the mid-1980’s, A&K has had nearly 30 years taking guests on grand adventures to the great cities of the Subcontinent, through exotic jungle climes and high mountain terrain and to places off-the-beaten track. And all with that special brand of luxury that A&K does so well.

A luxury journey with A&K means not just travelling in a comfortable chauffeur-driven car or bedding down in a 5-star hotel. It’s not just ticking an important monument off the list or dining in a guidebook recommended restaurant. It means accessing rooms in a palace that are normally off limits, or a collectors-only private gallery viewing. It means meeting the chef and selecting the fresh produce for your meal direct from the market and taking an exclusive museum tour with the curator. It means hearing views from a leading historian on how the past has impacted the present and taking the path less travelled to little visited villages and remote communities.

A&K’s India Product Manager Brett Lemish has been visiting India and the Subcontinent since the mid-1990’s and lived there for more than a decade. He knows the major cities like the back of his hand and can curate a journey taking the back roads and going off road to the most charming villages. He can name the myriad deities of the Hindu pantheon and where the greatest wildlife experiences are and point guests in the direction of a favourite little boutique in a fashionable urban neighbourhood or the best place to sample the local street food. His expertise is second to none.

Says Lemish, “India is a kaleidoscope of colours and an assault on the senses. Often dazzling and at times overwhelming, it’s important that travellers choose a journey to suit their own personal preferences delivered by a company that they can rely on. This is where A&K has the advantage. With five of our own offices throughout the region, we have complete control of the journey design, the guide selection, the local experts whose insights are transformative and the hotel recommendations and which rooms to book. This extensive on-ground presence means we can also arrange the privileged experiences and one-off encounters that our guests remember for ever. It means we not only take travellers to the front of the queue but that we take them behind the scenes and off-limits, away from the crowds, to a hidden nook or viewing point that delivers a new perspective and ensures those unforgettable travel moments.”

Brett’s intimate knowledge has shaped A&K’s India portfolio which is the company’s most extensive yet and features private and luxury small group journeys through India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bhutan with new routes and unique enhancements.

The new 18-day Icons & Hidden Treasures of Northern India journey introduces Gujarat for the first time contrasting the bustling cities of Delhi, Jaipur and Udaipur with a rural sojourn at luxury tented camp Chhatra Sagar, leopard spotting at Sujan Jawai Camp and two nights in the historic walled city of Ahmedabad, India’s first World Heritage City, and Gandhi’s home for 13 years. There are tours of Chhatra Sagar’s farm and rural villages, visits to a carpet weaving workshop and gallery where Rajasthani miniatures are produced as well as a Gujurati culinary experience and lunch at leading Delhi eatery Veda. Priced from $13,495 per person.

On the 12-day The Golden Triangle & Beyond private journey travellers are introduced to some of northern India’s most important landmarks like the Taj Mahal which is visited morning and evening, Delhi’s Qutub Minar, Fatehpur Sikri and Jaipur’s Hawa Mahal but it also takes guests on a safari in search of tiger and a spiritual immersion in Varanasi. There are opportunities to see Delhi’s most important temples or take an art focused tour in the capital as well as henna painting and turban tying in Jaipur and participating in a hands-on block printing demonstration. Priced from $7,565 per person.

The captivating Fabled Hill Stations & the Golden Temple itinerary is a new private journey which invites guests to step back in time to the Raj era in the hills of Shimla, explore tea plantations, visit a quaint artist’s colony, venture to the home of the Dalai Lama in ‘Little Tibet’ and join the sea of pilgrims at Amritsar’s Golden Temple. Priced from $4,995 per person.

In the country’s east, the new 10-day Reflections of East India journey takes in the soulful city of Kolkata, its colonial architecture, bustling markets and traditional pottery workshops with dinner hosted by a local art collector in his heritage home. The world of tea is explored in Darjeeling while Sikkim’s mountain scenery and Buddhist spirituality are further highlights. Priced from $5,075 per person.

Moving south, A&K’s new 12-day Spirit of South India journey starts in dynamic Mumbai with a dawn walk through the city taking in the famous Sassoon dock fish market and auction. The famed temples of Ajanta and Ellora at Aurangabad are another highlight before a marvellous stay at the opulent Taj Falaknuma Palace, former home of the Nizam of Hyderabad. Taking it down a notch, Tamil Nadu’s French colonial gem Puducherry is a dreamy respite with plenty of time to explore the old quarter, meander along the waterfront and visit the New Age community of Auroville. Priced from $7,265 per person.

The 15-day Limited Edition Small Group Journey Sri Lanka: Secrets of the Spice Island takes in five World Heritage sites, traverses the central plains of the Cultural Triangle, the lush tea country and golden beaches in the south. There’s an absorbing walking tour through Colombo with local photographer and identity Mark Forbes, an optional hot air balloon flight over the famed rock fortress of Sigiriya, a cycling tour in and around Galle and appreciation of Geoffrey Bawa’s ground-breaking architectural achievements. The itinerary is limited to 18 guests with departures February and September and priced from $7,895 per person.

Moving north, A&K’s 11-day Bhutan & Nepal: Heart of the Himalayas itinerary is a luxury small group journey which showcases the spiritual, artistic and scenic beauty of these mountain realms. Guests have the opportunity to hike to the revered Tiger’s Nest Monastery, ride a rickshaw through Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, dine with local families and visit important monasteries and museums. Limited to 18 guests with departures April-June and September-November, the journey is priced from $12,545 per person.

This year, the portfolio also features bite-size enhancements attached to most journeys. These are little add-ons to enrich the experience in a destination, with examples including a scenic mountain flight around Everest and attendance at one of Bhutan’s colourful festivals. There are also a number of short extensions which can be tacked on to a longer journey to add a different dimension or round off a stay. The Andaman Islands feature for the first time as does Kaziranga National Park in Assam for rhino viewing. There’s a beach stay in glorious Goa, a visit to the desert city of Jaisalmer, mindfulness and meditation at Ananda in the Himalaya, the enchanting ruins of Hampi and more.

There is also an exclusive two-week private jet journey which whisks no more than 17 guests around India by privately chartered aircraft showcasing its many treasures. In the capital, there’s a rickshaw ride through Old Delhi, lunch on a working farm in the Punjab, a circuit of Amritsar’s mesmerising Golden Temple and attendance at the theatrical flag lowering ceremony at the Wagah Border. The plane touches down in Agra for a visit to the Taj Mahal en route to the pink city of Jaipur before heading to the exotic temples of Khajuraho and a wildlife safari. There’s a stay in the dreamy lake city of Udaipur and a grand finale in dynamic Mumbai. All this and more from $58,815 per person departing 31 October 2019.

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