I've been planning to send you an email to thank you for planning such a magical honeymoon for us! Everything ran so smoothly and it was all very seamless. India is such a wonderful country and we loved every second of our trip. The guides were very informative and helpful, Vikram, our driver was great and a pleasure to travel with and the hotels that we stayed in were amazing. We were very pleasantly surprised with the wedding congratulatory cakes that we received at the hotels. Thank you very much for arranging that. It made the honeymoon all the more special and the cakes were delicious!
Udaipur was the perfect setting for NYE and that evening in particular at the Lake Palace was a truly unforgettable experience! The hotel had arranged for various bizarres set up in their courtyard areas so guests could walk around, sip on cocktails and taste canapés, while watching performances from local Rajasthani entertainers in the open air spaces. It was incredible and the service was top notch. The roof top dinner at the Bhairo restaurant was an experience onto itself. The six course tasting menu was simply out of this world and the view of the City Palace light up with a full moon rising behind it was incredible--truly a scene out of a film. Being on the rooftop provided magnificent views of the fireworks at midnight. I'd highly recommend this experience to anyone who looking for a NYE to remember.
We loved all of the cities that we visited and our guides were great. Dash in Upaipur did a great job. He has great energy, was knowledgeable about everything that we saw and he took us on a very informative walk through the market. He pointed out items that he thought would be cool for us to see. I could tell that he really wanted us to get the most out of our time in Udpaipur. Our guide in Jodhpur was great as well. His tour of the Mehrangarh Fort was very informative and he made sure that we got to see the museum displays front and center, amid the crowds. My personal favorite guide was in Jaipur. She began the tour by showing up a handheld map of the county, which really opened up the doors for us to ask broader questions about all of India, as well as the city of Jaipur. On her tour, we had great conversations, not only about the history of the city/country but we got some insight into modern day India/ what it's like to live in India today. I really love this type of tour, as it combined both historical and modern day India. We also really liked our Agra guide. Normally I would find the details of what it took to build and design a structure quite boring, but the way our guide explained the skilled artwork of the marble cutting and lattice work, he made it very interesting and gave me a better appreciation for the interior of the moment. He is another guide who we could tell really wants his clients to get the most out of his tour.
It was a pleasure to meet the IVAT representative in Jaipur (I'm drawing a blank on his name. He used to live in Queens, NYC and recently moved back to Jaipur). On our second evening there, he invited us to join him at the polo grounds for a drink and appetizers. It was very thoughtful of him and it was nice to get some insight from someone who is both familiar with NYC and India.
Also, we really liked being driven by Vikram. I'm a nervous back-seat driver, so I was a little worried about how the driving experience would be in India. With Vikram at the wheel, I never once felt concerned. We also really enjoyed his company.
Other memorable highlights include:
-Lunch at the Chatrasagar Audbudon Tented Camp. The homemade food was delicious and dining while overlooking the beautiful reserve was unforgettable.. If we had an extra night, we would have loved to stay there in one of the tents.
-At a Sikh temple in Delhi, we helped prepare the community lunch. It was very cool to sit and have lunch with locals and to see them worship.
I'm glad that the IVAT represerntaive who met us upon our initial arrival into Delhi, explained to us that the guides may take us to their preferred crafts vendor and for us not to feel the pressure to purchase. Our first visit to one of these vendors was unexpected and we were a little thrown off, however, knowing that we should not feel pressure to buy was helpful. For future tours, I would recommend that the guides ask the travelers if they would like to stop at a shop first, before arriving at one without the travelers knowing where they were going.
We loved our time in India and we couldn't be happier with the experience that IVAT provided for us.
Stephanie and Hondo Sen