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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you're interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

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  • Reviewed April 2017
    John Pearce

    Grand Tour of India

    This was an excellent trip. The places and sites visited were fantastic and had a great variety of interest - from temples, palaces, forts, places of historical interest, wildlife and a fantastic scenery throughout.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I really enjoyed visiting the temple caves of Ellora and Ajanta near Aurangabad. What an an amazing feat of construction, being carved from the volcanic lava mountains. The intricate and beautiful paintings at Ajanta were especially inspirational.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Naveen Bazaz. At our initial group meeting he said that he wanted our group to think of him as a member of our family and this he undoubtedly achieved. His vast knowledge of everything about India (history, places, religion etc.) was beyond expectation. Any time of day or night he was always there to advise, care and look after our health and welfare requirements. I feel so thankful to have had him as our group leader and I strongly feel that without him the holiday would not have been so memorable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The holiday is aimed at seeing and experiencing as much of North and South India as possible in 31 days, which means that there vast distances to travel. Therefore be prepared for this and do not over pack as although hotel porters will help, inevitably a lot of responsibility for your luggage is down to yourself especially on the overnight trains.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would thoroughly recommend this holiday to anyone who loves travel and wants to experience all aspects of India's culture, religion, cuisine etc.
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Lorraine Quinn

    One for the Bucket List!

    Another wonderful trip with Exodus. A great overview of India inevitably means a lot of long travel days but overall a good balance of historic sights and wonders with relaxing moments and opportunities for exploring by yourself.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Most of the trip really. Varanasi at sunrise of course. The Taj Mahal. I loved Fatepur Sikri and Jaipur’s Amber palace. The Ranthambhore national park, both the park and the hotel we stayed in. The caves at Ellora and Ajanta, also Mumbai, Hampi, Ooty and the Nilgiri railway, Mysore Palace, the backwaters of Kerala and (sorry Steve but I have to disagree) Kovalam was great too – but we did stay a few extra days there afterwards. But also experiences of sizzling Samosa street food, chai and rotis at road side stops in the middle of the night (you won't get that unless your train is cancelled too!). Indian trains. Indian kids. Actually, Indian people! Elephants. Keralan sea food curries at Kovalam.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ajay Gupta was an excellent tour leader. Perfect English. Great sense of humour. Dedicated to looking after his clients. The demonetisation crisis was in full swing but Ajay appeared with large amounts of cash borrowed from friends and family to help us all out. Brilliant. When the overnight train was cancelled he managed, as if by magic, to get us a luxury bus out of nowhere to take us from Varanasi to Agra. It is always good to have a guide who is a native of the country and who can explain all the cultural and political nuances and Ajay was no exception. We are disappointed with Chaya's comments. I am sorry that she found the rest of us boring. I can live with that but we object to her criticism of Ajay since it was her husband's thoughtless comments that did upset Ajay one day. Please see Steve Toon’s comments on this.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't hang all your hopes on seeing tigers at Ranthambhore and just enjoy the wonderful light and the other animals (there are lots). We did see tigers but I think we were lucky. Quite by chance we saw wild elephants too later in the trip. Don't expect the standards you might get elsewhere in, say, SE Asia. Indians don't seem to do maintenance, even in the best hotels and the showers aren’t always hot. Don't expect an uninterrupted night's sleep everywhere – Indians don't do quiet. Don't expect clean streets (except, amazingly, in Mumbai) many Indians don't do litter bins. Don't expect good beer – in many places don't expect any alcohol – prohibition is spreading across India. The wi-fi is not always fast but it has been reasonably good in most hotels. Indian roads are not quite the same as those in the UK, and neither is the style of driving. Don't jump to the immediate conclusion that your bus driver is insane – it’s just how it is! Do expect to be amazed, delighted, to fall in love with the place, to want to come back and to have to question many of your own values. Go with it, be patient, things take time in India ....... and don't forget the universal sink plug.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you can, go a few days before the tour starts to see more of Delhi and stay a bit longer at the end to relax in Kovalam and enjoy the best fish curries you will ever have.
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Steven Toon

    Incredible India

    A truly amazing trip, well organised with some amazing sights, some of which were a wonderful revisit for me and some spectacular new sights. The trip could have been utterly ruined by the demanding and selfish attitude of two of the group who treated the tour manager as their own personal assistant and simply wanted everything their way and at their time. Some of the hotels were very basic and knowing about this before you go could help prepare you instead of being a shock after a long journey. However these are very minor points on what is an incredible trip through a wonderful country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sunrise over the Ganges in Varanasi was wonderful and we were very lucky to see two tiger cubs in Ranthambore. The Taj Mahal is always beautiful as is Ajanta and Hampi. Finishing the trip with a cruise on the backwaters of Kerela was a great ending to a wonderfuly trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ajay Gupta was amazing and great company and helped with everything especially the money. He had a few challenges including a cancelled train but got us from Varanasi to Agra on a bus which took over 12 hours but turned out to be a an adventure in itself. One of my fellow travellers has said he was moody which he wasn't. He was unhappy one day as he tried to help us on the mountain train in Ooty but this still wasn't good enough for one of the travellers and it really upset him. The two demanding people on the trip really pushed him and it is a credit to him that despite their demands he still tried his best even trying to help a resolve a situation of their own making.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go with the flow. If you are lucky enough to get Ajay (he is doing the February trip) he will help every step of the way. A must do is the slum tour of Mumbai it is not what you may think. It was an amazing day and Gitu our local guide was fantastic I can't recommend it enough. If you go with an attitude, are demanding and expect a personal service you are on the wrong trip, this is a group trip not an individual experience so try to be patient and think of others not just yourself. Be prepared for some very long journeys but you do get breaks and at times some of the hotels are pretty basic. On the drives make sure you wear your seatbelt, driving in India is a experience and can be a bit frantic at times. The hotel at Bijapur was poor and Exodus and the local team KVT should try to get a better hotel. Goa and Kovalem are a bit of an anticlimax as they are tourist resorts. Other hotels were wonderful especially Sandesh the Prince at Mysore which truly comliments the visit to Mysore.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Pack well and lightly and keep abreast of the money situation. When we left the ATM queues had reduced and the daily withdrawal limit had been raised to 4000 rupees a day, Keep your valuables with you on the train and lock them away. Most of all enjoy the trip and have a great time. There is plently of shopping opportunities if you are inclined but don't let that dominate the trip, see India not just the inside of a shop.
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Steven Toon

    India Grand Tour

    I've just returned from this trip which was long awaited and my second trip to India. The whole trip was amazing, I've revisited some amazing sights and seen some fantastic new ones. A small group of 8 of us made arrangements easy but it was good to be able to do your own thing if you wanted. I will say Goa and Kovalem were slightly disappointing but even then I managed to do something but they are really resorts and not sightseeing areas - take a trip to Old Goa it is really worth it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many moments on this trip not just one. Sunrise on the Ganges is something to experience. We were very fortunate as the morning cloud had cleared in Varanasi this day giving us a beautiful sunrise. The tour of Mumbai including visiting the slum with the fantastic Gitu was truly inspirational. Revisiting the Taj Mahal was amazing and very atmospheric. Ajanta and Hampi are stunning and finishing on the houseboat on the backwaters of Kerela was wonderful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ajay Gupta was simply fantastic. He had some real challenges to face including a cancelled train but he resolved this getting us a bus transfer to Agra which lasted over 12 hours overnight but even that turned into an experience. The money situation was seriously tricky at first but Ajay helped us until it all calmed down. He took all the worry away from us leaving us to enjoy the trip and seemed to resolve anything that was thrown at him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go with the flow and don't stress out about the minor details. if you are lucky enough to get Ajay (he's leading the February trip), he does it all for you. Things in India at times don't happen straight away and sometimes don't happen at all, don't worry about it. The driving in India is something else but you do get used to it and wear your seatbelt! The money sutuation had calmed down when we let but check up before you go. The ATM queues had died down by the time we got to the south and the witdrawal limit had been raised to 4000 rupees a day but the 2000 notes are very tricky to get changed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotels we got really varied in quality so much so one hotel was the test bed to compare others, I won't hold back it was in Bijapur and was truly awful although it had the cheapest and some of the nicest food with great internet in reception the rooms were awful and after a long drive not what you wanted. A phrase came into use going forward "at least it's not Bijapur". Other hotels are stunning Sandesh the Prince in Mysore was glorious. You go from hostel to luxury at times but just go with it it's about the trip not the hotels.
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Chaya Parmessur

    The Grand India Tour

    This is an amazing trip for experiencing different parts of India. The trip was very well organised and totally hassle free ( as compared to my previous trips as independant traveller). It was not the most exciting group we have travelled with, but it mattered as there was only 8 of us. In the end it was a long trip and was happy to go home. For me the great disappointment was the dirty & basic rooms we were given in a resort in Goa, miles away from real Goa. This should be explained in the trip notes.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational moment was interacting with local children. For example at Brindavan Gardens in Mysore at the evening fountain show ( one of my highlights although it is never mentioned in trip notes or by leader). I knew it from previous visits. The Kerala backwaters was wonderful & the food at the tiger resort in Ranthampore was divine.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I liked the trip leader and he was very efficient at dealing with the money situation & cancelled trains,etc. However, he was moody & looked pissed off with us many times & it created a bad atmosphere. People were worried to say anything for fear of upsetting him. He was great in Varanasi but places he did not like, eg Goa, he did not have much to say about. He was not great communicator, but that's his personality.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is 30 days with total strangers...it may work great & you will have friends for life, but on the flip side you could be spending time with people you have nothing in common with! This is the first time after several trips that I will not keep in touch with anyone from the group.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Some of the "standard" hotels were well below any standard! Aurangabad, Bijapoor & Goa! Despite some negative feedback above, the trip & India were amazing & my husband & I had a wonderful trip. Thank you exodus for another amazing one!
  • Reviewed March 2016
    Janet Hoare

    India very Grand Tour

    This is a trip that does what it says; takes you on a month long journey through India taking in as many highlights and experiences as it can. The trip is full on, the travelling times can be long and tiring but it's the only way to cover the variety that this itinerary offers inside a month.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There wasn't one inspirational moment for me as each stop offered something special, but the 'surprise' element was the contact with the Indian people. I had underestimated the numbers of local tourists sharing our experiences, so friendly and so keen to photograph us!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Ravi, was excellent. His English language skills even stretched to a 'British' sense of humour. As with other Exodus trips I knew I would be well looked after. He was vigilant and caring, would sort out any issues/requests but still treated us as adults with options! He seriously contributed to the success of our trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As mentioned earlier this trip covers a lot of ground and can be tiring, in the dry season the air is polluted and dusty (especially in the north) we all had a chest cold at one point in the trip, asthma sufferers come prepared. The traffic is chaotic (always look in both directions) but only one of us collided with a motor bike, the rest of us learned quickly! Follow the advice of the tour leader on where to eat. You will survive and have a most brilliant time.
  • Reviewed December 2015
    Paul Emery

    Culture. Colour, Cuisine & Company

    A truly amazing introduction of this incredible country. From the crowded backstreets of New Delhi to the chilled backwaters of Kerala, this is an adventure that is not to be missed. Led by our attentive and informative leader Mahindra Soni, this is an exceptional tour that provides all the experiences expected of a large and diverse country. With air-conditioned transport and accommodation, we were provided unique and insightful opportunities to view the people, places, wildlife, and buildings for which India is famous. From the eye-opening railway experiences, the tuk tuks and rickshaw races of the cities, to the spiritual boat ride of the Ganges and early morning Taj Mahal visit, this was a brilliantly organised tour from start to finish. Providing a group of 14 strangers to mix and permit their own needs to be incorporated into the schedule, this group tour provided exceptional value for money - one that I would recommend to anyone who possesses a sense of adventure and endurance.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to suggest with everyone inspired by different needs. For example, for some it was the historical buildings/forts/caves, for others the photographic opportunities of the game drives. Others enjoyed a greater religious understanding particularly at Varanasi, and some participants loved the local cuisine and cultural spice insights. For me, experiencing the diversity of both the Indian people and group participants in everyday life, the unanticipated interactions (e.g. a rearing horse; the response of a cow causing a car accident; Indian wedding at Hampi; three guys clearing a bird's nest 20 metres off the ground hanging by just two ropes, and the daily humour created by our tour guide) all produced many 'wow' moments that I will treasure.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was the 'star' and facilitator to everything that happened. Without him, things just would not have taken place in the punctual and efficient manner in which they did. In essence, we would not have understood or seen the true India without Mahi.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Previous reviews provide very accurate information on what you can expect so please read them. Additionally, I would suggest that for Mid- Southern India you stack up with a few pens, as children are so appreciative of these for schooling purposes.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Mosquito's were barely a problem at all. There were 5 single ladies on this trip and most were initially hesitant of what to expect. However, a warm inclusive group culture was established from the outset, and everyone looked after each other. This is a very professional, responsible and caring company that will look after your needs.
  • Reviewed January 2015
    Kevin McGee

    Great tour, well guided

    Arriving in Delhi and travelling gradually South, the tour climaxes gently in a day and night on a Keralan houseboat. The tour was cleverly designed, so that the early weeks were full of sights, but the pace grew gradually more relaxed as it progressed. There is a lot of travelling, obviously, so it was good to have a comfortable coach.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Inspiration followed inspiration. Sunset on the Ganges, in a boat with a sitar virtuoso. Whale-sized prawns in Kerala. Scent and colours everywhere. The universal friendliness was remarkable. India really seems happy to see you.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    It's a long tour in a big country. There is a lot to organise, and Jitu did it smoothly and discreetly. He was invaluable on the few occasions when things went wrong, securing a fresh room when the first one was damp, or locating food in an apparently barren station when the train was delayed. Halfway through the tour I had what could have become a serious medical bother, and Jitu flew calmly into action and organised appropriate and high-quality medical attention. He was invaluable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't be put off by the thought of mosquitos. You soon grow accustomed to slathering on the gunk, and they don't trouble you. Some of the bus trips are all-day affairs, so bring some good books or load an iPad with movies. India can do anything except make a recognisable coffee. If it's important to you, bring your own.
  • Reviewed January 2015
    Barry Cooper

    India Grand Tour

    This is an excellent tour to enable you to see a large part of this country in one tour. You spend time in Delhi before travelling to the famous sights of Northern India, Varanasi, Agra and Ranthambore. The trip then goes on to Mumbai and the south visiting less well known areas but the opportunity to see and experience rural India.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There was not one inspirational moment of the trip but several, The mass bathing in the Ganges on the Dewali of the gods, sunrise over the Taj Mahal, the sight of a tigress and her three cubs, vibrant Mumbai. historical Hampi and Mysore and life on the Kerala waterways

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mahindrai was excellent. We were an exceptionally small group, only three, and that gave us the opportunity to see and experience India more intimately than a larger group since we could visit the small restaurants, walk around cotton packing stations and be absorbed more in Indian life than it would have been possible for a larger group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Patience is required for Indian travel. In Delhi, the railway station was a ten minute drive from the Hotel, the drive took over an hour and we arrived to see the train leaving. Traffic conditions are appalling and noisy, the car horn being the most important part of a vehicle for the Indian driver! We arrived at Varanasi Station at 10pm to be told the train was running forty-five minutes late, it arrived five and a half hours late at a platform which was too short for the train so it was necessary to walk alaong the track.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I can think of no other tour which can give you such a good view of India in one visit.It is very well constructed and although there are long days of travel there is always something to see and experience. Do not miss the Cecilia Beach Shack restaurant in Goa. We had our best meals at this restaurant of freshly caught fish superbly cooked. The restaurant is owned by two Goan brothers and their aunts are the cooks. It fits perfectly into the Exodus policy of responsible tourism.
  • Reviewed November 2014
    David Monahan

    India Grand Tour Oct 2014

    Outstanding trip in every respect, made especially memorable by the quality of our tour leader Chetan Shanker. Given the modest price of this long trip, the quality of the hotels (with only one exception) exceeded our expectations. What a way to see and learn about a most interesting country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the pilgrims gathered along the Ganges in Varanasi (Benares).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Unbelievably good - cannot praise him enough. Knowledgeable, capable, cheerful, funny and totally engaged. He made things happen - he would sense what the group was interested in and adjust our activities accordingly. If we return to India it will be on condition that Chetan is our group leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes there are negatives in visiting India (poverty, trash, health concerns) but they are far exceeded by the positives.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A truly memorable experience. For the photographer or videographer, India is a rare treat. The country's history - including its religious history - is fascinating. The one thing I would have liked to see would have been a folk dancing performance (we did see a classical dance performance).
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