Farewell to India
My journey to India through Rajasthan has come to an end. I have visited many cities and villages, stayed in magical palaces and heritage homes and have met some wonderful people. The ladies that I travelled with have a wicked sense of humour which has made the trip that much more enjoyable. Our guide Raj was nothing less than brilliant and our itinerary, whilst hectic, was fulfilling. Claudy from Tikka Tours put together the incredible itinerary, her passion and compassion for India and her people and her personal attention know no bounds.
So how can I describe India and do it justice? Not easily.
It’s a country of extremes and contrasts. It’s wealthy and yet poor. Its highly educated but also illiterate. It’s noisy and yet you can find an oasis of peace just outside cities. It’s dirty but the villagers keep their homes spotless. It’s mainly a Hindu country yet Muslims, Sikhs, I Christians, Parsis, Buddhists and Jains can live together harmoniously with absolute freedom to practise and preach their own religions. India is an assault on the senses in the best possible way. The people are welcoming, kind and have enormous generosity of heart. The food is spicy, sweet and sour and gives your tastebuds a good workout and yet you need to finish every meal.
India has layers upon layers of history which contributes to her rich culture and enormous spirit of tolerance. It is many things and I have been enriched by my experience here. Could I live here? No. Am I glad to go home? Most definitely, but I’m also glad that I am fortunate enough to have been able to visit. Should you get the opportunity to visit India, take it and embrace it. It has been a ball.
I first went to India a year ago with Claudia (owner of Tikka Tours) I was entranced, excited & amazed, daily, by the sights, people, spirituality and flavours of this land. Every single day seemed to surpass the one before. The incredible Raj, our guide, who’s depth of knowledge of the history, architecture, foods and religions gave a real meaning to what had gone on in the past and gave an understanding of the present. I knew as I left, that I would be back – and I was – a year later.
With a small group of ladies, who like me before my first trip, were curious, a little apprehensive maybe, but total open to following Claudia’s plea to “be open to the experiences”. They embraced everything and everyone along the way. Nothing could surpass the pleasure I got watching the group ‘discover India’ under the watchful eyes and in the experienced hands of Tikka Tours. To see their faces, delight, laughter, tears (I challenge anyone to not shed a tear, at the Taj Mahal, listening to Raj tell the love story behind this monument). This is after they managed to get us into the tomb, alone for almost 10 minutes before the crowds arrived, to savour the silence, something not too many would have experienced, as once the crowds arrive the acoustics of the Taj Mahal make silence impossible.
Huddling round in forts and palaces listening to the stories of days gone by. Sharing the most amazing foods and experiences, crazy camel rides, dancing in the desert, sipping champagne on an elephant ride at sunset, street food, farm house chai, shopping in places off the usual tourist track. Visiting villages by jeep, seeing antelope, leopards in trees, so much, it is a sensory overload. A magnificent overload.
Touring in such experienced hands, in a small group, allowed us opportunities that would be missed by many. Claudia’s over 20 year relationship with India and the people and properties that she uses, this is an integral part of what makes the Tikki Tours experience so very unique. As with most Tikka Tours, the participants were busying brainstorming their next visit with Claudia, before we even left.
What more can I say?
Sally Waller – Time Fly’s Travel, NSW
In October this year we had the great pleasure of travelling to India with Tikka Tours – See, Shop and Savour tour. From beginning to end the tour was lots of fun, with many additional surprises along the way.
Claudia, our tour organizer, was brilliant at planning what would best suit travellers and when, and was great at anticipating and accommodating everyone’s needs and wishes. It was evident that she had put a lot of time and effort into visiting places beforehand and developing personal contacts for each section of the tour.
The hotels chosen by Claudia were impeccable and each one was a fabulous, unique experience in itself. Claudia’s many connections with India enabled us to enjoy and benefit from the wealth of knowledge and hospitality offered to us.
We can’t wait to travel on another Tikka Tour with Claudia!
Marilyn and David, NSW
The Tikka Tours team, led by the owner Claudia Wolf, are very passionate about India and led us on an unforgettable journey through one of the most stunningly colourful countries with the most exotic and diverse cultures on the planet.
India was brought alive to us by the passion of Tikka Tours. We stayed in some of India’s exquisite palaces and hotels and tasted the true essence of Indian cuisine in some of India’s finest restaurants. We experienced the poverty of the slums, through to the everyday life in the spice markets, fish markets, milk markets, fruit and veg markets and to the grandeur of the exotic palaces of the Maharajas.
Nothing prepared us for the camel and elephant rides, but wow the experience was awesome. Tikka Tours are experts on India, we loved their level of experience and professionalism so much that we have rebooked to return with them in 7 weeks.
Thank you Claudia for the trip of trips!!
Sent with honesty, sincerity and love,
Peter & Jeni, NSW
Thank you very much for organising our recent 15day trip to India . Inspite of being Indian and having been so many times to India, we would not have been able to see true India and so much in such a small space of time .
Raj our guide, Mr Singh our driver and other representatives were excellent. Raj remained with us through out the trip was well educated, informative, very hospitable and friendly. Every hotel we stayed was wonderful and first class. The highlight of our trip was Rajasthan . Such amazing hospitable people and very humble. It is hard to explain our trip in few lines, as it would not justify it. In all honesty we all enjoyed our stay.
Thanks to Claudia, the way she organised it and her very charming personality. My wife and I will be doing another trip to South of India and would love to be with same group of friends in about two years time. We would highly recommend it to everyone – just do it … you won’t regret it.
Anil & Rina, NSW (Owners of Radjhani Indian Restaurant, Kincumber)
Thank you again for such a wonderful trip. Delhi was such a pleasant surprise, being so green and well laid out. Such fun on the rickshaws too, and the visit to the Sikh Temple was so humbling. Then the trip just got better and better. Raj’s knowledge was amazing and your input invaluable. Thank you again and I look forward to seeing you again.
In September this year we travelled to India with Tikka Tours on an independent journey exploring the Rajasthan Region. From the moment we were picked up from the airport we knew we were going to experience something special.
Claudia had tailor made our journey for us and we were able to experience India at its finest, staying in heritage hotels and palaces. We feel due to Claudia’s relationship with India we were able to have experiences that were unique, the amazing stepwell dinner in Narlai, drinks atop a 17th century fort in Shapura, cocktails with the Marharajah and our stay in Chanoud visiting the local school, meeting the children and villagers, cooking lessons with the family and dinners under the stars atop the 300 year old palace.
Raj, our wonderful driver, and the tour guides were excellent and they all knew Claudia personally, Raj was with us throughout our whole 17 days and being two females on our own we always felt safe and looked after.
We fell in love with India and its people thanks to Claudia, an experience we will never forget.
We will be back to India and would not use anybody other than Tikka Tours.
Thank you for opening out eyes to Incredible India.
Maree and Ellen, NSW
Thank you so much for putting together our recent 10-day visit to India. You really listened to what I was wanting to include and get out of the trip both for me and my adult children, particularly the “off-piste” visit to Narlai. With our limited time, and so much we wanted to see and do, I know I stretched the domestic airline capabilities, but you made it all happen. Your enthusiasm was infectious – not that I really had to catch that one! You questioned our missing out on a trip to Agra, as I prioritised going to Narlai and Varanasi. You were not forceful. I am so glad we did it our way, as Narlai and Varanasi were undoubtedly highlights of our trip. The GM at Narlai was thrilled with my preference for Narlai over Agra!
The representatives and guides on the ground were excellent. The guides wanted to show us so much, but were always happy to tailor the visit to our desires. They were all so well-educated and informative, punctual, reliable and friendly. I cannot speak more highly of our main driver. Rather him than me, but he was so skilful in the organised chaos both on the narrowest of streets and the motorways!
You had warned us that it would be very hot, and it was. However, the heat was far outweighed by the fact that we were the only tourists in most of the areas we visited. That felt really special.
We felt totally safe throughout. The variety of our accommodation was wonderful. You interpreted our brief exceptionally well because you actually listened to me. I would be happy to chat to any prospective clients should they need any more information.
We have recently had the most wonderful trip to India. It was our first time, but it won’t be our last.
This was organised for us by Claudia Wolf, owner of Tikka Tours. Claudia has been visiting India for 25 years and has accumulated an amazing knowledge of this fascinating country. How fortunate we were to be able to have the benefit of her company and planning for her Inaugural ‘See Shop & Spa’ journey.
We visited Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Samode, Ranthambore, Jodphur, Varanasi and many other fascinating destinations. We stayed at the most fabulous hotels, most of which were Palaces or Heritage hotels. All of this was pre-arranged by Claudia and every aspect of our trip worked like clockwork. The trip was so full of surprises, and everything was so well organised, we never felt rushed, harassed nor in any way stressed.
This being our first trip to India was so enjoyable and relaxing that we have asked Claudia to immediately plan another trip into the southern regions of India for us. Her professionalism (and wonderful personality) was a major contributing factor to our wonderful Indian experience. We would not consider any trip to India without her help and if possible her presence.
Randall and Libby, NSW
My husband Geoff & I were fortunate enough to be on the Inaugural ‘See Shop & Spa’ tour to India in October 2013 and what an amazing time we had. Accompanying us from Sydney were Claudia Wolf (tour escort) & Glenn. On arrival we were met by our local guide Raj , who remained with us throughout our trip. This was the most amazing tour we have been on, we were spoilt and pampered and saw the most beautiful sights of India from back ally’s to grand palaces. The spas at the end of a very rewarding shopping day or an inspirational tour were magnificent.
It is hard to explain in a few words the impact this tour had on us, only to say that we were planning our next trip back before we had even arrived home! To sum it up – ‘Go, just Go’, it is an experience you will never forget. We love India, its people, its food, its shopping and its culture.
Jeanie & Geoff, NSW