Jewels of Northern India Tour 2014
February 19th - March 3rd, 2014


‘So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked.’ Mark Twain (American writer) India, most incredible India … the national fruit is the mango, the national tree is the Ficus bengalensis or the banyan tree and the national flower is the Lotus. Lotus is the sacred flower of India. It occupies a special position in the art and mythology of ancient India. It symbolizes divinity, fertility, wealth and knowledge. In India it is considered as the symbol of triumph. Just like the Lotuses, prized for their serene beauty, the Taj Mahal is also prized for its beauty, beauty made as a result of a grief stricken Emperor Shahjahan as a memorial to his beloved wife Mumtaj Mahal. This is a very special one of a kind garden tour as it will focus on some incredible gardens and sights. Each of my tours to India are a bit different, making them truly unique and special. Please see my tour for 2016 and come along to experience this country for yourself…you will never be the same! In a country as diverse and complex as India, it is not surprising to find that people here reflect the rich glories of the past, the culture, traditions and values relative to geographic locations and the numerous distinctive manners, habits and food that will always remain truly Indian.

Ethnically Indians speak different languages, follow different religions, eat the most diverse varieties of food all of which add to their rich Indian culture. The beauty of the Indian people lies in the spirit of tolerance, give-and-take and a variety of cultures that can be compared to a garden of flowers of various colours and shades of which, while maintaining their own entity, lend harmony and beauty to the garden as a whole - Incredible India!

Feb 17 Panama to Delhi

Left from Panama to Newark on the 9:55 a.m. flight and was lucky to be upgraded to Business Class. Enjoyed a nice meal and a bit of sleep before landing and once through immigration it was about 5 hours that I had to wait until my evening flight direct to Delhi. I have learned to leave a lot of room between flights, especially if taking an international flight because you just never know what may happen. Flights get delayed and it is just not worth running to any flight any more. I have the lounge to relax in and catch up on email and I do a bit of walking just because I know I will be sitting for a while. It is about 14 hours that I will be on the flight and thank goodness was going Business Class again with United. Once on the plane I change into something loose and comfortable and put on my knee socks that help with circulation and I am ready to relax. Lots of movies to watch and food to eat and before you know it I am getting tired. I do sleep and it feels good. Our flight arrived about 30 minutes early and my ground handler was there to meet me. Delivery to the hotel was about 30 minutes because the traffic was not that bad.

Once in the hotel, now the evening of the 18th, I make myself a cup of tea and relax for a bit. I am in the same room as the two previous tours, and feel this wave of nostalgia of how wonderful the previous tours were and how good I know this one will be too for my guests. Finally about midnight I head to bed. Nice not to have to get up to an alarm – I always arrive a day early for these tours – and wake up refreshed and ready to have breakfast.

Pickwicks here at the Claridges Hotel is full of great choices on what to eat. You can have the traditional Indian foods or you can have American. I love the fresh juices and the café lattes you can get here too. I have a chance to chat with the Senior Chef who tells me that they rotate the menus so that those staying here have choices every morning, not just the same menu and I wish more hotels would do this. It is a great idea. I meet with some of my group and we all discuss our arrivals and how we all seemed to have arrived earlier than expected. Must have been a good tail wind. I leave them discussing what they will do this day as I head back to my room to get organized. I also have a meeting with my guide later on today but for now….a nap is due. I wander around the hotel a bit – I have many photos of it in my Pix area from past tours – then meet my guide.

Feb 19th Day of arrival for the rest of the group
Graceful architecture, elegant décor, and a seamless blend of old-world charm and contemporary facilities have made The Claridges, New Delhi one of the best addresses in Lutyens' Delhi since the 1950s. The flagship hotel of The Claridges Hotels & Resorts, set amid the verdant centre of the city in close proximity of the business district, shopping and cultural centres and historical landmarks, recreates the magic of old-world charm coupled with gracious Indian hospitality. The Claridges New Delhi was awarded the coveted and prestigious 5 Star Diamond Award 2012 from the American Academy of Hospitality Science, second time in a row. The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences is the world's premiere organization for awarding excellence in travel, cuisine, luxury products and services. Each year, the Academy presents its popular International Star Diamond Award on superlative establishments that are deemed to be of pinnacle quality.

All have arrived safe and sound..tonight a good sleep as our tour begins tomorrow!

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