India with Vantage

This item appears on page 33 of the June 2011 issue.

My wife, Ione, and I highly recommend the 14-day “Crown Jewels of India” tour from Vantage Deluxe World Travel (Boston, MA; 800/322-6677). Land costs and internal air plus three optional tours, visa fee and optional travel insurance cost $5,760 per person.

Our trip, Oct. 19-Nov. 3, 2010, was excellent. The hotels were very good, the service, superb, and the breakfast buffets, excellent. The program manager, Dinesh Kanyal, was outstanding and our group of about 20, congenial. We traveled by comfortable coach, train, rickshaw and elephant. There were several flights between cities.

The traffic and the sights and sounds were simply unbelievable. To prepare, we suggest you watch the movie “Gandhi” and read a good tour book to understand the historical and cultural background of today’s India.

There were two cultural-connection home visits. On one of them, in Agra, we had tea with a former contractor and his wife and son, who had added an upstairs to their charming home to create a B&B.

Sanskriti Home Stay (23, Kaveri Vihar, Phase III, Shamshabad Road, Agra, India; phone +562 2482675) has a private entrance and four large bedrooms with individual baths. There is a cooking area and Internet access.

Ormond Beach, FL