IMG_7618.JPGIndia, that one place that when you mention you’ve been there people are in awe. And for good reason. In 2014, I turned 40, and to congratulate myself, I made my lifelong dream come true by visiting this Vast and Awe Inspiring Country.

India, or the Republic of India,  is for those who don’t know, a country located within South East Asia, It is the world’s largest democracy, the seventh largest country by area and the second most populous in the world with 1.2 BILLION people. With the majestic Himalayan mountains to the north, surrounded by the Indian Ocean to the South, the Arabian Sea to the South West, and the Bay of Bengal in the South East. It is home to many many God’s: The pantheon of the Hindu Gods such as Brama, Vishnu, and Shiva, Allah for the Islamic followers, Jesus for the Christians , Buddha for the , well you guessed it, Buddhist, and many many more. It is so rich with culture, food, spice, languages, and geographical terrains. It also boasts a history of over 5 millennia .

When one first steps off the plane in India, and for me it was Mumbai, one is immediately assaulted with a plethora of scents and emotions. And I’m not joking!

In my next few blog posts, I will be reliving my journey through India. From flying experiences , to visiting the Holy Mother Ganga. I will break them up into areas:

Mumbai, Rajasthan, New Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Bodhgaya, and Rishikesh. There is just so much to say about this absolutely colorful country that I had to break it up.

I was very fortunate to have the best travel companion one could ask for. Kelly decided to join me a few months before I embarked on this Journey and I’m so glad she did. I thought I could do it alone as a single woman, but 2 tough women are much much better.

We totally had each other’s backs, and it was great to laugh, cry, and be angry with the sometimes craziness together.

Prior to finalizing my India journey, I did some massive research on TripAdvisor and was just going no where. It was really difficult for me to try to fathom how I’m going to go and get to the places I want to see. So I started to search for tour guides since in one of the forums, I noticed a few people talking about hiring a travel company not to do the typical tour bus style but for a more personalized experience. After trying my best I finally narrowed it down to just one company: Times India Travels

I contacted Vjay who is the owner of the company and started to build my trip. It was really awesome to be able to throw ideas of what I wanted to see and do , and have him add extra places and things to do that I had no idea existed. My accommodations was also a really important factor as I was kindly informed by a dear friend that for one’s first experience to India, One should try to stay 5 star or at the very least 4 star as much as possible. There are many factors supporting this reasoning.

  1. Comfort: 5 & 4 Star hotels have amazing comfort, while most other hotels could mean sacrificing said comforts.
  2. Cleanliness: VERY IMPORTANT! With so much diseases abound in India, you want to stay somewhere where sanitation is very important to them.
  3. Food: Every heard of Delhi Belly? It’s no joke ( So I’ve heard ) 🙂 I ate most of my meals at my hotels and was so glad I did. I fortunately never had the horrible experience of Delhi Belly… I should take that back I did have a half a day of stomach cramps when I was up in Rishikesh. But it subsided very quickly.
  4. Safety: 5 star hotels ( which can sometimes be palaces) offer good safety to their guests. Especially women traveling alone or together should take precautions. There’s always a guard or guards, and they know how to distinguish between the roughens from guests.
  5. Language: There are 22 official languages in India, and 1,652 mother tongues spoken. So you can imagine it may be hard for me to try to learn them all . Although most hotels speak English as it was once sadly, a British Colony , not all of them speak it well, unlike that of the 4 or 5 star properties.
  6. Beauty: After being out and about for the day, it is really nice to come back and enjoy your accommodations, which a few happen to be stunning palaces.

So those are my reasonings for staying in a 4 or 5 star property for your first trip to India.

I finally came up with a main plan as to where I wanted to see:

First I would fly into Mumbai. Formerly known as Bombay ( I didn’t realize that name was such an insult) I wanted to capture the romanticized feeling of the city. The city has been mentioned so classical on many tv shows as an exotic business hub for sketchy super spies, and also because it reminded me of the Rajput during Brittish colonialism. Well, okay , also because I read Shantram and wanted to experience what I read .

Next I will continue on my Super Spy James Bond Journey and visit Udaipur in Rajasthan where they filmed OctoPussy at the Lake Palace. Followed by Jodhpur ( blue city) Pushkar ( should’ve skipped ) and Jaipur ( the Pink City and Capital of Rajasthan)

Overnighter in Agra to see the Famous and absolutely stunning Taj Mahal

3 Nights in the Holy City of Varanasi

3 nights ( should’ve been 1 ) in Bodhgaya

1 extra night in Varanasi

3 nights in Rishikesh .. YOGA

3 nights in New Delhi

Through Times India Travels, I booked all hotels, domestic flights, private driver and car, and day trips and touring. All for the super amazing price of around $7500 USD. What a steal!!!! To have your own air-conditioned car and driver is what life is all about. Especially when it’s 100 degrees outside. We were also provided with tour guides in some cities who road with us and gave us a somewhat good tour. One in particular while in Udaipur was especially good.  The only thing that we really were not happy with was the fact that our luggage was too heavy for all of our domestic travels so we ended up shelling out money overtime we traveled which was a thorn to our sides… I mean we were really upset about it. I had let Vjay know that for future travelers he should let people know that you are only allowed 18 Kilos . Trust me don’t go over it is really costly , like more than the ticket itself.

Here was my itinerary :

Tour Plan:-





28th April

Arrival at


Welcome to India, you will be received by our representative / driver at airport and transfer to your hotel. Overnight stay at New Delhi.

Taj Mahal Palace

29th April


After breakfast visit Gateway of India and Elepanta Caves, Juhu Choupati and Dhobhi Ghat. Overnight stay at Mumbai.

Taj Mahal Palace

30th April


After breakfast visit Marine drive, Jain Temple and Hanging garden. Overnight stay at Mumbai.

Taj Mahal Palace

 1st May

Fly to Udaipur

After breakfast drive to Mumbai airport and catch flight to Udaipur. On arrival check into hotel. Evening enjoy lake side local market. Overnight stay at Udaipur


2nd May


After breakfast visit Sheliyon-Ki-Bari, folk art Museum, City Palace, traditional Painting School and have a Boating at Lake Pichola. Overnight stay at Udaipur.


3rd May


After breakfast visit Jagdish Temple and street walk around local market. Evening back to hotel. Overnight stay at Udaipur.


4th May


After breakfast drive to Jodhpur. En-route vist Ranakpur Jain Temple. On arrival visit the Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada, and local market of Jodhpur. Overnight stay at Jodhpur.

Ajit Bhawan Palace

5th May


After breakfast drive to Pushkar. On arrival visit the temple of Lord Brahma and the Pushkar Lake. Overnight stay at Pushkar.

Pushkar Palace

6th May


After breakfast drive to Jaipur. On arrival check into hotel. On arrival visit Birla Temple and enjoy the local market. Overnight stay at Jaipur.

Samode Haveli

7th May


After breakfast leave for Elephant Ride at Amber Fort, visit City Palace, Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal. Evening free for shopping or your own activities. Overnight stay at Jaipur.

Samode Haveli

8th May


After breakfast visit local market Johari Bazzar and Bapu Bazzar and walk on street. Overnight stay at Jaipur.

Samode Haveli

9th May


After breakfast drive to Agra. En-route visit Abhaneri Step Well and Fatehpur Sikiri. On arrival Agra visit Itmaul-Ud-Daula, and Agra Fort. Overnight stay at Agra.

ITC Mughal Sherton

10th May

Fly to Varanasi

Morning visit Taj Mahal with Sun rising. After breakfast drive to New Delhi airport and catch flight to Varanasi. Our driver will waiting for you at Varanasi airport with your name place card and transfer to your hotel. Overnight stay at Varanasi.

Taj Nadesar Palace

11th May


After breakfast visit river side and Evening visit famous Aarti (prayer) and enjoy the boat ride at river ganges. Overnight stay at Varanasi.

Taj Nadesar Palace

12th May


After breakfast visit Varanasi and Sarnath. Enjoy boat ride with sunrise to get a mesmerizing view of river Ganges. Varanasi is a popular Indian city. Visit Bharat Mata Temple, Museum. Evening again join famous Prayer and enjoy the river side. Overnight stay at Vararansi.

Taj Nadesar Palace

13th May


After breakfast drive to Bodhgaya. On arrival check into hotel and take some relax. Overnight stay at Bodhgaya.

Bodhgaya Regency

14th May


After breakfast visit great Buddha Statue, the Bodhi Tree and Mahabodhi Temple. Evening enjoy the local markets.  Overnight stay at Bodhgaya.

Bodhgaya Regency

15th May


After breakfast visit Chines and Janpnes Monestrys and Museum. Evening visit local markets. Overnight stay at Bodhgaya.

Bodhgaya Regency

16th May


After breakfast drive to Varanasi. On arrival check into hotel take relax. Overnight stay at Varanasi.

Taj Nadesar Palace

17th May

Fly to

New Delhi

After breakfast drive to Varanasi airport and catch flight to New Delhi. On arrival our driver will meet you and transfer to your hotel. Overnight stay at New Delhi.

Radisson Plaza

18th May

Fly to Dehradun and drive to Rishikesh

After breakfast drive to New Delhi airport and catch flight to Dehradun. Our driver will meet you at airport and transfer to Rishikesh hotel. On arrival visit Lakshman Jhula, Ram Jhula and Neelkanth Temple. Evening join famous Prayer at river side. Overnight stay at Rishikesh.

Atali Ganga

19th May


After breakfast visit Rajaji National Park and JumpinHeight. If you have intrest in Raffting and Hiking then you can also do these activites in Rishikesh. Overnight stay at Rishikesh.

Atali Ganga

20th May


Morning you can learn about Yoga and also you can take YOGA classes. After noon visit local market. Overnight stay at Rishikesh.

Atali Ganga

21st May

Fly to New Delhi

After breakfast drive to Dehradun airport and catch flight to New Delhi. Our driver will meet you at airport and transfer to your hotel. Evening visit India Gate and Rajghat. Overnight stay at New Delhi.

The Oberoi 

22nd May

New Delhi

After breakfast take RICKSHAW ride visit Chadani chok market, Red fort, Jama Masjid. Afternoon visit Humayun Tomb, Qutub Minar Rashtrpati Bhawan, Lotus Temple. Overnight stay at New Delhi.

The Oberoi

23rd May

New Delhi

After breakfast visit Akshardham Temple and government buildings near embassy area and local market of Connaught palace. Overnight stay at New Delhi.

The Oberoi

24th May


This day our driver will drop at New Delhi airport and fly back to sweet home with happy memoriess…



The above tour package will cost you INR 462500 with below mention services.

Below services will be included in my tour package

1. A nice and comfortable Air Condition Toyota Innova Car for you having sufficient space for you and your luggage also, Fuel, Insurance, Toll Taxes, All State Taxes, Parking and all transport related expenses.

2. Package is including Driver’s food and lodging.

3. Car will be with you from your arrival till your departure.

4. One Single Bed Room in hotels with air conditioner hotel and it also inclusive of all taxes and morning breakfast.

5. Excursions at on the way like Ranakpur Jain Temple, Fatehpur Sikiri, Amber Fort, This is up to your choice of visit, city sightseeing tour in each city

6. Elephant safari at Amber Fort in Jaipur

7. Boating at Lake Pichola in Udaipur

8. Boating at river ganges in Varanasi

9. Rickshaw ride in New Delhi

10. All meals are inclusive in Atali 

11. English speaking Local Guide in Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur and Agra

12. Internal Flights:-

A. Mumbai to Udaipur

B. New Delhi Varanasi

C. Varanasi to New Delhi

D. New Delhi to Dehradun

F. Dehradun to New Delhi

13. Including all taxes and state levies


Not included

Your personal expenses, like meals, calls, laundry, shopping etc  

Monument entrée fee


Other expenses (that is not included in our services)

Not bad right?

Preparation for INDIA:

There was much to prep for my trip to India.

First and foremost I needed my India Visa. I used a company called travisa, who I think no longer does Indian Visas. I initially bought a 6 month Visa for $120 and paid for it. Later the company called me to tell me that they noticed I only did 6 months and I had already sent my passport in, which was way to early . Basically by the time I get to India, my visa would’ve expired. I had no idea . I thought the Visa became active once I landed in India. So I decided then to get a 10 year visa, since it was the same cost as the 5 year . Then I got notice that they ( the India consulate) had denied my 10 year visa. I was so upset and told Travisa that they need to fix this ASAP. Typical India Bureaucracy ! Finally they approved it and 2 weeks later I received my passport.

Second, I needed a plethora of inoculations against almost every disease known to man. Yes, every! So, I got my Typhoid, Measels , mumps and rubella, 3 series rabies, polio, and a few others. I also made sure I had Z Pack antibiotics, and Cipro pills for diarrhea ( think Delhi Belly, that I didn’t have 🙂 ) and malaria pills.

Then I made sure I registered with  the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program ( STEP) so that they know I’m enjoying myself in India.

Next I emailed every single hotel I was staying at to make sure I was actually in their system, as well as my flights. I just never knew if it was a complete sham or not. I paid for my trip via paypal to Vjay and Times India Travels. And I just had a very small doubt that it may be all fake. So I was happy when the replies started to flow in confirming all my reservations.

I finally picked up a lot of sanitary items: Germ Wipes , portable toilet paper, 100% Deet spray, hand sanitizer etc. And guess what they came totally handy

I decided to break up my travel time to India by first stopping in Bangkok since I love that city so much. I took Thai Air from Bangkok to Mumbai, and then New Delhi to Bangkok.

I flew on their Airbus A333-300 . It was an older looking plane with only angle lie flat seats. The food was just ok and the service was not very desirable. I later learned that Thai Air uses their “crappier” planes to India since India and Indians aren’t very well liked in Thailand. It’s sad that it had to affect my flight comfort but it really is just a short 6 hour flight.

Finally arriving around 11 pm into Mumbai , I could smell everything but couldn’t wait to see it all…..

Stay tuned


Here are links to my journey through India:

Mumbai: My first Introduction to Mother India

Udaipur: Rajput Glamour

Jodhpur & the Journey to the Blue City.

Pushkar: A unnecessary Detour

Jaipur: The Pink City of India

Agra and the most beautiful symbol of Love: The Taj Mahal

Varanasi: The Holiest City of India

Bodhgaya: A Commotion of Emotional Enlightenment

Rishikesh: The Land of Ashrams, YogaCapital of the World, and wandering tigers

Delhi: Old and New