My wife and I booked this tour ahead of time from our home in Canada and went on the tour just a few days after arriving in India (this is my first visit to India). The tour was exactly as advertised with intangibles that made it even better.
We were picked up in the nicest car we had ridden in so far on our trip and our driver, Ravi Kumar, was not only humorous but also incredibly considerate of our needs by offering us water and asking us to tell him if we needed the air conditioning turned up.
We met our guide, Rahul, who is also the owner of Virsa travel, at a road side restaurant a couple of hours outside of Delhi. Rahul had an unassuming demeanor but his good humor and social ease was soon revealed as he sparked conversation and put us at ease while we enjoyed a delicious Indian breakfast together.
Our next stop was at a primary and grade school in the countryside where we learned about the state of the education system from the teachers there and got to communicate with the children using our eyes and body language. This was the heartbreaking highlight for me (in a good way) – life changing for someone who has not traveled outside of the developed country in which they live.
Rahul toured us around the small farming town and brought us to a family home where we joined the women in the kitchen as they prepared lunch. They are not accustomed to foreign visitors in this small place and the mutual fascination and desire to connect was palpable. The women had pre-prepared all of the ingredients but every step of the cooking process was described and shown. The food was authentic and delicious, prepared with love and rich with culture.
After our lunch and heartfelt goodbyes our driver returned us to our hotel in Delhi. A few of the things that we appreciated the most is that Rahul offered all-in pricing. There were no hidden fees (such as highway tolls or taxes), no surprise stops at carpet shops (but if you want that typical experience I’m certain that Rahul would offer it but in a refined way), and our North American needs were understood and catered to without compromising the authenticity of the experience. And, best of all, we got to spend time with the Indian women in an Indian kitchen.
The gratitude for the genuine connection and hospitality from this experience will always remain with us.
P.S. The drive out to the country is a long one but Delhi is a big city to get out of. If you want a breather from it, just for a day, this offers that and, strange though it may seem, being in the car in Delhi for a while is part of what it means to experience India because it is a common experience for the people who live here.