Bespoke Experiences

Our "BESPOKE EXPERIENCES" are walks and insights led by experts, passionate about their heritage & hometown. Ride a local train, visit a farm, watch an Indian film, star-gaze with an astronomer, breakfast with butterflies, visit a flower market, pair wines with Indian cuisine, participate in a debate with intellectual groups, talk to a contemporary artist in his studio, sample hawker's food, walk the crowded bazaars, high-tea with royalty, play elephant polo, explore the step wells, learn Yoga, volunteer in a school, see a theatre, attend book-reading sessions, self-drive a 4x4 SUV, be a Maharaja for day – these are few of the hundreds of experiences that you can book with us. Our 'Specialists' have walked on these paths innumerable times and can show you a complete different perspective of town or city that they know inside out. This is undoubtedly the best way to explore a place and absorb its smells & sounds. Click on any experience in the chart below to read more and to meet your 'specialist'.

Agra The Agra walk
New Delhi Lodi Garden Walk,
Mehrauli Archaeological Park Walk,
Kashmiri Gate & Neighborhood
Tughlakabad Fort Walk
Old Fort & Neighborhood Walk
Delhi by Bicycle
In Search of Lost Water
Old Delhi Bazaar & Food Walk
Jaipur Temples & Havelis of Old Jaipur
Chowkri Modikhana
Bazaars, Cuisines & The Crafts
Amber- Beyond the Fort.
Jodhpur The Blue city revealed
Mumbai Mumbai's Market Mania
Fort Heritage
Gandhi's Trail
The Famous Banganga Tour
Chor Bazaar- Thieves Market Walk
Beaches & More
Varanasi Southern Temples, Ponds & Poets
Walking the Bengali Tola
The City of Light
Northern Bazaars & Hidden Alleys
Ram's Lila
Ganga's Aarti
Kolkata In the footsteps of the Raj
The Star Still Shines
Reminiscence & Resurgence
Confluence of Cultures
Bringing the goddess to Earth
Park Street
The Taj of the Raj
The Glenburn Experience
Hyderabad From Charminar to Chowmohalla
Rock Walk
Bangalore Victorian Bangalore Walk
Green Heritage
Medieval Bengaluru
Chennai Peacock Trail
Country Roads
Dancers Trail
Simply South
Steeple Chase
Cochin Heritage Walk through Fort Kochi
Ahmedabad The Breakfast Walk
Heritage Night Walk of Ahmedabad
Shimla Descend to a Waterfal
Simla's Catchment Area
The Cemetery Lanes
Simla Heritage Zone

Copyright © 2012 Indian Escape All Rights Reserved.

THE BREAKFAST WALK

Proceed for an early morning Heritage Walk of the old city ,beginning from the picturesque Swaminarayan Temple in Kalupur , it covers the numerous pols, havelis, ornamental facades, workplaces of artisans and number of magnificent Hindu and Jain temples, it covers from KaviDalpatramChowk - which housed the great 19th century Gujarati poet - in Lambeshwarni Pole, to the classic reminisces of the city's textile era - the Calico Dome to the century old Kala RamjiMandir in the Haja Patel ni Pole with a unique idol of Lord Rama in dark colour and in a sitting posture.

A special feature of Ahmedabad is the plan of the old city, comprising numerous pols, self contained neighbourhoods, sheltering large numbers of people, traversed by narrow streets, usually terminating in squares with community wells and chabutaras for feeding birds. And it ends at the most glorious architectural legacy- the Jumma Masjid.

HERITAGE NIGHT WALK of AHMEDABAD

This guided post dinner walk is fairly relaxed and only 800 metres long. It begins at Mangaldaskihaveli a 200 hundred year old carved wooden home that has now been recently restored into a café, and takes you through old homes, Jain temples ,old havelis and narrow lanes, bird feeders Islamic monuments and the vibrant food market at Manekchowk in street light and torch light-a com-pletely different experience than the city by day.

End with the sound of drummers signalling the closing of the city gates at 11pm above the gateway to the raja no hajiro-an on-going 600 hundred old tradition.

BENGALURU GREEN HERITAGE WALK

The Green Heritage Walk, as it is called, is a stroll through the botanically rich Lalbagh garden. The expedition begins at the main gate of Lalbagh with a briefing of its green wealth and its association with the history of Bangalore.

In three hours your 'walk' brings to life history, environment, botany, culture, landscape architecture, gardening and food unpeeling an unknown Bengaluru. If you love nature, like walking among trees and flowers, and want to know more about our green heritage, this is the walk for you.

About the Expert

Vijay Thiruvady is not a Bangalorean of vintage. He spent his boyhood in Delhi. It was only six years ago that he began to lead the Green Heritage Walk under the banner of Bangalore Walks. Why should that be surprising? I know people who have called themselves Bangaloreans for barely three years who have a deeper and more meaningful connection with this city than those who have lived and lived off it for generations. What is heartwarming is that these people, like the tree-smitten Sultans, British and Germans before them, are most likely to change the city for the better.

MEDIEVAL BENGALURU WALK

The legend goes that he saw a hare chasing a hound and saw it as holy ground - ideal to start a new city. Come and discover the city of his dreams, how it began,what he built, who visited, who took it away from him. Also learn about its various fascinating occupants over the centuries, the battles they fought over it and in it, and how it became the foundation of today's megacity. Walk the streets of the original Old City, where Bengaluru began life as a 16h century fort town.

About the Expert

Poornima - Eternal Traveller , is fascinated by places and, if not for her South Indian style, would often be mistaken for a Japanese tourist.She began her professional life as a software programmer. Her favourite memories from that time come from beyond her cubicle walls, to the wonderful places she was lucky enough to visit.Shetraveled "from the freezing land of the Scots to the blazing heat of San Diego" and realised that since discovering new and old places was really where her passion lay, she would much rather do that.

TRADITIONAL BENGALURU WALK

It takes only 3 kms and 3 hours to realise that amidst Bangalore as an IT hub and roaring pub city, there is the other Bengaluru - the Bengaluru that was the genesis of Bangalore as we know it today, that evokes nostalgia, and poetry. The bastion of traditional living, a life of grace, goodness, and breeding ground of the quintessential Bangalorean who effortlessly shuttles between several seemingly contradictory worlds.

Walk through the rocks that Bangalore was founded on. Discover the sprawling streets of the old-new city.Get ready for an assault on the senses; tradition comes in colors and sounds. Treat your taste-buds.

VICTORIAN BANGALORE WALK

Queen Victoria ascended the throne in 1837, just a few years after the establishment of the British Cantonment in Bangalore. This quiet little town in South India grew quite spectacularly over the next 70 years. The seeds of Bangalore's current persona - its leadership in technology, industry, scientific research & aerospace, its pubs, greenery, sporting culture and cosmopolitanism, as also the traffic chaos, demographic diversity and attractiveness to immigrants - were sown at different times and places in the Victorian era.

Visit 19th Century churches, public buildings and stately homes, tracing the growth of the cantonment. Hear stories of Bangalore's famous British residents, and discover what made Bangalore tick in the 19th Century. End the walk with one of the best aerial views of Bangalore, and a sumptuous buffet breakfast.

About the Expert

Arun Pai, The con¬cept of was started by Arun Pai and he has been run¬ning this for a few years now. Arun has done his research well and he took spe¬cial efforts in shar¬ing with us inter¬est¬ing his¬tor¬i¬cal titbits.

COUNTRY ROADS - THE VILLAGE TRAIL

India lives in its villages. And what better way to experience India than to spend a day in a village, playing the part of a villager?

This trail takes you through a world of green quilted paddy fields, ancient temples and sacred groves. From time spent on a farm experiencing the joys of organic farming, and joining farmer's family in cooking a meal, to a walk through the woods, discovering the treasures hidden in the local flora, this trail is a bundle of the small pleasures of life.

Time: 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Reporting Venue: Common pick up point or hotel.

DANCER TRAIL

In the midst of all the clamor and chaos of modern- day Chennai, you can still hear the rhythmic beat of feet on stone floors, voices keeping time, the tinkle of anklets as children learn the first steps of a dance that's among the most ancient classical dance forms in the world.

The Dancer's trail takes you on a fascinating tour of Chennai's dance saga. From the sculptures embedded in the myriad temple walls, through the multitude of classical dance schools spread all over the city, Chennai presents, through its dances, a story of its life. Discover the stories of the city and its dances, of dancers past and the controversies they created, of celestial nymphs and their seductions, and of dance and the many ways in which it touches lives here.

Time : 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM also available in evening

Reporting Venue : Outside Raasi silks, opposite Kapaleeshwara Temple, Mylapore.

PEACOCK TRAIL

Mylapore, a town that predates Chennai by at least two thousand years, is widely considered the hub from where the rest of the city grew. It has kept alive many traditions and arts that Chennai is so well known for. Peacock trail is essentially a walk through Mylapore.

A walk that is garnished with a pinch of culture, a dash of tradition, a spot of history, a few sights, and some tastes, and is served with a bundle of stories - stories about the local life, of Gods and demons, and of Mylapore and Madras. Some amusing, some baffling, and some that help our guests make sense of the sights around them.

Time : 7:30 AM to 10:00 AM (ending with breakfast).Alternate timing: 4:00 PM and 6:30 PM)

Reporting Venue : Outside Raasi silks, opposite Kapaleeshwara Temple, Mylapore.

SIMPLY SOUTH TRAIL

To a casual onlooker there are two India's - The North and the South. But look deeper and each region and each community within the south comes with a very distinct history, culture and way of life. This trail takes you to Dakshinachitra, a place considered to be one of the more beautiful showcases of South Indian Heritage. But rather than letting it be a passive walk through the campus, our storytellers attempt to bring alive the regional heritage houses that are on display, with creatively woven stories from local folklore and mythology.

Time : 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM or 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM

Reporting Venue : Dakshinchitra

STEEPLE CHASE

In the year 52 AD a bearded man walked the sands of a beautiful beach in the port town of Mylapore. The soaring steeples of Chennai and elegant stained glass of its churches tell many tales.

And embedded in each one of these buildings is a different story about Christianity in Chennai, influenced by those who brought it here - St Thomas, the English, the Portugese, the Armenians, and the Scottish. The Steeple Chase takes our guests through the Christian history of this region, and the stories - from the humble arrival of St.Thomas, to the British who left their mark with a cathedral of neo-gothic splendor.

Time : 8:30 AM to 11:00 AM.

Tree & Nature Walk

Our walking expert in Chennai is a unique service, born out of the idea that Indian travel destinations are to be experienced, and not just seen. Every sight one beholds here has a story to tell, as does every mundane ritual from daily life.

"Storytrails" is an attempt to dig out the stories behind ordinary sights, and give the visitors a glimpse into the local way of life, using such stories as the medium.

The emphasis is on a subtle presentation of some fascinating arts, customs and practices, which will help you to discover the region in unique way.

All the trails are theme based, and are different ways of appreciating the various elements of life in this region. From walks which take a couple of hours in the morning, to longer trails that typically span upto half a day. Each trail uses a different theme to bind some interesting sights and relevant activities together.

CHOWKRI MODIKHANA

Experience the religious life of local communities by visiting colourful temples, interact with residents over a cup of tea in their homes and discover some of the architectural wonders of this fascinating aspect of Jaipur. Carefully designed to offer a rewarding and enriching experience for our guests this walk reveals some of the best kept secrets of the walled city of Jaipur. Meet resident artisans, shop owners, temple priests and local citizens.

Chand Pol gate, one of the original seven gateways, located at the western end of the old walled city of Jaipur is the point at which this 2 and a half hour walk begins."

Kalyanji temple with beautiful frescos including one representing the 10 incarnations of the Hindu God Vishnu.See master craftsmen making brass work, as their forefathers did before them. Not only are these craftsmen highly skilled, they also perform fascinating rituals and worship their tools prior to starting work. Visit a private museum which houses more than 125,000 manuscripts in over a dozen languages, some of which date back to the 14th century. The collection also includes paintings, shoes, textiles and brass work.Sanghi Juta Ram Jain temple, built in 1778 and has stunning kundan work depicting stories from the Jain religion in its courtyard.

Visit a lane dedicated to lac bangle makers.

Enjoy tea and snacks with fourth generation antique dealers. Rummage through their treasurers and read through their visitors' book with entries going back to the 18th century. The walk finishes at the Rajasthan School of Art which was built by the Prime Minister of Maharaja Ram Singh II, as his residence and then converted in to the school in 1866."

About the Expert

Sankalp Kulshrestha, has a scientific background, having attained a Masters in Science in Biotechnology; However, his true passion lies in his home town of Jaipur. He has explored Jaipur extensively and knows lots of hidden gems, which many locals, let alone tourists, do not even know exist. He understands the importance of conservation and feels strongly that the best way to preserve the walled city is to give the inhabitants a sense of ownership, not only of their own property, but also of their neighbourhood.

Akshat Mathur, is a Jaipurite born and bred. He has a huge fondness for this fascinating city and has witnessed its rapid growth and the detrimental effect that this has had on the walled city. He has devoted much of his leisure time to heritage development and to encouraging the locals to contribute in the restoration of the old city.

At the age 23 he began as a guide for heritage walks around the old city. He has built close relationships with the local community and has unparalleled knowledge of the walled city, its traditions, history, architecture, music, cuisine and arts. Akshat is fluent in English, Hindi and Rajasthani.

BAZAARS, CUISINE & THE CRAFTS

Essence of the experience

From its creation in 1727 the royal families and nobles of Jaipur patronised the craftsmen and artisans of the city and these traditions continue to this day. Using skills passed down through generations, artisans and master craftsmen can be seen in the areas of GhatDarwaza and Vishveshwarji.

On this fascinating evening walk mingle and talk with the locals whilst sampling some of the regions culinary delights; from some of the city's most popular street food vendors. Observe local artisans in their workshops; jewellers, silversmiths as well as meenakari and kundan artists. Midway through this fascinating walk visits a local resident in his private haveli which is beautifully decorated with rich tapestries, carpets and rare artefacts, before finishing at Tripolia gate to enjoy the colourful and vibrant bazaar."

About the Expert

Sankalp Kulshrestha, has a scientific background, having attained a Masters in Science in Biotechnology; However, his true passion lies in his home town of Jaipur. He has explored Jaipur extensively and knows lots of hidden gems, which many locals, let alone tourists, do not even know exist. He understands the importance of conservation and feels strongly that the best way to preserve the walled city is to give the inhabitants a sense of ownership, not only of their own property, but also of their neighbourhood.

Akshat Mathur, is a Jaipurite born and bred. He has a huge fondness for this fascinating city and has witnessed its rapid growth and the detrimental effect that this has had on the walled city. He has devoted much of his leisure time to heritage development and to encouraging the locals to contribute in the restoration of the old city.

At the age 23 he began as a guide for heritage walks around the old city. He has built close relationships with the local community and has unparalleled knowledge of the walled city, its traditions, history, architecture, music, cuisine and arts. Akshat is fluent in English, Hindi and Rajasthani.

TEMPLES & HAVELIS OF OLD JAIPUR.

Essence of the experience

Experience the religious life of local communities by visiting colourful temples, interact with residents over a cup of tea in their homes and discover some of the architectural wonders of this fascinating aspect of Jaipur.

Visit Sri Chaturbhuj and RoopChaturbhuj both grand old temples situated at "ChotiChauper" the city square. As old as the city their elevated location provides excellent views of the surrounding area.VisitSomani Haveli a beautifully restored building belonging to one of the prominent jeweler families of the city.

Visit a private Tantra Temple with beautifully carved doors and rare pictures of old Jaipur. Few foreigners have seen the 11 shiva lingams housed in this temple that are used during tantric ritual.ShriGopinathJi Krishna Temple – A lively and busy temple where the morning Aarti is a lively and noisy spectacle.

Visit a Rajput family in their Haveli home, Bagru Ki Haveli and join them for early morning tea and traditional Indian snacks.

"Ramchandra Temple" Dedicated to Lord Ram. This ancient Temple is decorated with beautiful frescos including a gold painting of the City Palace."

About the Expert

Sankalp Kulshrestha, has a scientific background, having attained a Masters in Science in Biotechnology; However, his true passion lies in his home town of Jaipur. He has explored Jaipur extensively and knows lots of hidden gems, which many locals, let alone tourists, do not even know exist. He understands the importance of conservation and feels strongly that the best way to preserve the walled city is to give the inhabitants a sense of ownership, not only of their own property, but also of their neighbourhood.

Akshat Mathur, is a Jaipurite born and bred. He has a huge fondness for this fascinating city and has witnessed its rapid growth and the detrimental effect that this has had on the walled city. He has devoted much of his leisure time to heritage development and to encouraging the locals to contribute in the restoration of the old city.

At the age 23 he began as a guide for heritage walks around the old city. He has built close relationships with the local community and has unparalleled knowledge of the walled city, its traditions, history, architecture, music, cuisine and arts. Akshat is fluent in English, Hindi and Rajasthani.

AMBER BEYOND THE FORT

Amber Fort is a must-do for tourists, however very few people go beyond the fort to visit this beautiful and fascinating town. Dotted with numerous historic temples, havelis and a step well, this walk offers a wonderful insight in to this quiet town. The walk is a perfect antidote to the hectic fort and can easily be added in to an Amber Fort visit.

Amber served as the capital of the Jaipur ruling dynasties, the Kachhawas from the 15th to 17th centuries. After the formation of the new city of Jaipur, the royal family and most of the population moved to the newly built capital, leaving Amber to its fate.

This walk reveals some of the best kept secrets of Amber. Meet temple priests, hand-block printers and local citizens, before finishing with tea at a stunning restored haveli which now houses a fascinating museum of textiles.

About the Expert

Sankalp Kulshrestha, has a scientific background, having attained a Masters in Science in Biotechnology; However, his true passion lies in his home town of Jaipur. He has explored Jaipur extensively and knows lots of hidden gems, which many locals, let alone tourists, do not even know exist. He understands the importance of conservation and feels strongly that the best way to preserve the walled city is to give the inhabitants a sense of ownership, not only of their own property, but also of their neighbourhood.

Akshat Mathur, is a Jaipurite born and bred. He has a huge fondness for this fascinating city and has witnessed its rapid growth and the detrimental effect that this has had on the walled city. He has devoted much of his leisure time to heritage development and to encouraging the locals to contribute in the restoration of the old city.

At the age 23 he began as a guide for heritage walks around the old city. He has built close relationships with the local community and has unparalleled knowledge of the walled city, its traditions, history, architecture, music, cuisine and arts. Akshat is fluent in English, Hindi and Rajasthani.

WALK NAME- BRINGING THE GODDESS TO EARTH

Durga Puja is integral to the very identity of West Bengal. These are days of devotion, revelry, and vital cultural and economic activity. Kumartulli is known for its internationally renowned artisans who craft the most beautiful idols from straw and clay. How these images are crafted, the conditions in which the artisans live and work, where their material is sourced from, and which industries depend on these creations for their very survival will be observed in life-affirming action.

About the Expert

Ifté an intrepid traveller. His passion for trespassing is second only to his love for this city. Life is an adventure for this true romantic, for whom the predictable is abhorrent. Fun, spirited, and brimming with questions - that's our Ifté for you. Join him in an exploration of any part, theme, or perspective of the city, though he's all for unearthing and understanding the various sub

CONFLUENCE OF CULTURES

Our city has witnessed many more cultures in its past than most others would even in this globalised present. Here we will trace for you the origins and remains of the varied communities that hung their boots and called Calcutta home. Let's check out why Chinese breakfast still rules Tiretta Bazar, where the Parsis are dwindling in numbers with each passing day and how the Armenians gave the city its oldest surviving Christian church while we pass the Anglo-Indians, the Muslims, the Marwaris, the Biharis and many more that made this city a great melting pot of diverse cultures.

About the Expert

Sneha, is young traveler by blood, loves to reconnoitre the amazing city of Kolkata and its surroundings. A childhood fanatic of camera photography , exploring the city with her SLR, is Her enthusiastic and playful spirit is infectious - so come on board to explore the city.

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE RAJ - DALHOUSIE SQUARE

Our city has witnessed many more cultures in its past than most others would even in this globalised present. Here we will trace for you the origins and remains of the varied communities that hung their boots and called Calcutta home. Let's check out why Chinese breakfast still rules Tiretta Bazar, where the Parsis are dwindling in numbers with each passing day and how the Armenians gave the city its oldest surviving Christian church while we pass the Anglo-Indians, the Muslims, the Marwaris, the Biharis and many more that made this city a great melting pot of diverse cultures.

About the Expert

Pritish refuses to explore any more of our city with you but drop a hint about moving out from here and his ears suddenly crop up. Talk about anywhere else in the world and he'll be ready to first arrange everything for you and then, if you're lucky, accompany you. Where the others romanticize the city and its environs Prits knows more pristine locales and sends you there with ease and makes sure you have a good time. Lover of dogs he plays sports and loves traveling anytime of the day, year or life."

PARK STREET

The City That Never Sleeps" as well as the erstwhile "Burial Ground Road", welcome to the Park Street. If Calcutta was the capital of the British Raj, then Park Street was the capital street of the city, where the rich and the famous lived, dined and made merry. Here, we will traverse down this hugely famous as well as infamous promenade and pay homage to the pleasure capital of the British Empire. So, come with us as we take you from one end of the street to the other taking in restaurants, watering holes, hotels, the churches, colleges, stately homes and the burial grounds. Whew! Now that's some street!

About the Expert

Pritish refuses to explore any more of our city with you but drop a hint about moving out from here and his ears suddenly crop up. Talk about anywhere else in the world and he'll be ready to first arrange everything for you and then, if you're lucky, accompany you. Where the others romanticize the city and its environs Prits knows more pristine locales and sends you there with ease and makes sure you have a good time. Lover of dogs he plays sports and loves traveling anytime of the day, year or life."

REMINISCENCE AND RESURGENCE- CHOWRINGHEE

Circumnavigate the Grand, an iconic Calcutta landmark which has weathered changing tastes and turbulent times to retain its status as one of Calcutta's most beloved luxury hotels. Take in the frenzied economic activity that occurs all around its periphery, and find out why savvy shoppers have never given up on New Market, where it was said one could buy anything – from pins to pachyderms. Ponder the loss of such great establishments as Whiteway-Laidlaw, Bourne and Shepherd, and Firpo's and their ironic replacement by the ubiquitous hawker and his wares.

About the Expert

Pritish refuses to explore any more of our city with you but drop a hint about moving out from here and his ears suddenly crop up. Talk about anywhere else in the world and he'll be ready to first arrange everything for you and then, if you're lucky, accompany you. Where the others romanticize the city and its environs Prits knows more pristine locales and sends you there with ease and makes sure you have a good time. Lover of dogs he plays sports and loves traveling anytime of the day, year or life."

THE GLENBURN EXPERIENCE

Calcutta is one of the most "under-rated" and "under-visited" cities in India, and since we started our private guiding in 2007 - our guests are left marveling at the hidden treasures and unique history the city has to offer. We list below some suggested 1, 2 and 3 day itineraries that can be modified to fit your specific interests and time avail

Heritage Walk of Dalhousie Square, now a World Heritage Site.

The walk takes place in the morning so that you can leisurely take in the architecture and history of the city's many unique and spectacular buildings without any traffic on the roads. There is an option to begin at The Flower Market on the River Hoogly - where it really "all" began. The walk then starts at the site of the terrible 'Black Hole'. takes you past the famous Writer's Building, the former HQ of the infamous East India Company, around the square to, among others, the magnificent Governor's House and the almost forgotten Charnock Mausoleum. The whole experience takes you back to the 18th and 19th century when the British ruled the entire subcontinent from Calcutta - at that time the most fashionable city in the world after London. It is also a chance to experience a special side of the city as it is waking up in the morning with many interesting city characters to interact with along the way.

"Breakfast at Bomti's" - offers a rare glimpse of the old Calcutta way of life, now sadly endangered. Mr Surojit 'Bomti' Iyenger, an art collector and socialite, is delighted to welcome visitors to his charming flat in perhaps the most interesting heritage building on historic Chowringhee. Authentic and home-cooked Bengali cuisine served up with hot cups of fresh Darjeeling tea and stimulating insights into Bengali Art (with some for sale) and Modern Kolkata make up Bomti's salon.

Shopping and sightseeing with Devika Duncan (a break at the hotel can also be taken). Sightseeing could include The Marble Palace, The Park Street Cemetery, The Indian Museum and/or The Victoria Memorial. Shopping could include local handicrafts, jewellery, textiles (including the famous Bengal Katha stitch work), antique furniture, food, spices and books.

Boat cruise up the River Hoogly. In a private river boat, guests are able to discover a hitherto unseen side of Kolkata, with a ring-side view of the myriad happenings on the river's 'Ghats'. This was the view that greeted many a 19C adventurer as he stepped up to the Princep'sGhat. You will sail past Belur Math, headquarters of The Ramakrishna Mission, as the city's two huge and famous bridges, Howrah and VidyasagarSetu pass overhead.

THE TAJ OF THE RAJ

Ever since the British cleared a village to create their firing range for the new fort, the Maidan has served as the lungs of the city and played host to many an important monument. Among the most prominent is what was created as a memorial to Queen Victoria, the Empress of India, and a reminder to the achievements of the British rule and its most important proponents. Join us to explore and demystify this beautiful monument and soak in the locality surrounding this temple to Toria Mai - Victoria the Mother.

About the Expert

Sneha, is young traveler by blood, loves to reconnoitre the amazing city of Kolkata and its surroundings. A childhood fanatic of camera photography , exploring the city with her SLR, is Her enthusiastic and playful spirit is infectious - so come on board to explore the city.

THE STAR STILL SINES

The ever-vital hub of traditional Bengali culture, 'the natives' area', Sovabazar is all this and much more. This area contains a fascinatingly cosmopolitan blend of the seemingly incongruous architectural forms (from Islamic to Baroque, from Victorian to Bengali) which made up the old world dwellings of the city's wealthier Bengalis. No one who wishes to savor the authentic flavor of Bengali culture and cuisine can afford to miss out on this walk.

About the Expert

Ifté anintrepid traveller. His passion for trespassing is second only to his love for this city. Life is an adventure for this true romantic, for whom the predictable is abhorrent. Fun, spirited, and brimming with questions - that's our Ifté for you. Join him in an exploration of any part, theme, or perspective of the city, though he's all for unearthing and understanding the various sub-cultures that shy away from the mainstream."

DELHI BY BICYCLE

A lifetime experience in the lively streets of Delhi is waiting for you! India is a country of contrast and colours and a strong inspiration for the mind! With these cycle tours we invite you to become part of unique mix of colours, smells, sounds, tastes and unforgettable images.

The Shah Jahan Tour is classic recipe for an exhilarating glimpse into the life and times of the great Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan and the 1500 acre expanse of his capital - Shahjahanabad. At the time of its construction in the 17th Century, it was arguably, the most prosperous and beautiful city in the world. Today, when you pass through its four hundred year old web of alleys held together with great big meshes of electric cables and infused with the smell of brewing tea and simmering breakfast curry, you see a mind boggling co-existence of the past and the future, competing for your attention. Emerging from this rainforest, thick with traditional architecture- typical of Shah Jahan's time, you will find yourself in a Delhi of another time while you also see the Red Fort, Jama Masjid, the Spice Market and tranquil Civil Lines, the former British colonial area as a sharp contrast to hectic Old Delhi.

About the Expert

Akarsh, A hospitality industry entrepreneur, born and brought up in Delhi, Akarsh brings with him an intimate knowledge of the streets of Delhi and its gastronomic delights along with an adventurous background in mountain biking, trekking, motor biking."If there ever was a passionate mountain bike-riding-chef-by training who could lead a bicycle tour happily all seven days of the week and make sure everyone goes back with a smile on their faces – Akarsh it is!

IN SEARCH OF LOST WATER

In a world where water is constantly depleting, In Search of Lost Water takes you to water bodies of medieval Delhi to highlight traditional wisdom in water conservation and management.

At one time, thousands of these stepwells dotted the landscape of northern India, offering not only a means of obtaining fresh water for drinking and cooking, but also a place to escape the burning desert heat. Although some wells remained simple in design, with a single flight of steps leading to the exposed aquifer, many were developed with spaces used for as temples or for daily living.

Unfortunately, almost all step-wells were filled in during the nineteenth and early twentieth century as part of colonial water management plans that relied on pipes and taps. The few that are left are mostly in the arid regions of Gujarat and Rajasthan. However, a few fine examples of single-flight step-wells still remain in Delhi.

See baolis spread over the modern city of Delhi, built across the centuries by different dynasties, belonging to the different historic cities of Delhi. We will discover lost community spaces, hear the laughter still echoing in the step-wells, and eavesdrop on gossip, in search of lost water…

About the Expert

"The walks are led by Himanshu Verma, one of India's emerging arts curators, who runs a multi-disciplinary arts organization Red Earth based in New Delhi. The journeys hence straddle many worlds, a 360 degree approach to the city. Besides Himanshu's practice as a curator, his other areas of interest and specialisation include the festivals of India, urban heritage and design, religion, history, food, gardening and nature; all of which find reflection in the explorations, making them rich and personal experiences of the great mega city of Delhi.

KASHMIRI GATE AND NEIGHBOURHOOD

This heritage trail covers sites associated with late-Mughal period and landmarks of the uprising of 1857. Begin the tour at Nicholson's cemetery and spent some time sauntering around, looking at the interesting gravestones. Some are indeed beautifully carved. The cemetery is named after Brigadier Gen. John Nicholson who is one of the heroes of the 1857 rebellion for the British. He was fatally injured when the British forces were trying to enter the walled city of Shahjahanabad

Kashmiri gate, which gets its name from a gateway of the Shahjahanabad, is one of the most important landmarks of 1857 in Delhi. The area also has some city walls, parts of which are still visible around the ISBT. As we walk south from Kashmiri Gate, we enter the area which would have seen the most bitter fighting in 1857.

Walking Expert

Chhavi Sharma is an amateur photographer and a student of history at JNU. She has the distinction of being the only archaeologist among our midst! A pakkadilliwala who spends her time walking around Delhi and capturing history on lens.

LODHI GARDEN WALK

Lodi Garden is one of Delhi's most beautiful and popular parks. Here monuments are located amidst landscaped gardens. The most prominent are the 15th and 16th century tombs and a beautifully decorated mosque. There are smaller structures belonging to the late-Mughal period as well.One can explore the monuments that are located amidst landscaped gardens and visit the tomb of Muhammad Shah, the 3rd leader of Sayyid dynasty; whose tomb is an octagonal building with three arched openings on each side, and Sikandar Lodi; the interior of which is decorated with tile work in blue, green and yellow. The path around the tomb leads around the lake to the Athpula, the Mughal period bridge.

Explore the Bara Gumbad or the "Big Dome", which has a gateway, a tomb, a mosque and some rooms which constitute a single complex.The most attractive feature of the BadaGumbad is the plaster decoration on the mosque, and Sheesh Gumbad or the 'mirror dome', a tomb that gets its name from the band of blue tiles decorating its facade. The beautiful displays of the then previous empires coupled with peaceful surroundings provide a charming respite from the hustle of life.

Walking Expert

Chhavi Sharma is an amateur photographer and a student of history at JNU. She has the distinction of being the only archaeologist among our midst! A pakkadilliwala who spends her time walking around Delhi and capturing history on lens.

MEHRAULI ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK WALK

Mehrauli lies on the Aravallis; the terrain is uneven and now Acacia is the most commonly found variety of tree. Centuries ago, this landscape was interspersed with natural streams & the rocky landscape provided plenty of scope for habitation. There is evidence of prehistoric settlements on the Aravallis in the Delhi region. The neighbourhood of Mehrauli is located on the southern part of Delhi on the Aravallis& this is where the first cities of Delhi came up. As a result Mehrauli is a minefield of historical remains.

This heritage walk starts at the gateway to Balban's tomb and moved in the large open space created just beyond it after the archaeological excavation. Continue walk through the ruins of a residential settlement towards Jamali-Kamali mosque. The mosque is well maintained and Jamali's tomb is one of the highpoints of the walk. 'Jamali' was the pen-name used by ShaikhFazlullah, a sufi& a poet. He wrote in praise of Sikander Lodi & even a couple of early Mughals. The mosque was built by him, & a courtyard adjacent to the mosque has his tomb.

Close to JamaliKamali mosque & tomb stands a hillock with a canopy on top. This is Thomas Metcalfe's folly: source of great amusement to all! All the land around was purchased by Metcalfe & landscaped & transformed to his liking. He was inspired enough to convert tombs into residences, divert streams and make boathouses! He called the estate 'Dilkusha' or 'delighter of the heart'! Metcalfe's Dilkhusha covers a vast area and one can't help but think of it as a predecessor of the Mehrauli farmhouses today!

The final stop on our trip known as RajonkiBaoli. This complex has recently undergone restoration work. The well is completely dry but initially it would have held enough water to submerge two lower storeys of the baoli.

About the Expert

Kanika Singh loves ruins and old buildings & as she says, the more ruinous, the better! A research scholar in history, Kanika loves exploring Delhi's heritage. All she needs is an audience and then you are in for a 2 hr lecture, at least!

OLD DELHI BAZAAR & FOOD WALK BY MASTER JI KI HAVELI

Walk through the charming quarter of Old Delhi, experiencing the variety of food and visiting one of the best well maintained Haveli old-style 3-storied home( Private Mansion) with a central courtyard flanked by rooms with 58 doors.

Old Delhi Bazaars has colorful and interesting street food and is crowned with the oldest shops with many world originated delicacies. The best of the best chat can be enjoyed here offering Chat Papri, LacchaTokri, Guliya, Desi Ghee Tikki, MoongPakori, KulcheChole, DahiBhalla, BedweeAloo and KachoriAlu are just lip smacking.

Apart from that you can also have SamudraKee Chat, Brown & White fresh milk cake, Kulfi, Ice creams, Hot Kadai Milk, HalwaNangori etc. You can choose to taste some of it if you wish. The area is also home to several small temples, shrines, old mosque and protected monument sight. Cows wander the streets, small dharamshalas (rest-houses) and pyaus (water-stations) attest to the pious contributions of local merchants.

After the walk, visit to a Hindu home ( MasterjiKee Haveli) in Old Delhi, for a demonstration and tasting of traditional home-style Indian vegetarian cooking.

About the Expert

Dhruv Gupta is a veteran in travel and tourism industry. A qualified MBA and a globetrotter. He has won several accolades for his focused efforts in the field of tourism and takes immense pleasure in being the host and guide to his guests at the Haveli.

MasterjiKee Haveli is one of the sustained old traditional Haveli in Old Delhi that revives the annals of a bygone era and places it on the world map. Discover how history of Old Delhi reveals its newer shades with Dhruv!

Special Conditions / instructions

Monday to Friday, the tour starts at 6.45pm followed by Dinner

Saturday & Sunday, the tour starts at 11am followed by Lunch or Dinner.

TUGLAKABAD FORT WALK

Tughlaqabad is a formidable reminder of Delhi's embattled past and the terror and valor associated with that period. It was a period of political unrest and the Delhi Sultanate had to face a number of attacks from hoards of marauding Mongols, who descended on it in waves from the north. Ghiyas-ud-din, in order to counter the Mongol threat, repeatedly routed them and raised pyramids of enemy's heads and used elephants to crush the captives to death. The massive fortifications of Tughlaqabad, with immense circular bastions, were raised by Ghiyas-ud-din to protect his subjects.

A 14th century capital of Delhi, Tughluqabad are the ruins of a past city frozen in time. There are many legends about the city of Tughluqabad and the Sultans after whom it is named. Walk into and explore various hidden features like the underground granaries, the palace area to the north and the royal escape route built into the fort wall. The city was abandoned shortly after it was built, after which there was no substantial settlement here, except a small one in the late Mughal period.

This walk is also a birders paradise, as Tughluqabad is a great place for bird watchers and photographers, and a variety of birds are found in the fort complex and Asola bird sanctuary, which is nearby. With great impressions of colossal grandeur that once existed, a walk through this erstwhile city assures to be a humbling and adventurous experience.

Walking Expert

Chhavi Sharma is an amateur photographer and a student of history at JNU. She has the distinction of being the only archaeologist among our midst! A pakkadilliwala who spends her time walking around Delhi and capturing history on lens.

OLD FORT AND NEIGHBOURHOOD WALK

Associated with the legendary capital of Indraprastha, this neighbourhood has had an eventful past; prehistoric settlements, the capital cities of two medieval dynasties and the Partition in 1947.The walk begins at KhairulManazil, the Mughal-period madrasa which stands right opposite the PuranaQila, and was built by Akbar's wet nurse, MahamAnga. Stride adjacent the remains of gates & fortifications of Sher Shah's city, which also contains a row of single-room structures leading up to the LalDarwaza, one of the gates of Sher Shah's capital, that have been identified as shops.

Visit a temple dedicated to Bhairavji, a fierce incarnation of Lord Shiva, where alcohol is given as offering rather than milk. Enter the Old Fort, via the Delhi Zoo, wherein the most prominent monuments are the Qila i- Kunha mosque and the SherMandal. The latter is traditionally believed to have been used by Humayun as his library and the very place where he met his death by falling down the stairs.

Walk towards the Humayundarwaza where one comes across a trench-like area cut by a stream of water. This is where the archaeological excavations were carried out, the findings of which are displayed in an archaeological museum in the PuranaQila complex. A symbol of power and pride, the old fort lures one back into a bygone era of stealth and wonder.

Walking Expert

Awadhesh an academic, explorer & storyteller rolled into one! An expert on Hindi literature, he weaves folklore with history & humour & leaves you hungry for more.

DESCEND TO A WATERFALL

This walk takes you to a village that has been famous for the weekend Holidays such as camping, among the British. A narrow trail takes you down to the village Mashobra. You reach the Village Bazaar, walk through the bazaar and then another trail takes you to an open ground, the venue of Sipi Fair, an old Himalayan temple and then to the village with the same name. The walk ends at the waterfall at a narrow road that is generated by the water flowing through the village.

After the walk we drive to an old Golf Course to visit the first apple orchard, called Coutts Garde, of the area that was planted by Mr.Alexender Coutts, the tailor of the Viceroy, in 1887. Mr. Coutts is burried in one of the Cemeteries in Shimla.

About the Expert

Sumit Raj Vashisht, who has been associated with the tourism industry since 1993. Sumit completed his PG Diploma in Tourism from Delhi in 1993 and joined Imaginative Tours (P) Ltd. Delhi as a Tour Executive in 1993 and Connexions in 1996. In 2000, Sumit returned to his hometown Shimla and started working as a Freelance Tour Escort and Heritage Tour Guide. He is a storehouse of information and knowledge about Shimla. Having studied the Origin & History Shimla in detail, he is a qualified and an experienced Tour Companion that you must get in touch with on your next visit to Shimla.

SIMLA'S CATCHMENT AREA

Famous as the catchment area of Shimla, the sanctuary is located at the eastern exit of the town along the Hindustan Tibet Road. Spread in nearly 1000 hectares It starts right after Dhalli and extends beyond Kufri.

Walk through the dense forest of Shimal's only reserved sanctuary - silence walks with you. It surrounds you, becomes your companion and your attire. You may choose to sit next to a brook or on a sunny glad, just close your eyes and leave yourself to the almighty, which had actually created this world only with these surroundings. Nothing is required and the whole world is veiled for you. You realize that this is what you had been looking for and this is what you had wanted, always. Life, till now has been a race but here it stills.

About the Expert

Sumit Raj Vashisht, who has been associated with the tourism industry since 1993. Sumit completed his PG Diploma in Tourism from Delhi in 1993 and joined Imaginative Tours (P) Ltd. Delhi as a Tour Executive in 1993 and Connexions in 1996. In 2000, Sumit returned to his hometown Shimla and started working as a Freelance Tour Escort and Heritage Tour Guide. He is a storehouse of information and knowledge about Shimla. Having studied the Origin & History Shimla in detail, he is a qualified and an experienced Tour Companion that you must get in touch with on your next visit to Shimla.

SHIMLA HERITAGE ZONE

Walk through the town's Architectural Heritage Zone that brings you close to various architectural sites of British era. It begins from the Christ Church, located a the western shoulder of Jakhu Hill - the highest hill of Shimla, and extends towards east till the Viceregal Lodge, now Indian Institute of Advanced Study. A number of old buildings such as Bantony, Betinks Castle, Imperial Bank, Railway Board Building, Gorton Castle, Knokcdrin, Kennedy Cottage, Sanitarium, Cecil Hotel, Inverarm, and Viceregal Lodge keep your eyes wide open and force you to ask your guide again and again about their history, designers, people who lived in them, loved them and their present use. Most of the buildings are still in use and hold the same attraction as they had during the time gone. Minor alterations in the name of maintenance have made various changes in them but they still have the same old attraction for the viewers and the visitors.

About the Expert

Sumit Raj Vashisht, who has been associated with the tourism industry since 1993. Sumit completed his PG Diploma in Tourism from Delhi in 1993 and joined Imaginative Tours (P) Ltd. Delhi as a Tour Executive in 1993 and Connexions in 1996. In 2000, Sumit returned to his hometown Shimla and started working as a Freelance Tour Escort and Heritage Tour Guide. He is a storehouse of information and knowledge about Shimla. Having studied the Origin & History Shimla in detail, he is a qualified and an experienced Tour Companion that you must get in touch with on your next visit to Shimla.

THE CEMETERY LANES

There are total five Cemeteries in Shimla out of which only one is in use. Just walk through these lanes and see some of the old houses and pass a suburb of Shimla where you have a chance to visit some of those who are resting in peace and the only hope for them are their descendants who sometime come to pay homage to their graves. Another group of some old Shimla citizens lies in the middle of a dense cedar forest where the sun rays through the cedars' branches pat them and keep them warm. Finish your walk near an old bridge that was the first step taken towards the improvement of the town, but stop, before that the oldest graveyard is also a part of your walk.

About the Expert

Sumit Raj Vashisht, who has been associated with the tourism industry since 1993. Sumit completed his PG Diploma in Tourism from Delhi in 1993 and joined Imaginative Tours (P) Ltd. Delhi as a Tour Executive in 1993 and Connexions in 1996. In 2000, Sumit returned to his hometown Shimla and started working as a Freelance Tour Escort and Heritage Tour Guide. He is a storehouse of information and knowledge about Shimla. Having studied the Origin & History Shimla in detail, he is a qualified and an experienced Tour Companion that you must get in touch with on your next visit to Shimla.

BOAT JOURNEY - GANGA'S AARTI

Catch an early evening boat ride with us experiencing the mystical worship of the river called Ganga Aarti and hears about the rituals that have been used for centuries inside temples and in shrines along the river. The magical quality of the evening is showcased with a trip to the eerie cremation grounds of Manikarnika, which burn 24 hours a day, to be seen from both the boat and the shore. You will see the 5000 year old flame which Shiva himself is supposed to have lit upon entering the city and even catch a glimpse of black cloaked holymen who sit near the funeral pyres. All this coupled with a historical walk around the local area will remain with you forever.

About the Expert

Nandan grew up right across from the Ganges River in the lanes and alleys of Varanasi and has a degree in Commerce. Aside from starting two NGO's (SanjeevniBooti and ChanceIndia) focused on health issues relating to blood borne disease and the poor and neglected, Nandan is also a Gov't of India licensed tour guide. He is also attached to the University of Venice study centre in Varanasi as a research assistant and translator. Nandan is always ready to share his incredible insight about the Varanasi underbelly as well as local Kashi folklore and food with you!

NORTHERN BAZAARS & HIDDEN ALLEYS

Few tourists ever wind there way through the bazaars in the Northern gullis of the old city where you will find hidden alleys leading directly through the sacred zone of Banaras to the oldest buildings of the city. As you enter the lanes of the Northern part of the city you will get to peep inside the shops, temples and lives of people who have never left their street for years. Eventually we find ourselves in the least traversed part of the city and riverside where the great Kabir himself wrote poetry, the 8th centuray Krishna temple was demolished and a mosque perched on the top. This bazaar has so many twists and turns we even get confused, but that is what makes it so great, come get lost with us!

About the Expert

Garima is a local Banarasigirlwho completed her studies in Hotel Managment here in Varanasi. She shifted gears and began working on a Masters in Social Work so she can get down to the nitty gritty and assist the marginalised in Samanvaya, a local NGO, rather than serve you folks at the front desk. That being so, she still manages to get some time in with us when she is available. She especially enjoys to assist women travellers and groups in understanding Indian culture, religion and politics in the City of Light!"

SOUTHERN TEMPLES, PONDS & POETS

A walk through the mystical landscape of poets, sacred temples, holy ponds near Assighat, the southernmost embankment of the holy Ganga River.Walk in the footsteps of 16th century Banaras poet and mystic PanditTulsidas who was the author of the famed Ram CharitManas. Perceive the history and special culture of Varanasi while visiting the Southern temple of Ram established by him and pay homage at the hidden location of his wooden sandals. Stopover at the huge lingam of Shiva that lies under a peepal tree and the walk ends with a special sight or darshan of a hidden pond that has been around since Vedic times.

You will hear about the history and special culture of Varanasi while visiting the Southern temple established by him and the location of his traditional home! The walk ends with a special darshan, meaning 'taking sight' of a hidden sun temple behind his home.

About the Expert

Jai loves to take long walks in the hidden alleys of the city, discuss the problems of protecting historic architecture and look for redemptive analogies while chatting up anyone from the local milkman to the temple priest. He is a former director of a Hindu Studies & Hindi Language program for an international University who cut his teeth in India many years ago as a single guy working among the desitute and drug addicted in Old Delhi. Jai is a life member of INTACH who has resided in India for over 12 years. His own interests and concern about the cultural heritage of the city lead Jai and Aarti, his Gujarati wife and VaranasiWalks owner, to design culturally interactive insider walks in Varanasi.

BOAT JOURNEY - RAM'S LILA

Ram's Lila will introduce you to a part of the city that is across the river from Varanasi. For centuries the Maharaja's of Varanasi, claled the KashiNaresh, have lived outside of the city proper while ruling Varanasi from afar.

You will see the most beautiful temple in the Varanasi region and check out the slightly musty collection of the KashiNaresh, including historic motor cars. The area surrounding the Fort Palace is teeming with interesting people and stories, so we will trek around the exterior and have a look at the king's special bathing ghat, the fishermen and locals doing their thing.

About the Expert

Siddhant is tour leader from USA who is currently an Environmental Science Masters student at Banaras Hindu Univeristy. He keeps his Hindi sharp by volunteering his time in an ashram and taking walks in the city with our clients. Siddhant is a musician, who has lived in India for over 10 years, and has a deep understanding of the symbiotic nature of the peoples of the city in relation to the river as sacred space. If we can pry him away from his studies he may be able to join you for a walk and give you some understanding of the Ganga river in relation to pollution issues and spirituality."

THE CITY OF LIGHT

Beginning at the cosmic centre of Kashi, fondly known as the city of light, one can familiarize oneself with the rites and rituals, that have been practised for centuries, by exploring the ancient pathways to the temples and mosques present during the walk. Observe the age old cremation rituals of Manikarnika, the burning ghat, which symbolizes the aspects of creation and destruction and visit the ManikarnikaKund (well) which is said to have been dug by Lord Vishnu at the time of creation. The highlight of this walk is the KashiVishwanathMandir that is said to hold the first of the jyotirlingas, the sacred shafts of light that self-emanated from earth, and has been rebuilt three times in different locations

About the Expert

Jai loves to take long walks in the hidden alleys of the city, discuss the problems of protecting historic architecture and look for redemptive analogies while chatting up anyone from the local milkman to the temple priest. He is a former director of a Hindu Studies & Hindi Language program for an international University who cut his teeth in India many years ago as a single guy working among the desitute and drug addicted in Old Delhi. Jai is a life member of INTACH who has resided in India for over 12 years. His own interests and concern about the cultural heritage of the city lead Jai and Aarti, his Gujarati wife and VaranasiWalks owner, to design culturally interactive insider walks in Varanasi.

WALKING THE BENGALI TOLA

Winding through the streets and popping out onto the riverside will give you an insider's look at the symbiotic life of the riverside people of Varanasi. Eventually you will end up on Bengali Tola, the street of the Bengalis, visiting hidden Mother Goddess Kali shrines and the vistas of life along the riverside. The tour ends at the historic ritual bathing site called Dasashwamedh, the ten-horse sacrifice ghat. Bengali's have immigrated to Varanasi for hundreds of years and eventually a settlement of riverside priests and shopkeepers sprung up. They are immortalised in the Academy Award winning filmakerSatyajitRay's ApuSansar.

About the Expert

Jai loves to take long walks in the hidden alleys of the city, discuss the problems of protecting historic architecture and look for redemptive analogies while chatting up anyone from the local milkman to the temple priest. He is a former director of a Hindu Studies & Hindi Language program for an international University who cut his teeth in India many years ago as a single guy working among the desitute and drug addicted in Old Delhi. Jai is a life member of INTACH who has resided in India for over 12 years. His own interests and concern about the cultural heritage of the city lead Jai and Aarti, his Gujarati wife and VaranasiWalks owner, to design culturally interactive insider walks in Varanasi.

BEACHES & MORE

Imagine a serene evening spent along the Arabian sea watching the ships passing by and listening to the humming of the birds – well that's the description of an evening at Chowpatty beach on Marine Drive.

You'll find a colourful beach that's filled with people to enjoy the evening's gentle wind and the sunset.

Take insight at the local street food. Stalls down the beach sell sugar-loaded kulfi (Indian ice cream) and Mumbai's very famous bhelpuri (a tangy combination of puffed rice, peanuts, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, raw mangoes, mint, coriander chutney and chillies).

Take a stroll along Mumbai's picturesque Chowpatty sea face, you could not miss the impressive Gothic structure that houses Mumbai' oldest college popularly known as Wilson College which was founded in the year 1832.

After a nice relaxing hour at the beach, you can visit a nearby temple to watch the ritual evening prayers and feel the spiritual vibes in the ambience.

To pamper your taste buds, you can go to a restaurant near by that serves some great Indian delicacies in town.

About the Expert

Jai loves to take long walks in the hidden alleys of the city, discuss the problems of protecting historic architecture and look for redemptive analogies while chatting up anyone from the local milkman to the temple priest. He is a former director of a Hindu Studies & Hindi Language program for an international University who cut his teeth in India many years ago as a single guy working among the desitute and drug addicted in Old Delhi. Jai is a life member of INTACH who has resided in India for over 12 years. His own interests and concern about the cultural heritage of the city lead Jai and Aarti, his Gujarati wife and VaranasiWalks owner, to design culturally interactive insider walks in Varanasi.

CHORBAAZAR – THE THIEVES MARKET

It's a walk through Mumbai's famous Thieves Market – Chor in Hindi means thief and bazaar means market.

Chor Bazaar is a chaotic street flanked by numerous antique shops, where anything, varying from old ship parts, grandfather clocks, gramophones, old English tea sets to crystal chandeliers, could bargain your interest.

What's more, you can forage for Ming vases and Muranos as well. Besides the above mentioned items, you can also trace antiques like hardware, tools, wooden carvings, brassware, statues, figures, silver coins, engines, old timepiece, jewelry, etc in the bustling area. In case you happen to be an antiquarian or restorer, then you are moving for just the right place. Victorian furniture can also be found here, that too, authentic one, which would definitely add grace to your rooms.

Apart from Chor Bazaar, the walk will take us to several places of general interest.You'll see GolDeoul, (the circular Shiva temple) and get an insight of the Holy Structure and also You'll visit the ever exciting and super noisy Null Bazaar (vegetable market). You will also get a chance to see the famous energetic and ever busy 'kirana' or the food grains market where each day tons of grains are purchased and sold!

About the Expert

Jai loves to take long walks in the hidden alleys of the city, discuss the problems of protecting historic architecture and look for redemptive analogies while chatting up anyone from the local milkman to the temple priest. He is a former director of a Hindu Studies & Hindi Language program for an international University who cut his teeth in India many years ago as a single guy working among the desitute and drug addicted in Old Delhi. Jai is a life member of INTACH who has resided in India for over 12 years. His own interests and concern about the cultural heritage of the city lead Jai and Aarti, his Gujarati wife and VaranasiWalks owner, to design culturally interactive insider walks in Varanasi.

FORT HERITAGE

Fort is the business district of Mumbai, India. The area was the heart of the city during the 18th century. The area gets its name from the defensive fort, Fort St. George, built by the British East India Company around Bombay castle hugging the eastern coast which was demolished in the 1860's.This area is the heart of the financial area of the city. Many Financial Institutions such as the Bombay Stock Exchange, Reserve Bank of India are located in this area.

When you walk inside this area, you will see an amazing variety of historic landmarks and buildings, constructed in different styles of architecture and built in a variety of local and imported materials.Each building has a charming tale to tell, about the men who built it, and the historic past emotionally involved with it.

About the Expert

Jai loves to take long walks in the hidden alleys of the city, discuss the problems of protecting historic architecture and look for redemptive analogies while chatting up anyone from the local milkman to the temple priest. He is a former director of a Hindu Studies & Hindi Language program for an international University who cut his teeth in India many years ago as a single guy working among the desitute and drug addicted in Old Delhi. Jai is a life member of INTACH who has resided in India for over 12 years. His own interests and concern about the cultural heritage of the city lead Jai and Aarti, his Gujarati wife and VaranasiWalks owner, to design culturally interactive insider walks in Varanasi.

GANDHI'S TRAIL

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) or as we understand Mahatma Gandhi.Mahatma Gandhi who was fondly addressed as "BAPU".

Mahatma, (the great soul,) epitomizes the meaning of a man who was possibly the greatest human being the 20th century has seen.

Mani Bhavan, a simple two-storeyed house in Laburnum Road now converted into a museum and research centre. Gandhi stayed here between 1917 to 1934.

It has a library that consists of around 50,000 books & periodicals which contains books on and by Gandhi, Gandhian thoughts, freedom movements and allied subjects. It has glimpses of Gandhi in mini figures, depicting Gandhi's life.

Gandhi's simple room remains untouched and there's a wonderful photographic record of his life, along with dioramas and original documents such as letters he wrote to Hitler and US President Roosevelt.

Just a few hundred meters from Mani Bhavan is the Gowalia Tank, where Gandhi held a meeting in August 1942 to launch the famous 'Quit India Movement'. Gowalia tank is now renamed August KrantiMaidan (August Revolution Square), in commemoration of that meeting.

Today Mahatma Gandhi is no more a person, he has become a phenomenon. In his lifetime he fought for many causes; colonialism, racial discrimination, economic exploitation and India's Independence, but predominantly he fought for human rights which was the pivot of his existence. His weapons were Satya (truth) and Ahinsa (non-violence).

Gandhi's entire life was a powerful message for mankind. His every breath was dedicated to the pursuit of truth (god), in its most pristine manifestations, justice and liberty for mankind.

About the Expert

Jai loves to take long walks in the hidden alleys of the city, discuss the problems of protecting historic architecture and look for redemptive analogies while chatting up anyone from the local milkman to the temple priest. He is a former director of a Hindu Studies & Hindi Language program for an international University who cut his teeth in India many years ago as a single guy working among the desitute and drug addicted in Old Delhi. Jai is a life member of INTACH who has resided in India for over 12 years. His own interests and concern about the cultural heritage of the city lead Jai and Aarti, his Gujarati wife and VaranasiWalks owner, to design culturally interactive insider walks in Varanasi.

MUMBAI MARKET MANIA

Mumbai market mania is a delightful mix of energetic street markets, colourful people, and multi-cultural mix of mosques, temples, different cuisines, and lot's more!

The tour covers different places such as Crawford Market, (officially Mahatma JyotiraoPhule Market) is one of South Mumbai's most famous market, Jama Masjid (India's oldest Muslim community, who came here during the 6th Century AD), MirchiGalli (spices market), Mangaldas Market (the cloth market), Zaveri Bazaar (where everyone's crazy about gold), PhoolGalli (Flower Street), Mumbadevi Temple (where the city gets its name from), and the picturesque MadhavBaug. (An 123 year old area where idols of different deities are available.)

About the Expert

Jai loves to take long walks in the hidden alleys of the city, discuss the problems of protecting historic architecture and look for redemptive analogies while chatting up anyone from the local milkman to the temple priest. He is a former director of a Hindu Studies & Hindi Language program for an international University who cut his teeth in India many years ago as a single guy working among the desitute and drug addicted in Old Delhi. Jai is a life member of INTACH who has resided in India for over 12 years. His own interests and concern about the cultural heritage of the city lead Jai and Aarti, his Gujarati wife and VaranasiWalks owner, to design culturally interactive insider walks in Varanasi.

THE BANGANGA TOUR

The Banganga tour is a very interesting part of the itinerary. The reason being that nowhere around Mumbai can you see a sacred tank surrounded by four hundred year old temples and modern sky scrapers both in the same vicinity.Ban-means the arrow, and the Ganga- means the holy water, so it Banganga means the holy water coming out from the arrow.

On pious occasions, thousands turn up to take a ritual dip in its mossy waters, and offer flowers at the ancient Banganga Temples.The serene ambience of these ancient holy temples and the absolute harmony of traditional and modern architecture makes Banganga tour worth spending your time and money.

About the Expert

Jai loves to take long walks in the hidden alleys of the city, discuss the problems of protecting historic architecture and look for redemptive analogies while chatting up anyone from the local milkman to the temple priest. He is a former director of a Hindu Studies & Hindi Language program for an international University who cut his teeth in India many years ago as a single guy working among the desitute and drug addicted in Old Delhi. Jai is a life member of INTACH who has resided in India for over 12 years. His own interests and concern about the cultural heritage of the city lead Jai and Aarti, his Gujarati wife and VaranasiWalks owner, to design culturally interactive insider walks in Varanasi.

FROM CHARMINAR TO CHOWMAHALLA

This walk is delight for heritage lovers to experiencehistory in the City of Nizams. This hour and half long walk from Charminar to Chowmahalla Palaceis designed to give a feel of the Nizam era. The walk begins at Charminar and takes you through Laad Bazaar and Amir-e-Paigah, to ultimately reach Chowmahalla Palace.

Charminar, simply translated means four minarets.The mosque wall is on the second floor that is now not open to public, but you are allowed to go to the first floor balcony after taking about 50 steps on a narrow round staircase and from here you can see all the important landmarks of Hyderabad. You can see the Golconda fort on the distant hillock and QutabShahi tombs just by its side. You can see the Falaknuma palace that has now been converted into a hotel again higher than the rest of the city. You can see the High court building and the Chowmahalla palace along with various other domes popping out here and there. The best view is that of the streets radiating out of Charminar and the top view of the street markets.

From here walk into the lane called Laad Bazaar or the Bangle market. Laad in local language means lacquer, a key material used to make colorful bangles. The lane shines and shimmers with the colors of bangles, Jewellery and the bright and heavily embroided clothes that it sells. A melting point for the women who would love to shop the clothes and the matching accessories to dress themselves up for any occasion. Walk through this bustling street to see women buying these items, trying them, checking them out, matching them, choosing them and finally bargaining for them.

The street would lead you to the Chowmahalla Palace, one of the must see places in Hyderabad, though not many people seem to have visited it. Like Charminar, this palace also gets its composite name from the four palaces that it houses within its complex. Complex is divided into two parts northern and southern, while the former has the four palaces the later has the public buildings, a durbar hall called Khilwat, a clock tower and a council hall. Khilwat is flanked by long corridors on both sides that also house a row of small rooms along the periphery and a huge water body with fountains in the middle of the courtyard. The Khilwatmahal seems to be the durbar hall where the seat of the Nizam has been kept intact even today. The high roofs of the building have many chandeliers made with Belgian glass hanging down from it. The arches, the ceiling panels and the walls have been elaborately decorated in Deccani style in a pleasant beige and white color.

ROCK WALK

The Deccan Plateau is a natural wonder of stony ridges and hillocks. The rock formations in and around Hyderabad are granite monoliths that are older than the Himalayas. Geologists estimate them to be 2,500 million years old. Unfortunately most have made way for malls and sky rises today. Our experts conduct regular treks to these rocky areas to save and preserve these unique rock formations.

Learn about the unusual geological formations, legends and local history behind the stones. Discover hidden lakes among the rocks, teeming with birdlife. With names like Obelisk, Hamburger and Mushroom, let your imagination run wild deciphering the shapes that the stones suggest. The walk is conducted on the third Sunday of every month.

About the Expert

The Society to Save Rocks aims to preserve and protect the spectacular ancient granite formations of the Deccan Plateau, India - a natural wonder of stony ridges and hillocks shaped into picturesque balancing forms.

To prevent the indiscriminate destruction of this natural, historical, and environmental heritage, a group of artists, photographers and environmentalists from Hyderabad are working for the protection of this rocky landscape.

HERITAGE WALK THROUGH FORT COCHIN

The two hour walking tour through the old streets of Fort Kochi. This is the ideal way to discover a historic town brimming with tales of myriad seafaring visitors who came here to trade. The eventful history of this city began when a major flood in AD 1341 threw open the estuary at Kochi, which was till then a landlocked region, turning it into one of the finest natural harbors in the world. Kochi thus became a haven for seafaring visitors from all over the world and became the first European township in India when the Portuguese settled here in the 15th century.

A few interesting sites included in the tour are the Chinese fishing nets along the Vasco Da Gama Square, Santa Cruz Basilica, St.Francis Church, VOC Gate, Bastion Bungalow etc. Apart from these architectural splendours, an array of restaurants serving fresh seafood is also popular among tourists.

The Chinese fishing nets erected on teak wood and bamboo poles work on the principle of balance. Records say they were first set up here between AD 1350 and 1450. Vasco Da Gama Square, the narrow promenade that parallels the beach, is the best place to watch the nets being lowered and pulled out of the sea.

The Santa Cruz Basilica, a church built originally by the Portuguese and elevated to a Cathedral by Pope Paul 1V in 1558, was spared by the Dutch conquerors who destroyed many Catholic buildings. Later the British demolished the structure and Bishop Dom Gomez Vereira commissioned a new building in 1887. Consecrated in 1905, Santa Cruz was proclaimed a Basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1984.

Fort Kochi is also home to one of India's oldest churches - the St.Francis Church. This was a Roman Catholic Church during the Portuguese rule from 1503 to 1663, then a Dutch Reformist Church from 1664 to 1804, and Anglican Church from 1804 to 1947. Today it is governed by the Church of South India (CSI). Another important fact about the church is that Vasco Da Gama, who died in 1524, was buried here before his mortal remains were returned to Portugal 14 years later. Each and every structure, street, door, window and brick in Fort Kochi has several stories to tell.

About the Expert

Jairaj, after having completed guide training programme, choose to be a lecturer in travel and tourism institute for almost 2 years. Post that he has worked with many travel organization as professional tour guide around different Southern Indian destinations. With over 20 years of experience

JODHPUR - THE BLUE CITY REVEALED

Undoubtedly the main reason people go to Jodhpur is the majestic Mehrangarh Fort. This is a truly awe-inspiring building, which houses a fascinating museum; however a visit to the fabled Blue City would be incomplete without discovering the old part of Jodhpur.After the construction Mehrangah Fort in 1459, the Rajput king RaoJodha moved his capital here and people were invited to settle in the new capital city of Jodhpur (pur in Hindi means city).

The old town is planned in the form of the human body - MehrangahFort represents the head, the right hand represents the Bhramins or the priest community and the left hand the ministers, important Thakurs, landlords and other people in service at the Royal Court. The stomach represents the business class who were mainly wealthy merchants engaged in trade and commerce. Finally, the legs, represent all the manual labourers, lower cast or harijans and milk men.

This walk uncovers four largely undiscovered areas of the old city - Bhrampuri ,NavChoukiya, SarafaBaaar and Katla."

Brahmpuri is the settlement of the Brahmins; their blue houses are packed together along narrow streets. Other sites include historic temples and shrines as well as ponds and ancient wells which are still used today.

Nau Chokiya is a bustling square in the heart of the old city which has been a popular meeting place for many centuries. Local villagers in vibrant dress congregate here to find work, old men sip chai and play cards and the place is wonderful for people watching and photo opportunities.

Gangshyamjikamandir is a lively temple dedicated to Lord Krishna.. This is a Bhaktitemple where the devotees initiate the prayers which take place six times a day. At these times the temple is alive with beautiful chanting.

Ram Rasodais a charity kitchen which serves food to 150 people every day. See the volunteers preparing rotis and vegetarian dishes in the spotless kitchen. Outside see gold and silver smiths working traditionally in their small shops.

Enjoy tea and snacks in the 150 year-old haveli of a jeweller – the terrace offers wonderful views of the city.

Katla is a market where everything from household items, vegetables and jewellery are all sold – see a lac bangle maker demonstrate his craft.

AchalNathJiKaMandir is a temple maintained by Naga Sadus and dedicated to Lord Shiva. The walk concludes at the famous Clock Tower where the famous foodsfrom Jodhpur, including makhaniyalassiand mawekikachori can be tasted.

About the Expert

Sankalp has a scientific background, having attained a Masters in Science in Biotechnology; however his true passion lies in his home town of Jaipur. He has explored Jaipur extensively and knows lots of hidden gems, which many locals, let alone tourists, do not even know exist. He understands the importance of conservation and feels strongly that the best way to preserve the walled city is to give the inhabitants a sense of ownership, not only of their own property, but also of their neighbourhood. Working for Virasat Journeys he knows that he is helping to contribute to heritage conservation.

The Agra walk

This Mughal Heritage Walk is a walking tour through the historically significant monuments from the Mughal era situated on the northern side of the river Yamuna. This walk covers three hidden gems known as GyarahSiddi, MehtabBagh and Humayun's Mosque, and apart from these monuments, it also gives a panoramic view of the iconic TajMahal and the Agra Fort.

Cross the river Yamuna where Mughal History has been written in edicts of stone, the river Yamuna lined with the residences of mobility was the artery, the very lifeline, which fostered the development of Mughal Agra. By weaving together these heritage relics a historic experiences of Mughal Agra has been created as "Kachhpura Tourist village".

Tourist Village Kachhpura offers a Mughal Heritage Walk with an experience of the Mughal era with its natural and rustic setting. View of rare rich architectural heritage and feel of the living traditions. The youth from the community, trained as tour facilitator, provide both historical facts and anecdotes. Experience the Kachhpura tourist village and explore some lesser known monuments in the shadow of the Taj and Red fort.

For an everlasting impression of the heritage of Agra observe the traditional and local craft souvenirs made by women in the community. For those who may wish to avail of the extended hospitality of Kachhpura people, there is a provision for Tea Terrace with a view of Taj with standard, comfortable, clean, affordable, and safe facilities. The whole village walk through India's Mughal History and amiable people is an unforgettable experience.