Standing atop a crumbling Maharajas palace, we peer into the twilight watching patiently as patterned domes dissolve into the desert...
We are so pleased with the tour. You have opened a new world for us, a culture and place so beautiful, so complex, so rich. As usual in traveling we come home with another perspective on which to view our own world. The trip was a wonderful overview. I cannot wait for the opportunity to return with you and to explore more profoundly the richness of the culture. Thank you for everything that you have done.- Doug S.
Gordon - Your deft guidance and deep knowledge of India made our experience unforgettably outstanding. All five of our senses were continually stimulated - to the max. Also the unusual bonding of the group was gratifying. We care about one another.
Truly, the trip was absolutely wonderful. It infiltrates my thoughts night and day and I've not yet grown tired of looking at pictures. The way you orchestrated everything - time, places, food, experiences was great - just enough guidance and information. For example the way you eased us from elegant Raj boulevards gradually to the cacophony of Varanasi's thoroughfares seemed masterful! I couldn't have asked for more. -- Laura I.
Your background and experiences in India helped us experience India in a unique way that no other tour can offer. --Sue R. 2005
After many years of traveling in India and numerous requests to "give a tour," the time seems right to offer a Cultural Tour of India - North & South. While many of the sites we visit are well known, there are wonderful details that separate this trip from others. So we look to explore India with not only a focus on the ancient but with a sampling of India's modern day artistic vibrancy and the joys of village life. In essence, this is a highly personalized journey, akin to taking a group of friends to India. I look to share my joys of India with others. - Gordon Janow
Cultural Tours of India - Overview
From the roaring madness of temple towns to the pristine silences of palace ruins, India will have an effect on you. It's unwise to only think of India in an historic sense, for its charm and interest also lie in the modern movements of art, film, literature, architecture, music and daily living. We have based this journey on the experience of India rather than on seeing as many 'famed' sights as possible. The sojourn spans village life to ancient ruins, fantastic markets filled with silks, fruits and flowers to outrageous train rides. We sample varied and delicious food and visit intricate Hindu temples.
Why Travel North?
To explore some true gems of India . The itinerary is simply places we take our friends. My focus as guide is to provide exposure to the sights and culture of India, while attempting to keep everyone healthy. The selection of places is an attempt to paint a picture of India from a traveler's perspective. India is best understood state by state. Prior to independence, it was a loose configuration of different cultures galvanized by the independence movement. Our journey will include visits to Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Lodging will be in 4-5 star hotels, generally opting for the most interesting choices. Pricing is based on small group travel with a max team size of 8-10.Our trip culminates in one of the world's most enthralling cities, Varanasi. We may also schedule lectures by artists and architects as we did on our 2004 trip. This is a highly personalized hand-picked itinerary and a unique opportunity to see India and a very intimate way.
Why Travel South?
The South is a unique part of India in that it was never conquered by Mughal rulers as in the North. This allows us to gaze at a Hindu lifestyle (temple architecture, markets, pilgrims) that have remained intact for thousands of years. Our trip begins in the state of Tamil Nadu, known for temples, village seaside life and an easy going manner. Unlike package tours, we will visit off-beat villages and temples, known for there architectural lineage (forerunners of the great Angkor Wat in Cambodia) and then head into the thick jungles of central south India where we tour game reserves, tea plantations and eventually boating down the sleepy back waters of Kerala. In Kerala we will visit the famed town of Cochin with it's churches, labyrinthine streets and famed Jewish Synagogue. We will also have the opportunity to take on a Kathakali dance performance (where dancers spend a minimum of 12 years in training). We end our journey on the beautiful beaches of Kerala, at the exclusive Somatheeram Beach Resort and Spa.
About Last Year's Guide
Program Director for Alpine Ascents International, Gordon has amassed over three years traveling the subcontinent, with 16 visits. His most recent visit was the rarely traveled region of Nagaland. His writings about the region have been published in both the United States and India (including the Financial Times of India, Outpost Magazine, and MSNBC) and he has been a Asia consultant for such media as CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Outside Magazine and ABC News.
A Recent Article By Gordon
Alpine Ascents is deeply committed to maintaining ecosystems at home and around the world. With each expedition, trek and course, we not only attempt to leave the environment as we found it, but strive to assist the local population in protecting the land and people indigenous to that region. Alpine Ascents reaches for the highest ethical business practices at home and abroad. Each staff member is dedicated to environmentally sound alpine ascents.
At Alpine Ascents environmental stewardship remains one of our core values and we take Leave No Trace ethics and practices very seriously. The mountains are our home and we are unwilling to sacrifice their preservation for human objectives. On every one of our courses and climbs we teach and follow the environmentally appropriate Leave No Trace principals and practices.
Over the years, with the assistance of our Sherpa teams, we have stepped up efforts to clean Mt. Everest. Our Wag Bag® program made a pioneering step in human waste management for the National Park System and Forest Service in the North Cascades. On Aconcagua, we pioneered a waste removal system on our climbs, utilizing the WAG Bag® system. And we continue our on-going maintenance and minimal impact plans wherever we guide. We believe that given the proper information most people will do all they can to help protect and maintain the environment. Alpine Ascents is committed to developing safe, self-reliant and environmentally conscious mountaineers.
We regularly organize private climbsfor individuals, corporate groups, families and friends. We encourage you to book these climbs early as we are often able to cater these climbs to group-specific desires. Please contact our office to further discuss the benefits of private courses.