Jingers Jaunts India 2014
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The quality, preparation, selection of route and accommodation engenders confidence in the support team."
Andrew & Shelagh Marshall - Jingers New Zealand Jaunt 2010

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Introduction  | 'Meet the team'

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Have you ever dreamed of exploring India's hidden secrets? By car, motorcycle or 4x4? In style and in luxury? Aided by professional support? And with a happy crowd of like-minded people? Then you must join us on a journey around some of this ancient land's hidden treasures and outstanding scenery.

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Taj Mahal

It was in 1638 that the reigning Mogul Emperor began construction of the magnificent Taj Mahal in memory of his beloved wife.

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Approximately 10,000 years ago, antecedents of the Indus Valley Civilization populated the region that eventually produced one of the world's earliest urban civilizations, contemporaneous with the peoples of Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. The civilization that developed around the Indus River (now in Pakistan and the disputed territories) approximately 3,000 years before Christ was based on the trade of crops grown across the fertile river plains of the region. It was larger than any other ancient empire, including that of Egypt. Approximately 1,400 BC, the first Hindu scriptures were written and following that Buddhism and Jainism found a place here. At the time of Christ, trade flourished between India and the Roman Empire, with Romans eagerly buying Indian pearls, ivory, silk, spices, cloth and precious stones.

The turn of the 17th century found Portuguese, British, French and Dutch trading colonies emerging on the sub-continent. By the late 1700s, the British East India Company and its merchants, backed by the colonial army, were essentially ruling India. British rule in India became known as 'The Raj', a term derived from the Sanskrit word raja meaning king. British control of India would continue, mostly peacefully, throughout the 19th century. It wasn't until 1898, and some very unpopular colonial policies, that an Indian nationalist movement seriously began to stir. The nationalist movement developed over the following decades and, of course, India finally achieved its independence in 1947.

We now know India as an altogether different place; today you will find a remarkable, interesting and hugely diverse country. Whether you are immersing yourself in its history, culture, geography or the vast array of wildlife, India is sure to astonish. Our highly experienced and skilled team will escort you on the journey of a lifetime.

Leaving India's most populous city of Mumbai (20 million inhabitants), we enter Gujarat, a state encompassing some major sites of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. From here, we push into 'the land of kings'; Rajasthan is the largest Indian state by area and includes the vast and inhospitable Thar Desert. We trek west to one of the greatest forts in the world lying at the heart of the desert and rest amid the barren splendour. Turning north, we enter the largest irrigation project in the world and follow the bearing of the largest canal in India before spending the night in an isolated palace. The towns of this region are famous for their amazing painted havelis (private mansions) and the area is dubbed the 'open art gallery of Rajasthan'. It's then a long drive northwards through the 'breadbasket of India' to Amritsar where we'll enjoy our second rest day. There will be time to visit the iconic Golden Temple as well as to watch the choreographed contempt dished out by the soldiers of the border-closing ceremony between Pakistan and India.

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India 2014
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Golden Temple at sunset, Amritsar, Punjab, India.

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Pushing still further north, we begin a new and altogether different chapter of this journey encountering the region of Jammu and Kashmir. Accommodation now shifts from palace to tent, temperatures plummet, roads turn to gravel, and the tough though stunningly beautiful scenery takes on a completely different scale with three passes over 16,000 feet (5000 m). The air becomes thin, the drops precipitous, the communities hardy but welcoming; this is where cultures collide and lifetime friendships are formed. Running beside the mighty Indus River in the shadow of the Ladakh Mountains, we descend through valleys and climb passes that are open only for a few short weeks of the year and then only traversed by locals and the hardiest of travellers.

Once back at more reasonable attitudes, we have a couple of rest days in succession to regroup and enjoy the epicurean delights of the hill stations where members of the British Raj would take refuge from the oppressive summer heat of the lowlands. Now we rumble through the foothills to Rishikesh, famous as a world centre for yoga and meditation. There will be at least two opportunities to visit national reserves in an effort to spot a tiger in the wild and no trip to India would be complete without a visit to the outrageously beautiful temple dedicated to the love of a single woman, the Taj Mahal.

The 'Pink' City makes a delightful overnight halt where we stay in one of the enchanting palaces to enjoy hospitality only Rajasthan can proffer. We visit the largest fort in Asia where history tells us of a pillaging ruler who, enamoured by the beauty of the resident princess, sacked the fort. Of course, like any princess worth her salt she preferred death to abduction and dishonour and committed jauhar (an act of self-immolation by leaping into a large fire) along with all the other ladies of the fort! The men, on the other hand, left the fort in saffron robes to fight the enemy unto death - all seems a bit drastic!

Following our final rest day, we cross into Madhya Pradesh and pass the interesting site of an abandoned city. Further south, there is an interesting cave complex to visit which demonstrates how the religions of 1,000 years ago lived in harmony. Finally returning to Mumbai we can rest once more amid the five-star comfort of the Taj Mahal Hotel.

Whether you choose to travel by classic car, modern 4x4, or enduro motorcycle, this rally offers some of the world's most diverse scenic driving and will certainly appeal to those with a spirit of adventure. Home to a host of iconic sights, fascinating cultures, interesting towns and dramatic panoramas, our journey explores all of these, as well as discovering some hidden treasures as we detour off the beaten track.

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India 2014
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Indian Woman in the fields

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