You may visit India a thousand times in your lifetime but you will never find the same India twice. A subcontinent of Asia whose shadow would cover a full third of the US, India is discussed by region rather than by the whole, by language and cultures rather than by Hindu and Hindi, by landscapes, architectures and food styles and aromas varying radically from one region to the next.
So it is not surprising that parsing India and navigating through its gigantic swings in regional subtleties should be left to the guides, while absorbing India for all her poetry and glow should be the job of the traveler.
Kurtz-Ahlers found such a guide in Peirce & Leslie, a company that has been following India’s well-trod and not so well known paths since the 19th century. As owners of a tea plantation, Robert Peirce and Patrick Leslie began a travel division to cater to the requirements of their employees. Eventually, attentions went from teas to travel and Peirce & Leslie became India’s premier luxury travel specialists.
While Peirce & Leslie’s itineraries usually last around two weeks they can be highly personalized journeys to match the dreams and wishes of the traveler. Peirce & Leslie divide India into its North, Central and South states, and takes visitors to castles, forts, museums and tiger sanctuaries along the way, a streaming kaleidoscope of culture reached by car, rail and air to cover as much of India’s grandeur as possible while preserving the romance of a 5,000 year old land.
Then there are the festivals. And while India is celebrating something nearly every day of the year, certain festivals bring a color and spirit with them that place them under bucket list status. At the Pushkar Camel Fair every January – a time when the Thar Desert of Rajasthan becomes of swirl of saffron silks and muslin colored canvas – Peirce & Leslie invite visitors to stay in luxury tents and participate in this timeless magical desert celebration of dance, beauty, music, food and, well, camels. Also, the Maha Kumbh Mela is coming soon, which takes place every 4 years. Dates are January 14 – February 25, 2013. Contact Peirce & Leslie for details.
Peirce & Leslie is a knowledgeable company that knows the needs of travelers of a certain ilk and is capable of making things happen, quietly and confidently. Still, as much as there is to be seen and sensed in this huge subcontinent, there is a part of India reserved for the inner journey, the spirit — and that temple that holds the spirit: the body. For that India the recommendation is a visit to Ananda – In the Himalayas.
To visit Ananda you need simply board a short flight from Delhi to the foothills of the Himalayas – considered the birthplace of Yoga, Ayurveda and Meditation. There the focus goes inward while Ayurvedic food plans, hikes in the mountains, mornings of yoga and meditation, and afternoons of sublime pampering, work their magic on the spirit and body.
Stay in a room, suite or villa, one of 80 built atop this ridge, created in designs replete with atmospheric touches that one might find in a castle built for a raj. Get quiet – plenty of places to ponder and meditate; or get active – whitewater rafting, tiger stalking, fishing, hiking, even elephant riding come as part of a day’s do’s.
But Ananda lets you do it all in one place, an immersion in India that wraps your body and sticks to your soul.
Journey to the Himalayas for a relaxing and refreshing experience of spa, healthy cuisine and spiritual rejuvenation. Offerings include Ananda Wellness Experiences from 7-28 days, and new Ananda Getaways for a shorter stay. Click here for packages and rates.
Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates – Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts.