Elephant encounters and awe-inspiring adventures
Few countries offer a more dramatic mix of adventure for all ages than India. Taking the family to this beautiful country allows the opportunity to discover a far-off land with a culture and lifestyle that excites the soul and delights the senses. Every journey is a discovery, every experience unexpected.
For many families, the magic can be found in the state of Rajasthan. It's hard to imagine a sight more exciting to a child than a parade of elephants. Set behind the hills of the historic Amer Fort, the family-run Dera Amer Elephant camp is located at the foothills of the rugged Aravali Range about 45 minutes from Jaipur. Surrounded by the wilderness of a reserve forest, it is offered to guests on an exclusive basis and features accommodation in simple, beautifully-crafted tents complete with electric lighting and shower rooms. Families and couples alike enjoy the opportunity to spend time with the resident elephants who have been rescued from the arduous work of carrying tourists up to Amer Fort. Guests can spend quality time with these magnificent creatures and take a walk with them into the forest for their evening stroll, ending the night at a campfire in the forest, feasting on freshly made tandoori food under a blanket of stars.
Rajasthan also offers the chance to tap into a families artistic side. A block printing lesson making t-shirts, a private pottery lesson with a family carrying on the tradition of their ancestors in the famous blue pottery style, a hands-on cookery lesson in a private home or a visit to a private studio for a Bollywood dance lesson (having been to a traditional shop to choose dancing clothes to mark the occasion).
Sport-mad families can indulge in India's most popular sport with an impromptu game of cricket against the children of a Rajasthani village. For those seeking a digital detox combined with real adventure, there is Sunset Zip wiring at a fort or a morning cycle ride into local villages. The Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh offers hiking, village walks, cycling, rafting and cultural immersion away from the madding crowd.
With India being one of the most spiritually diverse nations, Banyan also offers hands-on work in a Sikh temple community kitchen. Aligned with volunteerism and community support being central tenets of Sikhism, it is ideal for families wishing to broaden their cultural horizons and perspective on life. And finally, the chance in Rajasthan to have a private blessing in a temple - a special experience that will reveal many elements of the Hindu religion and create shared family memories that will last a lifetime.