Experience Travel Group (ETG) is urging cricket fans to sign up to watch England play in some of India’s “lesser known” cities this winter.
Rather than traditional established test match venues such as Mumbai, Chennai, and Delhi, the five-test tour offers the opportunity to explore ‘new’ areas of the sub-continent such as Hyderabad (First Test, January 25-29), Visakhapatnam (Second Test, February 2-6), Rajkot (Third Test, February 15-19), Ranchi (Fourth Test, February 15-19) and Dharamshala (Fifth Test, March 7-11).
Travelling around India throws up certain challenges which will be felt by cricket fans planning on watching England this winter, including the absence of direct flights to three out of the five locations, increased travel time, complexity, cost, as well as the perceived risk of exploring lesser-known places.
However, as experts in experiential travel in Asia, ETG is putting together a series of immersive itineraries that will see travellers enjoy immersive experiences as well as ‘giving back’ by making specific and direct contributions to the economic, social or environmental wellbeing of the places visited, says General Manager, Nick Clark.
“We’re always excited to explore other corners of India. Our trademark mixture of cricket with immersive experiences should tie in well with these venues. We’re especially confident that Hyderabad will dovetail nicely with a glorious trip around Kerala in the south, and the cool hills of Dharamshala will be an incredible place to finish a test tour.”
He adds: “Our holidays are specially designed to confound preconceptions and share magical, memorable, unexpected discoveries, while a thread of luxury – from beautiful boutique hotels to top quality transport to exceptional levels of service – ties everything together.”
In Hyderabad, served by direct flights from the UK with British Airways, visitors can explore historical charms like the Charminar and the Qutub Shahi Tombs, while those seeking to escape the city’s hustle can start in Goa and travel via Hampi and its boulders, with an added adventure of an eight-hour train journey to the second test in Visakhapatnam.
In Rajkot, in Gujarat (a dry state), visitors can take a culinary detour with sweet Gujarati delicacies like jalebi.
Ranchi is a one-hour direct flight from Kolkata and provides a glimpse into India’s heartland, while the cricket stadium in Dharamshala is one of the highest in the world, located in the foothills of the Himalayas. Nearby attractions include Amritsar and the Golden Temple and the foothills of the Himalayas and Shimla.
Tour prices are not yet available but will likely start around £5,000pp, including flights, transfers, accommodation, guides, experiences, entrance fees and some meals. The cost of the cricket tickets will be extra.
A 30-day tour that combines the first and third tests will start from around £10,000pp.