If you are planning to visit he “Who Do You Think You Are, Live’ Exhibition being held at the Birmingham NEC from the 7th to 9th April 2016, look out for us on Stand 96 in the Society of Genealogists Area. I will be giving a talk entitled ‘Names, Graves and a Letter of introduction from the British High Commission” at 16.15 on Friday 8th in Theatre 3. I look forward to seeing you there.
Upcoming Family History Tours
Colonial Moments: September, 2016
There is no doubt that India was the jewel in the crown of the British Empire, and even 70 years after independence (an anniversary which will be celebrated with great excitement in 2017), the legacy of colonial rule is strong. British families lived and worked across wide areas of the northern plains and the Himalayan foothills, favouring the latter in the heat of summer, and the towns, churches, and public buildings they erected survive as poignant reminders of their significant contribution to the development of contemporary India.
On Indus Experiences’ Colonial Moments tours, you can join our expert tour leader Elaine MacGregor on a journey which winds its way from Delhi, the capital of British India, to Pragpur and Palampur, then on the mountain resorts of Shimla and Kasauli. It is the perfect opportunity to follow in the footsteps of your ancestors, to appreciate the majesty of India’s diverse landscapes, and to visit the colonial monuments held in such high regard not only by their creators but, importantly, also by the country’s modern population. Highlights of the itinerary include a ride on the famous (and fabulous) toy train from Shimla to Kalka; tea with a descendant of the Chauhan rulers; and fascinating heritage walking tours of some of the most intriguing cities of northern India.
Sojourn in Maharashtra: March, 2017
The port of Bombay (now Mumbai) was given to Charles II of England as a wedding gift, and so the city’s links with the UK are long. Starting in this bustling metropolis, a mega city in every sense, you’ll see the impressive Victoria Terminus, with its beautiful turrets and arches, and stay in the magni cent Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, made famous in the BBC’s Hotel India. Travelling off the coast by boat, you’ll visit the UNESCO World Heritage Elephanta Caves, built mostly in the 7th century, and with magni cent carvings of Hindu deities. The itinerary also enables you to explore the East India Colony of Khotachiwadi, many of whose inhabitants are still practising Catholics; the tranquil hill station of Matheran, a vehicle-free area with a unique and sensitive eco-system; and Pune, where the Third Anglo-Maratha War broke out in 1817, and after which the British seized the city, building a mighty cantonment. Pune also played a prominent role during the independence struggle: Gokhale and Tilak both led agitations here, and Gandhi was imprisoned in the Yerwada Central Jail, and placed under house arrest at the Aga Khan Palace.
The Indian Mutiny, by Rail: October, 2017
To the British, the events of 1857 are known as the Indian Mutiny, or the Sepoy Rebellion. To many Indians, however, they were the First War of Independence. Whichever view you take, and both have their merits and nuances, there can be no doubt that it was a period of great upheaval, and with great sacri ces on all sides. It resulted in the dissolution of the East India Company, and the creation of the British Raj — direct rule of India by the British crown — and thus is of huge signi cance to not only India, but also to the British.
John King, a respected and passionate historian of the Indian Mutiny, will lead this fascinating tour of sites central to the events of 1857. Travelling mostly by train — debatably the single most important legacy of British rule — you will explore Delhi, the seat of India’s last Mughal ruler; the former princely state of Gwalior, a key ally of the British; Jhansi, whose rani (or queen) was one of the leading gures of the rebellion and became a nationalist heroine as a result; Lucknow, where one of the most dramatic sieges took place; and plenty of other intriguing sites.
Discovering East India: February, 2018
The east of India is the location not only of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) — trading centre of the East India Company and, later, the capital of the British Raj — but to enclaves of Dutch and French settlers too. The diverse and cosmopolitan cultures blended here over the centuries are some of the most intriguing in India, and you will immerse yourself in their sights, sounds, smells, and tastes during our Discovering East India tour.
Highlights of the programme include a visit to Kolkata, still the cultural capital of India, with its British-built administrative buildings, churches, and the poignant Black Hole of Calcutta Memorial; a cruise along the Hooghly River to the French enclave (and battleground) at Chandernagore; a tour of the military base where the actions of a single Indian soldier, Mangal Pandey, proved the catalyst for the Indian mutiny; and an unforgettable ride along the light railway of Darjeeling, through jade-green tea estates, to reach that whimsical tea station.
Some Testimonials from the last tours
"A recent Family History Tours trip to south India provided the perfect context for me to follow in the footsteps of my Anglo-Indian ancestors, not least to visit the churches where some of them were baptized or married, or to see their graves. The tour covered towns and cities that were familiar as names, but to see them first-hand under FHT's guidance, and with the added pleasure of meeting local guides and historians was illuminating, and welcome. There was ample time and flexibility in the programme to appreciate local cultural highlights as well. Local transport and accommodation arrangements were excellent". Andre
"Little did l know, when l started helping my Father many years ago on the quest of finding out our family tree at Somerset House in London, that one day l would be visiting his beloved India on a most wondrous trip.
I cannot praise Indus Experiences and Family History Tours enough - they made my whole experience so magical. No stone was unturned in helping me prepare for the journey of my dreams. Nothing was too much trouble for them, l appreciated that if at any time l had a query they were quick to respond. There was so much attention to detail. I loved the fact that each of our party had individual places of interest we wished to visit and they managed to fit them all in for us - our private guides and drivers were pretty amazing too. We were treated like royalty from dining at the Chamber of Commerce in Kolkata and enjoying the luxury of the special Oberoi Grand Hotel, to experiencing the good life on a beautiful tea plantation at Sourenee, staying at a bijou tea planters hotel in Darjeeling and not forgetting the sunrise experience at Tiger Hill to see the Himalayan mountains in all their glory.
I just can't wait to book another voyage of discovery - it was all totally fabulous." Greta
"We had a wonderful time and were pleased to have been part of the adventure." Janet