Who Are You? Family History Tours

Family History Tours imageBritain has strong historical ties to the Indian Subcontinent: Charles II received the port of Bombay as part of his wife’s wedding dowry in 1661; the British East India Company built Fort William, kickstarting the development of Calcutta, in 1698; and from 1857 Calcutta and then New Delhi were the capital cities of the British Raj, a territory stretching across almost all of present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

With so many centuries of ties, economic and political as well as cultural and social, it should come as no surprise that millions of families in the UK trace at least part of their family history back to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Burma, all of which are major Indus Experiences’ destinations. For many, their family’s origins are in the subcontinent, and their parents or grandparents migrated to the UK and settled there. For others, their forefathers went to India to serve with the Indian Army, with the Indian Civil Service, or as traders, missionaries, businessmen, and in numerous other capacities. Whatever your family’s link with India, wherever in the country they lived, our family history tours can help you learn about your past, and to put it in perspective.

Sy John Church Meerut

St John’s Church, Meerut

Each of our family history tours is carefully tailored to you own family, the places your ancestors lived, studied, worked, and, in many cases, were buried. If your father or grandfather served in the Indian military, for example, you might be interested in visiting significant battlefields, such as Kohima Ridge, where 1,500 British and Indian soldiers held out for 14 days against the Japanese Imperial Army, despite being outnumbered 10:1.

Thousands of Scottish engineers came to India to design and build the country’s vast rail network — the pride of India — and the trains were the primary means of transport within the subcontinent for foreigners and Indians alike. You can retrace the journeys of your ancestors, maybe even riding on a railway line they built, when you take one of our fascinating, not to mention photogenic, railway tours.

St John Cemetery Meerut

St John’s Cemetery, Meerut

For many families, then and now, the church played a central role in family life and was a social hub for the entire community. Travel with us to Goa or Pondicherry, and not only can you have a gloriously relaxing beach stay, but you can see the Roman Catholic churches too. Up in the hill stations of Shimla, Darjeeling, and Nainital (the ‘Lake District of India’), in the foothills of the Himalayas, are numerous Anglican churches, some of them near-perfect replicas of the missionaries’ parish churches back home. The cemeteries here, often lovingly tended by the modern congregation, are the final resting places for thousands of colonial Brits who were born and lived in India.

From April 7-9, the Who Do You Think You Are, Live exhibition will take place at Birmingham’s NEC. We will be on Stand 96 in the Society of Genealogists’ area, and will also 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.  We hope to see some of you there.

Upcoming Family History Tours


Romancing The Himalayas

A Painting Holiday of India Led By Johanna Spinks

10- 25 September 2016Johanna-Spinks--painting

A holiday in India is not just a holiday – it mesmerizes the senses with sights and sounds that become treasured memories for life; sunset at the Taj Mahal as the setting sun turns the Poem to Love a dusky pink; steaming bowls of curry for breakfast on the station of Kalka waiting for the Toy Train to Shimla; and dawn on the Ganges as the mists swirl and the sonorous chants of Priests echo across the waters. India is also a painters dream. You will paint in this workshop in a way perhaps you have never done before. This once in a lifetime workshop will focus on quick sketches ‘out and about’ of the local sights and people and even some interiors of the wonderfully historical places we will be staying. You will return home with a perfect record/journal of your trip from which you can them make larger paintings at home.


The Itinerary

Delhi • 

Day 1. Saturday 10 September – Departure USA
Departure for Delhi

Day 2. Sunday 11 September – Delhi Sightseeing
Arrival Delhi. Transfer to Hotel Shangrila Eros. Afternoon sightseeing of important monuments of Old and New Delhi. Lunch at Lodhi Gardens.

Day 3. Monday 12 September – To Amritsargolden-temple
Travel from Delhi to Amritsar, city of Golden Temple. Stay at Hyatt Hotel. Sightseeing tour of Amritsar city. Evening visit of Golden Temple.

A ceremony is held at Amritsar around midnight- it is called Sukh Aasan- when the holy book is taken for overnight rest. It is a moving spiritual experience – some of the group members may like to witness this. Again next morning – the Holy book is brought back – around 3am to its throne for the day – peace, calm and spiritually enriching ( I watched this 2 years back).

Then there is a free kitchen which feeds about 25000 people for lunch and dinner every day of the year. The kitchen is run voluntarily by the community and everyone is welcome to help. If some members want to spend an hour serving the community – then they can just be passing on bread or helping etc. It could a spiritually fulfilling experience.

Day 4. Tuesday 13 September – Amritsar
Full day painting at Amritsar Golden Temple.

Day 5. Wednesday 14 September – To Dharamshala
Drive to Dharamshala – Stay at Grace Cottage.

Day 6. Thursday 15 September – Dharamshala
Visit of Dharamhala Town/ HH Dalai Lamas teaching / Painting / sightseeing.

Day 7. Friday 16 September – Dharamshala
Painting days – visit of village.

Day 8. Saturday 17 September – Dharamshala
Painting days – village visits.

Day 9. Sunday 18 September – To ParagpurJohanna-Spinks--painting1
Drive to Paragpur. Stay at Judges Court.
Paragpur is very special – a medieval village offering a host of opportunities such as typical village walk, silversmiths and weavers at work or visiting the local school etc.

Day 10. Monday 19 September – Paragpur
Painting days & sightseeing.

Day 11. Tuesday 20 September – Paragpur
Painting days & sightseeing.

Day 12. Wednesday 21 September – To Shimla
Transfer to the famous hill station of Shimla. Stay at Oberoi Cecil.

Day 13. Thursday 22 September – Shimla
Sighseeing & painting.

Day 14. Friday 23 September – To Delhi
Travel by Toy train and Shatabadi Express Train to Delhi- Stay at Shangrila Eros.

Day 15. Saturday 24 September – Delhi
Morning at leisure. Late afternoon visit to the Sanskriti Kendra – Anandgram to see the Museum of Everyday Art in India, Museum of Indian Terracota and Museum of Indian Textiles. These Museums represent the Kendra to preserve and nurture the creative vitality of Indian Art and Culture. The visit will be followed by a talk and farewell dinner. http://www.sanskritifoundation.org

Day 16. Sunday 25 September – Departure
International departure from Delhi.

About Johanna Spinks

Johanna-SpinksAny person familiar with the work of Johanna Spinks will tell you the British born artist is as much a storyteller as she is a classically trained portrait artist. Whether she is bringing the vibrancy of a local community to life through her Face of Ventura and Face of Malibu portrait projects or expertly rendering a model in an imagined Parisian interior, Johanna’s work possesses a whimsical romantic quality that is the signature attribute of her award-winning style. The artist’s life story serves as a good explanation for this.

She started out telling stories as a young journalist who emigrated from the UK to New York at just 22 years old and later became a top Hollywood makeup artist, using her brushes to bring magazine pages, as well as TV and film, to life.

Primarily a portrait artist but also an avid landscape and still life painter, Johanna considers artists such as John Singer Sargent, Johannes Vermeer, and Frans Hals to be major influencers of her work. Her mentor, seven time presidential painter Everett Raymond Kinstler, N.A., —who she trained under at The Art Students League of New York and The National Academy of Design New York—says of her work: “Johanna’s paintings are filled with the joy of life, passionate and colourful.” With her unique style, Johanna has been on the teaching faculty at the California Art Institute and The Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art and is frequently asked to give public painting demonstrations of her life painting techniques. She also received a certificate of distinction for her three year term as the California State Ambassador for the Portrait Society of America.

Unsurprisingly, Johanna is masterful at capturing the imaginations of her students and collectors worldwide on social media. With her 365 Days of Drawing project in 2010—which was featured in American Artist Magazine—Further evidence of her acclaim is certainly not hard to come by. Her paintings hang internationally in private and public collections including The New York Players Club (where her work hangs alongside her idol John Singer Sargent); The Episcopalian Diocese of Los Angeles; The British Heritage Museum, Canada; The Museum of La Grand Vigne, Dinan, France; and in the private collection of the Forbes Family. More recently, her 2 year-long “Face of Ventura” project in California won her the 2013 Mayor’s Art Award for Artist in The Community. Her juried show acceptances include the Oil Painters of America National Shows, OPA Salon Shows, The Portrait Society of Atlanta, Jack Richeson International 75, and The California Art Club Gold Medal Shows.


Per Person on a Double/ Twin share basis US ($) 2,998.00 / British (£) 1,998.00

Single room supplement US ($) 958.00 / British (£) 638.00

Day return tour of Agra (Optional) US ($) 170.00 / British (£) 113.00

Cost Includes:

  • Accommodation with private facilities on twin, double sharing and single room basis as per the itinerary.
  • Meal Plan – Daily breakfast and dinner throughout the tour.
  • Train reservations in air-conditioned class
  • All transfers and sightseeing by an air-conditioned coach.
  • Sightseeing arrangements with our local English-speaking guides
  • Entry fee at monuments and places of interest.
  • Painting lessons by Johanna Spinks
  • Complimentary mineral water while onboard for transfers & sightseeing.
  • Full ATOL & ABTA bonding.

Cost does not include:

  • International Airfare
  • Visa fee for India: American passport holders can now apply for visa on arrival in India- please click here for more information.https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html
  • British Passport Holders need to apply in person for the visa. We have made arrangements for visa facilitation for our clients with Travcour. They will apply on your behalf and obtain your India visa – Please click here for more information and what to do. www.travcour.com/g_page.php?pageid=34168987&Pagetitle=Indus%20Experiences
  • Camera fees at monuments and other places of interest.
  • Any expenses of a personal nature like laundry, telephone calls, beverages, gratuities etc
  • Travel Insurance.

How to book this tour
To book this tour , please compete the booking form, sign and e-mail it to us. A non-refundable deposit of US$ 600.00 (or £400 if paying in sterling) per person is needed at the time of booking. Balance payments will be due 8 weeks before departure. You can make the deposit payment by debit card or electronic transfers to our bank. Credit card payment will be charge at 2% extra. Our Bank details are on the booking form. Bookings are confirmed on first come first served basis. When the tour is full we will take about 5 additional names on the waiting list to replace their booking with any cancellations etc.
If you wish to join the tour and fly from any country other than United Kingdom please contact us for land only arrangements.

Click here to download the booking form.

Read our Booking Terms and Conditions


Shangri La Eros – Delhi

Shangri La Eros DelhiNestled in the heart of New Delhi, Connaught Place, Shangri-La’s – Eros Hotel, New Delhi, is one of the city’s most luxurious and eminent five-star hotels. Sprawling lawns, imposing driveways and timeless architecture inspired by the work of Edward Lutyens can be seen here. The hotel’s rooms and suites offer panoramic views of the city’s historic diplomatic district. Well-equipped and luxurious with modern facilities

Hyatt Hotel – Amritsar

Hyatt Hotel AmritsarA gracefully elegant hotel, the Hyatt Amritsar (formerly Ista) entwines a traditional way of life with contemporary clean style. Set amidst beautiful gardens, ponds and lakes at the heart of Amritsar and close to the awe-inspiring Golden Temple, the hotel offers interactive teppanyaki and tempura dining along with wood-fired Roma style pizzas. A lounge bar offers all-day coffees, teas and short breads moving onto cocktails and other beverages in the evening. An outdoor swimming pool allows you to relax after a busy day and there is also a fully equipped fitness centre and an extensive spa.

The Judges Court – Paragpur

The Judges Court – Paragpur The Judge’s Court is a well established heritage manor located in the quaint settlement of Pragpur. The ambience of the property is very relaxed, whilst its location allows for easy access to the cobbled streets of Pragpur itself. Whilst this is not a luxury hotel it does have good levels of service and the cool air and wonderful scenery make it an extremely pleasant place to drop anchor for a couple of nights.

The Oberoi Cecil – Shimla

The Oberoi Cecil – Shimla Built in 1884, the Oberoi Shimla has been extensively renovated whilst retaining its colonial charm. With fabulous views across the valley, it is a perfect base from which to explore the spectacular mountain scenery, cedar forests and ancient monasteries of this world-famous destination. The Cecil is also within walking distance of the famous Vice Regal Lodge, former summer residence of the Viceroy of India. The hotel’s classically elegant interiors of wood panelling, pillars and chandeliers recall the days of the Raj. There is an indoor swimming pool with lovely views and a spa which offers a wide range of treatments.