India may still be a rite of passage for the backpacker. But it can also be done in style, as Max Suich and Jennie Sorrell discovered.
Now that Qantas has introduced a new service between Australia and Mumbai, the relative economy of a visit to India – and the new standards of comfort in hotels and travel – will soon become better known.
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For the many Australians who have never been there, the biggest hurdle now is to negotiate the advice of those tedious Old India Hands who went there as backpackers or on the hippie trail and who, for reasons of economy or adventure, ended up in third-class rail carriages or desert buses, ill and miserable with vile stomach upsets, or worse. This was neatly summed up in the Sydney Morning Herald travel pages late last year by a correspondent who noted that to many jaded Australians, India still stands for I’ll Never Do It Again.