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Jay Kajaria

I am an avid traveler, wildlife enthusiast, excellent photographer and have been to more than 30 national parks, 20 nature hotsposts and numerous heritage destinations in India and sub-continent. I am passionate about designing memorable experiences from my esteemed guests. Apart from the standard highlights, my focus is always on offering something special and unique to my guests. My deep understanding of various destinations enable me plan memorable trips for guests to the most stunning parts of India and sub-continent

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"I specialise in creating culture, wildlife, adventure and off-the-beaten path experiences for my guests. "

How did you get involved in travel?

"After completion of MBA in supply chain from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies Mumbai, a top b-school in India, I worked for the world’s largest consulting firm. During this time, we analysed the travel sector for one of our clients and came to know big lacuna in Inbound Travel segment. We observed that India received very small number of international travellers annually. We realized this was because of three things - a) Negative perception of India being an under-developed country. b) Lack of a reputed travel company offering high quality tailor-made services. c) Lack of travel specialists who are knowledgeable and genuinely passionate about India. Later, I decided to start by journey in travel domain."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"Being a wildlife enthusiast, my most memorable experiences are in jungles of India. Coming face-to-face with a tiger during a trekking tour is one of most memorable experiences I have ever had. The tiger was just a few meters away from us and it was a bit scary but thrilling experience to see it from such close quarters.

The other experience that I remember was staying with a local family in rural Rajasthan - It was one of my life changing experiences. They did not have lot of belongings but were extremely happy with whatever they had and spending time with them, cooking and eating food with them was truly enriching. "

Featured trips & expertise

The Royal Bengal Tiger at Ranthambore
Golden Triangle & Wildlife Tour - 10 Days

Spend ten days exploring one of India's most popular regions with this itinerary. You'll go from the historic monuments of Delhi to the famed Taj Mahal in Agra, then continue to Ranthambore to search for the Bengal tiger. End your trip in Jaipur, the gateway to one of India's most colorful states, before you return to Delhi.

Neela Gumbad structure, near Humayun's Tomb
24 Hours in Delhi

One day just isn't enough to cover everything in sprawling Delhi—but you’ll find that 24 hours is plenty of time to fall in love with this beautiful and surprising city. Discover the Indian capital on a whirlwind tour of historic temples, chaotic bazaars, and aromatic street food stands.

Colorfully dressed dancers performing at a street fair in Kolkata
24 Hours in Kolkata

Kolkata offers a rich mix of Hindu, British, and Bengali culture that you won't find anywhere else in India. Once the capital of the British Raj, it has enough to keep you busy for weeks—or a single day, if that's all you have. Read on to find out how to spend a perfect morning, afternoon, and evening in this sprawling city.

Auto-rickshaw drivers in Alleppey, Kerala
2 Weeks in India - 2 Unique Itinerary Ideas

With two weeks in India, travelers will have enough time to get intimately acquainted with a handful of key cities and sites. To get the most from your stay, you'll want to focus on exploring just one or two regions. Consider going for depth, rather than breadth, and resist the temptation to cover everything in one visit. Just think of it as a reason to keep coming back for more.

Recent trip reviews for Jay

South India Adventure · India - Jul 2 - Jul 11, 2019

Traveler: Leah T. - Local specialist: Jay Kajaria

My India trip was everything I hoped it would be and more! So grateful to the KimKim team, especially Jay and my driver Kierin; Kierin was so much fun and taught me the most as we drove from location to location exploring beautiful exotic places in South India like Munnar, Alleppy, and Kochi. My guides were all knowledgeable, friendly, and professional: special thanks to Glen (Kochi), Junis (Munnar) and Shreedevi (incredible hostess at hotel UDS in Trivandrum) - these wonderful people, among... read more

My India trip was everything I hoped it would be and more! So grateful to the KimKim team, especially Jay and my driver Kierin; Kierin was so much fun and taught me the most as we drove from location to location exploring beautiful exotic places in South India like Munnar, Alleppy, and Kochi. My guides were all knowledgeable, friendly, and professional: special thanks to Glen (Kochi), Junis (Munnar) and Shreedevi (incredible hostess at hotel UDS in Trivandrum) - these wonderful people, among others, made my experience extra special. My goal in India was to really immerse myself in the culture, try new foods, see wildlife, and interact with local people - coming from a large metro city in California, I also wanted to get off the beaten path a bit and unplug - KimKim made the whole thing seamless and fulfilled my desire to go a bit beyond regular “tourist” type experiences - the most memorable moment, perhaps, was waking up at The Leaf in Munnar and listening to the birds while I drank my coffee and talked to a family visiting from Saudi Arabia. I will also never forget the seeing the tea plantations and the mountains in Munnar; the best smelling place in the world! Alleppy houseboating was also incredible; I had a meal I’ll probably never top! When it was time to say goodbye to Kierin, I realized I had truly made a friend, and will always remember our conversations and the laughs we shared - so thank you AGAIN KimKim for finding me the perfect road companion and for setting up my dream travel in India! I will be back and I will use KimKim again, no doubt.

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Jay Kajaria, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dear Leah

Greetings!

We thank you for sharing the trip feedback. We are so glad to know that you liked the services of guides and driver during the trip and enjoyed the host of authentic local experiences that Kerala had to offer.

It was truly our pleasure to serve you in India. We look forward to welcoming you again in the near future.

Wineries in Nashik · India - Feb 23 - Feb 25, 2019

Traveler: Doug W. - Local specialist: Jay Kajaria

The trip was amazing, more than I could have hoped for. I was able to meet with winemakers and winery owners. The guide assigned to my trip was extremely knowledgeable and was able to answer all of my questions.

Everyone showed up on time, and schedules were flexible enough to meet our needs. No problems, no "hitches", no hassle.

Very well done!

South India trip · India - Jan 17 - Feb 2, 2019

Traveler: Usha K. - Local specialist: Jay Kajaria

Our Driver Manoj,
The guide in Coimbetore Prkash,
City foods guide Sounder,
Sundar in Trichy,
They were great and courteous, knowledgable and eager to show us things around.
Prakash in coimbatore specially was a superb fine young man.
Hats off to the whole team!

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Jay Kajaria, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dear Usha

We thank you for sharing the feedback.

We are so glad to know that you enjoyed our services during the trip. We shall communicate your satisfaction to all the guides and driver assigned for your trip. They will be delighted to hear your feedback.

It was truly a pleasure to serve you in India. Team Bespoke looks forward to welcoming you again in the near future.

Have a wonderful year ahead.

Mumbai > Goa, plus hill station + activities · India - Jan 11 - Jan 26, 2019

Traveler: Paul C. - Local specialist: Jay Kajaria

A few attempts needed to convey that we did not want city/corporate style hotels. The stand out accommodation was Ahilya By the Sea, which we sourced ourselves.

Guides were good (other than Elephanta) - drivers were excellent. Trips were broadly ok but nothing we could not have organised ourselves. However, more thought needs to be put into making a tour special. The itinerary pretty standard, was disjointed and needed rearranging. Whilst we were able to do this, on one occasion it required... read more

A few attempts needed to convey that we did not want city/corporate style hotels. The stand out accommodation was Ahilya By the Sea, which we sourced ourselves.

Guides were good (other than Elephanta) - drivers were excellent. Trips were broadly ok but nothing we could not have organised ourselves. However, more thought needs to be put into making a tour special. The itinerary pretty standard, was disjointed and needed rearranging. Whilst we were able to do this, on one occasion it required a guide to travel by road overnight from Mumbai to Nasik (!). Otherwise, we would have been having a wine tasting straight after breakfast (!). Not sure why a local guide would not be available.

Major issue on our last day in that a dolphin tour was substituted with a fishing trip and an afternoon on a beach without any communication. In fact, in was only when we were on the beach (not to our taste at all) that we were told that we were not on a dolphin trip. Whilst I understand the reasons for the John's Tours trip being cancelled, alternative dolphin spotting trips are promoted via Trip Advisor, including one at Coco Beach (where we were staying!). What a waste of a day....

The offer of dinner hardly compensated and to add insult to injury, Kim Kim refused to pay the drinks bill (just INR 1550!). In context, we paid over $9,000 for this trip.

Going over old ground again, shortly after we paid the balance for the trip, our preferred hotel was changed for the first 3 nights in Mumbai. We remonstrated at the time without success but Kim Kim somehow construed that we were happy with the replacement hotel option and decided to change our final night in Mumbai (2 weeks later) to that hotel also. Whilst the replacement hotel was good, it was not our choice (which was Abode - a 'must visit' in a number of guide books).

All this is of course covered in your T&C's but it does not lead me to conclude that Kim Kim is a quality operation and I would not recommend. Quite the reverse in fact.

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Jay Kajaria, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dear Paul

We thank you for sharing your feedback.

We are so glad to know that you enjoyed the guides in India.

Please find answers to your concerns raised below which were already discussed before:

1. Guide in Nashik - Please note that Nashik is a remote location and is an upcoming destination of India. Hence, top guides need to be sourced from nearby city of Mumbai. This is the case with many smaller cities where the guides are sourced from nearby cities to maintain quality of... read more

Dear Paul

We thank you for sharing your feedback.

We are so glad to know that you enjoyed the guides in India.

Please find answers to your concerns raised below which were already discussed before:

1. Guide in Nashik - Please note that Nashik is a remote location and is an upcoming destination of India. Hence, top guides need to be sourced from nearby city of Mumbai. This is the case with many smaller cities where the guides are sourced from nearby cities to maintain quality of services.

2. Itinerary - Please note that all our itineraries are skeleton itineraries. The sequence of places that you see can be changed by guide or guest based on mutual discussion. We are not an escorted tour company where you go from one place to there as per time. We are a bespoke tour company offering flexibility to guests. But, having said that all the places were covered with ease as per itinerary.

3. Fishing Trip - Please note that our local team informed us that John Boat trip (that was included) to be not a good travel provider recently (you can see the trip advisor reviews) and some of the past reviews of other guests were also not good (concerning safety). Hence this was changed for the guest benefit. But, we agree that this should have been discussed (the change of vendor) with the guest which the guide did not do. We apologised for this and offered a free dinner to guest the next day.

4. Regarding Abode hotel - Please note that during first part of the stay the hotel changed our reservation as they got a group booking and hence we offered alternate accommodation in consultation with guest. The hotel was changed accordingly. While this change was being made, we thought that the guest would be okay with the same hotel towards the end of the trip so we released the booking for last night. But, as the guest was not okay with this we upgraded the hotel to Taj Mahal Palace which is 2.5 times more expensive and home to VVIPs. Hence, we went out of our way to compensate for the inconvenience. In Abode hotel too we got a base category room which the guest did not prefer. The guest preferred Taj Mahal Palace over Abode.

5. Drinks not compensated - Please note that the hard drinks are never included in Dinner in India and the sub-continent (I guess in many parts of Europe). We never committed to offer drinks. We have clearly this mentioned in our terms and conditions. http://www.bespokeindiaholidays.com/terms-and-conditions/

Hope the above is fine. Team Bespoke looks forward to welcoming you again

Southern India · India - Sep 1 - Sep 23, 2018

Traveler: Ralph W. - Local specialist: Jay Kajaria

The whole trip throughout South India was very well organised and executed by the Kim Kim team.
Unfortunately, one incident near the end of the trip ruined my final memories and has caused me to cancel future plans to visit North India.
On the last day in Kerala, the driver (Tency) who had been with me constantly since Chennai stopped the vehicle in a deserted industrial area and demanded, in a most threatening way, that I give him the tip (gratuity) immediately.
This behaviour was so 'out... read more

The whole trip throughout South India was very well organised and executed by the Kim Kim team.
Unfortunately, one incident near the end of the trip ruined my final memories and has caused me to cancel future plans to visit North India.
On the last day in Kerala, the driver (Tency) who had been with me constantly since Chennai stopped the vehicle in a deserted industrial area and demanded, in a most threatening way, that I give him the tip (gratuity) immediately.
This behaviour was so 'out of character', that I was most disturbed and, in fact, frightened for my life.
This incident has caused me to review (cancel) my intended trip to North India with Kim Kim.
Ralph Watkins

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Jay Kajaria, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dear Mr Ralph Watkins

We thank you for submitting a feedback on Kimkim.

We are glad to know that you had a fantastic trip overall.

We regret the inconvenience caused regarding the alleged tipping incident. We have done a deep probe in the matter. We called the driver in our office and inquired about this. The driver is with us for last 10 years without any guest complaints .Regarding this complaint, driver has agreed that he had stopped the car on the way to hotel for asking about trip... read more

Dear Mr Ralph Watkins

We thank you for submitting a feedback on Kimkim.

We are glad to know that you had a fantastic trip overall.

We regret the inconvenience caused regarding the alleged tipping incident. We have done a deep probe in the matter. We called the driver in our office and inquired about this. The driver is with us for last 10 years without any guest complaints .Regarding this complaint, driver has agreed that he had stopped the car on the way to hotel for asking about trip feedback. It appears that this made the guest to feel scared. He did not ask for tip but only a feedback that the guest is asked for at the end of the trip. Our trip personnel will never pressurise for tips. Also, when my colleague spoke with the guest at the end of the trip, the guest expressed his happiness with the services and said that he shall work with us in the future as well. In fact, my colleague Suhel spoke with guest many times during the trip and always the guest gave a positive feedback.

We sincerely apologise for this circumstances leading to the guest disappointment. We will make sure that the guest is asked for feedback once they reach hotel and not on the way.

Thanking you for your patience and support in this matter.