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3 wks in Rajasthan & Varanasi-Jan 2013! Feedback on itinerary appreciated!

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Well, tickets are purchased, leaving Friday, January 18 and returning on February 8, 2013. That's 20 nights for our trip to Rajasthan and Varanasi. I've been working and re-working the itinerary, and overall I feel pretty pleased. It's a little more hectic than I've done in a while, but it's doable - and I really doubt that we'll be able to travel to India again anytime soon.

We're interested in being able to visit smaller villages, and having the opportunity to meet or visit local residents in a non-commercial way, which is why Hacra.org appeals to me. The "guided tour" at Rawlai Narlai sounds about right, as long as it isn't heavy-handed on the commercial aspects of the tour.

We are primarily budget-moderate travelers, although I do splurge once in a while if it's really a unique experience, and I wondered how a stop at Narlai would compare to a stop at Ranakpur.

I don't think we're inclined toward a camel safari, although I wouldn't rule out a trip into the desert. I don't see it as an essential component of the trip, though.

I've already identified an agent that I plan to work with, but I wondered what you India experts think of the following plan:

The current yet tentative itinerary is:

Delhi (2 nights)
Fly to varanasi
Varanasi (2 nights)
Overnight train to Agra(1night)
Agra (1night)
Jaipur (2 nights)
Bundi (2 nights)
Udaipur (2 nights)
Ranakpur, Narlai or other stop (1night)
Jodhpur (2 nights)
Jaisalmer (3 nights)
hacra.org homestay (1 night)
Fly jodhpur to Delhi
Delhi (1 night)
Fly home.

Of course we'll have a driver & car. I go back & forth on the number of stops, although I do want to mix up smaller and larger places. I fluctuate between eliminating Bundi or perhaps stop there one night and add a night to one of the other cities so that we have another 3-day stay, but from all the reading, Bundi has really captured my imagination.

Originally, I wasn't going to visit Jaisalmer, but too many people have said it's necessary; and I've come to agree, so that is a must. I considered eliminating Jaipur, but it's too difficult to avoid it, and most people say it is still an essential stop, even if it's a hectic city stop.

So this is the plan I've come up with and would appreciate your thoughts.

I'm also working on the hotel choices, and will post that in a little while.

Many thanks,
Paule

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