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Trip Report North India trip

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My girl friend and I just back from a short trip to N. India. We decided to hire a travel agent, first time for us, because of the complexity of interior details. Decided on Indian Panorama browsing this site and were very satisfied.Emailed Faith where we wanted to go; Delhi, Varanasi, Agra and Jaipur, hotel details; $100-125, WIFI and breakfast, on the Ganges in Varanasi and overnight train between Delhi and Varanasi, for some local flavor but four tickets so we had our own compartment and no guide. With some tweaking she figured it out. We were met at every airport , train station and hotel with an agent and a driver and taken where ever we wanted to go. She strongly advised a guide in Varanasi and we agreed and she was right,we would have had problems making it to Arati ceremony or the early morning boat ride on our own.On a personal note the reason we don't hire guides is they are a wealth of information with no editting. I read up on where ever we are going and know what I want to see. At Taj Mahal we could sit there gazing and absorb the emensity of the building where all around were guides talking nonstop about every tiny detail . Anyway the cost for the trip, 6 night hotels, 2 overnight train( delhi- Varanasi, Varanasi -Gwalior( we wanted to check out the Fort there)) and drivers between Gwailor and Agra and Agra to Jaipur was $1500 for two .Another $100 in tips, $10 for the drivers ea. day $5 for the agents. Their service was very good, the hotels all good, best in Jaipur ,OK in Delhi. We took our own wine and snacks on the trains, ate at the hotels every night,brought our own wine for dinner (it is hard to find but they make decent wine in India) Tipping is constant, keep a supply of 20 Rupi bills, even in the British Air buisnes class lounge bathroom if you want to paper towels. Eight day trip cost us $ 2100, not counting the $ 1600 rug we bought in Jaipur ( the most expensive free cup of tea I've had since Turkey)A memorable trip, those Mogul's were amazing builders and the religious intensity in Varanasi unforgetable.

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