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Northern India Itinerary, January 2012 -- Needs Tweaking!

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Hi everyone! My friend and I will be traveling to India for 3 weeks in January and are flying in and out of Delhi. We are in our 40’s, adventurous, active, and well traveled. Although we are adventurous, we prefer upscale accommodations and travel conditions. We are trying to design an itinerary that includes all of the “must sees” but also includes locations that are quite different from one another (i.e. we don’t need to see every temple, etc.) We are intrigued by the pink and blue sandstone monuments/temples in Rajasthan and tend to favor desert conditions because they feel so exotic. If possible, we would like to include a tiger park and a yoga retreat or ashram. (We are by no means yogis but would like to luxuriate for a few days at the end or even middle of our trip so that we can recharge as we run around the country.) Ideally, we like to stay at LEAST 2 nights in a location (assuming there are things to see) so that we aren’t constantly checking in and out of hotels each day. We are happy to fly instead of drive to different locales if it saves time and makes sense.

A tour operator proposed the following itinerary which seems to have too much moving around for my tastes. As far as the tiger park, Bandhavgarh is included because apparently all of the private jeeps in Rathambore are booked through March. (We were told that January isn’t a great time to see tigers there anyway.) We were thinking that Varanasi could be really interesting because we enjoyed the monk procession in Luang Prabang. (I hear that Varanasi is quite different though and really a shock to the system.) We were also hoping to spend time in Delhi upfront so that we don’t have to travel so soon after our international flight. With these things said, we appreciate your thoughts on how best to revise the following proposed itinerary:

1 Fly Delhi, Sleep Plane
2 Arrive Delhi, 11:00 PM, Sleep Delhi
3 Sleep Morning, Sightsee Delhi Afternoon, Sleep Delhi
4 Fly Udaipur, Sightsee Udaipur, Sleep Udaipur
5 Sightsee Udaipur , Sleep Udaipur
6 Drive Ranakpur (2.5 hrs), Visit Temples, Transfer to Narlai, Sleep Narlai
7 Drive to Jodhpur (4 hrs), Sleep Jodhpur
8 Early AM Transfer to Manvar Desert Camp, Sleep Manvar Desert Camp
9 Return Jodhpur, Tour Jodhpur, Sleep Jodhpur
10 Early AM Train to Jaipur (5 hrs), Afternoon Leisure, Sleep Jaipur
11 Sightsee Jaipur, Sleep Jaipur
12 Drive to Agra (5 hrs) Stops en-route, Sleep Agra
13 Sunrise Taj Mahal, Later Drive to Delhi (5 hrs), Sleep Delhi
14 Fly Varanasi, See Evening Prayer Ceremony, Sleep Varanasi
15 Morning Boat Ride, Sightsee Varanasi, Sleep Varanasi
16 Fly Khajuraho, Afternoon Sightsee, Sleep Khajuraho
17 Morning Sightsee Khajuraho, Drive Bandhavgarh, Sleep Bandh. Hotel
18 Bandhavgarh, 2 Game Drives, Sleep Bandh. Game Lodge (Different from above)
19 Bandhavgarh, 2 Game Drives, Sleep Bandh. Game Lodge
20 Drive to Jaipur Airport (4 hrs) for flight to Delhi, Sleep Delhi
21 Tour Delhi, Delhi Day Room
22 Fly Home, 1:45 AM

Your thoughts are greatly appreciated! We are hoping to nail down our itinerary ASAP because we are worried that we are quite late already and that many of the preferred hotels will be booked!


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