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Planning for India - comments please

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I've finally come up with a first pass for the Indian section of my RTW - can't believe it took so long. (Note to guidebook editors - it would have been much easier if you divided India by geographic region instead of states.) I spent ten weeks in India back in 2001 (see http://wilhelmswords.com/asia2001/index.html ), mostly in the north, plus north Goa, Mysore, Kochi and the backwaters, and Chennai. This time I'm concentrating on the south, and only repeating Mysore (which I feel I shortchanged last time).

Same background info as for the other legs: I'm early 60s, solo female. I'm not really into big cities, neon, nightlife or shopping - although I love markets. I also love mountains, waterfalls and rocky coastline, and I'm interested in architecture, religion and especially food. I prefer crafts - glass, textiles, ceramics, jewelry - to fine arts. I travel more on the budget end, although for India I'd be interested in the occasional splurge hotel, if anyone has recommendations (splurge for me, that is - 7,000 INR tops).

Mon Nov 22 - arrive from Nepal, bus to Gokharna, train to Lucknow (2 nights)
Wed Nov 24 - fly to Hyderabad (via Delhi on Indigo) (3n)
Sat Nov 27 - car and driver via Bidar to Bijapur (2n)
Mon Nov 29 - drive via Badami to Hospet (3n) - end car and driver

Thu Dec 2 - train to Madgaon, bus to Palolem (2n)
Sat Dec 4 - car and driver to visit Chandor area, train to Mangalore (1n)
Sun Dec 5 - train to Kannur (3n), arrange to see Theyyam
Wed Dec 8 - bus or car to Coorg (3n)

Sat Dec 11 - bus or car to Mysore (4n), possibly via Tibetan village, spend last night in hotel in Brindavan Gardens
Wed Dec 15 - bus to Ooty/Coonoor (4n) - need advice on which one to pick, and whether 2 or 3 full days
*Sun Dec 19 - bus or train to Coimbatore, night train to Varkala (2n)
*Wed Dec 22 - bus to Kanyakumari (1n)

*Thu Dec 23 - train - either Kanyakumari to Madurai (arrive 21:50) overnight in Madurai or Trivandrum to Kodai Road (arrive 23:44) and pre-arrange transport from Kodai Road station to Kodaikanal (there's a bus from Kanyakumari but it's 10 hours...)
Fri Dec 24 - bus or car to Kodaikanal if not already there (4n)
Tue Dec 28 - bus to Madurai (2n)
Thu Dec 30 - bus or train to Trichy (3n) - visit Thanjavur from Trichy

Sun Jan 2 - bus or car to Chettinad region (2n)
Tue Jan 4 - bus or car to Puducherry aka Pondi (4n)
Sat Jan 8 - car to Chennai via Dakshina Chitra and Kanchipuram
Sun Jan 9 - fly to Colombo

*I'm reluctant to skip Kanyakumari when I'm relatively close, but I could take these four days and add one each to Hospet, Lucknow or Hyderabad (not both, because the Hospet-Madgaon train doesn't run every day), Mangalore and Madurai. Or I could drop a day from Ooty/Coonoor to add an extra night in Varkala or Trivandrum.

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