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Best site in Delhi (if you only have a few hours)

Best site in Delhi (if you only have a few hours)

Feb 3rd, 2010, 03:41 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 47
Best site in Delhi (if you only have a few hours)

I am traveling to India in November with a friend for the first time, visiting Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udiapur. We plan on hiring a car and driver to pick us up on arrival and transport us to each destination. Our flight arrives into Delhi at 10AM on a Sunday. Originally, we planned on spending the night in Delhi but are now considering heading straight to Agra on arrival since we get in fairly early.

On our way to Agra, we wanted to visit one (or two) key Delhi sites for a couple hours since we wont be returning at the end of the trip. If our plane arrives on time, we could still drive to Agra and arrive before dark (will their be less traffic on a Sunday?)

Geographically speaking, the Qutb Complex might be the easiest to reach form the airport and we avoid driving in the city proper. Rajpath, then on to Humayun's Tomb might also be an option. Old Delhi might be too much of a hassle and we are backtracking quite a bit if continuing on to Agra.

Does anyone recommendations for a key sites we should visit?
gopp is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2010, 05:43 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
Personally, I think your plan is a little ambitious. With a 10 am arrival, after Immigration, baggage claim, the inevitable little wait to have baggage screened and hand the Customs man your ticket, and then the drive to Agra, you will arrive at Agra sometime after 3:30 pm at the very earliest, IMO. This timing means you will have encountered no lines at Immigration, no wait for baggage, and have only stopped once for maybe 15 minutes on the road. This timing is based on weekend traffic on the Agra road, which while there will be fewer cars, has just as many bullock carts, camels, people walking, etc and is not a 65-mile an hour jaunt on a 4-lane superhighway by any stretch of the imagination. This also means somehow you will have arranged with your driver to pack a lunch for the car (as there is nothing to buy in the Delhi airport although you can buy water); otherwise if you stop for lunch that will add time, so figure a later arrival.

In November, the sun will set by 5:30 pm, so you don’t really have a whole lot of time to “sightsee” in Delhi before you would have to make sure you are on the Agra road. An hour or so in the car driving around Delhi does not really offer much, and then you also have 4 hours in the car to Agra (on top of jet lag and your unwashed state from the overnight flight). Your driver may also charge you more for this, so you should be clear on this before hand.

On a Sunday, the Rajpath area is about 30-45 minutes each way from the airport/Agra Road, barring any traffic issues. The Qutb Minar is in the south east and closer to the airport and does make a bit more sense geographically (and is quite impressive), but really, facing a 4 hour drive and after an overnight flight, I am not sure it is worth making the trip.

As you are going to Agra, I don’t think Hanuman’s tomb is all that necessary. As it is a precursor to the Taj Mahal, I would not choose it as your only site in Delhi.

Rather than trying to see Delhi in an hour, you might want to consider stopping someplace like Claridges Atrium hotel, which is on the Agra road, and having a more civilized brunch/lunch there (the Agra road options are limited), and then just get on down to Agra. (You could possibly use the bathrooms there to do a bit of sprucing up as well after the overnight flight, as there are no real facilities at Delhi airport.) See http://www.claridges-hotels.com/atrium/index.asp.

A completely different suggestion is that you consider reversing your itin and flying from Delhi to Udaipur as soon as you arrive. There is a 2 pm Jet Airways flight which you could make quite easily (you have to go over to the domestic airport but this is easily done, there are a few miles apart, but you even have time to take the free shuttle bus, or use a taxi which is easier). The flight only takes an hour. This may free up your itin a bit. If you reverse the itin, just bear in mind that the Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays, do don’t plan to be in Agra on a Friday.
Cicerone is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2010, 05:55 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 102
Dear gopp,

You have a difficult decision in such an incredible city! Too bad you don't have more time.

Depending on your interests (and the level of jet lag you may experience), I would recommend Gandhi Smriti (M. Gandhi's home) - which I believe is open on a Sunday afternoon & in New Delhi. You can walk through the home and see his bedroom, 'loom' and personal effects like his glasses and sandals. The dioramas of his life are unique. Also, you may walk the garden path to the spot where he was assassinated. Spend as long as you wish & combine with another site. No guide needed. (Please note: this is not Raj Ghat.)

I am sure you'll get plenty of great suggestions here -- enjoy your trip!
m_bran is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2010, 10:04 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 47
I think it will be ambitious for us to consider ANY sightseeing on our day of arrival after a long flight from London, and either way, it would be something we will have to play by ear. The most sensible thing to do is get right on the road, and a stop on Agra Road is a great idea.

I am going to look into reversing our trip to see if that works out that we can visit Delhi at the end. We are far enough out that an itinerary change is totally doable at this point.
gopp is offline  
Feb 4th, 2010, 05:31 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 49
I agree with Cicerone. Either straight to Agra but better to reverse your trip.
shj is offline  
Feb 4th, 2010, 08:00 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,931
i don't think you have time for both sightseeing and the drive... arrival at 10:30 essentially means you get on the road at noon....
rhkkmk is offline  
Feb 4th, 2010, 09:54 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 102
gopp - Wanted to clarify - I was typing my suggestion as Cicerone was posting -- Ooops -- Glad you received such good advice & happy trails!
m_bran is offline  
Feb 5th, 2010, 05:08 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,638
we just did what Cicerone suggested, went straight to Udaipur from our Delhi flight and it was great. The shuttle bus to the other terminal was hassle free and we were very glad to start our trip in Udiapur and will leave Delhi for the end. From Udaipur we drove to Jodphur stopping at Ranakpur and Kumbalgarh on the way and then to Jaipur, then Agra and Delhi at the end. We felt that this was a good way to ease into India as it can be overwhelming you first time for sure.
live42day is offline  

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