Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Ranthambore

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Feb 3rd, 2009, 05:06 PM
  #21
 
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I'm chiming in with some support to comments people have made already with regards to the road travel on your route. Where part of the road travel will add to your overall experience, as some point (probably halfway into the trip to Ranthambore) it becomes just plain painful.

We travelled by road (October 2007) from Delhi to Agra. This relatively short road trip turned into a 7 hour long journey. There was a protest march underway in addition to multiple crashes on the road.

From Agra we travelled by road to Ranthambore. Again, another 7 hour day on the road, excluding the stop at Fathehpur Sikri. Of which the last 2 - 2 1/2 hours were downright painful. As in, all we could do was sit and hold on, the road was so rough. My travel companion tweaked her back on this road and had issues for the rest of the trip.

Was it worth it? For me it was, maybe not for my travel companion. We went into the park 4 times - 3 times to look for Tigers and the fourth time to see the fort (which we loved). We saw a female tiger on our first trip in - then didn't see any other tigers for the rest of our stay.

From Ranthambore it was a much easier trip to Jaipur - but it was still 5 hours.

You know your kids and what they'll be able to handle.... my kids would be looking for the exit door and the closest pool!
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Feb 3rd, 2009, 05:47 PM
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I'm getting very confused between dtnestea in late June and pariskid in April, so I won't comment directly to either of you. the bottom line is that you cannot overschedule in India unless you are fullly prepared for the frustration and hard choices that will come when things go wrong...and they will.

By way of example:
I was scheduled on that Kingfisher flight from Varanasi to Delhi last May. When we got to the airport, they blithely announced they had departed two hours early, and would be happy to refund my money. We barely managed to get on the one other flight to Delhi that afternoon, but it meant our driver sat waiting for us for several hours and that we were on the Grand Trunk road in the dark getting to Agra, the one thing I feared. But at least we got to Agra.

A ew blocks from our hotel, police had closed all the roads leading to the Taj Mahal and the Taj itself so that some celebrity or politician could have some alone time. No advance warning to all the tourists who'd allowed just enough time to see one sunset in Agra. Didn't affect our viewing plans, but we were lucky the 0beroi cart was allowed to come and get us from the closure point. Guests of other hotels were just waiting till the road opened, some from the afternoon till at least 9 pm.

Again, things worked out, and I love the crazy adventure that is called traveling in India. But how unfortunate if you are scheduled so tightly that a rainstorm, protest march, or traffic accident kept you from seeing the Taj Mahal or forced you to choose between traveling in dangerous conditions or making your flight home?

I went on a "once in a lifetime" trip to india in 2005, and did just Delhi/Agra/Jaipur in two weeks. It was so great that I've done three more "once in a lifetime" trips to India since then, and will likely do a few more. In two full weeks, choose three spots, four if they're easy to get to, and you'll have a much better time.
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Feb 3rd, 2009, 08:22 PM
  #23
 
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In fairness to pariskid678, my comment on the drive to Ranthambore was in the post to dtnestea, so pariskid678 may not have seen it. To clarify, Pariskid678 plans to be there for 11 days in April, and dtnestea is there for 8 days in late June. dtnestea has not been back on this thread, we may have scared her away…

Pariskid678on your latest itin, my thoughts would be as follows:

I don’t know why someone would want to travel every other day in the April heat in India. More so with 2 children. If two adults want to inflict that on themselves, that is one thing, but not sure it is fair to the kids (who may ultimately punish you for it in any event). Traveling in India, even by air, is nothing at all like traveling in Europe (where I have lived). I don’t know if you traveled on this sort of schedule in Morocco and Egypt, and what time of year you did that traveling, and if you had your kids with you; if all three are true, then perhaps you can handle this schedule. But overall, and IMO I don’t know why anyone would WANT to do it. This is not a contest to see as many places as you can.

You might want to seriously consider cutting out Delhi entirely. One day is going to be quite rushed, and you could use your time better elsewhere. I think Delhi offers a lot to see and do, and really I am not sure that there is a point to trying to do any of it in one day. Many of the sites, like the Red Fort, are huge and offer no air conditioning and little shade. You might far better enjoy more time in Jaipur or Ranthambore.

Hard to make a choice between Varanasi and Rikisesh. Varanasi is much larger, but offers the cremation Ghats and bathing Ghats, and you really do not get the former in Rikisesh, although you do get the latter. The cremation Ghats are a sight to see, as is the morning bathing ritual; but the evening arti in Rikisesh is very moving. There is a version in Varanasi at Dusashwamedh Ghat and some other places, IMO, the one at Rikisesh is much smaller and more intimate, and you may well be the only westerners in attendance. I believe, but cannot say for sure, that there are more yoga centres and ashrams in Rikisesh; they are certainly more visible. Varanasi is more of a place for the dying, for lack of a better way to explain it (but of enormous spiritual importance to Hindus), and Rikisesh is a place for people still on the journey. I guess I should ask what type of meditation your husband was interested in, if it is Buddhist meditation, than Sarnath, about an hour outside Varanasi, would be better I would think. I apologize if I am telling you something you already know, but Sarnath is where the historical Buddha preached his first sermon and is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site. Rikisesh is more of a centre for Hindu/yogic meditation as it is a major Hindu pilgrimage site. My personal opinion is that the countryside around Rikisesh is far more appealing: it is mountains and the foothills of the Himalaya and much more green. You can cross on footbridges hanging over the river with the mountains behind you and see the ashrams and temples along the sides, which is not the case in Varanasi. Varanasi sits in the flat plains of the Ganges and does not offer a lot in the way of physical beauty, IMO, beyond the river bank, which is actually quite barren, esp. in April at the end of the dry season. But the temples from the water are quite spectacular and the cremation Ghats too. It’s really a tough choice I would say.

The Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays. Hopefully the day you have chosen to visit is not a Friday. As mentioned above, the odd closure for a celebrity or head of state (such as president of France which happened recently) is possible as well, but that is something that you really cannot control. As with all things, you must be flexible.

I have myself often recco’d the Kingfisher flight between Varanasi and Agra which dogster mentions above, which requires a change in Delhi. However, I have also noted that the connection time is less than 45 minutes, so I am not sure if Kingfisher allows this connection, and it should also be noted that while Kingfisher is an excellent airline with a good on-time record, this is a very tight connection time by any standards. (Kingfisher may not even allow the connection.) However, Delhi domestic airport is tiny and the gates would literally be next to each other (there are maybe 8 gates at the terminal), so it is worth thinking about. If possible, I would go business class, as if the Varanasi flight is late the airline will give you better service in making the connection, IMO. See http://www.flykingfisher.com/. If the Varanasi flight is very late, you could of course drive down right from the airport, however I would NOT recommend doing this drive in the dark, and it takes about 4 hours from the airport, so if the flight is very late, you probably would need to go into Delhi and take the train down. So, you would need to be flexible if something happened to the flights. You might also move Varanasi in the order of the itin as noted below.

The other option you have of course it to take the train between Varanasi and Agra. There are several night train options, you could also choose a day train if you wanted to see something of the countryside (but loose something of a day) . The shortest day train seems to take about 8 hours, same with the shortest night train, with an 11 pm departure and a 7 am arrival into Tundla Junction, about 20 miles from Agra itself (but this train, the Vikramshila Express #6791 from Mughal Sarai Junction outside Varanasi seems to have the best on-time record and probably is the best choice rather than taking a train to Agra itself, but you have several options, see www.indianrail.gov.in. and Indiamike.com
is very helpful too, where I believe you have also posted. A night train may be your sanest option, IMO, given the short time you have and the amount of distance you want to cover.
With regard to the drive from Agra to Ranthambore, I will repeat what I have said in previous posts: “It looks doable on the map, but about half of it is in fact a dirt road, and is the most bone-crunching, spine-twisting road I have experienced in 20 years in Asia. Even our driver did not want to do this route, be we (stupidly) insisted. I would really seriously re-consider any itin that included a drive between Agra and Ranthambore. Your spine will thank you.” I would add that if your children are at all prone to car-sickness, this could be quite an unpleasant journey.
You might consider setting up the itin in this way: Fly into Delhi – train Ranthambore – drive to Jaipur – drive to Agra – train to Varanasi – fly to Mumbai. The train from Delhi to Ranthambore is about 4 hours, and there are many options. If you can give me your flight arrival time into Delhi from Paris, I can make some suggestions for the train to Ranthambore.

If you have any option to change your international flights, you might consider flying from Paris to Bangkok, then flying from Bangkok right to Varanasi first. Thai Airways has in the past had a daily flight to Varanasi, although I could not find it on their schedule today; but it might be worth looking into. This might be an attractive routing if you could do it.

If your international flights are in and out of Mumbai, you might consider going Varanasi first (Kingfisher flight via Delhi, but a “legal” connection, however an overnight at an airport hotel in Mumbai is probably necessary if you have a late night arrival from Paris), then doing the rest of the itin. Or you might also consider going to Varanasi LAST. Then at the end of the trip, fly from Varanasi to Mumbai either on Jet Airways or Kingfisher. You have to change from domestic to international terminals in Mumbai, which requires a taxi ride and you have to bring your luggage, but its about 10 minutes between terminals.

As for guides and drivers, you can’t really use the same driver or guide for the trip, as your distances are too vast. You can’t use a guide in Ranthambore (you have to go in the park’s jeeps). IMO you do not need a guide for the Taj, but may want one if you want to see other parts of Agra, but I would let the heat and your exhaustion level dictate. You could use a guide for parts of Jaipur, like the Amber Palace (I have done with and without, a toss up whether one is needed), but I think one for the City Palace is helpful as that is huge. So overall, I would just pick up guides for the day from hotels or people here who may recommend them. For hotels, I would absolutely book on your own and contact the hotels directly. You may be travelling over Easter, but you are in LOW season, and India is tottering on the edge of recession, so take advantage of both. A very useful website for hotels in India is http://sawdays.co.uk/, click on the book for India. You can also buy the book, Special Places to Stay India, but the website will give you a very long list of hotels to start with. A lot of these hotels are in the budget range, and all seem interesting and several, like the Imperial in Delhi, are outstanding (but it ‘s not a budget hotel by any means). Two good operators generally in India are the Oberoi group (http://www.oberoihotels.com) and the Taj group (www.tajhotels.com. ). Neemrama has already been mentioned, but see o http://www.neemranahotels.com. Sheraton and Marriott run a number of good hotels in India as well, generally in the major cites.

The rumour about closing the inside of the Taj has been around for at least 15 years as far as I know (I first heard it in 1992 or so) I don’t give it a great deal of credence, but of course one never knows. I could see placing more strict controls over the number of people who are allowed inside at a given time, which currently is not done to the best of my recollection. Climate control could of course be introduced as well. Closing the interior would be a last resort I would think. There are no paintings inside that need to be protected, it is all marble, so I have a hard time believing that human breath and perspiration is doing damage (unlike say to frescos and other delicate paintings in other places like the Last Supper in Milan)




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Feb 3rd, 2009, 08:41 PM
  #24
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Thanks a million to everyone for all your valuable comments and suggestions. After reading the suggestions and doing some reality checks this is what we are planning on doing. Nothing concrete. It is all in the planning phase. One thing for sure is my flight to Delhi is booked.

Day 1 and 2 Arrive in Delhi. Overnight at Delhi. Spend 2 days and the next night in Delhi. ( 2 nights at Delhi)

Day 3 My husband says that we should take the train from Delhi to Agra. Spend all day in Agra and the night. That should give us sunset visit of Taj and the the Agra Fort. Here we will rent a car that we will keep til we reach Jaipur. (1 night at Agra)

Day 4 Next day see the Taj at Sunrise and head to Fathehpursikri and then reach Jaipur by night. (1 night at Jaipur)

Day 5 and Day 6 2 options. Keep the car and drive to Ranthambore or take the train. We are NOT GOING to Pushkar. Couple of game drives and the fort and head back the next day. ( 1 night at Ranthambore)

The next morning back to Jaipur. Stay 2 nights at Jaipur and fly out of Jaipur.

We are trying to do the most in the little time we have as Paris mentioned. The school holidays start late June. I have been to Agra when I was a kid. i know things are a lot different now. We have done the game drives at Kabini and only saw tiger pug marks. Thought we could try again.

Thank you all for your help. I am going to start looking at hotels in a few days and get back to you all for advice. Thanks again.
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Feb 3rd, 2009, 09:09 PM
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I am totally confused as to who is who.

Reaches for sedation...
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Feb 3rd, 2009, 09:21 PM
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The schedule looks better I would say. I will assume that by “rent a car” you mean hire a car with a driver. I would strongly advise against any person not resident in India actually driving their own car. (Most Indians who are wealthy enough to own cars actually have drivers themselves). You do not understand the rules of the road (to the extent that they exist at all in India which is questionable) and IMO it is really not a good idea for someone to “learn” to drive in India. With a child in the car, I would go so far to say as this would be dangerous. A driver is quite inexpensive, and you can either just hire one to take you to Jaipur, or hire one for the whole journey (see below).

It is a toss-up whether you would want to drive down to Ranthambore or take the train, look at the schedules and see, only the very fast non-stop trains are actually faster than driving, and those times may not work with the game drive schedule. The road is quite good and the drive takes 2.5-3 hours. On the other hand, you won’t need the car/driver at all during your time in Ranthambore as you will be in the park and using the park’s jeeps, so you will be paying a bit for something you are not using, but it is not really that expensive, look into pricing and see. You might also check with the hotels in Ranthambore and/or Jaipur to see what they would charge for a one way or return transfer, rather than a car/driver you hire yourself. The hotels will most likely charge more, but that will give you an idea of top-line prices for yourself when you start looking for drivers.
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Feb 3rd, 2009, 09:41 PM
  #27
 
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Cicerone thinks 2.5 hours Jaipur to Ranthambore - j.p singh says 5, dreaming says 5. I dunno.

You'll spend about 6 hours in the park over two drives. [the rest is checking-in, eating, showering, calming down your disappointed lad after he didn't see anything - and sleeping]

Then drive back 5 hours to Jaipur... sounds like hard work to me.
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Feb 3rd, 2009, 09:48 PM
  #28
 
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I have read your conversation with great interests. I am considering getting a ticket to and from Delhi July 29 to Aug 20. I only have two days to keep the fare I found. Can anyone suggest an itinerary for me? historical sites, temples, natural beauties, one or two Yoga lessons are all welcomed, not planning to get a car, neither a guide or join a tour group.
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Feb 3rd, 2009, 09:59 PM
  #29
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Cicerone, I meant hire a car and driver. I would never dream of driving there.

Dogster, I feel if we get to see a tiger on the 2 game drives, it is good. One that place closes at month end and 2 we don't have more time. Like I said earlier, we did 3 days at Kabini and saw pug marks. I looked at couple of places. I will write those details in a a few days.

I have'nt looked at the Train time table yet. Maybe Jaipur to Rbore via train may not work.

Good Night all and thank You!
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Feb 3rd, 2009, 10:06 PM
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I said 2.5 to 3 hours to Ranthambore. but I don't ever remember it taking 5 hours. I am of course prepared to be wrong.
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Feb 3rd, 2009, 10:14 PM
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Here I add to your confusion!
The road between Tonk & Sawaimadhopur is under reconstruction. The only reasonable way, of date, to Ranthambhore is from Dausa > Lalsot> Sawaimadhopur. It has been redone...the section from Dausa to Lalsot (40km approx) is ok, though passing through densely populated areas, with speed breakers, aplenty. The section between Lalsot to Sawaimadhopur (70km) is good, with just a few miles at the other end in desrepair.
The best way to get to Sawaimadhopur is to catch the Golden Temple mail from Bharatpur & arrive in SWM at 13:05 hrs, check-in, partake of lunch & be off on tryst with tigers!
Have your bookings done on this train quickly for it is a long distance train & Bharatpur has a small quota.

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Feb 4th, 2009, 01:15 AM
  #32
 
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Wow. Dogster, I too am reaching for the sedation.... This is Pariskid (11 days, 2 kids). DTnestea is with 8 days, 1 kid. Clear? Maybe we are both insane. Lol.

Ok, I am seriously reconsidering the Agra/Ranthambore route due to all your comments Cicerone et al. I am being quoted guides and drivers all the time by the tour guys and frankly, I KNOW it is a waste of money to pay for a driver to sit around for 2 days while we attempt to sight the elusive tiger.

Ok, I am going to be brave here. Should we just drop the whole Ranthambore thing? Dogster, I know you think we should! I just thought that if we stayed in a lovely place there, then it would be relaxing and a chance to maybe see wildlife and take a break from the hustle of other cities. But, if the hassle of getting there is too much trouble, and you all think we will never see a tiger and will only be disappointed.... Maybe I should just save the safari idea for a trip to Africa. (which is what I wanted to to this year, but got voted down).

Cicerone...I have not booked the int'l tix yet. We are using miles. What a pain. We can only get tickets into Delhi and out of Mumbai (using any reasonable amount of miles). I never considered Bangkok to Varanasi. Seems like you are going further and then coming back.... My husband is a buddhist and I do think the Sarnath area may be the ticket.

I know many of you have said to stay on the river in Varanasi to see the real city. I don't know. With kids, they are going to need to get out of it and go to the pool, like you all have said. We need 5 star accomodation, or close to it. I don't know what else to say about that...call us wussy.

I am getting discouraged..not that you guys are not helpful and great!

PS In Jaipur, any comments on Dera Amer (for 2 hour elephant "Safari") or the Monkey temple? Sound like things my kids would like.

Thanks all.
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Feb 4th, 2009, 01:54 AM
  #33
 
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Will you consider a completely lateral thought? This assumes you'll blow out Ranthambore.

Fly Varanasi - Kathmandu. One hour direct. Air India. Stay 3 nights.

Fly Kathmandu to Delhi. 2 hours max. Connect straight thru to Agra if you can.

If you're prepared to consider it, I'll show you how.

Varanasi, I understand your concerns. You'd have to involve your kids in this choice, so they all agreed that it would be REALLY COOL to stay right in the middle as a total ADVENTURE - even though it might be kinda strange and pretty basic and we all have to work together... you know the line. Once there, the staff will love you to death.

the other options are way outta the action. You'll end up like package tourists bused in and out.

BTW its in travel agents best interests to have their car and driver hanging round as much as possible, doing nothing. Of course...

Assuming my fabulous idea gets the can you're faced with what to do for three extra days in Rajasthan. That shouldn't be too difficult. Just bloody hot. Are the kids into horses? There are some horse-riding places that are pretty cool close-by. Desert tents? You could wander down to Udaipur stopping in castles along the way...
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Feb 4th, 2009, 04:25 AM
  #34
 
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No, do not be discouraged, that is how tour operators get you to buy tours!! I have been planning a South Africa trip for some months myself, and know how you feel, but you must wade through the choices and eventually a more concrete plan will come into focus.

In terms of miles, Bangkok is a bit west of course, but in reality if the flight times work, it really is an easy flight, esp. if you get a good non-stop from France which will let you connect onward with a reasonable layover, but it would all depend on what flights you can get.

You can fly from Bangkok to Katmandu on Thai (that is in fact how some of the Bangkok-Varanasi flights work, via a connection in Katmandu, it’s all part of the Buddhist pilgrimage trail). You can then fly Katmandu to Varanasi. I have to say I am not a huge fan of Katmandu, it is quite large and overbuilt and polluted (and that was about a decade ago when I last saw it, I believe it is much larger now), but others like it. I found it too hippyesque and not really spiritual enough; like Kuta rather than Ubud in Bali. I think the countryside is a different matter, but you really don’t have time for that if you want to include India and with only 9 days on the ground overall.

I actually think that if you want to keep to your original itin, that you might also look into whether it would be better to fly INTO Mumbai and out of Delhi. The reason for this is that IMO you may find more domestic flight options in/out of Mumbai (it’s a huge air hub) and because your departure from Delhi is more than likely going to be late at night, you may be able to give yourself more time on your last day in north India rather than spending it tying to get down south to Mumbai by air to connect to your intl flight. See http://www.flykingfisher.com/ and www.jetairways.com.

If you flew into Mumbai first, then you can do an overnight there (several airport hotels within moments of the airport, and actually IMO a better selection and closer than around Delhi’s airport), you could actually take the 1:30 pm flight to Varanasi (via Delhi but a “legal” connection as Kingfisher considers it one flight). You could also consider instead taking the very early Jet Airways flight to Jaipur (like 6 am) and doing the itin in reverse which would mean you are not wasting a day in transit.

I like Ranthambore a lot, but one cannot go with any hope of seeing tiger, just the thought that it would be a bonus if you did. There is lots of other interesting wildlife and the drives are quite scenic and fun (have not done them in the hot season), but if you go ONLY with the desire to see tiger, then this may be a disappointment. (I have been with travelers who had this goal, and seemed to think it was the park’s fault when they do not magically appear). If you or your children are on this category, then I would agree to give this a miss and plan for Africa at some point (but generally October is better for this is virtually all the countries).
On three trips to Ranthambore, and a total of probably a 12-15 drives, I saw tiger on one drive. You might not even mention tiger to the children if you go, and then it really will be a bonus if you see any.

One thing to also consider is possibly taking a train from Ranthambore to Agra. I think the best might be the day train, Ananya Express/2316 which leaves at about Noon and arrives at 4 pm. (Journeys in the other direction have a bad on-time record for almost all trains.) With this train, you could get in a morning game drive at Ranthambore and arrive in time for sunset at the Taj. This would be preferable to the drive. Your itin could be: arrive Delhi/Mumbai from Paris - fly to Varanasi – fly Varanasi to Jaipur (Jet Airways to Delhi then Kingfisher to Jaipur, depart Varanasi 2:30 pm arrive Jaipur 7:30 pm) - drive to Ranthambore - train Agra – train to Delhi and if necessary fly Agra to Mumbai. (If you were flying out of Delhi, you could take an early evening train from Delhi and go to the airport as late as possible for your flight which would give you more time in Agra and might spill over into an extra day elsewhere in the itin.) Or arrive Delhi/Mumbai – fly Jaipur – drive Ranthambore – train Agra – train Varansi – fly Delhi or Mumbai to connecting flight home.

I like to include at least one train ride in India per trip, if for nothing else than for the great people-watching in Indian train stations (you may enjoy this more than the safaris in Ranthambore).

You can still consider Corbett, which is close to Rikisesh, but that does not really help your husband most likely vis a vis the meditation. Unless you skipped Jaipur and then did Varanasi and Rikisesh. I am not sure both are necessary, but interesting. I agree that a place like Udaipur with its lake, or Jodhpur with its huge fort and blue-tinged houses, are very interesting and would be a good substitute for Jaipur, but look into flights carefully (you really don’t have time to drive and probably not even for a train, you may have time for a train). Camel treks are generally possible from Jodhpur, as they should be from Jaipur (have you looked into that? Don’t know about the elephant safari near Jaipur, sorry. I have a bit of a question as to how much “wildlife” would be seen, but the ride itself might be fun.)

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Feb 4th, 2009, 12:06 PM
  #35
 
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wotravel- I think you should post your question on a separate thread.


pariskid- If you can book a 2 hour elephant trip in Jaipur, i think that would be a lot more fun than trying to get to Ranthambore. the entire journey will be simpler, and you will definitely spot the elephants, unlike the tigers in Ranthambore..
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Feb 4th, 2009, 01:38 PM
  #36
 
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HI Dogster, I could not read all of the threat but I believe you are too ambitious. I have been to all the places you mention in 1 trip (rishikesh, delhi, taj, rathambore + jaipur) in 12 days and it was quite tiring (fortunately we then went to the beach).
A couple of comments: not sure if u r dealing or not with an agency, but you should. I have travelled the world in all sort of budgets and India is one place where you need to have somebody sorting it out for you in order to maximize your time enjoying it (Btw, India has been my favourite trip ever, everything went smoothly). India is very special,s ome times planes will not fly for whatever reason (or as it happens in our return from Rishi, an elephant decided to stay in the track of the train and we stopped there for 2 hours). Or cars break down or there are accidents. So you need an agency that can help you. Otherwise it could be a logistic nightmare (plus a waste of time).
Then the agency get you a travel guide that can actually guide you and keep the beggers/people at bay. My guide in the TAJ was fantastic.
We spent 3 nights in Ratha (btw it is better to take the train from near Agra and then from there drive to Jaipur - 5 hs min). And did not see any tiger. Most of them are unfortunately gone now. I will not go there. In order to guarantee a tiger sighting you need to go to far and remote parks. The Oberoi in Ratha was amazing though but I was utterly dissapointed at not seeing any tiger. There are few other animals to see.
In my humble opinion Jaipur is not that great... unless u want to buy jewels. Now the road trip from Ratha into Jaipur was fantastic.
Fnally, in Delhi, you can stay at the Imperial, it is fantastic. Or try the Sheraton. The restaurant there is considered by many to be the best in India.,
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Feb 4th, 2009, 06:34 PM
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Little does Miss Saigon know of Mr. Dogster's ambition...
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Feb 4th, 2009, 08:05 PM
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Bless Miss Saigon. She might be a little bit confused but her motivation is pure. She sure ain't the only confused one in here by now, I'd reckon.

How are you Marija? I'm off on my next journey in two weeks. Epic. Three months in India - more or less. Strangely enough, without a travel agent. I dunno how I cope...
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Feb 5th, 2009, 01:57 AM
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Hi all

You have not scared ME away yet...but I am definitely thinking hard about this trip. Saw a friend yesterday (indian) who grew up in Bombay and she said we would be crazy to go to Rajasthan in April. She said " It's the desert! You will be miserable. Go in Dec-Feb." Not unlike many of you are saying. This morning at the airport, saw another Indian friend, who is sending her child to Rishikesh in April with our school's class trip and her dad (who obviously lived in India) reiterated the "you are crazy" to send her in April. Hmmm. How many times will it take me to hear this before I i) change our destinations in India either to the far north or beach areas or ii) delay the trip until next winter. Or, will I just forge ahead and weather the heat in April, spend beaucoup bucks on a shady tour operator and see no tigers (LOL)?

Cicerone, I did check out the weather base. Thank you. Looks like Agra, Delhi etc, have 25+ days in April with weather over 90 degrees. I do think spending 6 hours in a jeep, broiling hot, looking for limited wildlife could be not the best idea.

So, I'm still thinking. Maybe Dogster, the Varanasi, Kathmandu option is not a bad one. It will be cooler there! Maybe Shimla/hill towns? I wonder if Delhi/Agra, Varanasi and Kathmandu could be a decent trip. Blow off the Ranthambore and Jaipur sections..boy, though, my kids would want an elephant ride....Argggh.

If you can stand my convoluted thinking and musings, then weigh in. Mind you all, it is because all of your advice that I keep thinking of new options and trying to figure out the best plans. You have only yourselves to blame!
pariskid678 is offline  
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Feb 5th, 2009, 02:21 AM
  #40
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,121
Well, I think you have all possible info on the Agra/Jaipur/Ranthambore nexus. Nothing will divert you from Agra, lest the Taj crumble before you see it - O.K.

Varanasi seems to be hitting a chord - husband will like Kathmandu - so it all comes down to the kids. Only you know what little angels/monsters you have raised. lol. So better get them involved, eh?

What do they think about all this?
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