First time to India

Dec 27th, 2008, 04:58 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1
First time to India

I am planning a trip to India leaving Nov 09 for approx 19 days. Here is an itinerary from Compass India Tours
Delhi 2 night-
Varanasi 2 night-
Khajuraho 1 night-
Jhansi to Agra by train 2 nights
Jaipur two nights -
Jodhpur 2 nights-
Udaiour 2 nights -
Cochin 3 nights
Mumbai 2 nights.- It seems exhausting just writing it.
tommytravel is offline  
Dec 27th, 2008, 07:50 AM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 300
It does seem a bit much to try to do a large country like India all in one shot... north & south, east & west India. My recommendation is to focus on what you really want to see, what your budget is and then narrow it down to about 4 or 5 cities and keep it to 2 regions at most. Say Delhi & Rajasthan (Golden triangle), plus either Varanasi or a quick trip down south to Cochin (and Kerala). Plan on spending a lot of travel time going from one place to another, as well. You'll need time to soak in the adventure that is India, and rushing to go to a lot of places will not be fun. The good thing is you are starting your research early. In my opinion, planning a trip is part of the fun too.
magical is offline  
Dec 27th, 2008, 08:17 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,943
i too think it is way tooooo much moving around....that all takes lots of time in india...

i did just 3 areas in 11 days with a was perfect
rhkkmk is offline  
Dec 27th, 2008, 08:49 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,121
This is a totally normal itinerary. Tour companies inflict this horror on tourists by the kazillion. They'll get you to all these places with, probably, the minimum of fuss - so stress is out of the equation.

What you have to think about, tommy - is whether you WANT to travel like that. Maybe you like the security of a group. India can be daunting. What you'll find in here is tons of folks who know that India can be better than that - by far. Or worse. lol.

If you feel comfy travelling with just you guys and a driver [and guide if you want] then your options get better.

Also, flying get you there quicker. Otherwise, most places, it's a 5 hour drive between them.

So? What kind of first trip will you guys feel comfy with? There are some very cool itineraries in here, for eg. Totally different.

Yeah, I know you wanna see all the big stuff. Sometimes in India it's the little stuff that counts. There are a million ways to skin a cat.
dogster is offline  
Dec 28th, 2008, 02:50 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 518

I am Indian staying in Mumbai, but I still can't imagine doing all this in a blitzkrieg. It will be like watching a travel channel.
India is not only Taj or sightseeing places.

Some places are too beautiful and magical and deserve more time to sink in.

My suggestion would be

Delhi- 2
Khajuraho- 1
Agra- 2/3
Jaipur- 2/3
Udaipur( and around)- 3/4/5
Jodhpur- 2
Mumbai- 2

Few more places u an add in Rajasthan
Bikaner + Gajner Palace hotel
Dungarpur palace( near Udaipur)

Udaipur is the most beautiful of them>.
Taj at different times of the day looks different.
Jaipur city is not very beautiful, but places around are very good.
Don't miss Chokhi Daani Dinner with Folk Museum at Jaipur.
Light and sound show at Chittorgarh Fort near Udaipur.

I would skip Cochin. It is OK along with Kerala( 12 days trip)
Varanasi also can be skipped.


Paragkash is offline  
Dec 28th, 2008, 04:32 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 186
Agree that it is too busy. India is a big country. I would spend another day in Varanasi; it is amazing. I had the best trip of my life in India. I decided what I wanted to do and Prashant at India Invites gave me the trip of a life time. That was in '06. I still chat with him and he is a friend. He gave me a very personalized tour. My husband and I do not have a lot of money, but had a guide and driver everywhere we went. Loved it!!!!
cjstobbs is offline  
Dec 29th, 2008, 08:27 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 85
Hi, I just returned from India. Between Agra and Khajuraho I stayed in Orchha for 1 night at the Amar Mahal Haveli and it was the best hotel and nicest town. Enough to see and the best market (nobody bothered us)We drove from Agra and arrived in the late afternoon. The next day we left late morning and drove to Khajuraho for 2 nights. From Khajuraho we flew to Varanasi which was worth the 1 night we stayed there. It was interesting to see the ghats from a boat both evening and early morning. We saw some temples, but as it was the last day of our trip we had seen so many it wasn't so interesting. We hired a car with driver from Delhi and booked most of our hotels ourselves. In hindsight, I would not book any hotels with a tour operator as the prices are higher. In Jaipur we stayed at the Ratan Haveli which was lovely, but not the best location.
dilen is offline  
Dec 30th, 2008, 05:12 AM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 69
I would never ever recommend a north and south India experience in the same trip. Just stick to north India. Combine Bombay with South India whenever you come next.
npjai is offline  
Dec 30th, 2008, 06:34 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
If you are tired just writing this itin, you should listen a bit more to your gut. You are going to 9 places in 19 days, and that is a lot, and I canít tell if your 19 days includes days on which you arrive and leave on international flights, if so, that is an even more packed schedule. I would cut out at least 2 places, and IMO those are easy: Mumbai and Khajuraho. Mumbai does not really offer much to see or do for a tourist really compared to other places in India, and I would not sacrifice time in other places for it. The temples at Khajuraho are not really fine examples of carving, and you could see better examples elsewhere; they are mostly just known for their erotic carvings, and as I always say: just buy yourself a good-quality edition of the Karma Sutra and be done with it. They make good souvenirs.

You also have not stated your interests. Are they city or country, wildlife or museums. Hiking or shopping. Colonial history or Mughal. Mountains or deserts. Religious pilgrimage sites or beaches. This would make a difference in places you should have on your itin.

Cochin is a tough one. It is very far south (get a map) and your flights back and forth may eat up a good part of your travel time. You may also find it a bit on the rainy side, but if you are going toward the end of Nov should be OK. (Last of the monsoon departs early Nov.) If you were not planning on spending any time on a houseboat in the backwaters of Kerala, or at the very least at a beach resort, I would not really see the point in going. If you donít have any interest in Portuguese colonial history or architecture (which I do, actually) or the tiny remaining Jewish enclave, then really you might want to re-consider. I would also almost argue for MORE time there so you can see some of the historical bits and also do some relaxing at the end. Then fly out up to Mumbai and try to connect immediately to an international flight, or do a late night arrival, stay at an airport hotel, and fly out for home the next day.

I would heartily agree that you should not use a pre-packaged arranged tour. That is why you are on this site: to figure out how to do this on your own. Pick your own itin and hotels, and let an agent help with booking trains, flights and hotels if you must (much of which you can actually do on your own, India is extremely wired). You can hire drivers and guides as you need time, IMO it is not at all necessary to have the same car and driver for the entire journey. English is widely and well spoken in India, signage is in English, safety is not an issue, and so there is no need to worry about traveling on your own. Compass should be able to help you with just transport and hotels if you want that, and perhaps the odd guide for some things as you feel you may want or need them.

You don't give a budget range for hotels. There are hotels in all budget ranges in India. A very useful website for hotels in India is, 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 Ďs not a budget hotel by any means). Two good operators generally in India are the Oberoi group ( and the Taj group ( ). The Aman group also has some properties open in India and is opening others that would definitely be worth considering if they are in your budget. Take a look at There is a small Indian chain called Neemrama which operates a number of unique hotels in palaces and other old buildings and could be something to consider if you want a different experience. Go to Sheraton and Marriott run a number of good hotels in India as well, generally in the major cites.

For short distances you can drive, hiring a car and driver is generally not expensive. I generally do not like to spend more then 4-6 hours on any day on an Indian road, no matter how good (and few are really good), and generally would avoid driving at night on any Indian road. Trains are also an excellent option, I like day trains just because you can see the countryside; overnight trains are possible and generally comfortable and quite inexpensive, but if you are not on a tight budget, for longer distances flying would probably be preferable. One or two overnight trains for the experience may be fun. For train schedules look at, the state railway of India. My mantra on airlines in India is: Kingfisher Airlines first choice, closely followed by Jet Airways, then others like air Spice Jet and Sahara Air in a pack with Indian Airlines at the back. But if Indian Airlines is the only available carrier and the flight is appreciably shorter than going by train or driving, then IC is OK.
Website for Indian Airlines is (Not to be confused with Air India, which is international flights only, although the website will connect you to both.)

My personal opinions are: Varanasi is really fascinating and a huge part of Indian culture (for Hindus and Buddhists). The drive from Khajuraho to Jhansi is on bloody awful roads for about 5 hours (I assume this is your plan as as Khajuraho does not have a train station and you canít lfy betweent the two either). Jhansi/Orcha are very interesting, but you can take the train from Agra to Jhansi in 2 hours, spend the day in the area, and then take the overnight train to Varansi (or vice versa). You could also overnight in Jhansi to see the area in a more relaxed way. You have Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur on your itin. All are interesting, but not sure all are necessary on one trip. Hard to say. I personally find Delhi to be quite interesting and 2 nights may be giving it rather short shrift.

Cicerone is offline  
Dec 31st, 2008, 08:40 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,216
I agree with Cicerone completely. She is also correct in mentioning you need more time in Delhi.
I have just returned after a quick trip to Delhi and want to emphasize that you have a lot to do there. Visiting historic monuments, museums, temples as well as doing shopping.
Traffic is a mess in this capital and thus traveling from one spot to another takes a lot of time even though the distance is short.
Many roads around the capital are having a lot of construction as a new subway "Metro" is being built as they get ready for the Commonwealth Games in 2010.
Thus, traffic is all the more choatic.
Shopping should be fun in Delhi as there are tons of markets with lots and lots of variety of everything in every budget.
I love Delhi, so want you to think harder and add a little bit more time.
ileen is offline  
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