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first time to India combining north and south?

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Jun 22nd, 2011, 05:26 PM
  #1
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first time to India combining north and south?

We are mid-50s, experienced travelers who prefer, to the extent possible, being somewhat off the beaten trail. We are traveling to India for the first time in December and will have 18 days on the ground. Both the north and south appeal to us. Do we need to limit ourselves to one half of the country or is it reasonable to combine north and south and see fewer places in each? We don't want to be rushed and we don't want to spend half our time traveling. We are pretty sure most people will recommend doing only the north (including the golden triangle), but there are wonderful experiences in the south and we want to know if it would be reasonable somehow to combine the two.
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Jun 22nd, 2011, 05:46 PM
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I think it makes more sense to do one geographic area, as you will minimize travel time. You don't have to start with northern India, chose any area you'd like. My first trip to India was certainly atypical, Sikkim, Darjeeling and Kolkata, but we loved it.
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Jun 22nd, 2011, 06:01 PM
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With 18 days, no. Period. You are YOUNG (like we are, anyway). And I guarantee if you enjoy India, you will return as we have. Click on my name if you'd like to read our two trip reports covering Delhi, Taj Mahal (Agra), Jaipur, Ranthambore (tiger) Park, Varanasi, Udaipur and Aurangabad (caves). Next trip will be Himalayan India and we still need to visit Kerala in the south.
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Jun 22nd, 2011, 08:33 PM
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'less is more for sure' in this case...

i would fly into mumbai or some other southern city and spend my whole time there... do the north another time..
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Jun 22nd, 2011, 10:13 PM
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Agree, you don't have time for both. But I wouldn't fly into Mumbai, it's barely in the south. Kochi would be a good place to start, you can get there via the Middle East. Or Chennai, if you're aiming for the temples in Tamil Nadu, although I'd get out of town quickly.
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Jun 23rd, 2011, 04:53 PM
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Thanks everyone for your responses, which confirm what we suspected. But now we have a follow-up question: We kind of figured we would start in the north, as it seemed more "traditional" to do so, but the south is very appealing as well. We are very interested in both. Any thoughts on the considerations in deciding between north and south? How would the character of the two differ? Thanks so much.
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Jun 23rd, 2011, 06:12 PM
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I'm inclined to say the north (I assume we're not including the mountains?) is more spectacular and the south is more spiritual, but you can't really generalize like that since the southern temples are pretty spectacular and nowhere is more spiritual than Varanasi.

They are definitely different - I met some northerners on a train who were being relocated to the south and they were very unhappy about it - the language was different, the food was different, everything was different!

I think the south is a bit cleaner. Why don't you toss a coin and see how you feel about the result?
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Jun 30th, 2011, 02:45 AM
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There are many International Airlines which arrives at Delhi and depart from Cochin .
You may do Delhi -agra - Jaipur -Bikaner - Jaisalmer -Jodhpur-Udaipur fly to Mumbai , spend 2 nights there and then can take a fly to Chennai-Mahablipuram-Pondichery-Tanjote-Trichy-Chettinad - Madurai-Gavi-Kumarakom-Back water of Kerala-Cochin
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Jun 30th, 2011, 07:28 AM
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Let's see. The OP has 18 days on the ground. This self-proclaimed guru is suggesting an itinerary that includes.... 18 places! In India! Some guru... Maybe s/he has way to stop time.
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Jun 30th, 2011, 07:44 AM
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stop time??? Sign me up!
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Jul 5th, 2011, 12:09 AM
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You could do, selectively, both north & south in your 18 days. However, what you wish to visit will largely depend upon your own interests and predilections. You mention off-beaten trails, and there are a whole lot of these on both sides. These may slow down the progress, as well, but then the vibrant colours of rural India are decidedly more interesting than the over-commercialized, routine big cities. Sadly, not many festivals, fall during your travels, in December 2011, in Rajasthan except the Winter Fest at Mt. Abu.Nonetheless, there are several others both in north & south.
South is very different from the north, socio-culturally, geographically & in financial affluence. Thursdaysd is spot on in her observations.
Very best for your plans!
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