Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Asia
Reload this Page >

First Time to India: Working on My Itinerary

First Time to India: Working on My Itinerary

Old Sep 14th, 2008, 08:27 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 23
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
First Time to India: Working on My Itinerary

Hi everybody,

I'm planning to visit India in november 2009. I've been reading my bookguide of India and these are the places that I'm interested in visiting:

Varanasi
Khajuraho
Delhi
Agra (Taj Mahal)
Rajasthan
Aurangabad (Ellora Caves)
Mumbai

However, I have the following doubts:

1. Is it feasible to visit these places in one trip? Should I drop any of them?
2. How long would I need to visit them?
3. Which city shouldn't I miss in Rajasthan? Jaipur, Udaipur or Jodhpur? What about Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Pushkar?
4. Would it be better if I visited India with a tour operator? Which one? I've checked www.namasteindiatours.com and www.intrepidtravel.com, are there any others that you can recommend?

Thanks!
SaraFato is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2008, 09:00 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 10,031
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
First of all you are going at a good time weather wise. My only thought here is if you must omit something from your list then make it Pushkar. We have been there a few times. My wife is actually from Ajmer which is bacically in the foothills of Pushkar. Last time we were there resulted in an overall bad experience. I was removing my wallet (in broad daylight!) from my pocket to pay the cabbie when I sensed someone coming towards me with "determination" (read as ala a predator) so I glanced up, stared at him and squeezed my wallet tightly just to see the look in the eyes of this varmint and it was cold and steely. He veered away about 10 ft. short of me when he knew I was onto him. Then we went to a temple, were met by a "guide" who said he was a "student" there and would be happy to give us a tour. His smiles turned to shouting when he felt his tip wasn't enough. It was ugly. Then we went to the temple by the lake and were met by another "guide" who told us all we had to do was remove our shoes B4 we could go down by the water. OK. Then we were met by another man dressed like a holy man who demanded money for the privelege of taking a picture of the lake. And he shouted when I refused. This all happened in one day. So I say avoid Pushkar.
jacketwatch is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2008, 01:09 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,924
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
How many days will you be in India? Can't comment on your itinerary without knowing how long you will be there.

Also, will you be alone? any kids? Are you arriving/departing India in Delhi or Mumbai?

The more relevant info you provide, the better quality of feedback we can give you.

Jaya is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2008, 01:15 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,956
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
You can certainly visit all of those in one trip, I've done it, but I spent 10 weeks in India. How long a trip are you planning? You need to be aware that travel in India is likely to be slow and aggravating, but very rewarding.

Yo can certainly visit India on your own. I traveled by train: many posters here use a car and driver booked through a local agency. (I did that for a small part of my trip, but I made the arrangements after I arrived.) I have traveled with Intrepid in other parts of Asia, although not in India - if you search here on "massagediva" and "india" you should find a trip report on a trip to India with Intrepid.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Sep 15th, 2008, 07:26 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 23
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi again,

I count on two weeks and I'm planning on traveling with my mother. I'd thought of starting at Delhi and ending at Mumbai.

If you guys had to choose among Khajuraho, Ellora and Ajanta, which one would you visit? I'd like to visit the three of them, but considering the other places I'd like to visit, I know that two weeks aren't enough.

What about Rajasthan? I'm torn between Jaipur and Udaipur. I'm leaning towards Udaipur because, according to my bookguide, is the most enchanting city in the Rajasthan, but what about the other ones? Because of my limited time, I think that I can only visit one city in Rajasthan.

Since Mumbai isn't a priority for me and, apparently, the best way to get to Aurangabad is by plane, would it be better to drop it out completely and fly back to Delhi at the end of my trip and use that Mumbai time somewhere else?

I checked a tour offered on www.atom-ve.com, which is similar to the one I'm interested in doing, but it looks a bit hurried. This is it:

03 nights in Katmandu,
01 night in Varanasi,
01 night in Khajuraho,
02 nights in Agra,
02 nights in Jaipur,
02 nights in Delhi,
01 night in Udaipur,
01 night in Mumbai and
02 nights in Aurangabad.

I have even thought of doing the golden triangle with a tour operator, drop out Khajuraho and spend three nights in each Varanasi and Aurangabad on my own

Thanks again for your opinion.
SaraFato is offline  
Old Sep 15th, 2008, 07:38 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,956
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
First, forget Nepal, you don't have enough time for what you want to see in India. Second, you need more time (as much as possible) in Varanasi (and sleep by the river). Third, it's a toss up whether you should visit Khajuraho or Aurangabad (base for both Ajanta and Ellora), so pick whichever works best for your itinerary. For my trip report which includes both see www.wilhelmswords.com/asia2001.

I would be inclined to fly into to Delhi and then onto Varanasi, and work my way back to Delhi via Khajuraho, Agra and Rajasthan. Didn't go to Udaipur, so can't help there, and thought Jaisalmer was the best of the three "J" cities, but it's too far for you. You can do all of that on your own, by train and plane, or with a car and driver for Rajasthan. I used www.rajasthantravelservice.com, I think it's Castle and Kings that several posters here like.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Sep 15th, 2008, 08:01 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 23
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks Thursdaysd,

Considering your suggestion, I'd thought of this itinerary:

Varanasi, 3 nights
Delhi, 3 nights
Agra, 2 nights
Udaipur, 3 nights
Aurangabad, 3 nights

I could add an extra week and spend a total of three weeks in India. Is it feasible to do this itinerary plus a few days in Goa in three weeks?

Thanks again.
SaraFato is offline  
Old Sep 15th, 2008, 08:28 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,956
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Adding an extra week is an excellent idea. If you add in travel time I think you're already over your two week limit. Try doing a day-by-day layout (I use one month printed calendar pages) including the travel and see where you come out.

You could certainly add a few days in Goa - I would recommend staying in Panaji (and visiting Old Goa) as well as staying at the beach. (Note: the St. Francis Xavier day celebration at Old Goa, which I thoroughly enjoyed, is Dec. 3rd.)
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Sep 15th, 2008, 10:59 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 78
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi. I just returned from 10 days in India. I like your revised itinerary a lot. The only thing I would add is that you probably only need one night in Agra. Also, I haven't been to Udaipur (I went to Jaipur), but 3 days sounds like a lot to me. Happy planning!
drgough is offline  
Old Sep 16th, 2008, 02:40 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 23
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi again,

I've just checked the rajasthantravelservice.com and I think the Delhi-Agra-Jaipur-Jodhpur-Udaipur itinerary sounds good. Perhaps I could do that itinerary with them (08 nights) and do Varanasi (03 nights) and Aurangabad (03 nights) on my own plus a few days in Goa (how many nights?).

Thanks again.
SaraFato is offline  
Old Sep 20th, 2008, 07:10 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 23
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi again,

I was checking the 8 night itinerary offered by Rajasthan Travel and It seems a bit rushed as well.

I think I'll stick to my Varanasi-Delhi-Agra-Udaipur-Aurangabad-Goa itinerary.

I was checking flights on http://india-airlines.com and I guess I could fly from city to city.

So considering that Udaipur seems smaller, I think I could stay for 02 nights instead of 03 and perhaps stay in Goa for 05 nights to visit Old Panjim, Margao and to have a beach break.

How does that sound?

Thanks again.
SaraFato is offline  
Old Sep 20th, 2008, 01:53 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,956
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Sounds pretty good - what is your complete itinerary?
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2008, 03:05 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 23
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi again,

It would be something like this:

01st night, arrival at Delhi,

Plane to Varanasi for 03 nights (Indian Airlines, 10:05-11:20):
Since Varanasi is a small place and I'd be jetlagged I'd rather spend the first few days there even though I've read it's an overwhelming city,

Plane back to Delhi for 03 nights (Jet Airways, 14:40-16:00): Two days to visit Old Delhi,

Train to Agra for 02 nights (One day to visit Taj Mahal and Agra Fort),

Plane to Udaipur for 02 nights (Kingfisher, 09:30-14.10): Mainly wander around the historic center,

Plane to Aurangabad for 03 nights (Kingfisher, 14:40-16.25): One day to visit Ellora Caves and another one to visit Ajanta Caves,

Plane to Goa for 05 nights (Jet Airways, 08:25-13:45): One day to visit Old Panjim, another one to visit Margao and two days for a beach break. However, I don't know where to base to do this. Any ideas?.

Plane to Mumbai and finally plane back home.

Am I insane for taking these many planes or this is simply the way to do it?

Thanks again!
SaraFato is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2008, 04:12 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,121
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Sarah, I've been tracking your progress. Thursday is giving you good advice. I reckon you're stuck with those flights. You know, if you give us some kind of idea what kinda places you like I'm sure we can help on that,too.

Here's one masterstroke to start with:

go here:
www.flykingfisher.com
do ALL your flights thru them. Join Kingfisher Club [free,easy] - check the business class fares as well. Sometimes they are hardly any difference. Travel business if you can. This is all about back up - if something goes wrong you're in safe hands - and WAY superior customer service.

Here's what I wrote a while ago about them:

'The Kingfisher Airlines experience:

I can’t speak highly enough of Kingfisher. All up I flew with them seven times. If you want to fly in India at staggeringly cheap rates and avoid ALL the hassle of the airport, then I gotta say – fly Kingfisher.

No stress – no tipping - the absolute minimum waiting time, no confusion, no arghhhh where do I go, what do I do, where’s the check-in, arghhh, I’m hot, tired, I’m juggling fifteen bits of baggage, I’m in India, it’s strange, I’m stupid, old and should never have left home…. Impressive.

Your taxi/auto-rickshaw arrives at the airport. Instantly, and I mean, instantly, there will be a young man in a red T-shirt at the kerb-side. He’ll load your bags onto a trolley and escort you into the airport. Those of you who know Indian airports will also know that your first stop will be a security check for your luggage. The young man will handle that, while you show your documents to the soldier at the door, and wait, as long as it takes, for your checked luggage to emerge from a fierce-looking X-ray machine. Then the red T shirt will escort you to the check-in. Which won’t take very long at all.

If there’s a queue, if there’s madness or a delay, then another young man, or woman, in red will pop up beside you, check your paperwork and, courtesy a little machine at their waist [like an old-fashioned tram conductor,] punch out your boarding pass while you’re waiting – so, once you hit the desk, there’s nothing to do but wait briefly while they tag the bag [and your credit card if you’ve booked over the net.]

If you look completely overwhelmed, I’m sure someone else in red will pop up with a valium and a shoulder massage – but I may have dreamt that bit. This is for economy class. Travel Kingfisher First Class and they pick you up in a palanquin and carry you to the plane. Dancing girls in red saris strew the tarmac with rose petals. A band plays.

Somehow, they’ll manage to serve you a perfectly acceptable full meal, even if the flight is 45 minutes long. They’ll even give you a menu, a free pen, headphones and smile. And somehow, they’ll manage to be calm, extremely pleasant, supportive, look after the old, the young and the infirm and manage to control those passengers who clearly have never been on a plane in their lives. One man, on my Goa flight, stood up and wandered down the aisle as the plane was about to take off – blissfully unaware that it might be best to sit down and buckle up. One young lad managed to tip the entire meal in his lap, he was so excited. This was a test of the stewardesses – given the overwhelming lechery of young men in India, his curry-soaked crotch was left to him to attend to.

Some of the passengers will take anything that isn’t nailed down off the plane with them – the in-flight magazine, the shopping guide, the sick bag, the plastic envelope they came in, the headphones, the pillow, the free pen, the bottles of water and, if they can get away with it, the meal; food, knife, fork and spoon, menu, sugar, salt, the cellophane wrapper, the napkin and, very possibly, the tray. I thought I saw one man trying to prize the television off the seat in front of him – but I may be mistaken.

Watch and wonder.

Then, when you get off, there’ll be more young men in red at the baggage pick-up with a trolley to escort you, and your luggage, to the door. If you’re smart, there will be a man with a sign ready to zoom you to your hotel. If you’re not, there‘ll probably be a pre-paid taxi booth. If you’re unlucky, then you’ll be cast to the wolves – the taxi drivers waiting outside. If you’re stupid, you’ll pay too much, end up in something that once resembled a car with a total stranger heading into town.

But you know, you’ll arrive. The amount of stress you go thru will entirely depend on you – there’ll be no reason for most of it. [not that that’s ever stopped dogster] It’ll dissolve – particularly if you head to the Taj Hotels, the Oberoi’s, the Leela’s...'

See 'Dogster: The Great Stumble Forward: India' for more - [Goa,Panjim stuff] and 'Dogster: Still Stumbling: Varanasi'

dogster is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2008, 05:43 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,956
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Hi Sara - that looks pretty good. You definitely need to fly to and from Varanasi with your time constraints. If you want to try for another train, the schedules are at www.indianrail.gov.in - I think taking a train is a great way to experience India, and the posh express between Delhi and Agra doesn't really count. But you only have so much time.

For Goa I can recommend staying at www.panjiminn.com (dogster liked it too, but I think he was in the new upmarket bit) in Panjim. I stayed at Sterling Vagator on the beach, great location, mostly Indian families, but my AC wasn't reliable. I think I used a taxi to get there from Panaji, but I used buses to get to and from Old Goa. (Bit of excitement on one trip - the bus was packed because of the festival and someone caught a would-be pickpocket. A group got off the bus with him at the next stop and administered some summary justice....).
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2008, 04:40 PM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 23
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks Thursday, I now have to start looking for hotels and I'm done.

Thanks again everybody for your advice!
SaraFato is offline  
Old Nov 8th, 2008, 09:47 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 7
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We went to India (4 of us) and we used Durjay (Compass Tours) to plan the whole trip. You can be in touch with him via the internet. Everything he did and planned was beyond perfect. He is honest and very attentive.
Bfried is offline  
Old Jan 19th, 2009, 03:56 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I travelled to India for the first time in April, 2008. This was also my first trip out of the country. I visited Delhi, Amritsar, Dharmasala, Agra, Jaipur, and Varanasi. It was a two week tour, and I used 1st class passenger train and private drivers. I stayed in hotels that were clean, comfortable, not 5-star but still many amenities. I had a wonderful time, and I'm going back in May (NOT the best time to travel temperature-wise, but had huge discounts at the hotels) It was about $1500 total, and I didn't sacrifice comfort for budget. I believe the website was indianmoments.com .
In two weeks all I had time to do was visit the major attractions of each city, but I always had some "unplanned" time in every city, just to relax. There are a lot of factors to consider such as length of your trip, and how much you are willing to spend.
whatcher is offline  
Old Jan 22nd, 2009, 05:07 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 71
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 1 Post
Hi Sara,

I recommend a comoany called - Yatrik.com - many of my friends from US have used it for their travels and their experiences have been superb.

All the best
holikurry is offline  
Old Apr 15th, 2009, 05:09 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,110
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm planning a trip this fall as well. The Jain temples in Ranakpur are 60 km from Udaipur. We plan to stay in U. for three nights, but make a day trip on the second day to Ranakpur.
indianapearl is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
wkwb42a
Asia
23
May 10th, 2013 12:38 PM
fun4all4
Asia
13
Aug 14th, 2012 10:40 AM
Canadienne
Asia
12
Sep 28th, 2008 04:11 PM
eyeski
Asia
17
May 14th, 2008 05:06 PM
jandj
Asia
11
Aug 28th, 2006 09:23 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information