First trip to India in November

Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 07:49 PM
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First trip to India in November

I am planning my first trip to India and have been reading trip reports and threads here about India. My husband and I will fly from Boston to London November 1, spend three days in London, then fly to Delhi. We will spend three nights in Delhi, then I have arranged for a car and driver to go to Agra Friday, November 9. We will spend one night in Agra, seeing the Taj Mahal Saturday, November 10, then drive back to Delhi and spend the night near the airport.

November 11 we fly to Goa, where we are meeting my husband's cousin from London, who will be attending a high school reunion in Goa (she grew up in Bombay, as did my husband's mother). We will be staying with her reunion group at a hotel in Goa for two nights, then we will fly to Mumbai with her and spend five nights in Mumbai. We will then travel with her for two days to a nearby hill station, as yet to be determined. We return to Mumbai for one night, then fly out from Mumbai to London Wednesday, November 21.

I would love to hear advice about places to eat in Delhi, Agra, and Mumbai. Also about attending musical, dance, cultural, or theater programs in any of these locations.

I would like to make stops between Delhi and Agra, to see Fatehpur Sikri, perhaps Mathura and/or Vrindavan.

I am interested in suggestions for interesting sights and activities in any of these areas.

I am sure I will have more questions as I go along.

One thing is that my husband's cousin has sent us a list of things to do and not to do, such as being careful about food and drink. On this list she says not to sleep with air conditioning, as this might make us ill. Has anybody experienced this? Do those of you who have traveled to India use air conditioning at night?
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Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 09:18 PM
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If it's hot (44 C!) i've used ac, without problems. All in hotels in new Delhi, Agra, and Amritsar.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 09:19 PM
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p.s. Forgot to say...have fun planning, Nikki. I'll wager you'll LOVE your time in India.
Do check Indiamike.com for more ideas
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 10:25 AM
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by the time your in mumbai, its DIWALI time and probably the best time to visit india. Every street lights up, now for things to do in mumbai,
i highly recommend eating at this place cal'd Britania & co. this restaurant has a gr8 history n d food is amazing.
Walk around the streets of Colaba and Bandra,two very famous, the most lively and safe places in mumbai.
As for cultural events you can go to this site http://www.ncpamumbai.com/ and check for any updates on the events(the november events are not yet decided so keep checking for any updates),

these are just a few things that you can do in mumbai, there's lot more to do here take a local train, bus, ride in an auto rickshaw and much more, it all depends on what u wanna see. Enjoy!!!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 11:46 AM
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Certainly I use AC in India!!! I would have been thoroughly miserable in some places without it. It's not just the heat that you have to worry about, but the humidity. Of course, there are places it's not needed, and you might manage without it in Delhi in November.

Do listen to the warnings about precautions with food and drink, including no ice unless you know it's safe. I eat street food in other Asian countries, but not in India.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 12:01 PM
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While Fatephur Sikri is not really "on the way" to Agra, it might be worth detouring (45 minutes each way) from Agra to see it since the Taj is closed on Fridays anyway. Your best bet for dinner in Agra is at Amarvilas Indian restaurant, where you can also experience entertainment both in the courtyard by the pool early in the evening and during dinner at night. We found the food there to be quite good and had no worries about quality.

There are several good hotel restaurants in Delhi. Since we have not been in a while, I will defer to others for specific recommendations.

In Agra, take the time to cross the river and visit the "Baby Taj". Agra Fort is the other worthwhile visit.

In Delhi, you have enough time to see the major sites. Get a guide book and pick what interests you. If you plan to see Agra Fort in Agra, you can skip the fort in Old Delhi.

Don't worry about A/C. Do be careful about food and drink.

Have fun - you will almost certainly return for more.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 04:47 PM
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Great information, thanks.

CaliNurse, I have been reading the IndiaMike site, very informative.

PujaJC, are there any particular events for Diwali that I might attend? Special programs of any kind?

Glad to hear about everyone's experiences with air conditioning, I was very surprised to read the advice not to use it.

Is there a reason to prefer either the Agra or Delhi fort? I have been reading about both, but if I were to skip one, which should I see? Craig, you seem to imply the Agra fort is the one to see, is that what you meant?
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 05:54 PM
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The Agra Fort and the Taj have an interesting mutual history which makes visiting both a must when in Agra. In Delhi there is so much else to see that skipping the fort there makes a lot of sense.
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Old Sep 24th, 2012, 10:45 AM
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i see you know the taj is closed on fridays..

you will get an earfull no doubt at boston GTG about india..

we use a/c 24/7..

the imperial hotel in delhi is a splurge meal..

note my dining room rug when you come to dinner.

you must be very careful about your eating and drink!!

santucci mall in delhi is a good place for shopping and there is a nice restaurant called basil and thyme for lunch.

we eat mostly in 5* hotels..

the marriott courtyard in gurgoan is not that far from delhi airport and is very nice..

did you read our trip reports? why india, parts I and II
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Old Sep 24th, 2012, 05:31 PM
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Diwali is THE biggest celebration of the year for Hindus. It is November 13th this year, but the whole event begins November 11th and goes til November 15th. November 13th is the biggest day of celebration with hours and hours of firecrackers in the evening. Larger cities like Delhi no longer permit the Diwali firecrackers because it's a source of huge smoke pollution.

Diwali is a family event, sort of like Christmas, but I'm sure the hotels will be decorated heavily during this time.

On that note, it is a very heavy travel time for Indians and rail and air reservations will be at a premium, if available at all. Also, check ahead because businesses may close for more the whole five days.
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Old Sep 25th, 2012, 01:16 AM
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Thanks for all the further suggestions.

We arrive in Mumbai November 13. Any ideas where we might see fireworks for Diwali?

Hi Bob,I now have so many shopping ideas that if I went to them all I could fill our whole two full days in Delhi, but I hope I will get at least to a couple places. The Santushti shopping complex sounds like a very upscale place; I'm wondering if it might be too expensive to actually buy anything.
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Old Sep 25th, 2012, 06:17 AM
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Believe me , it is NOT that upscale. I bought a lot of stuff there. I'll give you names when you come. In the heat you need some retail therapy to cool down in their AC, although, your husbands wallet might get hotter.
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