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WhitePelican May 31st, 2010 01:41 PM

Help! First Trip to India for Two Women of a Certain Age
We are both very widely traveled but have somehow missed going to India. We are joining forces on this trip, hoping we will be good travel companions and remain friends by the end. One of us is a photographer(S)for whom the right light is a priority; she will stay on past this three-week trip to Northern India and head to Kerala. The other(J) is an appreciator of the arts, has just three weeks to travel, and will head home to CA at the end of the N India trip. We are active, adventurous, love to meet and spend time with locals; unpretentious, sensible but capable of intermittent zaniness. We will sometimes share a room, sometimes take separate rooms to have some space from 24/7 tedium. We like the occasional splurge as well as guesthouses and occasionally whatever is in between if it has character.

Here's our first draft. We thought we would submit it to three or so India travel agencies for quotes after you all revise it. Any and all suggestions welcome.

1. Arrive Delhi from SFO. on Sat. 2 nights Palace Heights or (is this nuts) Neemrana Fort Palace, skipping Delhi since neither of us is a big city/pollution person

2. Mon: fly to Udaipur for 4 nights. Which hotel--
Shiv Niwas Palace, Jagat Niwas palace, Kankarwas Haveli, Rangiwas Palace Hotel. Others?
Yes, quite an array in price and atmosphere.

3. Fri --To Jodhpur for 2 nights (with driver)
Ajit Bhawan Hotel

4. Sun--Chhatra Sagar 2 nights (drive)

5. Tues Nov 15-2 nights Pushkar for photo ops (drive)
Seventh Heaven
Other suggestions; tents?

6. Then we have 4 nights. 3 and 1 or 2 and 2?? (drive)
Jaipur : Madhuban or Jas Vilas
Orchha: Sheesh Mahal

7. Drive to Agra. 1 night ( a Monday, full moon)
Amarvillas or the other end of the spectrum: Tourists Rest House

8. Sleeper train to Varanasi, 3 nights
Ganges River View

9. Fly back to Delhi, 1 night and J fly home; S flies to Cochin.

Thank you for whatever information and suggestions you may offer.

vp_singh May 31st, 2010 09:28 PM

a. Palace Heights is right in the CP above Embassy restaurant. Early morning autos make life hell, very noisy. Delhi has some quiet corners as well & not that polluted now. How can a photographer miss, (much maligned, sometimes erroneously), Delhi?
b. Neemrana Fort Palace is 2.3 hrs / 75 miles, with road under construction, outside of Delhi. If your arrival is late into the night driving not recommended. For next days flight to Udaipur, too far off.
c. Trident Udaipur. Take a look at this property. They have fine pool facing rooms.
d. Taj Hari Mahal @ Jodhpur is nicer.
e. Pushkar - 01 night on the 16 Nov is fine.
f. Orchha is about 300 miles from Jaipur. Needs better planning on this segment of your travels.
g. A lot more from the point of view of a photographer / Connoisseur of art is possible with a little more creativity.
Happy travels!

dogster May 31st, 2010 10:24 PM

I too am a woman of certain years, all bar the anatomy. I too don't much care for Delhi, but that's mostly because someone threw dog pooh on my shoe and I had to chase, capture and kill a shoe-wallah.

That's a good enough reason not to go to Delhi. Driving 2.5 hours outta town to avoid it may, however be overkill, particularly as you then have to drive that 2.5 hours back to the airport to fly to Udaipur.

The Jodhpur/Chhatra Sagar/Pushkar/Jaipur link looks easy. The esteemed V.P. Singh will tell in no uncertain terms that Pushkar, minus the fair, is dead boring. Dunno.

I think you may have been having a senior moment when you suggested Orchha.

I get the feeling you are predicating this itinerary on your full moon night in Agra? Add to your calculations, that a full moon in India is usually the signal for some very juicy celebration of some sort of another. If I were you two, I'd be investigating festivals and going wherever they are. Your photographer chum will go crazy.

dogster May 31st, 2010 10:31 PM

I think this might give you some ideas. India is PEOPLE.

WhitePelican Jun 1st, 2010 09:51 AM

Thank you, Dogster and VP Singh. I have a feeling this itinerary will undergo numerous adjustments. Yes, a senior moment re Orchha. Perhaps Karauli would make sense instead.

The full moon at Agra was a coincidence: we can't take credit for good planning here. Neither of us is that into buildings, even the Taj; as you say, Dogster, India is people. Love the festivals calendar.

Yes, Neemrana Fort Palace is a real stretch, but that's how badly we wanted to avoid Delhi, a real mistake I think.

We have considerable revision to attend to, somewhat challenging as we have different time frames and, we are discovering, differing levels of tolerance for adventure!

thursdaysd Jun 1st, 2010 12:12 PM

I, too am a woman of a certain age (with the anatomy), and I, too, am not a fan of Delhi. But there's certainly more than enough to do for one day.

I'd suggest a subset of Hanuman's tomb (precursor to the Taj), Qutb Minar, the Bahai (Lotus) Temple, the folk museum, and Nizam-ud-din's shrine (women can't go in the shrine itself, but you can sit outside and listen to the music and watch the people). On the first day of your first trip I'd skip the usual downtown sights. But you may want to just recover from jet lag!

I loved Orccha, but I think you have too many places even without it. Too many two-nighters (although that's certainly better than one-nighters, lol.) Are you doing day trips from Udaipur? I've been looking at it for my next trip, and there seem to be several worthwhile sights relatively near by.

Good to see that you're taking the train to Varanasi and staying on the river.

Marija Jun 1st, 2010 01:11 PM

I am certainly a woman, but of uncertain age, and I most definitely liked Delhi. It's a never ending stream of sights and experiences. Don't skip Chandni Chowk, a market brimming with people and goods, just waiting to be photographed. You'll never forget the sights and sounds of Delhi, don't skip it!

Craig Jun 1st, 2010 01:38 PM

I am not a woman but my wife and hopefully life-long partner is. I used to be of a certain age but now I am not. I am older than I was yesterday. Age is just a state of mind...

Delhi is okay. Do you really need to spend a lot of time there? Probably not. We enjoyed learning some of India's history by visiting Gandhi's home. Hanuman's tomb is a wonderful architectural site (but you're not into buildings). We enjoyed Chandni Chowk and the big mosque nearby but there is so much elsewhere if you go to India for the people. So spend a day in Delhi and enjoy the rest of your trip in other parts.

In Udaipur, just stay on the lake - we had dinner at Jagat Niwas and the location is excellent. Just make sure you reserve one of the better rooms. Do it now. Trident is excellent value for the quality of lodging but not the best location.

Amarvilas in Agra is the place to splurge.

As long as you are on the river in Varanasi, you are fine.

Nutella Jun 1st, 2010 03:12 PM

I just couldn't help but google that phrase to see if I qualify...

live42day Jun 1st, 2010 04:11 PM

I am a woman of a certain age as well, just returned from Northern India in Feb 2010. We flew into Delhi and then flew directly to Udaipur, I did not want to start my trip in Delhi but go into India 'gently' and Udaipur was just the ticket.
We stayed at Jagat Niwas and loved it. Make sure to get a room with a view of the lake.
In Jaipur we stayed at Madhuban. The hotel was great although the staff , nice enough, but cool compared to staff at other hotels such as Jagat Niwas.

Went to Puskar, after been advised not too, didnt listen and the only place that I wish we had not gone. Did not like it at all.

Highly recommend staying on the river for sure in Varanasi. We did the Palace on the River which was great, again we had a view room.

we really went on the 'cheap' and took a chance in Agra and booked the Sheela hotel. The location was excellent and the motel style room was fine. Nothing special but clean cheap and close enough to walk to the Taj. The resteraunt was no screaming hell, but others close by.

If you click on my name you will see my trip report.

WhitePelican Jun 1st, 2010 08:23 PM

Thank you all for the suggestions and entertainment around what constitutes a certain age or, indeed, a woman.

I appreciate the specific suggestions, Thursdays and Craig, and enjoyed your trip report, Live42day.

We have quite a lot to sort out and may each be making some compromises. Thanks again for the help.

indianapearl Jun 7th, 2010 05:21 AM

As a crone of an advanced age (sigh), I disliked Delhi when we first arrived. Three weeks later on our return for the flight home, it didn't seem so bad, but it was and is still on the bottom of my list of places to see in India. I should emphasize that we're not interested in shopping (old people have enough stuff), so that figures into our evaluation.

We drove from Agra-Gwalior-Orchha-Khajuraho. The roads from Orchha to Khajuraho were terrible. We flew back to Delhi from K. I enjoyed Orchha, but it is hard to reach and I'd omit it if I were you.

Udaipur and the Jagat Niwas were lovely. If you stay at Jagat Niwas, ask for room 116. It has a lovely view of the Lake Palace. The drive from Jodhpur (great fort!) to Udaipur was also lovely, especially the Aravelli Hills, Ranakpur, and Kumbhelgarh Fort.

Nywoman Jun 7th, 2010 05:44 AM

We were two women, of certain ages who traveled through India November 2007. My travel partner is a very serious photographer and our itinerary you will find at the end of the blog. Which incidentally was written by both of us.

If there is no camelfair in Pushkar forget it.

indianapearl Jun 7th, 2010 02:32 PM

Something else I thought of this afternoon --- can you walk a bit?? Can you climb stairs?? Are you reasonably fit??

indianapearl Jun 7th, 2010 02:37 PM

You also don't say at what time of the year you'd like to travel -- mucho importante!

Check with our friend and driver Ramesh Meena at He will take very good care of you and make sure you have a great trip.

pattyroth Jun 7th, 2010 09:37 PM

I also traveled to India with a friend (both of us of a certain age)--first time trip for us both but we cheated a bit and traveled with her son and his American-Indian bride. I did the photography and she shopped a lot (well, I did also). We loved Udaipur--stayed at the incomparable Udaivillas and found great places and people to photograph. India photos at

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