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lhgreenacres Oct 23rd, 2012 10:46 AM

Help with 1st Timer Itinerary- India
We are two couples trying to plan a trip for India this February. We know that the itinerary is a little rushed but we have only twelve nights. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Questions: Do we need to have a day in Delhi or should be go straight to Jaipur the first morning? Also we really are not big city people and really prefer nature and our main focus was going to be the tiger park. I am concerned for my other half that this is going to be far to much city and crowds then he is going to like. We are totally open to suggestions as we want to see some of the major sites in India but also do not want to be too overwhelmed. We also do have the possibility of adding an extra day.

Arrive New Delhi late evening- Overnight
Day 1- Delhi
Day 2 & 3 Jaipur ( fly from Delhi to Jaipur)(2 nights)
Day 4 Agra( 1 night)
Day 5 Overnight train to Katni
Day 6, 7, 8 Bandhavargh ( 4 nights)
Day 9 drive to Khajuraho (1 night)
Day 10 Khajuraho fly to Varanasi ( 2 nights)
Day 11 Varanasi
Day 12 Varanasi fly back to Delhi late afternoon and take late night flight out

Marija Oct 23rd, 2012 11:28 AM

We did a similar route but we avoided the overnight train to Katni by going Delhi>Varanasi>Khajuraho>Bandhavgarh>Orccha>Agra >Jaipur

We flew between Delhi and Varanasi, Varanasi and Khajuraho, took a short train ride from Orccha to Agra and did the rest by car. For more details see:

TGSTours Oct 27th, 2012 02:53 AM

Quite well planned and taking the train is a smart idea. Just be sure to book the trains 120 days in advance when the bookings open or trains can get sold out. The website has a complicated registration procedure discussed elsewhere on these forums or best to ask your India tour operator to book.

If you prefer smaller places add another night in Khajuraho and reduce a night in Varanasi. You will get all sightseeing done in a one night stay.

Also have you considered staying in Panna in place of Khajuraho since you like nature?

lhgreenacres Oct 29th, 2012 07:27 PM

TGSTours- Thank you for your feedback. We have not finalized anything and are not deciding whether to go to both Kanha and Bandhavgarh. I still can not get a good understanding of the differences in the parks in terms of the wildlife. It seems that a lot of tours do both but I am concerned that the games drives might be a little repetitive as we are looking at three full days in each park. Any feedback from someone who has been to both would be hugely appreciated. Thank you for the suggestion about Varanasi. The other option will are looking at is to go first to Kanha, then Bandhavargh, Khajuraho, Varanasi and then we could overnight train to Agra and then back to Delhi. We have decided to not go to Jaipur as we want more nature less city.

Kathie Oct 29th, 2012 07:45 PM

A one night stay in Varanasi? Doesn't sound like a good idea to me. One night often means just that - one night and a couple of hours in the morning and evening. Certainly not enough to experience Varanasi.

lhgreenacres Oct 29th, 2012 08:07 PM


How much time would you recommend? Please remember that my other half is very anti-city and this is a big thing that he is going to India at all.

dgunbug Oct 30th, 2012 12:30 AM

Varanasi was the highlight of our India trip and is like no place else we have ever been. I too would not reduce time there.

Kathie Oct 30th, 2012 06:35 AM

I think two nights in Varanasi is the minimum, and turns out to be the "right" amount of time for many people.

lhgreenacres Oct 30th, 2012 06:36 AM

Dgunbug-How long would you recommend to visit Varanasi. Where did not stay at?

crosscheck Oct 31st, 2012 08:05 AM

We had 48 hours in Varanasi, which was fine to "get it" - it does not feel like a big city, more like an altered reality. I would have liked one more day, possibly more, but your two nights are okay.

We just did an 11-day trip - Mumbai (overnight) - DeviGarh (near Udaipur) 4 nights - Varanasi (2 nights) - Khajuraho (1 night) - Agra (2 nights) - Delhi (1 night).

I like Marija's itinerary - Ours was similar. We also flew from Udaipur-Varanasi, Varanasi-Khajuraho, and the same road trip/train through Ochha to Jhansi to Agra. Maybe we were just lucky, but we found all the internal travel to be really easy, much less challenging than in other parts of the world.

I'm in the middle of my trip report, continuing on my name.

lhgreenacres Oct 31st, 2012 07:52 PM

Thanks for everyone's feedback. We not looking at two nights and at least an extra half day as we are going to fly back to Delhi late in the afternoon and spend the night in Delhi. Does anyone have any good hotels to recommend in Varanasi. We also want to be able to have a private guide during our time when we are there.

crosscheck Oct 31st, 2012 10:43 PM

We loved Suryauday Haveli in Varanasi - charming guest house right on the Ganges overlooking a herd of water buffalo, with a fantastic staff, good homecooked food and a wonderful roof deck. Not super luxurious, but probably the most upscale hotel right on the river. Make sure you ask for a ground floor room, preferably 103 - the second floor rooms have small windows.

travelwife Nov 1st, 2012 03:37 AM

I have visited Agra - Taj Mahal as overwhelmed.
My advise is to use any digital apps (for e-book or iphone app - there are namy of them). They can help a lot to find near by restaurant or hotel. Chose those that work offline.

CaliNurse Nov 1st, 2012 02:00 PM

ITC Welcomheritage recently opened a hotel right on the Ganges. It is called Hotel Jukaso.
(Disclaimer: I havent stayed in it. Havent been to Varanasi since 1971!)

Having been impressed with Welcomheritage Hotel's in recent trips, i'd book this one on a return trip:

lhgreenacres Nov 1st, 2012 05:50 PM

Thank you for suggestions for the hotels-I actually emailed both of them yesterday but have not heard back yet, hopefully today

lhgreenacres Nov 2nd, 2012 06:16 AM

Claire_Aniston- We are actually not staying in Jaipur as our itinerary has changed but thank you for the recommendation.

Our new itinerary is as follows:

Arrive Delhi early morning and fly directly to Varanasi
Varanasi for two nights and three days- fly back to Delhi late night on the third day
Overnight Delhi
Fly to Jabalpur - Kanha 4 nights
Transfer to Satpura 4 nights
Overnight train to Agra
Overnight Agra possibly Chambal Lodge
Late train back to Delhi and take late night/early morning flight back to the States.

We are really enjoy wildlife that that is our main focus. We think that the itinerary is not overly hectic. Any other thoughts are welcome.

crosscheck Nov 2nd, 2012 07:36 AM

Varanasi could be overwhelming as your first destination, not the most mellow surroundings to get over jet lag. Where are you coming from?

Also, since you will have already had your experience on the train, I would suggest a car and driver on the new highway for your return trip to Delhi. Otherwise, lots of unnecessary travel logistics on the last day.

CaliNurse Nov 2nd, 2012 01:11 PM

Greenacres, Coincidetnally, i just read bout Chambal Lodge. Wow!! Sounds like grat place and choice. But isnt it about one hour from Agra?
What time is your flight out of DEL? Agree with CC, last day might have too much check in/check out stuff.
One of the best bits of travel advice i got from my Indian tour organizer people is never cut it too close between getting off a train in New Del and having to get to the airport. After stories i've heard about train delays and near misses, I agree. So leave plenty of time on that last day to get to the airport, no matter how you arrive from Chambal or Agra. You are aware that Chambal is an hour from Agra right? How are yo getting there from Agra? Never underestimate drive times in India!!!!!!!!

lhgreenacres Nov 2nd, 2012 07:35 PM

Our flight does not leave until 3:00 am so we do have have plenty of time but I was thinking the same thing and that being driven back to Delhi is probably a better idea. I do know that Chambal is an hour away but I think it will be a much more relaxing environment. We are from Los Angeles and I do know that throwing ourselves into Varanasi might be a lot but it we do it in the reverse, I was worrying about flying from Varanasi and then have to go straight to the international flight.

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