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Here's my India Itinerary thoughts? Should we have done the South?

Here's my India Itinerary thoughts? Should we have done the South?

Old Jul 13th, 2006, 10:46 AM
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Here's my India Itinerary thoughts? Should we have done the South?

Hi. Here's the itinerary I have planned for my first trip to India this January. We have decided to do just the North on this trip, but I am nervous that I should have included Cochin/Kerala instead of some of this - Aurangabad, Ellora caves, etc. Please let me know your thoughts! Thank you.

Day 01 Mon Jan 08 Depart Newark
Day 02 Tue Jan 09 Arrive Delhi
Day 03 Wed Jan 10 In Delhi - Morning free. Breakfast at leisure; Afternoon - tour of The National Museum and The Museum of Modern Art.
Day 04 Thu Jan 11 In Delhi - Morning Tour Old Delhi. Afternoon Tour
of New Delhi.
Day 05 Fri Jan 12 Delhi / Varanasi -
Day 06 Sat Jan 13 Varanasi / Khajuraho.
Day 07 Sun Jan 14 Khajuraho / Orcha - Jhansi /Agra.
Day 08 Mon Jan 15 In Agra - Full day tour
Day 09 Tue Jan 16 Agra / Fatehpur Sikri / Sawai Madhopur Ranthambhore Drive to Sawai Madhopur (Ranthambhore).
Day 10 Wed Jan 17 In Ranthambhore
Day 11 Thu Jan 18 Ranthambhore/ Jaipur
Day 12 Fri Jan 19 In Jaipur
Day 13 Sat Jan 20 In Jaipur
Day 14 Sun Jan 21 Fly Jaipur / Udaipur
Day 15 Mon Jan 22 In Udaipur
Day 16 Tue Jan 23 Udaipur / Ranakpur / Jodhpur.
Day 17 Wed Jan 24 Fly Jodhpur/ Mumbai/ Aurangabad.
Day 18 Thu Jan 25 In Aurangabad
Day 19 Fri Jan 26 Aurangabad / Mumbai
Day 20 Sat Jan 27 In Mumbai
Day 21 Sun Jan 28 Mumbai / Delhi
Day 22 Mon Jan 29 - Delhi/ Newark
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Old Jul 13th, 2006, 12:48 PM
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I was never in India but I am planning a trip there. I think you are spending much time doing the north and villages while you could spend some days in Kerala (and/or Goa). I've been researching it and it's beautiful, very different from the North of India. Also Mumbai is south but it is a bustling city, if you are going there, why not take some more restful days in Kerala or Goa? Just my opinion.
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Old Jul 13th, 2006, 01:20 PM
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shothyme77

This is a magnificent and BUSY trip. You really can't do the norht and south well in 3 weeks. Take what you have.

I did most of what you did back in 2002

www.waynehaxle.com/india/
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Old Jul 13th, 2006, 07:10 PM
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If I have counted correctly, you have 13 places in 17 days on the ground. Way too much IMO. On top of a time difference of at 8-12 hours which you have to adjust to over the first few days. Even though some places are only a stop for a few hours, this is going to eat into your time. If you were going to Europe where places are much closer together and transportation is much better, I would still say this is way too much. Sloooow down and enjoy the culture, scenery, food, shopping and leave time for inevitable flight delays, traffic, etc.

I think this is exhausting and does not look fun, even in the lovely cool winter weather. Only 2 days in Delhi? Good luck seeing all of it in one day, you can't get to Ghandi's cremation ground, the Qutab Minar, Indira Ghandi's house, Nehru's house, etc and also old Delhi and the Parliament buildings all in one day, and you are leaving out lots of other stuff, plus the great shopping. That is just one example. Jaipur is another.

The one thing with travel in the winter in India by air is fog, you may run into flight delays, esp leaving Delhi, Varanasi and possibly Jaipur. Your schedule may be completely thrown out of whack if it takes you all day to get to Varanasi from Delhi, which it could. Even without fog, the Indian air system is overtaxed as it is, and flight delays are somewhat frequent. (Not unlike domestic US travel.)

North India is huge and you cannot see it all. You have to prioritize. I would leave out Khajuraho, too far to go for too little, IMO. Spend more time in Varanasi enjoying the river, get out to Sanarth where the Buddha preached. Take time to enjoy a few sights rather than trying to fit them all in and seeing really nothing IMO.

I have said this many, many times on this site: the drive from Agra to Ranthambore is horrific, over very rough roads, not more than a dirt track in some places. Very tough on the spine. At a minimum have a jeep or other four wheel drive vehicle. Personally, I would never do the drive again. I would go to Jaipur first, spend a few days there, go down to Fatephur Sikri via that good road, spend a few days at Ranthambore and then go back to Jaipur for your flight on to Jaipur.

There are only 2 game drives a day permitted at Ranthambore, one leaves about 6:30 am and the other about 3 pm. The more drives you take, the better the chance of seeing tigers. Also, you have to time yourself to be able to take enough drives to see all the various wildlife on the various tracks. You might want to spend more time there, it is a very interesting as well as beautiful and relaxing place.

You can probably fit in some time in Goa or Kerala if you wanted, I would skip Mumbai personally. I spend a lot of time there on business and do not see the attraction of it as a tourist city. It is very huge and the tourist sights are rather thin on the ground, IMO. You might have to cut out Jodphur/Aurangabad to get to the beach in Goa or Kerala, that might be a tough choice. You might look into flights to Goa or Kerala; if you can get flights to and from Goa via Jaipur or Delhi then this may make the decision easier.

Note that January 26 is a major public holiday in India, it is Republic Day. Museums and other public tourist sights will probably be closed. I believe most restaurants will be open, not sure about shops, it will be hit or miss. There is a great military parade in Delhi down the Rajpath that day, too bad you will not be in Delhi on that day.

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Old Jul 13th, 2006, 07:27 PM
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i'm only going for 11 days in november and have decided to limit my visit to delhi--3 full day; agra 1.5 days and jaipur 4 days....plus travel times...
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Old Jul 14th, 2006, 05:07 AM
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Hello,

Don't fret over South India - go there another time.

Your itinerary visits some amazing places - and it's good to see some less common ones in there. And I suspect you have spent hours honing it. But, with respect, it's total madness.

Ajanta is just wonderful - I, for some reason, was less impressed by Ellora but maybe that's down to what I had seen before.

But you are trying to do too much.

And I'd like to know how you are going to manage:

Day 07 Sun Jan 14 Khajuraho / Orcha - Jhansi /Agra.

A car and driver, of course. Please, think again.

If you want to go there - then take longer and take something else out of the itinerary.

Skip Ranthambhore; skip Mumbai.

Sorry - brain overload - can't plan your trip for you. And maybe you will enjoy it.

I've been to all the places on your list, except for Mumbai, and it took me months.

Please - cut it down - otherwise it will be just one mad dash and you'll really see NOTHING.
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Old Jul 14th, 2006, 07:34 PM
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I would cut out Khajuraho. I would also not bother with Jodhpur for 1 night - I hope you are aware that the drive Udaipur-Jodhpur will be 4-5 hours. I am not sure there is a direct flight Jodhpur-Mumbai, do check coz if the flight is via Udaipur it will be quite long and you will be inconvenienced. Better do just Udaipur and there is a direct Udaipur-Mumbai flight. What kind of layover do you ahve at the airport after the Udaipur flight to go to Aurangabad? I am nor sure Aurangabad is worth it this trip. Very hectic. I'd keep the focus on Rajasthan and ditch Aurangabad and Mumbai personally. Then you could do 2 nights in Jodhpur, maybe its worthwhile keeping Khajuraho in, etc. It will work better vis-a-vis flights too - far less traveling.
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Old Jul 15th, 2006, 09:06 AM
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I'm exhausted just reading your itinerary. Please take Cicerone's and fuzzylogic's advice and pare down your trip. (just don't cut Varanasi!)

Having cooled my heels for 7 hours in an airport waiting for the Delhi fog to lift, I have to agree that extra padding must be built into the schedule. Also, they keep head wobbling at you and telling you every jour that the plane will be "right in, mum, very soon, very soon", so you can never go anywhere for that 7 hours. BTW, I wasn't anywhere near Delhi at the time. Most flights originate in Delhi, so the sun can be shining brightly where you are and there isn't an airplane in the sky--they are all on the runway in Delhi. You can then always drive to your next destination if your flight is canceled or delayed, but there is another day gone--poof!

Regarding a flight from Jodhpur to Mumbai, there is indeed one. It goes Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Mumbai. Indian Air Express. Old 737's, unattractive saris (unlike the gorgeous saris of the real Indian Airlines)but they fly.

Arangabad is nice, but you might want to have that on another trip. I was caved-out and templed-out by the time I got to Aurangabad. I would have skipped it, but that is simply my opinion and my lack of enthusiasm for caves, even wonderful ones. The Elephanta Cave in Mumbai was sufficient--and the Ellora cave is just a huge version of Elephanta. (cave aficionados, please do forgive me

You really need to give yourself some breathing room so that you can enjoy the people of India, not just the sights. It is the people and the colors that you will never forget.
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Old Jul 15th, 2006, 02:43 PM
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Thanks for all your comments. Couple of things -

We will be on land for 19 days.

The khajuraho/orcha/jhansi/agra day starts with a drive to orcha. Then after spending the day in orcha, we were going to drive to the jhansi railway and take the express train to agra.

I definitely want to do ranthambore because I think it will be a nice change from all the cities. Any suggestions on how to get the best drives? We're staying at Dev Vilas.

The drive to Jaipur didn't seem so bad because we were leaving the whole afternoon. Ikind of like stopping along the way and seeing random sites...is this a bad/tough drive?

As for Aurangabad, does anyone recommend this? My tour guide and books do, but maybe we should put something else in its place. 19 days in, maybe the caves won't be so great...thoughts?

thank you again for your ideas and comments!
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Old Jul 15th, 2006, 06:10 PM
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I aso tried to fit in Kerala and Aurangabad on a 3 week trip, but came to the conclusion that S. India is a separte trip.( I am planning that in 08) Instead I focused on Rajasthan along with Varnasi. I have no regrets.
I would not take out Khajuraho. I really enjoyed it along with the time in Orcha. There were no tourists in Orcha, We went to two weddings, That was a highlite. We we enjoyed Walking around a typical Indian town and a short walk along the river, which was very peaceful a pretty setting. I also enjoyed the drive to Khajuraho. We stopped at a village cremation and had some great interaction with some of the village people. Our guide was fansastic. He took us to his home for dinner and we enjoyed meeting all his family. The train ride was even enjoyable. It was a nice break from all the car travel.
You may want to consider 2 nights in Varanasi. It depends on when your flight arrives and departs.

We took out Aurangabad and went to Jaisalmer. It was magicial

I am glad we spent so much of our time in Rajasthan. We had a great mix of cities and rural areas. The trip felt very complete and as much as I loved our trip I have no compelling need to return as I was so satisfied, with all the places we visited.
We skipped the game park, since we have been to Africa a couple of times.
ENJOY
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Old Jul 15th, 2006, 06:31 PM
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The train ride I was refering to was from Jhasni to Agra.
Also we only had a day and 1/2 in Dehli and We were able to see all the sights and never felt rushed.
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Old Jul 16th, 2006, 09:49 PM
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Good advice so far, maybe you can do some re-thinking. On Khajuraho, I know that people have differing views, but on such a short trip, I would cut it out in favor of other things like more time in Ranthambore or in Varanasi. Ultimately it is a personal choice, but I think the gist of what is being said here is that your original itinerary is too overloaded.

Not sure what Jaipur drive you are talking about.

If you are taking the CO flight from Delhi back to EWR, it does not depart Delhi until 11:45 pm, so you don't have to leave Mumbi on Sunday the 21st. Personally I would skip Mumbai as I mentioned and go to Goa or someplace, but in any event you don't have to be back in Dehli until Monday evening. I would not try to "do" a day in Delhi on the same day as the flight out to Newark, as you probably won't have a hotel for the day unless you want to pay for it for two days, and I think it would be exhausting running around all Dehli day and then heading out to the airport at like 8 pm.

You cannot "pick" the wildlife ride at Ranthambore. Your jeep is assigned a certain track for the drive, there are 6 if memory serves. (That is why it is good to schedule more than 1 drive, so you can see different tracks and areas.) Each track goes through different parts, none is better than the other IMO. They try to assign an even number of jeeps to each track to keep down traffic, dust, noise and wear and tear on the tracks, that is why you cannot ask for or pay for a certain track. I hope that this has not changed since I was last there a few years ago, as I would hate to see money influencing this.

Some guides (or even vistors) will tell you that some tracks are better than others for tiger viewing, but the funny part of that advice is that I have also been told (and can see from visits in various years) that they change track numbers from year to year so that you really don't know what track you may be on from time to time. What was Track 6 last year may become Track 2 next year. (They change numbers specifically to avoid people trying to take certain tracks.)
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Old Jul 17th, 2006, 07:08 AM
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Thakns for the thoughts on ranthambore. As for Aurangabad, does anyone think it's a must see? Is a day and half in Varnasi too short?
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Old Jul 17th, 2006, 09:25 AM
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better to expand time in Ranthambore and Varanasi and cut Aurangabad.

You need to maximize your chances to see a tiger.
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Old Jul 18th, 2006, 06:39 PM
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I've been to Aurangabad and if I were you, I would skip it. I'm with Wayne, spend more time in Varanasi and the north. Relax a bit. You will love India.
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 04:59 AM
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A day and a half in Varanasi is too short - yes, I think so.

Never been to Ranthambhore - not one of those places it is easy to get to on public transport!

As for Aurangabad. It took a huge effort to get there on the train from Chennai - but I wasn't disappointed. I visited Ajanta under my own steam - another story - but for Ellora I took a trip run by the local state tourist authority. Absolutely brilliant!!

But I had been in India by then for five months. It is not a "must see" for a first visit. Just mark it down for next time.

Good to hear that you are paring your itinerary down. Eminently sensible.

Leaving time to just go with the flow is essential, don't you think?
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