How to add relaxations to India travel?

Aug 7th, 2006, 11:46 AM
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How to add relaxations to India travel?

I've been advised to take it easy on my first tript to India. Please recommend a place or activity that would allow us to relax a bit from all the running around and sightseeings.

We're thinking of 2 weeks (excluding international flight days) in India mid Nov to early Dec this year. Flying into and out of Delhi. Itinerary is not decided yet.

Must-do destinations: Delhi, Agra, Hyderabad. We'll add one or more destinations, but haven't decided yet.

Any nice place(s) close by those destinations to relax for 2 or 3 days? Where we don't have to hit any must-see places? Preferably somewhere scenic, nature-oriented is a plus, and easy to get to?

I've read about the Colbert National Park near Delhi? Easy to get to and worth it? Anywhere else?

JC98 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2006, 12:01 PM
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Don't know much about Colbert National Park but Ranthambore National Park would be a good destination, especially if you intend to visit Jaipur - then your itinerary would be Delhi - Agra - Jaipur - Ranthambore - Delhi. You could drive (i.e. go with a driver) all of the legs except Ranthambore - Delhi where it is better to take the train. If you choose this itinerary, I recommend 2 nights Agra (one full day), 3 nights Jaipur with a stop at Fatephur Sikri en route and 2 nights Ranthambore. You need to reserve game drives in advance for Ranthambore Park but if you want to relax, I would do no more than 3 for a two night stay. We stayed at Sher Bagh which was excellent. If you want luxury rather than a somewhat authentic safari experience, go for Vanyavilas.
Craig is offline  
Aug 7th, 2006, 12:46 PM
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Thanks, Craig. Is the Ranthambore Park beautiful to look at, even if you might not spot any tigers? Good to go there at the end of November? Mosquitos and bugs?

Besides the safari, what else can you do there? Hiking?

An Indian friend of mine said national parks in India may not be like what you think of national parks. May not be that scenic. True? Well, he hasn't traveled that extensively in India himself!
JC98 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2006, 01:17 PM
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I don't think most people mean to actually go to another relaxing place, but that you should allow downtime at your existing stops. Travel is slow and tiring in India. Just sitting by the pool for a few hours was theraputic for us, and I don't normally do pools!

That said, we stayed at Sher Bagh in Ranthambore and found it very relaxing. We were there in late Movember last year. There were no bug is very cold in the mornings and at night at that time of winter (but nice and warm when the sun is out).

Parks are not like US. You go in only on the cantors or jeeps. there are set times for the tours, and the hotels enter lotteries each day to get their guests in. Sher bagh seemed very good at getting seats...We took several tours while there, and got onto jeeps every time.

All the some guides will try hard to find tigers. One of ours was quite good at pointing out birds, other animals and animal noises; another was into photo ops and geology and one just seemed to like racing around!

I found it very relaxing to just walk around the resort grounds, and also walked into the nearby village. There is a womens coop with lots of crafts and fabric items and one of the nicest branches of the Anokhi stores right nearby.

I know you can order massages at the camp, or you could go into the bigger town, Sawai modhopur, for spa or shopping.

The resort is lovely- very low key, very "green". They have english breakfasts, Italian lunch, and Indian dinners. Food was excellent, and the tents were very comfortable with wonderful showers. Staff were friendly. They put hot water bottles in your bed every night, and wake you up with tea in the morning. There was afternoon tea with all the guests after the safaris return, and live music every other night.

We took the train from there back to Delhi. It was about 5 hours and quite pleasant.
lcuy is offline  
Aug 7th, 2006, 01:46 PM
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Thanks, lcuy, for the info. That sounds nice. I just checked the Sher Bagh website, and a night is like $300 USD. Wow! That's steep by any standard, not just Indian.

Anyone know of any less expensive options? Where to stay for say $100 USD for 2?

What other places can one go to relax from the hubbub of Indian cities? Any hill stations? I also read about Reshiki at the foothill of the Himalayas, but it might be too cold in late Nov?
JC98 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2006, 02:08 PM
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Many people travel to India and end up just visiting big cities, like Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and Varanasi. These are great desintations, but so much travel involved, long drives, flights, and the rigors of the road can certainly be exausting..And of course, all the stimulation of [email protected],

It is good to rememeber to allow for some down time while traveling, to recharge, to get a massage, for a occasional free afternoon, to soak up the atmosphere, etc....

U might consider adding some very easy going rurAL destinations smack in the middle of your trip such as a village, or a rural town or a wildlife reserve. This wld depend on your route, but places that come to mind to slow down on the North India circuit can be Orcha, Khajuraho,, in Madhy Pradesh, perhaps Pushkar or Rathambore in Rajasthan, etc. This way u can slow down to the pace of where u are AND EXPERINCE feel the village life..

There are many places to choose from, but in a trip to India, certainly i wld say put in a few places away from the maddening crowds..

I lead alot of North India trips, and quite often the group is only too happy to get to a place like rural Orcha or Khajuraho and kick back, rent a bicycle and chill out..for many, this is the highlight!

Again, might be a good idea to allow for a leisurely ending of your trip too, to recharge batteries and take it all in before going home..U might consider staying in a beautiful hotel ur last few nights that has a spa or even going up to the Himalyas for nothing beats a mountain landscape for relaxing the heart and soul!.

If u are doing the North India circuit, u might even consider ending a trip to the region by flying to kathamdnu Nepal. It is only a short flight from Delhi and is a wonderful place to end a visit to the region and far more relaxing//and far than Delhi, anyday!

Most of the trips i lead actually end with three nights in the kathmandu Valley, and this works beautifully, and people are all to happy to kick back and explore the valley and slow down the pace..

alright, happy travels, and feel free to drop me a line. [email protected]

Bonita is offline  
Aug 7th, 2006, 02:26 PM
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Bonita, would it still be possible to go to the Himalayas foothill at the end of Nov or early December? I thought you should go there in the summer?

How about staying in an ashram for 2 days or so? Will it be relaxing or you have to follow the ashram's strict regimen?
JC98 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2006, 02:58 PM
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U can go to Kathmandu in the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal in November and December! That Wld be fine.

In terms of the Indian Himlayas and one of my fave states of India//Himachal Pradesh, the main season to visit is mid~may thru Mid~october, but plenty of folks visit in December~march for winter activites too, winter sports, etc.

There is also a grea great spa in the state of Uttaranchal,u can consider..It is not really the season for this area either, but still an option and can even train from Delhi...It is not far from Rishikesh. It is called Ananda Spa in the HImalays..Gorgeous!

Going to an Ashram..a bit of an extreme idea, and wld not necc say it is for everyone! I prefer to relax at my own speed and schedule..The few times i visited and stayed at Ashrams in India, i could not wait to cut looose with my freedom!,,,It is not for everyone..I prefer to make up my own rules, and sunrise meditations, ouch! Wld not say it wld be the most relaxing idea, but it wld certainly be another Indian experince..

Bottom line though, u do not really have to pick and choose a relaxing destination per se..u need to fine tune your trip to allow some down time along the way, indulge in a occasional massage,etc...And as i suggested/mix up some visits to the big cities with some rural destiantions too.

take care..happy travels..Namaste.
Bonita is offline  
Aug 7th, 2006, 05:33 PM
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I would also reco Ranthambore over Corbett. I think Dev Vilas may fit in your budget - our travel agent got it for us at thereabouts if I remember correctly. If Hyderabad is on your itinerary you could also cosnider flying into Delhi and out of Bombay as Hyd is almost equidistant from both - if you like cities, Bobay which is the commercial hib of India is an experience. Most intl airlines allow you to route your tickets like this. In case you do add Bombay you could cosnider a couple nights in Goa, that's RnR time and a lovely city. In 2 weeks you could cover Delhi (2/3 nights), Ranthambore (2 nights), Jaipur (2 nights), Agra (1 night), Hyderabad (2/3 nights), Goa (2/3 nights), Bombay (1/2 nights).
hobbes is offline  
Aug 8th, 2006, 06:45 AM
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JC, take a look at the link for the Sunrise Ayurvedic Resort near Jaipur:
We only stopped for lunch while passing by on the road, but it looked like a great place to relax for a few days and we made a mental note to come back and stay someday.
Lcuy suggested just adding on some "down time" days to locations where you are already staying after you have seen the main sights, and that can be an excellent option as well. We had a couple of unexpected extra days in Khajuraho due to changes in flight schedules, and it was fantastic just to swim, get massages, relax, and do some light sightseeing and shopping instead of trying to cram as much as possible into every moment has we had been doing up to that point.
Re: Kathmandu, we went in mid-November and were surprised at how temperate it was---there were poinsettias and other flowers in bloom! Check out and you will see that it has a much warmer climate than many of us expect. My Kathmandu guide told me that he had never seen falling snow until he traveled to Germany!
tanuki is offline  
Aug 8th, 2006, 10:36 AM
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Thanks, all, for the great pointers! Lots to research here.

A general question: From your replies, it sounds like it's possible to hire a guide/driver for only one-way or a certain portion of the trip? Like have them with you to Agra and Jaipur, and you can leave them and take the train back yourself? How does that work?
JC98 is offline  
Aug 8th, 2006, 12:14 PM
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It is easy to hire a driver and/or a guide. You can arrange them through your hotel or you can use a local agency such as Compass Tours in Delhi. We used an agency - we had the same driver for the entire tour but a different guide at each location. At Ranthambore we had the driver only but in the park, you have to use the Park's vehicles and guides anyway. Our agency also made our train reservations from Ranthambore to Delhi - our driver left ahead of us and we gave him most of our luggage to take back to Delhi so we didn't have to deal with it on the train.
Craig is offline  

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