India in January

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Mar 16th, 2005, 11:20 PM
  #1
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India in January

Hi all

I'll admit I have not done my homework and research yet. What I am after is some general pointers for a trip to India for the first two weeks of January next year. I guess I am saying I need some pointers to start my research.

Two of us will be travelling, we have both just retired. We are fit but are beyond the stage of backpacking or rough travel and frantically running around with one night here and one night there. Did that 30 years ago! We have travelled widely in Asia (Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Phillipines, China etc) but not India. We will do the trip comfortably in good hotels and want to be exposed to some of the icons. Maybe we could have a few days too at a nice beach resort somewhere. We fly in and out of Mumbai.

So if you have any places to point us such as destinations, modes of travel etc that would be a great starter.
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Mar 17th, 2005, 02:29 AM
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January is a good time to visit India. Two weeks is not a lot of time for what you want to accomplish. Most first-timers (and that would include us for our trip in February) do the "Golden Triangle" - Delhi, Agra (Taj Mahal) and Jaipur. We also went to Ranthambore National Park where we were lucky enough to spot a tiger on one of our game drives. To do this itinerary you should fly into Delhi, not Mumbai. Between most destinations you can hire a car and driver or go by train. For more information, please see my trip report at:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...7&tid=34578710
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Mar 17th, 2005, 04:04 AM
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Thanks Craig, I'll have a look. I am flying in from Australia and there is no option on Qantas but Mumbai. That doesn't mean we cannot get a connecting flight somewhere else.

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Mar 17th, 2005, 04:31 AM
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You can look into getting an air pass with Jet Airways which allows you unlimited flights for 2 weeks within India for about $600 USD. January is a good time to visit most of the country. For a beach vacation, you can try Lakshadweep which isnt overrun with tourists yet unlike Goa. Goa is great but nothing spectacular! India has some great hotels..I would reccomend the JW Marriott in Bombay. Rajasthan ( Jaisalmer/Udaipur/Jodhpur) are worth visiting and experience a completly differnt India. In Bombay, do go to Banganga- not many people know about it, but it has a lot of history attached to it and is smack dab in the centre of the city..
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Mar 17th, 2005, 04:50 AM
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India is a vast country, and without knowing your interests, it is hard to make recommendations. While this site is a wealth of information, you will get better advice once you have decided what YOU want to see and do on this trip; otherwise it will be people’s opinions about what you should do.
Some people could spend days on the burning ghats in Varanassi, others want to lie on a beach in Goa, others want to see all the museums in Delhi. If you haven’t already done so, I would suggest you go to your library and get some guide books. Old editions don’t’ matter, as the basic information and tourist site info does not change. When you hare some ideas of what you want to see and do, then buy the newest editions for restaurant and hotel recs and the latest travel tips for that country.

As noted above, January is a great time weather-wise for virtually all of India. If you are interested in beaches, look into Goa and Kerala on the west coast, or the south east coast in the state of Tamil Nadu, esp the areas south of Chennai down to Pondicherry. Sri Lanka, while not a part of India, also has great weather at that time, and you could do a mix of beach and inland jungle/rice terrace areas.

If you can, you might want to avoid Christmas, as you probably would pay higher prices. January 26,. 2006 is Indian Republic Day, and there are events in some places, most especially a big military parade in Delhi which might be an interesting thing to see.

You will find many hotels in the 4 star range. Some places to start would be:

oberoihotels.com - probably the best operator in India, has luxury and budget hotels.

neemranahotels.com - this group runs the palace hotel in Rajasthan featured in Conde Nast in Nov/Dec 2004. They have other interesting looking hotels.

tajhotels.com - another good Indian operator, the operate the famous Lake Palace Hotel in Udaipur and the Taj in Mumbai.

theimperialindia.com - Website for the Imperial Hotel in Delhi, a great favourite of mine and others on this site

amanresors.com - luxury operator, has some great looking property in India

slh.com - Small Luxury Hotels of the World, an association of mostly independent hotels, I have always been pleased with hotels in this group.

Lhw.com - Leading Hotels of the World, a slh.com for larger hotels, again usually very good hotels.

The major chains like Marriott, Starwood, Hyatt, etc also have hotels in India, check their websites.

Other helpful websites:
www.indianrail.gov.in. - state railway of (India)
http://www.jetairways. - private airline in India, very good
http://www.airdeccan.net/airdeccan/home.asp - new private airline, I have not used it, but gets good reccos on this site
http://indian-airlines.nic.in - state-run airline, domestic schedule

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Mar 17th, 2005, 04:56 AM
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Hi Cicerone, thanks for your message but I did say I am there the first 2 weeks of January (not Christmas or Independence day), that I wanted to see the main icons (ie sites) and wanted to spend some time on a beach. I also said I didn't want to be rushing around as when I was 30 years younger. I also said I was looking for some direction to get started on planning my trip.
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Mar 17th, 2005, 05:40 AM
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As for “icons”, I guess my response would be how long is a piece of string? Off the top of my head, the following would be places that would be good destinations:

Delhi
Jaipur
Agra
Udaipur
Jaislamer
Jodphur
Pushkar, many other small villages in the state of Rajathsan
Simla, Darjeeling, there are numerous other hill stations
Ranthambore National Park for tiger viewing, there are many other national parks
Varanasi
Khajuraro
Chenni and points south like Pondicherry or Ooty hill station
Bangalore
Goa
Kerala, including beaches and backwaters
Mumbai and the state of Gujarat generally
Amritsar and other areas of the Punjab
Ladkh
Dharamsala if Tibetan Buddhism is an interest
Hyderabad
Kolcutta and that part of the coast
Mysore
Trivandum
Cochin
Chandigarh for Corbusier
Deccan plateau - for walking, forts, palaces; virtually untouristed by Westerners outside of Bangalore, includes Hyderabad, Karnataka and Mysore which get some tourists

Activities:

Walking, hill treks
Camel treks
Wildlife viewing
Skiing
White water rafting
Museums
Forts
Palaces
Temples, Mosques, Churches
Beaches

I know I have left out a lot, but these are intial thoughts.



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Mar 17th, 2005, 06:06 AM
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For a 2 week trip to ndia flying in and out of Mumbai I would suggest you do the Golden Traingle i.e. Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, spend some time in Mumbai (which is a fun city) and do your beach time in Goa. In case you ahve enthusiasm to add one more thing add Ranthambore to your Golden Triangle trip. In terms of how to plan my advice is take a look at the Jet and Indian Airlines 1 week passes Cicerone has posted websites of.

From Mumbai to Delhi by air. Spend couple nights in Delhi then take a train to Ranthambore. Two nights in Ranthambore gives you time to do comfortably do 3 safaris then have a car and driver there to drive you to Jaipur (2-3 nights) then Agra (1 night) then back to Delhi either with car or by train. From Delhi fly directly to Goa (advantage of doing Goa last is x-mas rush and rates at hotels abated by the time you reach). Spend a few days there and then head back to Mumbai for your flight out. If you give an idea of what you would like to spend per night I will point you in the direction of some hotels.
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Mar 17th, 2005, 08:17 AM
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If you fly with Singapore Airlines they can fly you into multiple destinations in India, perhaps Chennai (Madras ) or Bangalore, would be a good point to arrive and then you can fly out from Delhi or Mumbai, SQ rae very flexible on what is called I believe 'open jaw' which means you can fly into one point and out from another, it certainly gives you a lot of options and certainly cheaper if you are covering a lot of ground to be able to fly into the South East and then out from say delhi or other way around. Malaysian fly also into Chenna, Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi, I think the number of destinations using SQ is substantial, add to that the Silk Air ( part of SQ and combinable within an SQ ticket routing ) adds in Kochi and Trivandrum(sorry don't know how to spell it's new name!), you can even fly into various other points too.
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Mar 17th, 2005, 08:59 AM
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Hi...recently we did just over 2 weeks but we took a small group tour with a company called Imaginative Traveller..It was excellent..We visited Delhi, Mandawa,Japuir, Agra,Karauli, Varanasi..Also did a safari at Ranthambore..Highly recommended when you only have 2 weeks..Check out their website at imaginative-traveller.com
They have also put out new Connoissure (sp)tours where you stay in interesting accomodations including a houseboat in Kerala (we are considering this tour next)The tours with Imaginative Traveller are very laid back and you aren't herded around like elephants...They have several tours to pick from..It is just my suggestion anyhow..Some people aren't into tours, but it's a great way to meet people and you don't have to waste time once you get there figuring things out when you only have a limited amount of time..Happy searching...We found India to be most amazing!!
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Mar 17th, 2005, 09:36 AM
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Hi TracyB. I'm leaving tomorrow afternoon to India with the Imaginative Traveller. Thanks for the good word!
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Mar 17th, 2005, 10:13 AM
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Excellent Dori, which tour are you going on? I am jeolous!! Have a great time!!
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Mar 17th, 2005, 10:19 AM
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I'm going on the Moghul Highlights. I'm flying from Chicago tomorrow. It's going to be one heck of a long flight. Where did you fly from?
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Mar 17th, 2005, 12:47 PM
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Dori,we flew from Edmonton, Alberta Canada..Also a long flight..We went on the North Indian Highlights..The one you are going on is a shorter version..Wait til you get to Mandawa! It is awesome..The hotel is just fantastic..The whole town is like another world..The camel ride is alot of fun and the mud huts are gorgeous..Be prepared for extremely bumby roads....You'll have the time of your life..Write back when you get home and tell me all about it!!
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Mar 17th, 2005, 01:34 PM
  #15
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Thanks folks. I wanted a starting point for planning and you have given me that. I'll come back with any specific questions that arise as I get into it.

Hobbes, probably spendong around US150-200 per night on accommodation. Would prefer to stay at places with some character rather than standard type hotels. As well, any thoughts on a Goa destination as there seem to be a wide variety of beach places there.
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Mar 17th, 2005, 01:37 PM
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Also try indiamike.com if you haven't already..It is strictly an India forum..I got lots of ideas from there..
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Mar 17th, 2005, 02:11 PM
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Use a good travel agency and a decent tour operator.We made the big mistake of using TOURINDIA(p)ltd of Trivandrum,kerala for our travel arrangements in kerala.They are highly unreliable and unethical people.Avoid them like the plague.
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Mar 17th, 2005, 03:53 PM
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Hotel recos :

Delhi look at The Imperial or Claridges
Agra - stay at Amar Vilas (www.Oberoihotels.com) - it will be ebyond your budget but is far and away the best Agra hotel and you can make up the difference somewhere else
Jaipur - see if you like the Samode properties - www.samode.com. Else the Rambagh - www.tajhotels.com
Ranthambore - my personal fav is Sher Bagh - www.sherbagh.com. Other options within your budget are Dev Vilas or the Taj Sawai Madhopur, www.tajhotels.com
Goa - loads of options. The best beaches are in the South and the hotels there are the Park Hyatt, the Taj Exotica and the Leela. A more boutique option which I like is www.nilayahermitage.com.
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Mar 18th, 2005, 07:54 AM
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hobbes,

My experience at the Nilaya Hermitage (described a week or two ago in another thread here) leads me to conclude that the staff there kowtows to white Westerners but frowns on us local brownies. I wrote to the owner, Hari Ajwani, about this about two weeks ago and haven't yet heard back (and probably won't).

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Mar 18th, 2005, 10:54 PM
  #20
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Thanks all !!!
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